A recycled paper mill claimed to be the most advanced in Europe has been officially opened by Michael Fallon, the UK's minister of state for business & energy, at Partington Wharfside, Trafford.
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The company claims LCOE [Levelized Cost of Energy] is less than half the cost of any other battery technology available.
Duane Tilden's insight:
Imergy Power Systems just introduced its third-generation vanadium flow battery, claiming it offers a low-cost, high-performance energy storage solution for large-scale applications, including peak demand management, frequency regulation and the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources.
The ESP250 has an output power capability of 250 kilowatts and 1 megawatt of energy storage capacity. It's suited for both short- and long-duration storage, with available energy ranging from two to 12 hours of output duration. The 40-foot batteries (each about the size of two shipping containers) are designed to be deployed individually or linked together for larger-scale projects. [...]
Where Imergy has been able to edge out its competitors is on material cost. Vanadium is abundant but expensive to extract from the ground. Imergy has developed a unique chemistry that allows it to use cheaper, recycled resources of vanadium from mining slag, fly ash and other environmental waste.
With this chemistry, the levelized cost of energy for Imergy’s batteries is less than half of any other battery on the market right now, according to Hennessy. Vanadium flow batteries are orders of magnitude cheaper than lithium-ion batteries on a lifetime basis because they can be 100 percent cycled an unlimited number of times, whereas lithium-ion batteries wear down with use, according to the firm. Despite the compelling cost claims from Imergy, lithium-ion has been the predominant energy storage technology being deployed at this early point of the market. And very few flow batteries are currently providing grid services.
Imergy’s capital costs are lower than every other battery technology except lead-acid, Hennessy added. But he believes the company can hit that mark (roughly $200 per kilowatt-hour) by the end of the year by outsourcing contracts to manufacturing powerhouse Foxconn Technology Group in China. Delivery of the ESP250 is targeted for summer of 2015.
At this price, Imergy says the ESP250 offers an affordable alternative to peaker plants and can help utilities avoid investing more capital in the grid. Some might disagree with the claim that grid-scale storage can compete with fast-start turbines and natural gas prices below $3 per million Btu. But according to Hennessy, it all comes down to the application. Batteries can’t compete with gas at the 50-megawatt scale, but they can compete with gas at the distribution level.
“Batteries that are distributed have a huge advantage over gas, because when you buy gas down at the low end, you’re paying a lot more than $3 to $4 per MMBtu, because you’ve got to pay for all the transmission down to the small end,” he said.
Demand for cost-effective energy storage is growing as intermittent renewables become cheaper and come on-line in higher volumes. GTM Research anticipates the solar-plus-storage market to grow from $42 million in 2014 to more than $1 billion by 2018.
Imergy sees a ripe market in the Caribbean, parts of Africa and India, Hawaii and other places where the LCOE for solar-plus-storage is already competitive. As costs continue to fall, New York, California and Texas will also become attractive markets."<
DOE's analyses estimate lifetime savings for electric motors purchased over the 30-year period that begins in the year of compliance with new and amended standards (2016-45) to be 7.0 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu). The annualized energy savings—0.23 quadrillion Btu—is equivalent to 1% of total U.S. industrial primary electricity consumption in 2013.
Duane Tilden's insight:
Nearly half of the electricity consumed in the manufacturing sector is used for powering motors, such as for fans, pumps, conveyors, and compressors. About two thirds of this machine-drive consumption occurs in the bulk chemicals, food, petroleum and coal products, primary metals, and paper industries. For more than three decades the efficiency of new motors has been regulated by federal law. Beginning in mid-2016, an updated standard established this year by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for electric motors will once again increase the minimum efficiency of new motors.
The updated electric motor standards apply the standards currently in place to a wider scope of electric motors, generating significant estimated energy savings. [...]
Legislation has increased the federal minimum motor efficiencies requirements over the past two decades, covering motors both manufactured and imported for sale in the United States. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct) set minimum efficiency levels for all motors up to 200 horsepower (hp) purchased after October 1997. The U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 updated the EPAct standards starting December 2010, including 201-500 hp motors. EISA assigns minimum, nominal, full-load efficiency ratings according to motor subtype and size. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 also requires DOE to establish the most stringent standards that are both technologically feasible and economically justifiable, and to periodically update these standards as technology and economics evolve.
Motors typically fail every 5 to 15 years, depending on the size of the motor. When they fail they can either be replaced or repaired (rewound). When motors are rewound, their efficiencies typically diminish by a small amount. Large motors tend to be more efficient than small motors, and they tend to be used for more hours during the year. MotorMaster+ and MotorMaster+ International, distributed by the U.S. Department of Energy and developed by the Washington State University Cooperative Extension Energy Program in conjunction with the Bonneville Power Administration, are sources for cost and performance data on replacing and rewinding motors.
Improving the efficiency of motor systems, rather than just improving the efficiency of individual motors, may hold greater potential for savings in machine-drive electricity consumption. Analysis from the U.S. Department of Energy shows that more than 70% of the total potential motor system energy savings is estimated to be available through system improvements by reducing system load requirements, reducing or controlling motor speed, matching component sizes to the load, upgrading component efficiency, implementing better maintenance practices, and downsizing the motor when possible."<
The true cost of energy storage depends on the so-called LCOE = Round-trip efficiency + maintenance costs + useful life of the energy system
Duane Tilden's insight:
By Anna W. Aamone
"With regard to [battery] energy storage systems, many people erroneously think that the only cost they should consider is the initial – that is, the cost of generating electricity per kilowatt-hour. However, they are not aware of another very important factor.
This is the so-called LCOE, levelized cost of energy(also known as cost of electricity by source), which helps calculate the price of the electricity generated by a specific source. The LCOE also includes other costs associated with producing or storing that energy, such as maintenance and operating costs, residual value, the useful life of the system and the round-trip efficiency. [...]Batteries and round-trip efficiency
[...] due to poor maintenance, inefficiencies or heat, part of the energy captured in the battery is released … or rather, lost. The idea of round-trip efficiency is to determine the overall efficiency of a system (in that case, batteries) from the moment it is charged to the moment the energy is discharged. In other words, it helps to calculate the amount of energy that gets lost between charging and discharging (a “round trip”).
[...] So, as it turns out, using batteries is not free either. And it has to be added to the final cost of the energy storage system.Maintenance costs
[...] An energy storage system requires regular check-ups so that it operates properly in the years to come. Note that keeping such a system running smoothly can be quite pricey. Some batteries need to be maintained more often than others. Therefore when considering buying an energy storage system, you need to take into account this factor. [...]Useful life of the energy system
Another important factor in determining the true cost of energy storage is a system’s useful life. Most of the time, this is characterized by the number of years a system is likely to be running. However, when it comes to batteries, there is another factor to take into account: use. [...]
More often than not, the life of a battery depends on the number of charge and discharge cycles it goes through. Imagine a battery has about 10,000 charge-discharge cycles. When they are complete, the battery will wear out, no matter if it has been used for two or for five years.
[...] [However] flow batteries can be charged and discharged a million times without wearing out. Hence, cycling is not an issue with this type of battery, and you should keep this in mind before selecting an energy storage system. Think twice about whether you want to use batteries that wear out too quickly because their useful life depends on the number of times they are charged and discharged. Or would you rather use flow batteries, the LCOE of which is much lower than that of standard batteries?
So, what do we have so far?
LCOE = Round-trip efficiency + maintenance costs + useful life of the energy system.
These are three of the most important factors that determine the LCOE. Make sure you consider all the factors that determine the true cost of energy storage systems before you buy one.
Image credit: Flickr/INL"
Verisae and Ecova partner to combine technology and service across nearly 3,000 facilities for an innovative and smart operational approach ...
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" Verisae, a leading global provider of SaaS solutions that drive cost reductions in maintenance, energy, mobile workforces, and environmental management, and Ecova, a total energy and sustainability management company, are pleased to announce the success of their growing partnership to help multisite companies solve their toughest energy, operations, and maintenance challenges.
The continuous monitoring solution combines Verisae’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology platform with Ecova’s Operations Control Center (OCC) to empower data-driven decision making. The solution analyses operational data in real-time, and has the capability to look for issues and anomalies to predict equipment failure and automatically identify inefficiencies causing higher energy consumption.
Ecova’s fully-staffed 24/7/365 OCC investigates inbound service calls, alarms, telemetry data, and work orders to determine the source of energy, equipment, and system faults and, where possible, corrects issues remotely before they escalate into financial, operational, or comfort problems. Trouble tickets and inbound calls are captured and tracked in the Verisae platform to provide companies with visibility into any operational issues. Combining data analytics that flag potentially troubling conditions with a service that investigates and resolves issues increases operational efficiencies and improves energy savings.
“Companies are constantly challenged to cut costs while maintaining quality, performance, and comfort,” says Jerry Dolinsky, CEO of Verisae. “Our combined solution helps clients address these challenges so they can reduce costs and improve operational efficiencies without impacting value.”
Morgan Stanley Installs Bloom Energy Fuel Cells At Purchase, NY Facility
Duane Tilden's insight:
The project will provide clean and uninterruptible power for the 750,000 Sq. Ft. Office Building
PURCHASE, NY, Nov. 14 — [...]
The fuel cell system, along with a solar panel field completed earlier this year, are the latest in a series of initiatives to improve the facility's energy efficiency and resiliency.
The Bloom Energy fuel cell system produces electricity without burning fossil fuels, thus reducing emission of greenhouse gases. It will supply approximately 250 kilowatts (kW) of constant base load power to the facility, as well as grid-independent electricity to power portions of the building's critical load during grid outages. [...]
The new solid oxide fuel cell system (SOFC) technology converts fuel into electricity through a highly efficient electrochemical process, resulting in on-site, clean and reliable power. Combined with the solar field, these new installations are expected to produce approximately 3 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy a year. During peak energy consumption times, they can supply approximately one megawatt, or up to 30 percent of the building’s demand.
Support for this project was provided by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Founded in 1975, NYSERDA is a public benefit corporation that provides information, services, programs and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
About Bloom Energy
Bloom Energy is a provider of breakthrough solid oxide fuel cell technology generating clean, highly-efficient on-site power from multiple fuel sources. The company was founded in 2001 with a mission to make clean, reliable energy affordable for everyone in the world. Bloom Energy Servers are currently producing power for several Fortune 500 companies including Apple, Google, Walmart, AT&T, eBay, Staples, The Coca-Cola Company, as well as notable non-profit organizations such as Caltech and Kaiser Permanente. The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA. For more information, visit www.bloomenergy.com.
About Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, investment management and wealth management services. [...]"<
The U.S. has been harnessing geothermal energy since 1960 and if recently announced research projects and startups are successful, even more geothermal power might soon be available.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] in the past, wastewater from oilfield production processes was viewed as a nuisance byproduct that needed to be disposed of. But new research has shown that much of the 25 billion barrels of this geothermally heated “wastewater” produced at oil wells each year in the U.S. is hot enough to produce electricity. It is estimated that many of the wells might have clean energy capacities of up to 1 MW.
Oil and Gas Coproduction in the US
In 2008, the DOE developed the first low-temperature geothermal unit in an oil field at the Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center (RMOTC) in Wyoming. The well is producing energy and has a capacity of approximately 217 kW. RMOTC continues to test power units produced by Ormat Technologies and UTC/Pratt and Whitney Power Systems at the center and more than 30 oil firms have visited the center to learn about coproduction technology. The technology is also being implemented in Nevada, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Dakota and Texas.
In Nevada, Florida Canyon Mining Inc. is using the 220°F groundwater in a coproduction project that uses ElectraTherm’s 50-kW waste heat generators, aka “Green Machines” to generate electricity.
Energy can be harnessed at working oilfields and used to power them without interrupting their operation. A Gulf Coast Green Energy (GCGE) coproduction project at the Denbury oilfields in Laurel, Mississippi, is using this technique again with ElectraTherm Green Machines. It replaced Denbury’s electric submersible pump and cut electricity costs by a third. GCGE has a second 50-kW geothermal natural gas coproduction project in Louisiana.
University of North Dakota was awarded $1.7 million through the DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Program to install a geothermal Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) system at another oilfield operated byDenbury. For two years the plant will be used to develop engineering and economic models for geothermal ORC energy production. The technology could be used throughout the Williston Basin.
Liberty County Pilot Project
Texas is oil country, and the 4000+ dormant oil and gas wells speckled across the landscape provide a new, or perhaps recycled, frontier in geothermal energy production. To tap some of that energy,Universal GeoPower CEO and petroleum geologist George Alcorn Jr. and his partner, Chris Luchini, a PhD physicist will use the $1.5 million in federal stimulus funds that they were awarded to bring geothermal energy to Liberty County, Texas. The company said that to prepare its DOE application, it worked with Southern Methodist University. The university has performed extensive research on coproduction and has found that it is applicable to an estimated 37,500 oil and gas wells in the Gulf Coast region.
Universal GeoPower’s pilot project is expected to be one of many that will recomplete the wells to produce low temperature, geopressured brine water. The brine will run through a commercial off-the-shelf turbo expander and an ORC binary generator.
Alcorn spoke recently at GEA’s global geothermal meeting in Washington, DC, offering a snapshot of the economic benefits of the process. “The lead-time to revenue generation is about 6 months, whereas traditional geothermal can take up to five years,” he said. “The wells already have known geothermal potential, and capital costs are dramatically reduced.”
Additionally, Alcorn noted, units are installed at existing oil wells, eliminating the need for investment in drilling, new roads or transmission lines. [...]"<
The near-term applications for Phononic's science are high-end refrigeration for labs and medical facilities, as well as cooling for fiber optics and data servers that are "necessary to continue Moore's law," according to the company.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] The 75-employee Phononic develops thermoelectrics -- materials that can convert a temperature gradient to a voltage or vice versa. The technology is a brilliant pursuit, but no one has brought it to mass markets economically or at scale just yet. Traditional thermoelectrics use materials such as bismuth telluride or silicon germanium, and more recently, silicon nanowires.
[...] Phononic is looking to develop thermal management technology for consumer devices, and, more strikingly, to replace cheap, ubiquitous and century-old incumbent compressor technology.
CEO Anthony Atti told us this morning that the investment thesis around Phononic is that "semiconductors have revolutionized IT and LEDs, but have not had that same impact on cooling and heating." He notes that Phononic's thermoelectric technology is in the realm of Peltier cooling technology, but addresses three major shortcomings of that technology: efficiency, ability to scale, and ease of integration.
Atti claims that the compound semiconductor material used in his firm's thermoelectrics can be manufactured using high-volume, standard semiconductor tools and equipment.
Bruce Sohn, the former president of First Solar, is on the board at Phononic. When we spoke with him this morning, he told us that he had been working with the firm for four years and believes the startup is doing something "revolutionary that can do to compressors what the [integrated circuit] did to the vacuum tube."
Other companies developing thermoelectric technologies for cooling or capturing waste heat include the following:Alphabet Energy is commercializing thermoelectric waste-heat harvesting technology developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and has raised more than $30 million from Encana, a developer of natural gas and other energy sources, TPG Biotech, Claremont Creek Ventures, and the CalCEF Clean Energy Angel Fund.GMZ Energy, spun out of MIT with funding from KPCB, BP Alternative Energy, and Mitsui Ventures, is working on a bismuth-telluride thermovoltaic device that converts solar heat directly into power via theSeebeck effect. In the Seebeck effect, a sharp temperature gradient can result in an electric charge.MTPV describes its product as a thermophotovoltaic. MTPV uses a silicon-based MEMS emitter which takes heat and transfers radiation to a germanium-based photovoltaic device, according to an article inSemiconductor Manufacturing and Design. The company just raised $11.2 million led by Northwater Capital Management’s Intellectual Property Fund, along with Total Energy Ventures, SABIC, the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, and follow-on investments from Spinnaker Capital, Ensys Capital, the Clean Energy Venture Group and other existing shareholders.Silicium, funded by Khosla Ventures, is investigating high ZT thermoelectrics. The firm's website claims, "Silicium is developing silicon thermoelectrics that enable substantially increased battery longevity for wearable electronics. By using body heat, Silicium technology can help power an entire spectrum of wearable devices...using off-the-shelf silicon wafers."Recycled Energy Development (RED) and Ormat have retrofitted factories to capture waste heat, not using thermoelectrics, but by adding CHP or cogeneration. [...]"<
Swedish Stirling Engine generator specialist, Cleanergy supplies its GasBox generators to two landfill sites in Poland for the production of energy from low quality methane gas emitted from two major, following a successful pilot project earlier in the year.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] GasBox – the centrepiece of its Combined Heat & Power (CHP) system – has been specifically developed to generate electricity and heat from low-quality methane gas produced by the decomposition of organic matter at the 2000+ landfill sites across Europe, most of which are more than 10 years old.
According to Cleanergy, many such landfill sites choose to flare the methane they produce.
The European Union Landfill Directive of 1999 states that flaring is only an option if it is impossible to extract energy from the methane gas. But up until today, older landfill sites have often broken these directives because the gas combustion engines traditionally used at newer landfills where methane levels are above 40% simply cannot produce electricity from lower grade, ‘dirty’ methane.
However, at the two Polish landfill sites the methane was released straight into the atmosphere rather than being flared. To address this, Cleanergy’s GasBox was deployed at the Regional Centre of Waste Management in Domaszkowice in Poland in August.
This 25 hectare landfill site closed in the 2000. Since the installation of the GasBox, the electricity generated has been used to power equipment and to heat and electrify buildings at the site.
Following this success, Cleanergy’s CHP system has also been deployed at the Waste Neutralisation Enterprise in Sulnówko, a 7.5 hectare landfill site.
Anders Koritz, CEO at Cleanergy commented: “We developed our GasBox to meet a specific need – a complete CHP system that can run on low-grade methane gas. Sure enough the industry response since our launch in June has been amazing.”
According to Cleanergy its GasBox addresses this specific problem and is able to produce both electricity and heat from a methane gas concentration down to 18%.
Installed inside a modular container, Cleanergy’s GasBox is an autonomous and flexible stirling engine unit. Also inside the container is a real-time power management system with remote access; a fuel pipe; plus a heat and electricity connection to a house/factory/warehouse with optional grid functionality.
With a claimed ROI of three to five years, the company said that its GasBox is now commercially deployed at several locations in Norway, Slovenia, Sweden (in collaboration with the Swedish Energy Agency) and the UK. [...]"<
A new report from ACEEE, Energy Savings from Information and Communications Technologies in Personal Travel,estimates that aggressively incorporating a handful of ICT strategies could reduce energy consumption in transportation by almost 13% by 2030.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] Intelligent efficiency is the use of information and communications technologies (ICT) to improve the overall productivity and efficiency of a given sector.
In transportation, intelligent efficiency can affect the way we travel by providing us with real-time feedback and information on fuel economy, making it easier for us to use alternatives to driving such as public transit and bicycles, and by moving traffic away from peak travel times and consolidating travelers into fewer vehicles.
[...] The strategies discussed in the report include:Car and bike sharingReal-time transit informationIn-vehicle feedbackVehicle-to-vehicle communications and driver assist applicationsICT-based transportation demand management programs (TDM)
The report aims to provide readers with a sense of the relative magnitude of energy savings possible from these strategies, and is by no means a definitive overall estimate. ICT could be incorporated in many additional ways in the transportation sector. The strategies described here are simply the tip of the iceberg when it comes to implementation. Studies from Europe have shown that reductions could be as high as 26% if we consider the whole universe of strategies and options. [...]"<
Turboden, a group company of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has implemented the first ORC-based heat recovery plant on an Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) in the world
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] The heat recovery system was started up on December 2013. It is connected to the off-gas treatment system of the melting electric furnace. The recovered energy reduces net power consumption, allowing significant CO2 reduction.
In addition to electricity production, the remaining portion of the steam is fed into the Riesa Municipal steam supply system and used in a nearby tire factory production process.
Turboden designs, develops and implements generation plants, allowing reduction of industrial energy consumption and emissions containment through heat recovery from unexploited residual heat streams and exhaust gases in production processes and power plants.
This technology is best applied in energy-intensive industries such as glass, cement, aluminum, iron & steel, where production processes typically generate exhaust gases above 250°C.
These new plants not only provide advantages in terms of environmental sustainability, emissions reduction, increased industrial process efficiency and improved business performance, but they also represent opportunities for increased competitiveness."<
By Steven Nadel
" ... a potential emerging trend that could have a large impact on many utilities: the reduction of the traditional mid-afternoon peak, and the growth of an evening peak. (Peak is the time when demand for power is highest.)"
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] In many regions, evening peaks have been growing, as more consumers install air conditioners and operate them when they get home from work. But two other factors are augmenting this trend. First and foremost is the growth in consumer-owned photovoltaic systems. These systems generate the most power on sunny afternoons, which is about when the traditional early afternoon peak occurs. But when the sun goes down, extra power is quickly needed to replace this solar power. [...]
There are many ways to address the growing evening peak, including the following:Energy efficiency, particularly measures that reduce the evening peak such as efficient lamps, water heaters, stoves and ovens.Smart controllers that minimize energy use during the evening peak. To provide just one example, a smart refrigerator would not turn on the defrost cycle during this period and might even turn off the main compressor for a few minutes. Likewise, smart charging systems for electric vehicles could be used, such as a new system recently demonstrated by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), working with a consortium of utilities and auto manufacturers.Expanded use of demand-response programs to lower the new peak (and coordination of these efforts with energy efficiency programs).Time-of-use rates and/or demand charges that raise the price of power use during peak times and a lower them at off-peak times.Use of energy storage at a system, community, or end-user level. Storage able to provide power for several hours could be very useful.Fast ramp-up generation to serve the evening peak and other times when renewable energy production plummets, for example when the wind dies down. Hydro is ideal, but fast ramp-up gas units are now entering the market.
In my opinion, the time of the peak will change in many regions. The shift will be gradual in most areas, so we have time to address it. Rather than trying to stop this change by restricting photovoltaic systems, we'll be better off figuring out how to manage it, [...]"<
For the first time in six years, Energy Star certification, a standard seal of approval for energy efficiency, has been expanded to include another major household appliance. Clothes dryers, perhaps the last of ...
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] Clothes dryers, perhaps the last of the major household appliances to be included in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's program, became available in 45 Energy Star models starting Presidents' Day weekend, according to the EPA.
"Dryers are one of the most common household appliances and the biggest energy users," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
While washing machines have become 70 percent more energy-efficient since 1990, dryers — used by an estimated 80 percent of American households — have continued to use a high amount of energy, the agency says. [...]
"Refrigerators were the dominant energy consumer in 1981. Now dryers are the last frontier in the home for radical energy conservation," said Charles Hall, senior manager of product development for Whirlpool.
Energy Star-certified dryers include gas, electric and compact models. Manufacturers offering them include LG, Whirlpool, Kenmore, Maytag and Safemate.
All of the energy-efficient models include moisture sensors to ensure that the dryer does not continue running after the clothes are dry, which reduces energy consumption by around 20 percent, the EPA says.
In addition, two of the Energy Star-approved models — LG's EcoHybrid Heat Pump Dryer (model DLHX4072) and Whirlpool's HybridCare Heat Pump Dryer (model WED99HED) — also include innovative "heat pump" technology, which reduces energy consumption by around 40 percent more than that, the EPA and manufacturers say.
Heat-pump dryers combine conventional vented drying with heat-pump technology, which recycles heat. The technology, long common in much of Europe, is similar to that used in air conditioners and dehumidifiers.
Although Energy Star models can cost roughly $600 more than comparable standard models, Hall said the higher cost is more than balanced out by energy savings and up to $600 rebates offered by government and utility incentive programs.
But the real impact will be felt once the transition to Energy Star models is complete. According to the EPA, if all the clothes dryers sold in the U.S. this year were Energy Star-certified, it would save an estimated $1.5 billion in annual utility costs and prevent yearly greenhouse-gas emissions equal to more than 2 million vehicles.
To earn the Energy Star label, products must be certified by an EPA-recognized third party based on rigorous testing in an EPA-recognized laboratory."<
Following the launch of the Clean Power Plan, concerns were raised about how adding renewable energy to the grid would affect reliability. According to a new report [...] compliance is unlikely to materially affect reliability.
image source: http://phys.org/news/2010-10-electric-grid.html
Duane Tilden's insight:
Report lead author Jurgen Weiss PhD, senior researcher and lead author said that while the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) focused on concerns about the feasibility of achieving emissions standards with the technologies used to set the standards, they did not address several mitigating factors. These include:
The impact of retiring older, inefficient coal plants, due to current environmental regulations and market trends, on emissions rates of the remaining fleet;Various ways to address natural gas pipeline constraints; andEvidence that that higher levels of variable renewable energy sources can be effectively managed.
“With the tools currently available for managing an electric power system that is already in flux, we think it unlikely that compliance with EPA carbon rules will have a significant impact on reliability,” reported Weiss.
In November 2014, NERC issued an Initial Reliability Review in which it identified elements of the Clean Power Plan that could lead to reliability concerns. Echoed by some grid operators and cited in comments to EPA submitted by states, utilities, and industry groups, the NERC study has made reliability a critical issue in finalizing, and then implementing, the Clean Power Plan. These concerns compelled AEE to respond to the concerns by commissioning the Brattle study.
“We see EPA’s Clean Power Plan as an historic opportunity to modernize the U.S. electric power system,” said Malcolm Woolf, Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs for Advanced Energy Economy, a business association. “We believe that advanced energy technologies, put to work by policies and market rules that we see in action today, will increase the reliability and resiliency of the electric power system, not reduce it. [...]"<
Matching supply to demand is crucial when it comes to energy — and this concept can help us do it.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] Our energy grid is not designed to put out a steady amount of energy throughout the day. Rather, it is designed to crank up or wind down depending on the amount of energy that's being demanded by the markets.That means there's a baseload of generation that's always on — churning out steady amounts of relatively cheap, dependable power night and day. This has typically been made up of coal and nuclear plants, which can produce large amounts of power but can't be made to cycle up and down efficiently in the face of fluctuating demand. On top of the baseload, you have an increasing amount of intermittent sources as the world transitions to renewable energy technologies like wind and solar. And then, on top of these intermittent sources are so-called "peaking" plants, often running on natural gas and sometimes diesel or even jet fuel. These can be deployed at very short notice, when there's either unusually high demand or when another source isn't available (e.g. the sun isn't shining enough for solar), but are expensive, inefficient and disproportionately polluting. One of the most effective ways to meet this challenge also happens to be the simplest — reward people for not using energy when it's in highest demand.
An old idea whose time has come
A more sophisticated approach
A huge potential to cut peak demand
A report from federal regulators suggests that U.S. demand response capacity had the potential to shave 29GW off of peak demand in 2013, representing a 9.9 percent increase over 2012. When the U.K.'s National Grid, which manages the nation's transmission infrastructure, put out a call for companies willing to cut consumption at key times, over 500 different sites came forward. The combined result was the equivalent of 300MW of power that can be removed from the grid at times of need. And constrained by its rapid growth of renewables following the Fukushima disaster, Japan is now looking at shoring up its grid by starting a national demand response program in 2016. [...]"<
As a financial tool, LCOE is very valuable for the comparison of various generation options. A relatively low LCOE means that electricity is being produced at a low cost, with higher likely returns for the investor. If the cost for a renewable technology is as low as current traditional costs, it is said to have reached “Grid Parity“.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>"LCOE (levelized cost of energy) is one of the utility industry’s primary metrics for the cost of electricity produced by a generator. It is calculated by accounting for all of a system’s expected lifetime costs (including construction, financing, fuel, maintenance, taxes, insurance and incentives), which are then divided by the system’s lifetime expected power output (kWh). All cost and benefit estimates are adjusted for inflation and discounted to account for the time-value of money. [...]
LCOE Estimates for Renewable Energy
When an electric utility plans for a conventional plant, it must consider the effects of inflation on future plant maintenance, and it must estimate the price of fuel for the plant decades into the future. As those costs rise, they are passed on to the ratepayer. A renewable energy plant is initially more expensive to build, but has very low maintenance costs, and no fuel cost, over its 20-30 year life. As the following 2012 U.S. Govt. forecast illustrates, LCOE estimates for conventional sources of power depend on very uncertain fuel cost estimates. These uncertainties must be factored into LCOE comparisons between different technologies.
LCOE estimates may or may not include the environmental costs associated with energy production. Governments around the world have begun to quantify these costs by developing various financial instruments that are granted to those who generate or purchase renewable energy. In the United States, these instruments are called Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). To learn more about environmental costs, visit our Greenhouse Gas page.
LCOE estimates do not normally include less tangible risks that may have very large effects on a power plant’s actual cost to ratepayers. Imagine, for example, the LCOE estimates used for nuclear power plants in Japan before the Fukushima incident, compared to the eventual costs for those plants.
An important determination of photovoltaic LCOE is the system’s location. The LCOE of a system built in Southern Utah, for example, is likely to be lower than that of an identical system built in Northern Utah. Although the cost of building the two systems may be similar, the system with the most access to the sun will perform better, and deliver the most value to its owner. [...]"<
Covanta’s Delaware Valley energy-from-waste facility in Chester, Pennsylvania, has saved 1.3 million gallons a day from local water supplies by installing Ge...
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] The Chester facility generates up to 90 megawatts of clean energy from 3,510 tons per day of municipal solid waste. Previously, the plant used 1.3 MGD — or nearly 5 million liters a day — of municipal drinking water in its waste conversion process, costing the company thousands of dollars in daily water purchases.
To reduce facility operating expenses and the consumption of local water resources, Covanta Delaware Valley upgraded the facility by installing GE’s RePAK combination ultrafiltration (UF) and reverse osmosis (RO) system as a tertiary treatment package. The new system enabled the plant to reuse 1.3 MGD of treated discharge water from a nearby municipal wastewater treatment plant for the facility’s cooling tower.
GE installed two RePAK-450 trains, each producing 450 gallons per minute of purified water. As a result, Covanta Delaware Valley has eliminated the need to purchase 1.3 MGD of local drinking water a day, which results in a substantial financial savings in addition to the environmental benefits.
GE’s RePAK equipment was delivered in 2014, with commissioning taking place the same year, making Covanta Delaware Valley the first North American company to deploy GE’s RePAK technology.
Covanta chose a combined water treatment technology approach because the typical organic and dissolved mineral content of the wastewater requires additional treatment to be suitable for use as cooling tower makeup. RO was selected as the technology of choice, and UF was required as the pretreatment solution.
GE’s RePAK combined treatment system reduces the equipment footprint up to 35 percent as compared to separate UF and RO systems. By combining the UF and RO into a common frame with common controls and GE’s single (patent-pending) multi-functional process tank, GE also is able to reduce the capital costs and field installation expenses when compared to the use of separate UF system and RO systems with multiple process and cleaning tanks, the company says."<
"It was a good year for solar power in the USA, with over six gigawatts of photovoltaic (PV) capacity and more than one gigawatt of concentrated solar power (CSP) being added in 2014, bringing the nation’s total solar power capacity to more than 17 gigawatts. That’s a 41% increase in solar power capacity in just one year..."
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" Photovoltaic vs Concentrated Solar Power
Photovoltaic technology converts light directly into electricity. PV panels produce DC, which needs to be converted to AC before being placed on the grid. PV panels work best in direct sunlight when they’re pointed perpendicular to the sun’s rays, but they also work reasonably well in diffuse light, even when not pointed directly at the sun. This makes them inexpensive and suitable for rooftops, since solar tracking isn’t required. PV also works in climates that aren’t particularly sunny; Germany gets less sunlight than the northern US, and yet it has a large portion of its power generated by PV.
Concentrated solar power, on the other hand, requires direct sunlight and solar tracking. CSP focuses the sun’s energy and uses the resulting heat to create steam that drives a traditional turbine generator. Even better, the heat can be stored - usually in the form of molten salts - so the CSP plant can generate electricity even when the sun isn’t shining. Because CSP relies on direct sunlight, it’s most suitable for very sunny locations like the American southwest. Here are two popular types of CSP: trough and tower.
Images: US Department of Energy
US Concentrated Solar Power in 2014
These five major CSP plants went online in 2014 (give or take a few months - one went live in late 2013):
Gila Bend, AZ is the home of the Solana parabolic trough power plant, which provides 250 MW of power to residents of Arizona. The turbine It went live in October of 2013. Spanning 1920 acres, the solar farm includes over two million square meters of reflective troughs and two tanks of molten salts, which provide up to six hours of thermal energy storage. If the stored energy is depleted and the sun isn’t shining, the turbine can be powered by natural gas as a backup.
The Genesis power plant in Blythe CA generates 250 MW of power using a parabolic trough array consisting of more than half a million mirrors. Unlike the Solana plant, Genesis includes no storage or backup fuel. Brought online in April of 2014, designers expect it to generate about 600 GWh of energy each year.
Probably the most famous CSP plant in the US, and the largest of its kind in the world, is the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in Ivanpah Dry Lake CA, about 50 miles south of Las Vegas NV. Its three power towers fired up in February 2014, and the facility now produces 377 MW of power. Its annual production is expected to exceed one terawatt-hour. Ivanpah includes natural gas as its backup, but has no on-site storage.
About 270 miles northwest of Ivanpah is the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Tonopah, NV. Originally planned to go online in late 2014, the start date has been pushed back to January of 2015. When operational, this 110 MW power tower should produce nearly 500 GWh per year. Crescent Dunes uses molten salt to store heat, allowing it to generate power for ten hours without sunlight.
The Mojave Solar One facility came online in late 2014 and now generates 250 MW of electricity. Located about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles CA, this parabolic trough array feeds a pair of 125 MW steam turbine generators. The plant should produce about 600 GWh per year. [...]"<
Derived from a common sand-like powder, and leveraging breakthrough advances in materials science, our technology is able to produce clean, reliable, affordable power,... practically anywhere,... from a wide range of renewable or traditional fuels.
Duane Tilden's insight:
"Changing the Face of Energy
Bloom Energy is changing the way the world generates and consumes energy.
Our unique on-site power generation systems utilize an innovative new fuel cell technology with roots in NASA's Mars program.
Our Energy Servers® are among the most efficient energy generators on the planet; providing for significantly reduced electricity costs and dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions.
By generating power on-site, where it is consumed, Bloom Energy offers increased electrical reliability and improved energy security, providing a clear path to energy independence.
Founded in 2001, Bloom Energy is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California."
Duane Tilden's insight:
Continued growth in domestic natural gas production, along with substantially lower natural gas spot prices compared to crude oil, is reshaping the U.S. energy economy and attracting considerable interest in the potential for fueling freight locomotives with liquefied natural gas (LNG). While there is significant appeal for major U.S. railroads to use LNG as a fuel for locomotives because of its potentially favorable economics compared with diesel fuel, there are also key uncertainties as to whether, and to what extent, the railroads can take advantage of this relatively cheap and abundant fuel.
Freight railroads and the basic economics of fuel choice
Major U.S. railroads, known commonly as Class 1 railroads, are defined as line-haul freight railroads with certain minimum annual operating revenue. Currently, that classification is based on 2011 operating revenue of $433.2 million or more . While there are 561 freight railroads operating in the United States, only seven are defined as Class 1 railroads. The Class 1 railroads account for 94% of total freight rail revenue . They haul large amounts of tonnage over long distances, and in the process they consume significant quantities of diesel fuel. In 2012, the seven Class 1 railroads consumed more than 3.6 billion gallons (gal) of diesel fuel , amounting to 10 million gal/day and representing 7% of all diesel fuel consumed in the United States. [...]
The large differential between crude oil and natural gas commodity prices translates directly into a significant disparity between projected LNG and diesel fuel prices, even after accounting for natural gas liquefaction costs that exceed refining costs. [...]
Given the difference between LNG and diesel fuel prices in the Reference case, railroads that switch locomotive fuels could accrue significant fuel cost savings. Locomotives are used intensively, consume large amounts of fuel, and are kept in service for relatively long periods of time. The net present value of future fuel savings across the Reference case projection for an LNG locomotive compared to a diesel counterpart is well above the roughly $1 million higher cost of the LNG locomotive and tender (Figure IF3-3).
Relatively large changes in assumptions used to evaluate investments in LNG locomotives (such as a significantly shorter payback period or much higher discount rate) or in fuel prices would be required to change LNG fuel economics for railroad use from favorable to unfavorable. [...] "<
Electric cars can save lots of lives from air pollution, but only if they're powered by renewable energy, not energy from coal or ethanol, a new study find
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] The study, published Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that deaths from air pollution could be cut by 70% if electric cars use only renewable-source electricity. But if they use energy from "dirty" sources like coal, they could actually make matters worse and could increase the number of deaths by 80% or more.
“These findings demonstrate the importance of clean electricity, such as from natural gas or renewables, in substantially reducing the negative health impacts of transportation,” said Chris Tessum, co-author on the study and a researcher in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering in the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering.
The University of Minnesota team estimated how concentrations of two important pollutants — particulate matter and ground-level ozone — change as a result of using various options for powering vehicles. Air pollution is the largest environmental health hazard in the U.S., in total killing more than 100,000 people per year. Air pollution increases rates of heart attack, stroke, and respiratory disease. [...]"<
The NYPSC approved Con Ed of New York's proposed $200 million Brooklyn/Queens Demand Management Program that would relieve overloads in the city.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] Con Ed’s proposed Brooklyn/Queens Demand Management Program is consistent with the state’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” program to restructure the electricity market with greater reliance on technology and distributed resources, the commission said. “The commission is making a significant step forward toward a regulatory paradigm where utilities incorporate alternatives to traditional infrastructure investment when considering how to meet their planning and reliability needs,” the order states.
Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman added that because of the recent D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down federal jurisdiction over demand response in wholesale markets, it’s important for state regulators to set market rules for that resource.
Con Ed said the feeders serving the Brownsville No. 1 and 2 substations began to experience overloads in 2013 and would be overloaded by 69 MW for 40 to 48 hours during the summer by 2018. A new substation, transmission subfeeders and a switching station would cost $1 billion, according to the company. The PSC accepted the company’s estimate of the DM Program’s costs and ordered a cap of $200 million.
The program would include 52 MW of non-traditional utility-side and customer-side relief, including about 41 MW of energy efficiency, demand management and distributed generation, and 11 MW of utility-side battery energy storage. This will include incentives to upgrade building “envelopes,” improve air conditioning efficiency of equipment, encourage greater use of energy controls, and establish energy storage, distributed generation or microgrids.
This will be supplemented by approximately 17 MW of traditional utility infrastructure investment, consisting of 6 MW of capacitors and 11 MW of load transfers from the affected area to other networks. [...]"<
Since the 1850s scientists have known that crystalline materials are organized into 14 different basic lattice structures. However, a team of researchers from Vanderbilt University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) now reports that it has discovered an entirely new form of crystalline order that simultaneously exhibits both crystal and polycrystalline properties, which they describe as "interlaced crystals."
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] The interlaced crystal arrangement has properties that make it ideal for thermoelectric applications that turn heat into electricity, they report. The discovery of materials with improved thermoelectric efficiency could increase the efficiency of electrical power generation, improve automobile mileage and reduce the cost of air conditioning. "We discovered this new form while studying nano particles," said Sokrates Pantelides, University Distinguished Professor of Physics and Engineering at Vanderbilt, who coordinated the study. "It most likely exists in thin films or bulk samples, but it has apparently gone unnoticed." [...]
According to the researchers, the interlaced crystal structure may be just what is needed to optimize thermoelectric applications for power generation or cooling. Thermoelectric devices need a material that is an excellent electrical conductor and a poor conductor of heat. The problem is that materials like metals that are good electrical conductors also tend to be good heat conductors and vice versa. Defects and grain boundaries that retard heat flow also reduce electrical conductivity. In addition to CuInS2, there is a large class of materials that should have similar interlaced structures. When made into thin films, they should be excellent thermoelectric materials, the researchers predict. "We haven't tested this yet, but we are confident that these materials have high electrical conductivity and low thermal conductivity...just what you need for thermoelectrics. The field is now wide open for scientists who can fabricate thin films and make thermoelectric measurements," said Pantelides."<
The company has developed a marine Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) system for waste heat recovery and power generation that could reduce fuel consumption by up to 10%.
Duane Tilden's insight:
"> [...] Enertime’s ORC system produces between 500kW and 1MW of electrical power depending on the available amount of heat. The unit is based on a tailor-made axial turbine and is specifically designed to work in the marine environment. The development work has involved shipyards, shipowners and a classification society, says Mr David.
“Compared to a steam power cycle, ORC systems need very low maintenance, display good part-load efficiency, high availability and can be operated without permanent monitoring,” he said. “Daily operation and maintenance can be carried out without specific qualification.”
The ORC system can work with any kind of heat source. The unit can recover heat from a number of different sources singly or in combination including low-temperature jacket cooling from engines, steam or thermal oil systems and pressurised hot water. Exhaust gas from engines or auxiliaries is the main available heat on board ships, and it can be collected through an exhaust gas heat exchanger and brought to the ORC unit using steam, pressurised water or thermal oil. [...]
The ORC layout is flexible and the unit can also be installed as a retrofit where it is possible to adapt the layout of the machinery to specific constraints by splitting it on different levels, for example.
“This kind of system would be very interesting for bulk carriers, small to medium size oil tankers, ferry boats, small container ships... with payback time between two to five years,” [...]"<