48C Phase II (Advanced Energy Manufacturing) Tax Credit Announced; Webinar Scheduled for February 12, 2013

he Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits (commonly referred to as 48C) was established by the Recovery Act to support investment in domestic clean energy and energy efficiency manufacturing facilities through a competitively-awarded 30% investment tax credit.

I wanted to make sure that you saw yesterday’s announcement (below) about the availability of $150 million in a second round of 48C. The initial round provided $2.3 billion in credits to 183 projects across the country. The $150 million in tax credits are being made available now because they were not used by the previous awardees.

These remaining tax credits will be allocated on a competitive basis. Projects will be assessed by the Department of Energy based on the following criteria: commercial viability, domestic job creation, technological innovation, speed to project completion, and potential for reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The Department of Energy will also consider additional factors including diversity of geography, technology, project size, and regional economic development. The full solicitation is available on the IRS website.

The program supports manufacturing of a range of clean energy products, from renewable energy equipment to energy efficiency products to advanced energy storage and carbon capture technology. A full list of eligible projects is included in the 48C Manufacturing Tax Credit fact sheet.

You may send questions about the program to the IRS by fax at 713-209-3964 or leave a message at 713-209-3669. Please include your telephone and fax number in your message.

DOE will be hosting an informational webinar on the 48C Phase II Program for potential applicants (taxpayers) on February 12, 2013 at 2:00 Eastern time. This initial webinar will provide information about how to prepare the Concept Paper. Participants will have the opportunity to submit written questions during the webinar. Answers will be posted on the IRS website and on DOE’s eXCHANGE system under the 48C Phase II opportunity announcement. The February 12, 2013 webinar will address topics related to the Concept Paper phase of the process only. Applicants who are subsequently invited to submit a Full Application will also be invited to a webinar addressing that stage of the process.

Webinar information is as follows:

  1. Start or join the Webinar
  2. Choose one of the following audio options:
    When the Webinar begins, you will be connected to audio using your computer’s microphone and speakers (VoIP). A headset is recommended.

    If you prefer to use your phone, you must select “Use Telephone” after joining the Webinar and call in using the numbers below.
    Toll: +1 (415) 655-0055
    Access Code: 674-939-455
    Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Scientists turn toxic byproduct into biofuel booster

Read the full story in Biomass Magazine.

Scientists studying an enzyme that naturally produces alkanes—long carbon-chain molecules that could be a direct replacement for the hydrocarbons in gasoline—have figured out why the natural reaction typically stops after three to five cycles. Armed with that knowledge, they’ve devised a strategy to keep the reaction going. The biochemical details—worked out at the U.S. DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of February 4, 2013—renew interest in using the enzyme in bacteria, algae, or plants to produce biofuels that need no further processing.

Smart Handling of Marine Debris

Read the full post on the Marine Debris Blog.

Marine debris, the perennial, insidious, problem that affects oceans and coasts worldwide, has been impacting US beaches for many years. After the massive tsunami struck the north eastern coast of Japan on March 11, 2011, inflicting tragic loss of human life and massive damage, a variety of items washed out to sea as the water receded. Some debris remained floating, drifting long distances by ocean currents and winds. This influx of marine debris, adding to an already existing problem, has attracted media attention as well as volunteers, who selflessly dedicate their time and energy to clean the beaches they love, picking up and recycling or disposing of plastic bottles and Styrofoam, fishing lines and floats, packaging of all sort, and other type of debris. Their work is both welcome and appreciated. It is thanks to the thousands of volunteers that marine debris along the US coastline is removed.

But, how can you tell what debris is safe to clean up? Among the thousands of debris items that wash ashore everyday some can be hazardous.

Visualizing How Poorly Amtrak’s Route Network Serves Most of the U.S.

Read the full story from the Atlantic.

Like the classic electoral college map filled in each Election Night, train maps don’t tell you much about the stuff that counts: people.

For Amtrak, the route map can be particularly unhelpful. Not only are the longest lines the least popular, their train frequency can be one-sixtieth that of the system’s busiest lines.

With that in mind, Mike Hicks, a transit blogger in Minneapolis, plotted boardings and alightings on a simple state map. Using numbers from Amtrak’s State Fact Sheets and a list of GPS coordinates for Amtrak stations published by Bill Ensinger, Hicks funneled ridership data into circular, geographic containers.