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EERE Network News -- 10/22/03

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  • Tom Gray
    ====================================================================== EERE NETWORK NEWS -- October 22, 2003 A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 22, 2003
      EERE NETWORK NEWS -- October 22, 2003
      A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE)
      Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

      *News and Events
      DOE Awards $20.4 Million to 13 Building Efficiency Projects
      Canada to Join International Hydrogen Partnership
      Oklahoma Gains a Massive 102-Megawatt Wind Power Plant
      Toyota Launches U.S. Sales of its New Prius
      Netherlands Team Holds Wide Lead in World Solar Challenge
      Will Electrokinetics Yield a New, Clean Energy Source?

      *Site News
      DOE Launches "Energy Savers," a New Web Site for Consumers

      *Energy Connections
      DOE Report: U.S. LNG Imports Doubled in First Half of 2003

      *About this Newsletter

      DOE Awards $20.4 Million to 13 Building Efficiency Projects

      DOE announced last week its award of $20.4 million to 13 projects that
      will advance energy efficiency in buildings. Industry partners will
      contribute more than $10 million to the projects, bringing the total
      investment to more than $30 million. The three-year projects will aim
      to develop advanced technologies for lighting systems, windows, water
      heaters, and air conditioning systems.

      Among the technologies being investigated are LED (light-emitting
      diode) light sources using nanomaterials, organic materials, and other
      novel materials; new phosphor coatings for fluorescent lamps; wireless
      lighting control systems; advanced windows that use extremely
      lightweight insulating materials, called aerogels; "smart" windows
      that mirror over in direct sunlight to reflect heat; electrochromic
      windows, which can be electronically lightened or darkened; commercial
      heat pump water heaters that use carbon dioxide as a refrigerant; air
      conditioning systems that add fresh outdoor air to maintain indoor air
      quality; and magnetocaloric air conditioners. Magnetocaloric cooling
      devices, sometimes referred to as magnetic refrigeration, use a
      metallic refrigerant that exhibits the magnetocaloric effect: it heats
      up when placed in a magnetic field, and cools when the magnetic field
      is removed. See the DOE press release at:

      Canada to Join International Hydrogen Partnership

      After an October 16th meeting with Herb Dhaliwal, Canada's minister of
      natural resources, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced that
      Canada intends to join the International Partnership for the Hydrogen
      Economy. Secretary Abraham proposed the hydrogen partnership in April
      during his speech to the International Energy Agency Ministerial
      Meeting. Several other countries have shown interest in joining the
      partnership, which Secretary Abraham will kick off this fall by
      hosting the first ministerial meeting of the partnership.

      The International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy will support
      the deployment of hydrogen technologies by establishing collaborative
      efforts in hydrogen production, storage, transport, and end-use
      technologies; creating common codes and standards for hydrogen fuel
      utilization; and sharing information necessary to develop hydrogen-
      fueling infrastructure. See the October 16th press release on the DOE
      Web site at:

      For more information on hydrogen technologies, see DOE's Hydrogen,
      Fuel Cells, and Infrastructure Technologies Program Web site at:

      Oklahoma Gains a Massive 102-Megawatt Wind Power Plant

      The first major wind power plant in Oklahoma went online last week,
      bringing 102 megawatts of wind power to the state. The Oklahoma Wind
      Energy Center, located near Woodward in northwest Oklahoma, was
      developed by FPL Energy and is providing half its power to the
      Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) and the other half to the Oklahoma
      Municipal Power Authority (OMPA). It features 68 1.5-megawatt
      turbines, manufactured by GE Wind Energy. See the link to the OG&E
      press release on the company's home page at: <http://www.oge.com/>.

      The OMPA press release is available in PDF format only at:

      For background on the project, see the July 11th press release from
      FPL Energy at:

      Oklahoma will soon gain its second wind power plant, as Zilkha
      Renewable Energy is building a 74.25-megawatt wind project near
      Lawton. Zilkha expects to complete the project, called the Blue Canyon
      Wind Farm, in December. See the Zilkha Web site at:

      Toyota Launches U.S. Sales of its New Prius

      Toyota Motor Sales officially launched U.S. sales of its new Prius
      last week. The upgraded hybrid-electric vehicle is not only larger
      than its predecessor, but also achieves a higher mileage: the U.S.
      Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the new Prius will
      achieve 60 miles per gallon (MPG) in the city and 51 MPG on highways,
      for a combined city/highway mileage of 55 MPG. In contrast, the
      earlier version earned an estimated combined city/highway mileage of
      48 MPG. In terms of emissions, the Prius has earned an AT-PZEV
      (Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) rating, which
      means that it is an SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) with
      zero evaporative emissions.

      Toyota is also holding the line on pricing for the new vehicle,
      keeping the base MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price) at just
      under $20,000. But it may be awhile before you see one on a dealer's
      lot: the company has already received nearly 12,000 pre-orders for the
      new Prius. Toyota currently plans to manufacture 36,000 Prius hybrids
      for the U.S. market this year.

      The new Prius is packed with features to appeal to the technology
      hound, including drive-by-wire technology for the throttle and
      shifting systems, an electronically dimming "electrochromic" rear-view
      mirror, and a keyless entry and start system. See the Toyota Prius Web
      site at: <http://www.toyota.com/prius/>.

      California drivers may have a new reason to buy a hybrid vehicle: On
      October 2nd, the State of California requested authority from the
      Secretary of Transportation to allow hybrid vehicles to drive in the
      HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes, even if they're not carrying a
      passenger. See the Toyota Prius press releases at:

      Netherlands Team Holds Wide Lead in World Solar Challenge

      The World Solar Challenge is underway in Australia, and at the end of
      Tuesday's racing, the Nuon Solar Team from the Netherlands holds a
      commanding lead. The lead vehicle, called the Nuna II, was one of
      three solar cars that reached Alice Springs on Monday, but the team
      widened its lead on Tuesday. A team from Melbourne, Australia, is
      trailing the Nuna II by 46 minutes, and the U.S. team from the
      Massachusetts Institute of Technology is in third place. As of
      Tuesday, 22 solar cars were competing in the race.

      By the time you read this newsletter, the race will probably be
      decided, as the lead teams were expected to reach the finish line in
      Adelaide by Wednesday afternoon. That translates to early Wednesday
      morning in the eastern United States, or late Tuesday night on the
      West Coast. See the "Latest Updates" and "Media" pages on the World
      Solar Challenge Web site at: <http://www.wsc.org.au/latestupdates.htm>
      and <http://www.wsc.org.au/media.htm>.

      Will Electrokinetics Yield a New, Clean Energy Source?

      A team of researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada
      announced Monday that they have discovered a new method of generating
      electricity. The researchers forced water through a filter made of
      porous glass, causing an electrical charge to build up on the filter
      via the electrokinetic effect -- the physical separation of charges
      within a liquid, such as water, due to its interaction with a solid
      surface, such as glass. Using the pressure caused by a 30-centimeter
      column of water (a column about one foot high), the researchers were
      able to draw a current of 1.5 micro-amps from the glass filter. That's
      an extremely small current, but the researchers believe that using
      saltier water and a greater number of "microchannels" -- the miniature
      channels existing in the pores of the glass filter -- could yield a
      practical power source.

      Although the authors described the technique as possibly "a new
      alternative energy source to rival wind and solar power," it suffers
      from a potentially fatal flaw, namely, its low conversion efficiency.
      According to the authors' paper, published Monday in the Journal of
      Micromechanics and Microengineering (a publication of the Institute of
      Physics), the amount of electrical energy produced by the technique is
      expected to be less than 0.05 percent of the mechanical flow energy
      consumed by the pressure drop across the microchannels -- at least,
      for dilute solutions. That suggests that for any natural source of
      flowing water, such as a river, a conventional turbine-generator would
      yield far more electricity than would an electrokinetic device.
      However, the devices should be more efficient when driven by salt
      water, and may have an application in tidal or wave energy devices
      that aim to convert the energy in flowing seawater into electricity.
      See the announcement from the Institute of Physics at:

      See also the October 20th press release on the University of Alberta
      Web site at: <http://www.expressnews.ualberta.ca/expressnews/>.

      DOE Launches "Energy Savers," a New Web Site for Consumers

      DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) launched
      a new consumer-oriented Web site in early October, called "Energy
      Savers: A consumer guide to energy efficiency and renewable energy."
      The new site combines the popular "Energy Savers" booklet with new
      content on ways to save energy at home, as well as ways to use
      renewable energy to provide power, hot water, and heating and cooling
      for your home. It even includes information on how to buy energy-smart
      vehicles, including alternative-fuel vehicles and hybrid electric
      vehicles. The site features the "look and feel" of the redesigned
      EERE Web site, and can be accessed by selecting "Consumers" on the
      EERE home page at: <http://www.eere.energy.gov/>.

      People looking to save energy at home can also turn to the American
      Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), which just launched
      the eighth edition of its popular "Consumer Guide to Home Energy
      Savings." Although the full booklet is available for a fee, a quick
      checklist and a list of the most energy-efficient home appliances are
      both available for free on the ACEEE Consumer Guide Web site at:

      DOE Report: U.S. LNG Imports Doubled in First Half of 2003

      U.S. imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the first half of 2003
      were more than double the amount imported in the first half of 2002,
      according to a new DOE report. DOE's quarterly report on natural gas
      imports and exports found that the United States imported a total of
      201.5 billion cubic feet of LNG during the first half of 2003,
      compared to only 96.9 billion cubic feet during the first half of
      2002. In fact, for the entire year of 2002, the United States imported
      only 228.7 billion cubic feet of LNG, an amount nearly equaled in the
      first half of 2003.

      The increase in LNG imports reflects an increased emphasis on finding
      new ways to meet U.S. natural gas demands, which are beginning to
      outstrip domestic supplies. Although natural gas can be brought to the
      continental United States from Alaska, Canada, and Mexico via
      pipelines, overseas sources of natural gas must be converted to LNG
      for shipping to the United States. According to the DOE report,
      LNG imports are currently coming from Algeria, Nigeria, and Trinidad.
      See the report for the second quarter of 2003 by selecting "Summary
      Reports" on DOE's Office of Fossil Energy Web site at:

      Meanwhile, the major energy companies continue to announce agreements
      aimed at insuring a future supply of LNG to the United States. On
      October 14th, for instance, BG LNG Services, LLC -- one of four
      current importers of U.S. LNG -- signed a 20-year agreement to import
      LNG from Nigeria at a rate of about 117 billion cubic feet per year.
      Two days later, ExxonMobil Corporation announced a 25-year agreement
      to import LNG from Qatar to the United States. The $12-billion
      agreement will bring in about 730 billion cubic feet of LNG per year,
      starting in 2008 or 2009. See the BG Group and ExxonMobil press
      releases at: <http://www.bg-group.com/news/archive_2003/141003-pr.htm>
      and <http://www.exxonmobil.com/Corporate/Newsroom/News_Room.asp>.

      While companies are lining up overseas LNG supplies, security and
      environmental concerns still make it difficult for LNG importers to
      build new U.S. LNG import terminals. For some companies, the answer is
      to build terminals in Mexico and import from there via pipelines. For
      others, like BHP Billiton, the answer is to build a floating terminal
      offshore. BHP Billiton's proposed Cabrillo Deepwater Port would be
      located 21 miles off the California shore and would convert the LNG
      into natural gas, which would then be piped to shore via an undersea
      pipeline. See the company's Cabrillo Deepwater Port Web site at:

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      The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
      home page is located at: <http://www.eere.energy.gov/>.

      If you have questions or comments about this
      newsletter, please contact the editor, Kevin Eber, at
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