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June 01, 2005
News and Events
* DOE Announces $64 Million in Hydrogen Research Projects
* DOE and USDA to Cooperate on Producing Hydrogen from Biomass
* DOE and USCAR Launch $70 Million Project for Lightweight Vehicles
* DOE Initiates Six Projects to Boost Vehicle Fuel Efficiency
* Seven Teams Qualify for the North American Solar Challenge
* Offshore Wind Power Plant Slated for Georgia's Coast
* DOE to Offer Loan Guarantees for Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline
News and Events
DOE Announces $64 Million in Hydrogen Research Projects
DOE announced last week the selection of 70 hydrogen research and
development projects that will receive $64 million in funding from the DOE
Office of Science over the next three years. The projects will tackle five
main research areas: materials for hydrogen storage; membranes for fuel
cells and for separating hydrogen from other gases and purifying it;
nanoscale catalysts for hydrogen production, storage, and use; production
of hydrogen from solar energy; and hydrogen production processes that mimic
or make use of biological processes that generate hydrogen. More than 50
research organizations in 25 states are participating in the projects,
including industrial research laboratories, academic institutions, and DOE
national laboratories. See the
press release and the full list of awardees
>PDF 23 KB)
on the DOE Office of Science Web site.
>Download Acrobat Reader.
President Bush and Rick Scott stand by a pump marked 'Shell Hyd
President Bush talks to the media as he stands with Rick Scott of Shell
Hydrogen, LLC at Shell's hydrogen fueling station in Washington, D.C.
Credit: Paul Morse, White House
The 70 projects are part of a portfolio of basic and applied research,
technology development, and learning demonstration projects that will
significantly advance the President's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, which aims
to make hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and refueling stations available,
practical, and affordable for U.S. consumers by 2020. For more information,
see the <http://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/presidents_initiative.html
Hydrogen Program Web site.
President Bush marked the occasion by touring a Shell hydrogen fueling
station in Washington, D.C. The President called hydrogen "the wave of the
future" and noted that the United States leads the world in hydrogen
research. See the
House press release.
DOE and USDA to Cooperate on Producing Hydrogen from Biomass
DOE and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced last week that
they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at developing more
cost-effective ways to produce hydrogen from biomass resources. Under the
MOU, DOE and USDA experts will meet regularly to share information on
technologies and activities of mutual interest related to reducing the cost
of chemically converting biomass to hydrogen. Biomass sources that can be
used for hydrogen production include ethanol, crop and forest residues, and
dedicated energy crops, such as switchgrass or willow. Transitioning to
hydrogen technologies in the agriculture industry and in rural communities
is important for a number of reasons: Renewable, farm-based biomass can
fuel hydrogen production; agricultural vehicles could one day be fueled by
hydrogen; and hydrogen fuel cell technology could potentially provide power
for rural communities and remote locations on farms and ranches. See the
The DOE and USDA effort is part of the President's $1.2-billion Hydrogen
Fuel Initiative. DOE and USDA are also working together through the
Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research and Development Interagency Task Force,
which is part of the President's National Science and Technology Council.
For more information, see the federal
>Hydrogen.gov Web site.
DOE and USCAR Launch $70 Million Project for Lightweight Vehicles
DOE announced last week a $70-million, five-year agreement with the U.S.
Council for Automotive Research (USCAR)a cooperative research organization
formed by DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and General
Motors Corporationto develop lightweight, high-strength materials that
will reduce the weight of vehicles without compromising safety. As one
example, improved manufacturing and the use of advanced high-strength steel
can reduce vehicle weight by 15 to 25 percent. DOE estimates that every 10
percent reduction in vehicle weight cuts fuel consumption by about 7 percent.
DOE's FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program and USCAR's U.S.
Automotive Materials Partnership will split the cost of research and
development for a number of new materials, including advanced high-strength
steel; lightweight metals such as aluminum, magnesium, titanium; and new
materials such as carbon fiber and polymer matrix composites. None of the
DOE funds will go to the automakers; instead, the funds will be directed to
government labs, universities, and suppliers to help develop the nation's
technology base. See the
DOE Initiates Six Projects to Boost Vehicle Fuel Efficiency
DOE announced last week its agreement with industrial and academic
organizations to pursue six projects aimed at significantly improving the
fuel efficiency of cars and trucks. DOE is providing $7.35 million in
funding to the six partnerships, which have a total value of $14 million.
Four of the projects focus on developing advanced combustion engines,
including an exhaust gas recirculation control system for diesel engines, a
variable valve actuation system for low-temperature combustion in diesel
engines, a fast-response actuator system for adjusting the compression
ratio in engines, and an engine that operates on a high-compression-ratio,
modified Atkinson combustion cyclean approach used in the Toyota Prius and
Ford Escape Hybridin which the intake valve is held open longer than
normal to allow a reverse flow into the intake manifold.
In addition, International Truck and Engine Corporation will develop idle
reduction equipment for trucks that will be available as a factory-ordered
option, and Clarity Group, Inc. will conduct field performance evaluations
for a wide variety of advanced technology vehicles, and will evaluate the
infrastructure needed to support the vehicles. See the
DOE estimates that these technologies could reduce fuel use for all highway
vehicles by 10 percent, saving more than one million barrels of oil per day
by 2025. The six projects are part of DOE's FreedomCAR and Vehicle
Technologies Program, which aims to improve the efficiency of internal
combustion engines for light-duty vehicles (passenger cars, pickup trucks,
and sport utility vehicles) by at least 30 percent by 2010. For heavy-duty
vehicles, such as trucks and buses, the program's goal is at least a 40
percent improvement in fuel efficiency by 2013. See the
>FreedomCAR and Vehicle
Technologies Program Web site.
Seven Teams Qualify for the North American Solar Challenge
Photo of a low, nearly flat vehicle, covered with solar panels,
The University of Minnesota's solar car hits the raceway in Topeka.
Credit: Richard King, DOE
University teams and their solar-powered cars had their first chance to
qualify for the 2005 North American Solar Challenge in May, and seven of
the teams met the challenge. The American Solar Challenge is a solar car
race held every other year and normally taking place within the United
States; this year's race runs from Austin, Texas, to Calgary, Alberta, and
has appropriately been renamed the North American Solar Challenge. Solar
racers attempted to qualify for the race by competing in the sixth annual
Formula Sun Grand Prix 2005, held at Heartland Park Raceway in Topeka,
Kansas, from May 18th to 20th. The seven qualifying teams include the
University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, and Auburn University (of
Alabama)the three race leaders at the Formula Sun Grand Prixas well as
the University of Missouri-Rolla, the "CalSol" team from University of
California at Berkeley; the University of Michigan; and Northwestern
University (of Illinois).
Thirty solar car teams from across North America were blessed with perfect
weather at the Formula Sun Grand Prix. The event was dominated by a strong
performance from the University of Minnesota solar car team, which logged
more than 850 miles on the track during the three-day solar marathon. See
the press release
31 KB) and for the full race results, see the
Sun Grand Prix Web site.
>Download Acrobat Reader.
The 2005 North American Solar Challenge will start in Austin on July 17th
and end in Calgary on July 27th. Currently, 32 teams intend to face the
challenges of the 2,500-mile race, which will be not only the longest solar
car race in the world, but also the first to cross an international border.
The race is sponsored by DOE, DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory,
and Natural Resources Canada, and includes five Canadian solar car teams.
Teams that failed to qualify in Kansas will have a final chance to qualify
at a pre-race event in Texas. See the
>2005 North American
Solar Challenge Web site.
Offshore Wind Power Plant Slated for Georgia's Coast
Southern Company and the Georgia Institute of Technology announced last
week that they will collaborate on the Southeast's first offshore wind
power project, to be located off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. Southern
Company is an electric utility serving most of Georgia and Alabama, as well
as southeastern Mississippi and the Florida panhandle. The wind project is
expected to include three to five wind turbines with a total generating
capacity of about 10 megawatts. The first step of the project, a design and
conceptual engineering phase, will start in July using technical expertise
from both Georgia Tech and Southern Company.
The project is a continuation of research conducted by Georgia Tech's
Strategic Energy Initiative, a research group devoted to testing both the
scientific and economic feasibility of innovative technologies. Although
the Southeast in general lacks good wind resources, the Georgia Tech group
found an offshore wind resource by analyzing six years of wind data
collected from Navy platforms located off the Savannah coast. According to
Southern Company, the strong westerly winds that blow along Georgia's coast
make this offshore region the best site in the Southeast for a wind
demonstration project. The company says the area is also ideal for offshore
wind because of its extensive area of shallow water at distances beyond
view from the shoreline. See the
>Southern Company press
Large wind power plants of all types will have an easier time connecting to
power grids under new rules approved last week by the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission (FERC). The new interconnection requirements apply to
wind power facilities larger than 20 megawatts, and most requirements will
take effect in early 2006. According to FERC, the new rule removes
unnecessary obstacles to further wind power development, while ensuring
that electric reliability is protected. See the
>FERC press release.
DOE to Offer Loan Guarantees for Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline
DOE announced last week that it is seeking public comment on a program that
will guarantee loans of up to $18 billion for the construction of a
pipeline to bring Alaskan natural gas to the lower 48 states. The loan
guarantee simplifies financing for developers interested in building the
pipeline, which would provide access to Alaska's 35 trillion cubic feet of
proven natural gas reserves. According to DOE, such a pipeline could add
nearly 2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to supplies in the contiguous
United States, helping to further stabilize natural gas prices. DOE
published a Notice of Inquiry in the Federal Register on May 27th and will
accept comments through July 26th. See the
press release, and for additional information, see the DOE Fossil Energy
Web site for the Notice of Inquiry
35 KB) and the <http://www.fossil.energy.gov/alaskangpipeline/
to respond to the Notice of Inquiry.
>Download Acrobat Reader.
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