Stanford’s Global Climate and Energy Project awards $9.3 million for innovative energy research

The Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP) at Stanford University has awarded $9.3 million for six new research projects on energy. The funding will be shared by scientists at Stanford and four other universities to develop a suite of promising energy technologies, from a device that extracts power from the night sky to a charcoal-like soil amendment that removes carbon dioxide from the air.

“For more than a decade, GCEP has supported bold ideas for new technologies that significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said GCEP Director Sally Benson, a professor of energy resources engineering at Stanford. “These six projects are potential game changers that could help transform our global energy system in the future.”

The six awards bring the total number of GCEP-supported research programs to 127 since the project’s launch in 2002. In total, GCEP has awarded $170 million for energy research and other technical activities.

“The projects funded this cycle include a unique mix of energy technologies,” said GCEP management committee member Peter Trelenberg, manager of environmental policy & planning at Exxon Mobil. “These promising research efforts have the potential to open up pathways for applying innovative clean-energy approaches in the future.”

Stanford awards

The following Stanford faculty members will receive funding to develop new techniques for cooling buildings, improving engine efficiency and generating renewable fuels:

Nighttime radiative cooling: Harvesting the darkness of the universe. Researchers will create a device that generates electricity at night by radiating heat into outer space. This passive energy source, which exploits the large temperature difference between space and Earth, could provide nighttime lighting without batteries or other electrical inputs. Investigator: Shanhui Fan, professor, Department of Electrical Engineering.

Use of mixed combustion/electrochemical energy conversion to achieve efficiencies in excess of 70 percent for transportation-scale engines. This project will demonstrate how engines for transportation can be made at efficiencies above 70 percent, exceeding conventional internal combustion engines and fuel cells used today. Investigator: Chris Edwards, professor, Mechanical Engineering.

Electrochemical tuning of electronic structures for highly active electrocatalysts. The goal of this project is to identify efficient, low-cost metal catalysts that can split water into oxygen and clean-burning hydrogen fuel. Researchers will conduct experiments on several promising catalytic materials using lithium to enhance hydrogen production. Investigators: Yi Cui, associate professor, Materials Science and Engineering; Harold Hwang, professor, Applied Physics.

Sustainable fuel production from carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. The aim of this research is to discover metal catalysts capable of converting carbon dioxide and its byproducts into methanol and other alcohols for use in sustainable fuels and chemicals. Investigators: Professor Jens Nørskov, Associate Professor Thomas Jaramillo and Professor Stacey Bent, Chemical Engineering; Anders Nilsson, professor, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

Negative-emissions awards

In 2012, GCEP conducted a workshop on the feasibility of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. That workshop resulted in a worldwide call for proposals to develop new carbon-negative technologies. Two research teams outside of Stanford will receive funding in this category:

The pyrolysis-bioenergy-biochar pathway to carbon-negative energy. Heating plant material slowly without oxygen – a process called pyrolysis – produces a carbon-rich material called biochar. Researchers will study the production of biochar for use as a soil amendment that stores carbon underground instead of allowing carbon dioxide to re-enter the atmosphere as the plant decomposes. Investigators: David Laird, Bruce Babcock, Robert Brown and Dermot Hayes (Iowa State University); David Zilberman (University of California, Berkeley).

Sustainable transportation energy with net-negative carbon emissions. Researchers will conduct an integrated ecological and engineering systems analysis to identify promising transportation fuels with negative carbon emissions. The project will include field studies of potential grassland resources in the United States. Investigators: Eric Larson, Princeton University; Clarence Lehman and David Tilman, University of Minnesota.

GCEP is an industry partnership that supports innovative research on energy technologies to address the challenge of global climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The project includes five corporate sponsors: ExxonMobil, GE, Schlumberger, DuPont and Bank of America.

 

EPA Grants: Systems-Based Research for Evaluating Ecological Impacts of Chemicals

Download the document.

One of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s priorities is to support  research that will result in a better understanding of the vulnerability of organisms and ecosystems to chemical exposures. Recent scientific advances provide new approaches for evaluating how exposures to chemicals influence the health of ecosystems. EPA research in this area is developing and applying innovative approaches to improve the evaluation of ecological resilience and impact analyses.

Through the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grant program, EPA is providing grant funding to six universities to complement its research in this area. The six recipients are developing and applying innovative methods and models to better understand and predict biological and ecological consequences of exposures to chemicals in environmental systems. The universities are researching how to apply different metrics, methods and models to characterize the interactions between spatial and temporal distribution of chemicals and ecological receptors and predict the consequences.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative 2015 Request for Applications

EPA is soliciting applications for grants and/or cooperative agreements to be awarded as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

EPA will award approximately $13.9 million under a Request for Applications for up to about 40 projects, contingent upon funding availability, the quality of applications received and other applicable considerations.

This RFA is EPA’s major competitive grant funding opportunity under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for fiscal year 2015. It is one of several funding opportunities available through federal agencies under the GLRI.

Categories (Funding Opportunity Number)

  1. Invasive Species Prevention (EPA-R5-GL2015-ISP)
  2. Invasive Species Control (EPA-R5-GL2015-ISC)
  3. Urban Watershed Management Implementation (EPA-R5-GL2015-UWM)
  4. Agricultural Watershed Management Implementation (EPA-R5-GL2015-AWM)
  5. Maumee River Watershed Nutrient Prevention Pilot Project (EPA-R5-GL2015-MNP)

Important Dates

  • Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time/ 11:00 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time – Webinar to discuss the RFA. Further information about the webinar will be announced at http://www2.epa.gov/great-lakes-funding/great-lakes-restoration-initiative-2015-request-applications.
  • Monday, Sept. 28, 2015 – Applications must be submitted to EPA through grants.gov by 10:59 p.m. Central Daylight Time / 11:59 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time. See Section IV of the RFA for further information.
  • October 2015 (tentative) – EPA begins notifying finalists.
  • December 2015 (tentative) – EPA begins making official awards.

DOE initiatives launch as part of Clean Energy Investment Summit

Read the full story in Biomass Magazine.

The Department of Energy has announced several new and expanding initiatives as part of the administration’s Clean Energy Investment Summit, including the launch of a Clean Energy Impact Investment Center, which will work to make the department’s resources more readily available to the public, including to mission-driven investors.

Funding opp: Using Educational Networks to Increase Schools’ Adoption of Integrated Pest Management

Proposals due August 10, 2015
Download the full RFP.

The Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) is soliciting proposals from eligible parties for an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cooperative agreement to provide financial assistance to an eligible organization to provide education, training, resources, and technical assistance to increase Integrated Pest Management (IPM) implementation in kindergarten to 12th grade (K-12) public and tribal schools nationwide.

Biden promotes private sector clean energy investments

Read the full story in The Hill.

Private sector investors should do more to boost spending on clean energy technology, Vice President Joe Biden said on Tuesday.

The White House announced $4 billion in private sector pledges on Monday to support green technology and launched a new Department of Energy (DOE) program to facilitate research and development. Speaking at a White House clean energy summit, Biden said more needs to be done — from the government, but especially among private investors — to create new low-carbon energy technology.

Underfunding of Research Offers States an Economic Opportunity

Read the full story in Governing.

When trying to grow the economy, it’s really tempting for elected officials to spend the public’s money on things that have an immediate impact on jobs and wages. What better way to endear yourself to your constituents than to be the driving force behind a new shopping center or luxury hotel that not only brings jobs but also increases local spending? It’s certainly a lot sexier than spending money on research for some scientific mumbo-jumbo that most people haven’t heard of — especially when you can’t guarantee that research will yield any significant results.

It may be unsexy and it may be risky, but it also may be the best way for states and localities to drive innovation and economic growth. At least that’s the hunch of a growing number of think tank analysts. As the federal government spends less on research and development, they say, states could have a key role to play.