Energy efficiency

How to brew beer better: Less water, less energy, more innovation

In the latest P2 Impact column for GreenBiz, Paula Del Giudice highlights the changes that breweries are making to reduce their environmental footprint.

You can view previous P2 Impact columns here.


Pumping Efficiency Into Electrical Motors

Read the full story from the University of Adelaide.

University of Adelaide researchers are using new magnetic materials to develop revolutionary electrical motors and generators which promise significant energy savings.

They have used the new motors to develop patented highly efficient water pump systems with potential widespread application.

Energy Department Invests More Than $10 Million in Efficient Lighting R&D

The Energy Department today announced nine research and development projects that will receive funding to support solid-state lighting (SSL) core technology research and product development. The projects will help accelerate the development of high-quality light-emitting diode (LED) and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) products that can significantly reduce energy costs for American families and businesses and ensure that the U.S. remains competitive globally. LEDs are intense sources of light consisting of inorganic materials, where OLEDs are diffuse light sources that consist of organic materials.

SSL technologies based on LEDs and OLEDs are about ten times more energy-efficient than conventional incandescent lighting and can last more than 25 times longer. In total, the nine selected projects will receive nearly $10.5 million and will make a cost-share contribution for a total public-private investment of more than $13.7 million. The projects selected to receive funding will help to further reduce the cost and improve the quality of SSL products:

  • Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)—Improving the heat-conducting properties of the phosphor used in LEDs, which will increase light output and reduce costs.
  • Cree, Inc. (Durham, North Carolina)—Developing a new low-cost, high-efficiency LED structure by modifying the manufacturing process to reduce processing time and waste.
  • Momentive Performance Materials Quartz, Inc. (Strongsville, Ohio)—Developing next-generation LED package structures using transparent encapsulants that allow for higher drive current, resulting in increased light output.
  • OLEDWorks, LLC (Rochester, New York)—Developing cost-effective manufacturing technologies necessary to make high-performance, low-cost OLED panels.
  • Philips Lumileds Lighting Company, LLC (San Jose, California)—Reducing the cost and increasing the efficiency of LED lighting products by developing a high-voltage LED light engine with a built-in driver.
  • Philips Research North America, LLC (Briarcliff Manor, New York)—Developing an innovative, energy-efficient LED lighting system for hospital patient suites that takes into consideration health and wellbeing as well as visual needs.
  • Pixelligent Technologies, LLC (Baltimore, Maryland)—Improving the efficiency of OLED lighting by using nanocrystals to increase the light extraction.
  • Princeton University (Princeton, New Jersey)—Increasing the efficiency of OLED lighting on flexible substrates by enhancing the light extraction and removing costly materials.
  • University of California (Los Angeles, California)—Improving energy efficiency and reducing the manufacturing cost of OLED lighting through the use of an integrated plastic substrate instead of the usual glass with indium tin oxide.

This is the ninth round of the department’s investments in solid-state lighting core technology research and product development. These efforts are meant to accelerate the adoption of SSL technology through improvements that reduce costs and enhance product quality and performance. For more information on the selections, visit the DOE Selections webpage on the DOE SSL website.

Using magnetic cooling for ‘green’ refrigeration

Read the full story at EnvironmentalResearchWeb.

A large, rotational magnetocaloric effect – which could be used as the basis for a low-temperature magnetic refrigeration device – has been observed in crystals of the compound HoMn2O5, according to research carried out by scientists in Canada and Bulgaria. This finding expands our knowledge of magnetocaloric materials, adding to our progress towards a practical and environmentally friendly magnetic cooler that might be usable in a domestic setting…

The research is described in Applied Physics Letters.


The Future of the Utility Industry and the Role of Energy Efficiency

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The energy utility industry is facing many challenges, with sales stagnating, use of distributed generation growing, infrastructure aging, and environmental regulations tightening. In the past utilities, could make money by serving growing loads and earning returns on the large capital investments they make to serve those loads. Now, with loads barely growing, they will likely need new strategies to meet their fiduciary obligation to provide returns to shareholders.

This study estimates future electric sales under several scenarios, concluding that in the coming two decades sales will either be level, increase modestly or decrease modestly. Even under the most extreme case examined we find that a “death spiral” is unlikely. This study also reviews more than 50 studies and papers on the future role of utilities, identifying 19 options for the future and describing and evaluating each of them. Based on this review we make recommendations for the short, medium and long-terms including on the role of energy efficiency in the utility of the future.