Day: October 18, 2012

Webinar: Advanced Conversion: Maximising the Potential for Energy from Waste

24th October 2012, 10:00am EST
Register at http://view6.workcast.net/register?pak=5463174437781677

One of the most readily-available and viable solutions to help address the challenge of our growing energy needs is Energy-from-Waste (EfW) – which has the potential to take a multitude of waste streams (such as municipal solid waste) and convert them into energy.

There are many EfW processes, but most commonly waste passes through combustion chambers at high temperatures, reducing it to around 25% of its original volume. Steel tubes that form the walls of the combustion chambers are heated, transforming water in the tubes to steam that is sent through a turbine to continuously generate electricity. Despite this relatively simple process and endless supply of feedstocks, EfW is often overlooked when compared with other bioenergy technologies (not to mention the more high profile renewable technologies like wind and solar power). One reason for this is the challenge associated with generating energy from waste as efficiently as possible on the one hand, while doing so in an environmentally sound and socially acceptable way on the other.

But a new generation of EfW technologies have been developed that can convert waste into energy with minimal environmental impact – while maximising resource and energy recovery. So called Advanced Conversion Technologies (ACTs), which use residual, non-recyclable waste to produce a synthesis gas (syngas) to generate electricity and other energy outputs, have the potential to combat rising waste levels while helping meet the world’s need for a clean, safe energy supply.

This webinar will give a snapshot behind the development of Energy-from-Waste, and highlight the benefits of ACTs. It will cover the following issues:

  • The development of EfW and its current challenges; .
  • The benefits that Advanced Conversion Technologies (ACTs) bring to EfW; .
  • *Case study* Gasplasma® technology: we look in depth at one EfW technology currently causing a stir, which uses plasma arc technology to further purify the waste-derived gas. It has been developed by APP (Advanced Plasma Power), a leading waste-to-energy and advanced fuels technology company.

Revised NCATE Environmental Education Standards for Teachers – Your Input is Needed!

The North American Association for Environmental Education is a member organization of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NCATE and its member organizations set recognized standards for the preparation of teachers throughout the United States. These standards are used by NCATE to accredit more than 65 percent of the college/university teacher education programs in the U.S. NAAEE’s Approved Standards for the Initial Preparation of Environmental Educators (2008) are currently under revision. In an effort to ensure that the revised NAAEE standards reflect a widely shared understanding of environmental education as a field in general as well as environmental literacy and environmental education teacher preparation specifically, they are being developed through a rigorous, nation-wide process of review and comment. The first, revised draft is now ready for review and comment.  There are two options for providing feedback:

  1. Complete the SurveyMonkey questionnaire OR
  2. Download the draft from EElinked and send your comments/edits directly to Bora Simmons: borasimmons@gmail.com

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Climate and Energy-Water-Land System Interactions: Technical Report to the U.S. Department of Energy in Support of the National Climate Assessment

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This report provides a framework to characterize and understand the important elements of climate and energy-water-land (EWL) system interactions. It identifies many of the important issues, discusses our understanding of those issues, and presents a long-term research program research needs to address the priority scientific challenges and gaps in our understanding. Much of the discussion is organized around two discrete case studies with the broad themes of (1) extreme events and (2) regional intercomparisons. These case studies help demonstrate unique ways in which energy-water-land interactions can occur and be influenced by climate.

On carbon footprints and growing energy use

Download the document. Originally published in Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology, 1(1).

Could fractional reductions in the carbon footprint of a growing organization lead to a corresponding real reduction in atmospheric CO{sub 2} emissions in the next ten years? Curtis M. Oldenburg, head of the Geologic Carbon Sequestration Program of LBNL’s Earth Sciences Division, considers his own organization’s carbon footprint and answers this critical question? In addressing the problem of energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change, it is essential that we understand which activities are producing GHGs and the scale of emission for each activity, so that reduction efforts can be efficiently targeted. The GHG emissions to the atmosphere of an individual or group are referred to as the ‘carbon footprint’. This terminology is entirely appropriate, because 85% of the global marketed energy supply comes from carbon-rich fossil fuel sources whose combustion produces CO{sub 2}, the main GHG causing global climate change. Furthermore, the direct relation between CO2 emissions and fossil fuels as they are used today makes energy consumption a useful proxy for carbon footprint. It would seem to be a simple matter to reduce energy consumption across the board, both individually and collectively, to help reduce our carbon footprints and therefore solve the energyclimate crisis. But just how much can we reduce carbon footprints when broader forces, such as growth in energy use, cause the total footprint to simultaneously expand? In this feature, I present a calculation of the carbon footprint of the Earth Sciences Division (ESD), the division in which I work at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), and discuss the potential for reducing this carbon footprint. It will be apparent that in terms of potential future carbon footprint reductions under projections of expected growth, ESD may be thought of as a microcosm of the situation of the world as a whole, in which alternatives to the business-as-usual use of fossil fuels are needed if absolute GHG emission reductions are to be achieved.

“Hot” for Warm Water Cooling

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Liquid cooling is key to reducing energy consumption for this generation of supercomputers and remains on the roadmap for the foreseeable future. This is because the heat capacity of liquids is orders of magnitude larger than that of air and once heat has been transferred to a liquid, it can be removed from the data center efficiently. The transition from air to liquid cooling is an inflection point providing an opportunity to work collectively to set guidelines for facilitating the energy efficiency of liquid-cooled High Performance Computing (HPC) facilities and systems. The vision is to use non-compressor-based cooling, to facilitate heat re-use, and thereby build solutions that are more energy-efficient, less carbon intensive and more cost effective than their air-cooled predecessors. The Energy Efficient HPC Working Group is developing guidelines for warmer liquid-cooling temperatures in order to standardize facility and HPC equipment, and provide more opportunity for reuse of waste heat. This report describes the development of those guidelines.

The Value of Energy Performance and Green Attributes in Buildings: A Review of Existing Literature and Recommendations for Future Research

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Labels, certifications, and rating systems for energy efficiency performance and “green” attributes of buildings have been available in the U.S. for over 10 years, and used extensively in the European Union and Australia for longer. Such certifications and ratings can make energy efficiency more visible, and could help spur demand for energy efficiency if these designations are shown to have a positive impact on sales or rental prices. This policy brief discusses the findings and methodologies from recent studies on this topic, and suggests recommendations for future research. Although there have been just a handful of studies within the last 10 years that have investigated these effects, a few key findings emerge: To maximize sales price impact, label or rating information must be disclosed early and visibly in the sales process; The approach to evaluating energy efficiency labels (e.g., ENERGY STAR) and general “green” certifications (e.g., LEED or GreenPoint Rated) may need to be different, depending on the type, vintage and market penetration of the label; Collaborative efforts to promote label adoption and build a large dataset of labeled buildings will be required to produce reliable study results.

Temperature dependence of cation exchange in geothermal applications

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Geothermal energy is heat energy stored by the earth, and is currently being explored as a renewable energy resource. To extract energy efficiently from a geothermal reservoir it must be hot, close to the surface, and have good permeability. If a reservoir is lacking any of these it can be enhanced by creating fractures in the rock. These fractures increase surface area available for heat transfer, and allow water to flow more efficiently increasing energy output. In this study we determine if the effectiveness of the enhancement can be determined by the chemical indicator lithium (Li). We preformed simulations to study the amount of Li that absorbs onto the rock at different temperatures.From this data we determined the absorption of Li onto the rock does not change significantly with change in temperature and therefore can be used to determine change in surface area after enhancement.