Day: July 21, 2011

Department of Energy Announces $120 Million to Support Development of Innovative Manufacturing Processes

President Obama launched the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, including an investment of up to $120 million from the Department of Energy over three years to develop transformational manufacturing technologies and innovative materials that could enable industrial facilities to dramatically increase their energy efficiency. The Advanced Manufacturing Partnership is a national effort bringing together industry, universities and the federal government to invest in emerging technologies that will create high quality manufacturing jobs and enhance our global competitiveness. This clean energy investment in new energy-efficient manufacturing processes and novel materials will help U.S. manufacturers save money by reducing the energy needed to power their facilities. President Obama made the announcement this morning at an event at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“These investments will support the innovations that American manufacturers need to stay competitive in the global marketplace,” said Secretary Chu. “These breakthrough manufacturing processes, technologies, and materials will help American companies to reduce energy waste and lower costs.”

The selected projects will emphasize new processes and materials that are revolutionary in their design or impact and that are capable of being commercialized within the next five to seven years. By boosting investment in near-term technology development, the Department is supporting projects that might otherwise take far longer to contribute to U.S. industrial competitiveness. DOE expects to fund 35 to 50 cost-shared projects under the initiative.

Projects associated with innovations in the earlier stages of development, such as applied research projects or those that establish a proof of concept, will be eligible for awards up to $1 million. These projects must be completed within two years. Projects associated with innovations further along in their development, such as laboratory testing or verification of a prototype system, will be eligible for awards up to $9 million. These projects should not exceed three years in duration. Applicants are encouraged to form collaborative teams equipped with both technical and commercial capabilities to enhance the prospects for success. Teams can be comprised of large and small companies, universities and academic institutions, trade organizations, national laboratories, and other research institutions.

Applicants must submit a Letter of Intent by September 1, 2011 in order to be eligible to submit a Full Application by October 5, 2011. More information and application requirements can be found at the Funding Opportunity Exchange.

Study ranks air pollution from coal and oil-fired power plants

Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.

The most toxic air pollution from coal- and oil-fired power plants can be found in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, according to a new study released Wednesday by the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The study, “Toxic Power: How Power Plants Contaminate Our Air and States,” used public data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory, a national database of toxic emissions reported by industrial sources. Data on pollution control systems at specific plants was drawn from the EPA’s National Electric Energy Data System database.

E-Waste Research Bill Proposed

Read the full story in Design News.

Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD) has introduced the Electronic Device Recycling Research and Development Act (HR-2396), which is designed to create competitive research grants to address the growing problem of electronic device disposal.

Sarbanes sees the bill as a gain for the economy and for the environment. “It reduces the environmental impact of high-tech manufacturing, reduces cost, and makes US companies less dependent on foreign suppliers of minerals and other materials,” he says in a press release. While the goals of the bill are ambitious, the success in accomplishing them will depend on the quality of the projects to be initiated if the bill happens to pass the House and Senate, and get signed by President Obama.

The bill would authorize the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to award grants to reduce the environmental impact of discarded electronic devices and promote the recycling of those devices through R&D projects. It would also call for a study of the barriers to recycling of these devices and authorize the EPA to award grants to colleges and universities for curriculum development in the area of recycling electronic devices.

Ditching ‘Pinball Leadership’ to Make Real Progress on Sustainability

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

Managing a sustainability program is too often like playing pinball — reactive rather than proactive. We should instead be asking, and answering, the question: ‘What is sustainability doing for the company tomorrow?

A 4-Step Program to Put a Price Tag on Your Company’s Eco Impacts

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

For many companies, the biggest challenge in managing eco impacts is getting started. While there’s little question that you can’t manage what you don’t measure, it can be tough to decide what to measure and value — and how to do it. Even companies that have been tracking their impacts for years, may find it difficult to move beyond meeting basic compliance and regulatory requirements in order to achieve more meaningful improvement in environmental performance.

A new report from the Network for Business Sustainability, based at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, provides help for companies on two fronts:

The full 82-page report, “Measuring and Valuing Impacts,”  in effect presents a crash course on the existing body of knowledge. It distills the network’s systematic review of 180 studies on the subject published since 2000 and identifies 20 measurement and valuation tools. The report also offers a close look at the two most-studied measurement tools — lifecycle analysis and ecological footprinting — and the two most-studied valuation tools — environmental input-output modeling and ecosystem service evaluation. In addition to describing the industries that typically use the four tools, the report also lists advantages and disadvantages for each one.

A 20-page executive version of the report serves as a guide for company leaders who are embarking on the process of managing their firm’s environmental impacts. The high-level how-to provides a four-step framework for senior executives and decision-makers. It also includes charts that outline the process, case studies, advice on tools and lists of further resources.

Radical Confidence: Thinking Differently to Create a Greener Planet

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

So we are counting down the top four most effective ways to transform markets to green buildings as I wind down my weekly column to make time for developing a book based on the concept of market transformation. The framework for these articles has been Donella Meadows‘ seminal piece “Leverage Points — Places to Intervene in a System,” which describes in ascending order the most effective ways to transform a system.

Two weeks ago I talked about changing the structure of the system and last week about changing the goals. But where do goals come from?

Webinar: Energy Efficient Product Procurement

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will present a live webcast titled Energy Efficient Product Procurement on August 4, 2011, from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. EDT.

Experts Christopher Payne, Ph.D., staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Amanda Sahl, efficient product procurement program lead for DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), will present on how to meet executive order and Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) requirements on purchasing FEMP-designated and Energy Star products.

The instructors will review:

  • Federal laws, mandates, and regulations that drive energy efficient product purchasing decisions;
  • Specifications, categories, standby power, and performance requirements for Energy Star and FEMP-designated products;
  • Identification, selection, analysis, and verification of performance standards in each product category;
  • Lifecycle costing, funding mechanisms, and General Services Administration and Defense Logistics Agency source specifications; and
  • Guidance, contract language, cost calculators, and other purchasing resources.

Participants are encouraged to email or call in their questions before and during the program to receive tailored advice from the experts during the live “Q&A” segment. Questions submitted before the program can be sent to

The 90-minute training is free of charge, but you must register in advance to obtain an Internet URL for the presentation. Register to attend the seminar.

Michigan airports to lease land for energy crop production

Read the full story in Biodiesel Magazine.

The Wayne County Airport Authority is the operator of the Detroit Metropolitan Airport and the Willow Run Airport, and everyday each airport uses more than 1 million gallons of fuel in planes and ground equipment. Through collaboration with Michigan State University’s Extension office, those 1 million-plus gallons could someday be produced renewably on the airport’s premises.

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