Policy Group Asks FTC to Review ‘Misleading’ Green Claims About Biomass

Read the full story at WFPL.

A policy group is asking the Federal Trade Commission to scrutinize advertising claims by biomass plants that the energy produced is environmentally friendly and “green.”

Biomass energy is produced when wood products are burned in a power plant. There aren’t any large-scale biomass plants in Kentucky yet, but a company called ecoPower is building one in Eastern Kentucky.

The report from the Partnership for Policy Integrity calls out ecoPower by name, along with 16 other companies that it said are using misleading claims to portray biomass as an environmentally friendly power source.




Stanford study shows how to power California with wind, water and sun

Read the full story from Stanford.

Imagine a smog-free Los Angeles, where electric cars ply silent freeways, solar panels blanket rooftops and power plants run on heat from beneath the earth, from howling winds and from the blazing desert sun.

A new Stanford study finds that it is technically and economically feasible to convert California’s all-purpose energy infrastructure to one powered by clean, renewable energy. Published in Energy, the plan shows the way to a sustainable, inexpensive and reliable energy supply in California that could create tens of thousands of jobs and save billions of dollars in pollution-related health costs.

Microsoft buys entire output of Illinois wind farm

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Microsoft took another step toward its goal of becoming carbon neutral, announcing its second enormous purchase of wind energy.

The company signed a 20-year power purchase agreement to buy 175 megawatts (MW) of wind energy — the entire output — of Pilot Hill Wind Project in Illinois. The wind farm is 60 miles from Chicago and will supply Microsoft’s data center there through the grid.

New MIT Material Converts Sunlight to Steam

Read the full post at Popular Mechanics/TechFilter.

MIT scientists have invented a spongy substance that can convert solar energy into steam. The research, published in Nature Communications, may open up new ways to purify water and sterilize medical devices in remote regions.

ScienceCinema Has a New Look

ScienceCinema has a fresh new look.  What hasn’t changed is the coverage of over 3,400 videos and audio files produced by DOE laboratories and other research facilities, with audio indexing and speech recognition technology.  Users can search for specific words and phrases, and precise snippets of the video where the search term was spoken will appear along with a timeline.  Users can then select a snippet or a segment along the timeline to begin playing the video at the exact point in the video where the words were spoken.

ScienceCinema delivers the precision searching already common in text-based databases.  The new version of ScienceCinema was released in May 2014 with a revamped user interface that conforms to specifications provided in other OSTI products such as SciTech Connect and DOepatents.

National Library of EnergyBeta: Cool Search Tool for Summer

Summer is the time of year that U.S. citizens might be in search of cool home energy savings. Plenty of results can be found on this topic and many other energy-related subjects using a search tool from DOE, the National Library of EnergyBeta (NLEBeta).

Users can search hundreds of webpages and 15 science-driven databases – a total of 25 million pages – at this virtual library.  Typing “cool home energy savings” into the basic search box will pull up over a thousand results ranging from full-text reports from SciTech Connect, such as this report on super energy effiicient design home evaluation, to websites such as the Home Energy Yardstick.

The recently refreshed NLEBeta homepage now features more prominent search and advanced search boxes.  It also offers a new option enabling users to search content by broad topic areas, including science and R&D; energy and technology for industry and homeowners; energy market information and analysis; and nuclear security and environmental management.  Resources are updated regularly, and new searchable website content and databases are added periodically in an effort to make the tool comprehensive across DOE’s broad mission areas.

In addition, NLEBeta now contains all of the DOE STI resources formerly included in Science Accelerator, which has been retired as part of OSTI’s initiative to streamline its product portfolio and advance public access to additional types of scientific and technical information.

NLEBeta integrates and makes searchable disparate and decentralized information collections from DOE, including DOE program offices; the National Nuclear Security Administration; the Energy Information Administration;  DOE staff offices;  DOE field/site offices; and DOE national laboratories, technology centers, and user facilities.  DOE program offices are the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Environmental Management, Fossil Energy, Indian Energy Policy and Programs, Legacy Management, Loan Programs, Nuclear Energy, and Science.

This gateway to information from across the DOE complex nationwide was developed by OSTI to make it easy for U.S. citizens to find and access information about the Department, without knowing DOE’s organizational structure.

OSTI Conducting Pilots with National Labs, DOE-Funded Authors in Preparation for Launching Public Access Gateway to Scholarly Scientific Publications

As part of its preparations for launching a public access portal to scholarly scientific publications resulting from Department of Energy (DOE) research funding, the DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is collaborating with a subset of DOE national laboratories and authors on pilot projects designed to help OSTI and members of the DOE Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP) learn more about what will be entailed in collecting accepted manuscripts from DOE-funded authors.

OSTI is developing the DOE public access gateway in response to a February 22, 2013, memorandum, “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research,” issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The OSTP memo called on federal science agencies that spend more than $100 million a year on research and development (R&D) to develop and implement public access plans for making accepted manuscripts and peer-reviewed scientific journal articles resulting from agency research investments publicly available in a timely fashion.

By statute, OSTI is the DOE office responsible for collecting, preserving, and disseminating scientific and technical information (STI) emanating from DOE R&D activities.  A DOE policy directive on “Scientific and Technical Information Management” requires DOE offices, contractors, and grantees “to ensure that STI is appropriately managed as part of the DOE mission to enable the advancement of scientific knowledge and technological innovation.”

As provided in the DOE directive, OSTI spearheads the DOE STIP, a collaboration of STI managers and technical information officers from across the DOE complex charged with identifying, collecting, archiving, and making accessible the results of DOE-funded R&D.  The DOE STIP network includes STI liaisons from DOE programs, field, site, and procurement offices, national laboratories, and research facilities.  Together, OSTI and the DOE STIP have a well-developed program in place to identify and provide access to DOE STI, including technical reports, patents, conference papers, theses/dissertations, technical software, books, and scientific multimedia, through a sophisticated submission system and a collection of search tools.

Now, OSTI and the DOE STIP are working together to develop and implement standard operating procedures for managing the intake of accepted manuscripts as a central element of DOE’s public access solution.  OSTI is conducting pilots with several DOE national laboratories to learn more about how authors interface with publishers’ article submission systems and when during those workflows accepted manuscripts are available.

The scholarly publications process varies widely from publisher to publisher, and the sophistication of the systems continues to evolve.  Through pilots involving DOE-funded authors at participating labs, OSTI and the DOE STIP expect to increase their knowledge of manuscript submission practices, and that promises to facilitate implementation of public access to scholarly publications across the Department.

DOE’s implementation of public access will begin after the DOE Public Access Plan is finalized and approved – and once the beta version of the DOE public access portal that OSTI has been preparing is launched.  Please stay tuned.

Fracking for Oil Leads to a Lot of Natural Gas Waste

Read the full story in Governing.

The rapid escalation of energy production in shale formations across the U.S. has produced a bonanza of oil, but it has left many states scrambling to handle the natural gas that often flows in large volumes along with the crude. Gas pipeline construction often lags behind the development of new wells, and the result is that billions of dollars’ worth of gas that might be warming homes or fueling power plants is going up in smoke.

Turning Food Waste into Fuel

Read the full story from the Iowa Waste Reduction Center.

The world we live in today is exponentially changing with advances in modern technology and science. It seems as if every day we are embracing new ideas and discarding what is no longer useful to us. I’m reminded of a quote from the late William James, the man who many regard as the father of American psychology, which fits this very same idea.

We have to live today by what truth we can get today and be ready tomorrow to call it falsehood.”

Acknowledging this way of looking at the world is the single most dominant force behind what we call innovation. Here at the Iowa Waste Reduction Center we are constantly looking for ways we can help businesses ascend the plateaus that stand between being good, and being great. We also understand the importance of achieving this quality without jeopardizing the environment. One of the focal points we touch on in that respect is food waste. We know this is an issue that needs attention, but what rarely gets the attention is what businesses can do with their excess food waste. There’s one avenue that is very, very promising called biodigestion – turning food waste into fuel.

Frack Quietly, Please: Sage Grouse Is Nesting

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Officials are considering putting the greater sage grouse on the endangered-species list — a move that could significantly affect both fossil-fuel and renewable-energy operations across the bird’s 165 million-acre range. “The sage grouse issue may finally put the brakes on the fossil-fuel industry in a way that no other factor has been able to,” says wildlife biologist Erik Molvar.