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EERE Network News -- 11/19/03

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  • Tom Gray
    ====================================================================== EERE NETWORK NEWS -- November 19, 2003 A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 19, 2003
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      ======================================================================
      EERE NETWORK NEWS -- November 19, 2003
      A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE)
      Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/>
      ======================================================================

      Featuring:
      *News and Events
      EERE Research Grants Available to Small Businesses
      Hydrogen Technology Projects Slated for Michigan, California
      HelioVolt and NREL to Advance Thin-Film Solar Power
      NRDC Opens Highly Energy Efficient Building in California
      CEC Approves New Energy Efficiency Standards for Buildings
      CEC Committee Recommends Approval of New Geothermal Plant

      *Site News
      Reflective Insulation Manufacturers Association

      *Energy Connections
      Warm Weather Tempers Natural Gas Prices

      *About this Newsletter


      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      NEWS AND EVENTS
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      EERE Research Grants Available to Small Businesses

      DOE recently issued its fiscal year 2004 solicitation for its Small
      Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology
      Transfer (SBTT) programs. Although the solicitations cover a wide
      range of energy technologies, several grants are being offered through
      DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
      Specifically, EERE is seeking grant applications for research in
      lighting technologies, energy efficient membranes, materials for
      industrial energy systems, sensors and controls, and innovative waste
      heat recovery methods. EERE is also seeking grant applications for
      projects to develop new renewable energy sources, including materials
      and components for solar energy systems, low-head hydropower systems,
      and hydrogen production via electrolysis, using wind or solar
      photovoltaic systems. See the EERE solicitation at:
      <http://www.science.doe.gov/sbir/Solicitations/FY%202004/EE.htm>.

      Grant applications are due by January 6, 2004. The full SBIR/SBTT
      solicitation, including all necessary forms and submission
      requirements, is posted on the DOE Office of Science Web site at:
      <http://www.science.doe.gov/sbir/Solicitations/FY%202004/contents.htm>


      Hydrogen Technology Projects Slated for Michigan, California

      Michigan and California will soon feature innovative projects that
      demonstrate the infrastructure needed for the future hydrogen economy,
      thanks to the efforts of DTE Energy and Stuart Energy.

      In Michigan, DTE Energy is planning to build a hydrogen energy pilot
      project that will include on-site hydrogen production using biomass
      and solar power, hydrogen storage and distribution, vehicle fueling,
      and on-site power production using fuel cell technology. The five-year
      project will cost $3 million and will produce about 100,000 kilowatt-
      hours of electricity per year, in addition to enough compressed
      hydrogen gas to fuel three vehicles per day. The project will be
      located at Detroit Edison's Southfield Station. DOE, the State of
      Michigan, and the City of Southfield are partners on the project. See
      the November 4th press release on the DTE Energy Web site at:
      <http://www.dteenergy.com/cgi-bin/press.pl>.

      In California, the South Coast Air Quality Management District has
      awarded a contract to Stuart Energy Systems Corporation to build a
      hydrogen energy station that will produce power while fueling
      vehicles. The project, to be built in early 2004, will generate
      hydrogen via electrolysis of water and will then compress it and store
      it. In addition to a fuel dispenser for vehicles, the system will feed
      a 120-kilowatt power system that will use a hydrogen-fueled internal
      combustion engine to generate power. See the November 17th press
      release from Stuart Energy at:
      <http://www.stuartenergy.com/main_media_center.html>.


      HelioVolt and NREL to Advance Thin-Film Solar Power

      DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced last week
      that it will team up with HelioVolt Corporation to advance the
      technology for making thin-film Copper Indium Gallium Diselenide
      (CIGS) solar cells. The HelioVolt process involves depositing two thin
      films of chemicals on a surface such as glass and then rapidly heating
      them to form a bond. NREL and HelioVolt are collaborating under a six-
      month Cooperative Research and Development Agreement valued at
      $100,000, for which HelioVolt is supplying $75,000 of its own funds.
      See the NREL press release at:
      <http://www.nrel.gov/news/press/2003/3303_nrel_team_thin_film.html>.


      NRDC Opens Highly Energy Efficient Building in California

      Santa Monica may now be home to one of the "greenest" buildings in the
      nation with the opening last week of the new Southern California
      office of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The new
      building reduces electricity consumption 60 to 75 percent by
      maximizing natural light and using efficient fixtures and appliances,
      task lighting, dimmable electronic ballasts, occupancy sensors, and
      extra insulation. Its air conditioning system uses "displacement
      ventilation," in which cool air is supplied at floor level to displace
      the hot air, which rises to the ceiling and is extracted from the
      building. The building also meets 20 percent of its electricity needs
      through rooftop solar cells. It is being considered by the U.S. Green
      Building Council for a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental
      Design) Version 2 Platinum green building rating -- the highest
      possible level of sustainable design -- and may become the first
      structure in the United States to achieve this status. See the NRDC
      press release and online "tour" at:
      <http://www.nrdc.org/media/pressreleases/031113.asp> and
      <http://www.nrdc.org/cities/building/smoffice/intro.asp>.

      For more information on LEED ratings, see the USGBC Web site at:
      <http://www.usgbc.org/>


      According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-
      Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE, displacement ventilation
      systems, such as the one in the NRDC building, have the potential to
      improve indoor air quality while saving energy. Although many
      Scandinavian countries use them, the systems are less common in the
      United States. To encourage their use, ASHRAE released new design
      guidelines for the systems in late October. See the ASHRAE press
      release at:
      <http://www.ashrae.org/template/AssetDetail;?assetid=29163>.


      CEC Approves New Energy Efficiency Standards for Buildings

      California is destined to be the location for many more energy
      efficient buildings, since the California Energy Commission (CEC) has
      approved updated building standards for energy efficiency. The new
      standards take effect in October 2005, and will yield more than
      500 megawatts in energy savings for the state by 2008. The new
      standards include the use of "cool roofs" and efficient lighting, as
      well as measures to encourage greater use of daylighting, better
      sealing of ducts, and improved window glazing. See the November 5th
      press release and the new building standards on the CEC Web site at:
      <http://www.energy.ca.gov/releases/index.html> and
      <http://www.energy.ca.gov/2005_standards/rulemaking/index.html>.

      The upgraded building standards are supported by a recent study of
      green buildings, which found that green designs typically add about
      2 percent extra to the cost of a building, while yielding savings over
      the life of the building that total 20 percent of the building costs.
      In other words, the savings are 10 times the initial investment. The
      study, released in October, was prepared by the Capital E group with
      help from DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It was
      developed for the Sustainable Buildings Task Force, a group of more
      than 40 California state agencies. See the report on the Capital E
      Group Web site at:
      <http://www.cap-e.com/spotlight/Index.cfm?Page=1&NewsID=25770>.


      CEC Committee Recommends Approval of New Geothermal Plant

      A new 185-megawatt geothermal power plant moved one step closer to
      reality last week, as the siting committee of the California Energy
      Commission (CEC) recommended that the full commission approve the
      project. If constructed, the Salton Sea Unit 6 Geothermal Power
      Project will be the largest geothermal power plant in the country,
      harvesting energy from hot brines drawn from deep underground, then
      reinjecting the warm waste water back into the geothermal reservoir.
      CE Obsidian Energy, LLC plans to begin power production at the plant
      in 2005. The CEC will vote on the project on December 17th. See the
      November 14th press release on the CEC Web site at:
      <http://www.energy.ca.gov/releases/index.html>.

      The new plant will be located on the southeast shore of the Salton
      Sea. For more information, see the CEC's Salton Sea Geothermal
      Documents page at:
      <http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/saltonsea/documents/>.


      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      SITE NEWS
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      Reflective Insulation Manufacturers Association
      <www.rima.net>

      The Reflective Insulation Manufacturers Association (RIMA) represents
      reflective insulation and radiant barrier manufacturers and other
      companies active within the industry. It educates the marketplace on
      the benefits of reflective insulation technologies and represents
      members' interests in establishing ASTM (America Society for Testing
      and Materials) standards for testing and installation procedures.


      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      ENERGY CONNECTIONS
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      Warm Weather Tempers Natural Gas Prices

      Despite early predictions of higher heating bills, warmer than normal
      weather has kept natural gas prices from escalating so far this
      heating season. Heating degree-days were approximately 11 percent
      below normal in October, according to DOE's Energy Information Agency
      (EIA), and the first week in November brought unseasonably warm weather
      to the Midwest and Northeast. The warmer temperatures have kept demand
      for natural gas low and supplies higher than average. If warmer than
      average temperatures prevail through the early winter months, EIA
      predicts prices for natural gas may fall, but the agency still expects
      prices to be higher than a year ago for the October-December period.
      Using weather predictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
      Administration, EIA predicts heating costs for natural-gas heated
      homes will rise six percent. For more details see the EIA Web site at:
      <http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/steo/pub/contents.html>

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      ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
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