Energy

Sweeping Air Devices For Greener Planes

Read the full story from Cal Tech.

The large amount of jet fuel required to fly an airplane from point A to point B can have negative impacts on the environment and—as higher fuel costs contribute to rising ticket prices—a traveler’s wallet. With funding from NASA and the Boeing Company, engineers from the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech and their collaborators from the University of Arizona have developed a device that lets planes fly with much smaller tails, reducing the planes’ overall size and weight, thus increasing fuel efficiency.

Facetless crystals that mimic starfish shells could advance 3D-printing pills

Read the full story from the University of Michigan.

In a design that mimics a hard-to-duplicate texture of starfish shells, University of Michigan engineers have made rounded crystals that have no facets.

“We call them nanolobes. They look like little hot air balloons that are rising from the surface,” said Olga Shalev, a doctoral student in materials science and engineering who worked on the project.

Both the nanolobes’ shape and the way they’re made have promising applications, the researchers say. The geometry could potentially be useful to guide light in advanced LEDs, solar cells and nonreflective surfaces…

The study is titled “Growth and modelling of spherical crystalline morphologies of molecular materials.” The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences as part of the Center for Solar and Thermal Energy Conversion. Support also came from the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

How green energy crowdfunding is ‘coming of age’

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Triodos Renewables’ $7.95 million crowdfunded share issue is a sign that peer-to-peer lending for green energy products is “coming of age,” claims the company behind the initiative.

The renewables investment arm of Triodos Bank recently launched the offer to fund an expansion of its 11-project, 53MW portfolio, with investors able to pledge as little as $80 — the lowest minimum investment for a Triodos Renewables share issue.

The company, which has 5,000 shareholders, said it wants to ensure investing in renewable energy is “an option for everyone” and has teamed up with crowd financing platform Trillion Fund to promote and distribute the offer, timed to coincide with Good Money Week.

Energy Department Announces $13.4 Million to Develop Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts

The Energy Department announced today up to $13.4 million for five projects to develop advanced biofuels and bioproducts that will help drive down the cost of producing gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from biomass.  These products not only will help reduce carbon emissions, but also advance the department’s work to enable the production of clean, renewable and cost-competitive drop-in biofuel at $3 per gallon by 2022. The research and development projects, located in Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Colorado and Georgia, will focus on developing integrated processes for the production of advanced biofuels and chemicals. Two of these selections will address research efforts on the efficient conversion of biogas (a mixture of gases generated from the biological breakdown of organic material) to valuable products other than power.

  • The University of Wisconsin of Madison, Wisconsin will receive up to $3.3 million to develop a process to produce high value chemicals from biomass, which can be used as plasticizers (an additive in certain plastics) and in the production of industrial chemicals and resins.
  • American Process, Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia will receive up to $3.1 million to develop and demonstrate processes to upgrade cellulosic sugars to solvents in their demonstration facility.
  • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory of Golden, Colorado will receive up to $2.5 million to develop a conversion process demonstrating the production of muconic acid from biogas. This acid can be converted into an array of bioproducts, including fuel, plasticizers, and lubricants.
  • Natureworks, LLC of Minnetonka, Minnesota will receive up to $2.5 million to develop a fermentation process, using biogas and bacteria, for the production of lactic acid. This process could be used for the commercialization of biomethane to fuels.
  • Vertimass LLC of Irvine, California will receive up to $2 million to commercialize technology to convert ethanol into diesel fuel, gasoline, and jet fuel blend stocks compatible with the current transportation fuel infrastructure.

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates the development and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Learn more about EERE’s work with industry, academia, and national laboratory partners on a balanced portfolio of research in biofuels and conversion technologies.

FIT offering Algae Technology Research Grant

Read the full post in Algae Industry Magazine.

Scarborough, Maine-based laboratory instrumentation manufacturer Fluid Imaging Technologies, has announce the Algae Technology Research Grant. Graduate students and senior undergraduates enrolled at a North American college or university who are studying advanced uses of algae for biofuels, plastics, nutraceuticals or other commercial applications are encouraged to apply for the use of a FlowCAM® to support their research.

Winner of the competitive award will receive the following:

  • Use of a FlowCAM® for a period of up to four months
  • Comprehensive instrument training and on-going technical support
  • A paid trip to the 2015 ABO Algae Biomass Summit (or other appropriate North American conference within 12 months of completion of project)

Lighting, Electricity, Steel: Energy Efficiency Backfire in Emerging Economies

Download the document.

Countries that expect to consume much more energy will likely experience higher levels of energy efficiency rebound, concludes a new Breakthrough report, recently released. Rebound is the phenomenon in which energy efficiency measures increase demand for energy, which diminishes expected energy savings.

Lighting, Electricity, Steel: Energy Efficiency Rebound in Emerging Economies presents three historical case studies of when energy efficiency rebound occurred: lighting from 1700 to present, electricity generation in 20th century America, and iron and steel production from 1900 onward.

The report comes at a time when there is a concerted effort to understand the extent of rebound and how much we can depend upon energy efficiency as a way to reduce energy consumption and thus greenhouse gas emissions. In April, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announced for the first time that rebound effects “cannot be ignored,” and that attention to them is essential for “providing a clearer understanding of [efficiency’s] contribution to climate policies.”

The three historical case studies are particularly instructive because they are three sectors in which demand for energy is expected to grow significantly, particularly in emerging economies. Moreover, these sectors have been the focus of much attention from governments and institutions seeking to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions through efficiency improvements.

How Ford aims to drive down its energy costs by $7 million a year

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Ford will invest more than $25 million in LED lighting at its global manufacturing facilities — cutting annual energy use equivalent to running over 6,000 average-sized homes a year.