Q&A: Clean energy pioneer sees potential in using food waste for renewable energy

Read the full story in Midwest Energy News.

Jigar Shah spoke recently with Midwest Energy News about the potential for using food waste as a feedstock for anaerobic digesters, as well as other clean energy trends he sees in the region and nationally.

Department of Energy Releases Updated Combined Heat and Power Installation Database

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Advanced Manufacturing Office announced today the release of the updated Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Installation Database, a database that contains a comprehensive listing of combined heat and power installations throughout the country. CHP, an efficient and clean approach to generating on-site electric power and useful thermal energy from a single fuel source is a highly efficient way to generate electricity and thermal energy that provides facilities with increased reliability and enhanced economic viability.  Today, there are 82.6 GW of CHP installed at nearly 4,400 sites around the country.

The DOE CHP Installation Database is a data collection effort sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and maintained by ICF Inc. The updated database includes data as of December 31, 2016 and provides information on current CHP installations across the United States. It is designed to make navigation easy for visitors to the website, allowing users to:

  • Search for specific CHP systems or groups of systems.
  • Sort and filter data by categories such as application (building/facility) or fuel type.
  • Download a list of the currently operating CHP systems in the database as well as a set of summary tables for the data. In order to access the data for download, the user must register by setting up a username and password.
  • Send an email to provide any information about operating CHP systems in the U.S.

This new release of the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Installation Database reflects an increase in the overall U.S. CHP capacity, from 81.1 GW in 2015 to 82.6 GW in 2016.  The number of CHP sites grew from 4,309 to 4,395 in 2016.  This growth was fueled by the 173 new CHP installations that were entered into the database in 2016.  These installations were spread throughout the U.S., with new systems in 34 states and the District of Columbia.  The states with the most new CHP installations were New York (39), Massachusetts (27), California (19), and Pennsylvania (11).  Many of the former installations were older, larger inefficient systems. But now, many of the new installations are located at commercial and institutional sites, thus continuing the move toward smaller sized CHP systems. The 2016 installations included 30 new systems in multi-family buildings, hospitals, colleges/universities, and installations at several other commercial, institutional, and industrial application types.

Natural gas was the predominant fuel type for new CHP installations, and supplied the fuel for 80% of new systems in 2016.  However, 16% of all new CHP capacity in 2016 was fueled by waste or biomass fuels, which is twice the typical proportion of CHP capacity fueled by biomass.  CHP systems save the U.S. 1.8 Quads of fuel each year, avoiding 241 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.

Visit the DOE CHP Installation website to see newly released 2016 data on CHP systems operating in the U.S.

EERE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) supports early stage applied research and development of new materials, information, and processes that improve American manufacturing’s energy efficiency, as well as platform technologies for manufacturing energy-related products.

Clarkson University Researchers & Entrepreneurs Partner to Commercialize Technology to Convert Agricultural Waste for Energy Applications

Read the full story from Clarkson University.

After surveying the state of farming in the United States in 2015, Mitlin and chemistry Ph.D. student Jesse Pokrzywinski concluded there was a glut in milk and related dairy production. From working on a dairy farm in high school, Pokrzywinski witnessed milk being disposed rather than brought to market at a loss.

The researchers learned this was a problem at a national level, with millions of gallons being discarded every year. Over the next two years, Mitlin and Pokrzywinski developed a process to convert milk products and other agricultural wastes into extremely high surface area/low density carbons to be employed for energy storage, CO2 capture and other applications.

Together with Assistant Professor of Chemistry & Biomolecular Science Mario Wriedt’s group, and with staff at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Mitlin published a high-profile paper on the material, “Unrivaled Combination of Surface Area and Pore Volume in Micelle Templated Carbon for Supercapacitor Energy Storage,” in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Journal of Materials Chemistry A, a world-leading energy journal.

How Giant Batteries Can Help Reduce Emissions

Read the full story in Stateline.

In Southern California, where an extreme energy shortage has threatened for months to shut off power for millions of homeowners, an unconventional source of electricity is helping to keep the lights on: giant batteries.

State Level Electric Energy Efficiency Potential Estimates

Download the document.

This report reflects work performed under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The research focused on applying the result of EPRI’s 2014 US Energy Efficiency Potential Study which was conducted at the Census division level and developing a method to apply the division level results to the state level by customer class and by end-use.

The state allocation shows that every state has a large amount of electric energy efficiency potential that can be utilized as a cost-effective energy resource. This cost-effective electric potential grows over time as equipment reaches the end of its useful life and is replaced by a cost-effective efficient replacement. In total GWh, this energy efficiency economic potential in 2035 ranges from 901 GWh in Vermont to 87,336 GWh in Texas, reflective of the both electric loads and the types electric services in each state.

Finally, to understand the potential to bring additional technologies to market and the impact that added incentives can have on energy efficiency potential, the national model and state allocations were re-run with differing levels of incentives. These results, which vary by state, show both the direct impact of incentives as well as potential opportunities to increase energy efficiency through cost reductions.

India preparing database of R&D accomplishments in renewable energy

Read the full story in LiveMint.

Ministry of new and renewable energy has written to ‘institutions and organizations’ involved in renewable energy research to provide inputs on their achievements.

Can sustainable stadiums be a better deal for cities and environment?

Read the full story in Curbed.

Stadiums, specifically when it comes to funding and construction, can often be bad deals for cities. Manystudies and reports have argued that publicly subsidizing new and expanded stadiums often isn’t a good deal for the public.

In Washington, D.C., a new project suggests there many be other, more sustainable ways to help finance new stadiums that offer additional benefits beyond a new place to play.