Energy Department Announces Addition of Combined Heat and Power to Clean Energy Modeling Web Tool

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the addition of combined heat and power modeling capabilities to the Renewable Energy Integration and Optimization (REoptTM) Lite web tool. This no-cost tool is a useful resource for users that wish to improve a site’s energy efficiency and resilience by evaluating its renewable energy, conventional on-site generation, and energy storage potential.

Combined heat and power (CHP)―sometimes called cogeneration―is an integrated set of technologies that allow for the simultaneous, on-site production of electricity and heat. CHP technologies enable the use of thermal energy that would otherwise go to waste. The high efficiency of CHP systems decreases carbon emissions and saves money by reducing demand for grid electricity and offsetting the need to generate steam or hot water with a separate boiler. CHP can also improve a site’s ability to operate during a grid outage.

REopt Lite’s new CHP functionality can be customized to site-specific circumstances, helping facilities weigh the benefits of installing a CHP system or optimize their existing on-site energy systems. Users can model and size CHP systems in isolation, compare CHP to renewable energy and battery storage options, or evaluate multiple, complementary systems to address a range of electric and thermal energy needs.

To learn more about REopt Lite’s new CHP modeling capabilities, register for an informational webinar hosted by the Clean Energy Group Resilient Power Project on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. ET. A recording will be shared on the REopt website after the event.

The REopt Lite CHP project, funded by DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), is just one example of the office’s support for the deployment of CHP systems. AMO’s CHP-related technical partnerships work to transform the market for CHP through ten regional Technical Assistance Partnerships (TAPs), an eCatalog of packaged CHP systems, project profiles, and many other resources. AMO’s CHP experts worked closely with the REopt Lite team at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Colorado School of Mines, and Clean Energy Group to ensure the best technical representation of CHP within the model.

REopt Lite, hosted by NREL, is based on the Laboratory’s REopt platform, which researchers use to optimize energy systems to meet cost savings, resilience, and energy performance goals. DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program funds the existing REopt Lite model.

Learn more about DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office.

Webinar: Designing Hybrid Combined Heat and Power Systems: An Introduction to New Features in NREL’s REopt Lite Tool

Mar 2, 2021, 1-2 pm CST
Register here.

Funded by the Department of Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has added important new features to its free solar+wind+storage online optimization tool, REopt Lite. The new features will help building owners, energy managers, and emergency planners assess opportunities for combined heat and power (CHP) systems to provide economic savings and power essential services with onsite resources during grid disruptions. The tool was developed to assist users in quickly and simply evaluating the costs and benefits of implementing distributed energy resources for electric bill savings and improved energy resilience in facilities across the U.S.

This webinar will focus on REopt Lite’s new CHP capabilities. The new CHP module allows users to evaluate the economic and resilience benefits of four types of combined heat and power prime movers (reciprocating engines, microturbines, combustion turbines, and fuel cells) as well as chilled water storage, hot water storage, and absorption chillers. These technologies can be evaluated on their own or in combination with solar PV, wind, and battery storage to assess the benefits of hybrid CHP systems.

Kate Anderson, who leads the Modeling and Analysis Group at NREL, will provide an overview of REopt Lite for anyone new to the tool and Dan Olis, NREL senior engineer, will introduce the new CHP features. This will be followed by a demonstration of the new combined heat and power capabilities by Bill Becker, REopt Lite developer.

This webinar is a presentation of Clean Energy Group’s Resilient Power Project. Learn more at

DOE Awards $46 Million for Geothermal Initiative Projects with Potential to Power Millions of U.S. Homes

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced that its Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) Initiative at the University of Utah has selected 17 projects to receive up to $46 million in funding for cutting-edge, domestic, and carbon-free geothermal projects with potential to supply power to homes in the United States.

“There is enormous untapped potential for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) to provide clean and reliable electricity to power tens of millions of homes across the country,” said Kathleen Hogan, Acting Under Secretary for Science and Energy. “These investments in EGS research support President Biden’s mission to take on the climate crisis by pushing the frontiers of science and engineering and creating jobs in cutting-edge clean energy fields.”

Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) are different from conventional geothermal resources that occur naturally in the U.S. and are geographically limited due to the need for underground heat and fluids. EGS are manmade geothermal reservoirs and can be engineered in most parts of the country, potentially expanding geothermal energy production and transforming the domestic energy portfolio.

The FORGE Initiative began with the selection of five projects in 2015, with the Utah FORGE site and team announced in 2018. Utah FORGE is a laboratory where scientists and researchers learn how to engineer these manmade EGS systems, and is the first dedicated field site of its kind. Awardees will gain a fundamental understanding of the key mechanisms controlling EGS success; develop, test and improve new techniques in an ideal EGS environment; and rapidly disseminate technical data and communicate lessons learned and best practices to the public.

“Energy-rich Beaver County continues to be a flagship area for renewable energy production, as it is home to the commercial scale of solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal production,” said Senator Mitt Romney. “This funding will support the continued partnership between the University of Utah and the Department of Energy to expand geothermal energy and make progress toward commercializing new innovative sources of energy for our state and the country.”

“This grant will further the development of renewable, clean energy,” said Senator Bob Casey. “Penn State continues to be at the forefront of research into 21st century challenges. I applaud the students and researchers at Penn State for their work to receive this grant.”

“America leads the world in installed geothermal capacity, but it accounts for just two percent of our renewable energy portfolio. Developing advanced geothermal energy technology requires strong investment in basic and early-stage research, like the awards announced today,” said Congressman Frank Lucas, Ranking Member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. “Our country has significant hydrothermal and geothermal energy resources, and if harnessed correctly, these resources have the capability to provide secure baseload power and energy storage for Americans across the country, which is why I introduced the Advanced Geothermal Research and Development Act and advocated for its inclusion in the Energy Act of 2020. As has been witnessed in the great state of Oklahoma, by investing in early-stage research in enhanced geothermal systems, we can dramatically improve our ability to access and use clean and constant geothermal energy. We know that American industry and our research enterprises have the necessary resources to successfully diversify America’s energy resources, and the FORGE initiative funds announced today ensure we continue our journey further developing clean energy technologies.”

“Enhanced Geothermal Systems are exciting technologies that will enable the expansion and scalability of geothermal energy across the nation,” said Dr. Will Pettitt, Executive Director of Geothermal Rising, the industry’s professional and trade association. “With today’s announcement, the FORGE project will provide research, development, and demonstration of these technologies, breathing welcome support into the industry by the Department of Energy and steering a successful future for a clean and renewable energy source that helps secure the nation’s energy needs, decarbonize our society, and fight climate change. The project also provides countless technology crossover benefits for shovel-ready geothermal projects that will directly create quality jobs and welcome relief for the economy.”

Geothermal energy technologies supported by DOE have enjoyed strong bipartisan congressional support. In 2020, Congress renewed and expanded its commitment to geothermal energy through funding for research, development, and demonstration projects through the Energy Act of 2020.

Utah FORGE, in collaboration with the DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office, selected the following projects to move forward into award negotiations:

Topic 1: Devices suitable for sectional (zonal) isolation along both cased and open-hole wellbores under geothermal conditions

  • Welltec / Katy, TX
  • PetroQuip Energy Services, LLC / Waller, TX
  • Colorado School of Mines / Golden, CO

Topic 2: Estimation of stress parameters

  • Battelle Memorial Institute / Columbus, OH
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory / Livermore, CA
  • The University of Oklahoma / Norman, OK

Topic 3: Field-scale characterization of reservoir stimulation and evolution over time, including thermal, hydrological mechanical, and chemical (THMC) effects

  • Clemson University / Clemson, SC
  • Stanford University / Stanford, CA
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory / Berkeley, CA
  • Rice University / Houston, TX

Topic 4: Stimulation and configuration of the well(s) at Utah FORGE

  • Fervo Energy / Houston, TX
  • The University of Texas at Austin / Austin, TX

Topic 5: Integrated laboratory and modeling studies of the interactions among THMC processes

  • Pennsylvania State University / State College, PA
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory / Livermore, CA
  • U.S. Geological Survey / Denver, CO
  • The University of Oklahoma / Norman, OK
  • Purdue University / West Lafayette, IN

To learn more, visit the Utah FORGE website.

Allbirds is investing in a plant-based leather substitute, plans faux-leather shoe drop in December

Read the full story at TechCrunch. Natural Fiber Welding is based in Peoria.

The sustainability focused shoe maker Allbirds has taken another step to green its supply chain with a small $2 million investment in a new company called Natural Fiber Welding.

Announced this morning, the investment in Natural Fiber Welding will see Allbirds bring a vegan leather replacement option to customers by December 2021. It’s a natural addition for a company that has always billed itself as focused on environmental impact in other aspects of its apparel manufacturing.

Webinar: Improve Efficiencies: Reduce Food Processing Energy, Water, and Waste

Mar 18, 2021 10:00 AM CDT
Register here.

In food processing facilities, raw materials are stored, transferred, and processed into consumable products. These processes can result in waste material, lost product, and wastewater. In this webinar, PennTAP will provide ideas for ways food manufacturing facilities can reduce water, chemical, and energy use, ,operate more efficiently and save money.

The 20 best places to tackle US farm nitrogen pollution

Read the full story from the University of Vermont.

A pioneering study of U.S nitrogen use in agriculture has identified 20 places across the country where farmers, government, and citizens should target nitrogen reduction efforts. The 20 nitrogen ‘hotspots of opportunity’– which appear on a striking map — represent a whopping 63% of the total surplus nitrogen balance in U.S. croplands, but only 24% of U.S. cropland area. Nitrogen inputs are so high in these areas that farmers can most likely reduce nitrogen use without hurting crop yields.

SEC to update climate-related risk disclosure requirements

Read the full story at The Hill.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Wednesday that it will update its guidelines on how publicly traded companies should disclose climate change-related risks to investors.

Acting SEC Chair Allison Herren Lee said in a Wednesday statement that the commission will review how companies were complying with its 2010 guidelines, discuss climate-related disclosures with firms and analyze how the stock market is handling climate risks. The SEC will then update those guidelines, likely expanding on how much information companies are expected to disclose about the risks climate change poses to their business.

Biden orders review of US supply chains after a year of shortages, delays

Read the full story at Supply Chain Dive.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday that will result in a 100-day review of supply chains by the executive branch for pharmaceuticals, critical minerals, semiconductors and large capacity batteries.

The 100-day review will be followed by a longer year-long review of a broader set of critical supply chains including the energy sector, personal protective equipment, agricultural products, the transportation industrial base and the public health and biological preparedness industrial base.

“Today, I’m shortly going to be signing another executive order that’ll help address the vulnerabilities in our supply chains across additional critical sectors of our economy so that the American people are prepared to withstand any crisis and rely on ourselves,” Biden said before signing the Order.

Gov. Tony Evers seeks funds for PFAS testing, cleanup measures in budget

Read the full story in the Wisconsin State Journal.

Gov. Tony Evers is looking to boost state funds to address and monitor PFAS contamination across Wisconsin in his budget, targeting so-called “forever chemicals” that have been found in all five of Madison’s lakes.

The plan, based on recommendations from Evers’ PFAS Coordinating Council, includes allocating $20 million in general purpose revenue over the next two years to create a municipal grant program to test for PFAS at the local level, funding nearly a dozen new positions within the Department of Natural Resources dedicated to combating the chemicals and more.

Why Sprite is ditching green bottles

Read the full story in Fast Company.

When Sprite hired an ad agency to work on the brand in the late 1960s, it created an identity with green labels to emphasize the green bottle—which the brand had used since it launched a few years earlier, and which had become a signature. But today, you’ll see Sprite in new clear bottles rolling out on shelves in California, Florida, and the Northeast. By 2022, all plastic Sprite bottles nationwide will be clear.