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EERE Network News -- 01/28/04

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  • Tom Gray
    Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2004 15:48:00 -0800 Subject: EERE Network News -- 01/28/04 From: EERE Network News A weekly newsletter from
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 28, 2004
      Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2004 15:48:00 -0800
      Subject: EERE Network News -- 01/28/04
      From: "EERE Network News" <eere_network_news@...>

      A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of
      Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

      January 28, 2004

      News and Events

      Zero Energy Home Displayed at International Builder's Show
      Award-Winning Building Products and Projects Advance Energy Efficiency
      U.S. Wind Growth Nears Record in 2003, but 2004 Outlook Dim
      Ethanol Production Hits Record as MTBE Bans Take Effect
      Advances in Materials Show New Promise for Superconductors
      NASA Delivers Solar-Powered Vehicles to Mars

      Energy Connections

      Energy Companies Propose Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline

      News and Events

      Zero Energy Home Displayed at International Builder's Show

      The Ultimate Family Home.

      Attendees at last week's International Builder's Show in Las Vegas, Nevada,
      had a chance to tour a custom home that, over the course of a year, will
      produce as much electricity as it uses. Called the "Ultimate Family Home,"
      it draws on two rooftop-mounted solar energy systems: one for power and
      another for hot water. A highly efficient air-conditioning system combines
      with good insulation, air sealing, and advanced windows to keep the
      5,300-square-foot home comfortable. Other energy-saving highlights include
      tankless water heaters that deliver hot water only on demand, fluorescent
      and LED lighting, and heat-reflecting roof tiles combined with a radiant
      barrier for added energy savings and comfort. The home will use 90 percent
      less energy than a similar home built strictly to code.

      DOE started the Zero Energy Homes initiative to bring the latest research
      out of its national laboratories and into homes. DOE and its National
      Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) partnered with Pardee Homes and Consol
      Energy Consultants to build the Ultimate Family Home. See the NREL press
      release and the Ultimate Family Home Web site.

      The Ultimate Family Home was one of several energy-efficient homes
      displayed at the builder's show, two of which were covered in last week's
      newsletter. In addition, a house called the "Home by Design Showcase" was
      displayed in the parking lot of the Stardust Hotel. The Home by Design
      Showcase is built on an insulated concrete foundation, uses Structural
      Insulating Panels (SIPs) for the walls and roof, and features Energy
      Star-labeled appliances and double-pane low-E windows. Insulated metal
      window shutters help to further shut out the hot afternoon sun. A tankless
      water heater supplies both hot water and space heating, and a
      high-efficiency air conditioner is combined with sealed ducts to cool the
      house efficiently. According to the home's Web site, the house is 41.8
      percent more efficient than required by the Nevada Building Code. See the
      Home by Design Web site.

      Award-Winning Building Products and Projects Advance Energy Efficiency

      The Des Moines Area Community College West Campus in Iowa earned special
      recognition on Saturday for the technical innovations in its heating and
      cooling system. The system distributes heated and cooled air through a
      12-inch space underneath the building's raised floor, an innovation that
      earned a first-place technology award from the American Society of Heating,
      Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). The system draws its
      energy from a four-acre pond on the campus, using a geothermal water-source
      heat pump. In areas with concrete floors, water-to-water heat pumps supply
      an in-floor radiant heating system. ASHRAE announced the award at its 2004
      Winter Meeting, which concludes today in Anaheim, California. See the
      ASHRAE press release.

      Advanced building technologies were also lauded at the International
      Builder's Show, held last week in Las Vegas, Nevada. During the show, the
      Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) named its "Top Ten
      Technologies," including such energy-saving innovations as tankless water
      heaters and pre-cast concrete panels, which are filled with batt or foam
      insulation to yield a well-insulated foundation. PATH also recognized wall
      and roof panels built around insulating cores. While Structural Insulating
      Panels, or SIPs, use a plywood skin, PATH notes that new panels are using
      skins made of steel, aluminum, concrete, and fiberglass. PATH also
      acknowledged new guidelines that allow heating and cooling systems to be
      properly sized for a home. See the PATH press release and the "Top Ten
      Technologies" list.

      Another "top ten" list was produced by the editors of GreenSpec and
      Environmental Building News, who recently named their "Top-10 Green
      Building Products" for 2003. Among the products is a polyurethane
      spray-foam insulation derived in part from soy oil. Another "Top-10"
      product is a "smart" vapor retarder that changes permeability as the
      relative humidity changes: in the right climate, the material will prevent
      condensation in the winter but allow the building envelope to dry out
      during humid summers. And for those of us tired of pouring water down the
      drain as we wait for it to heat up, there's the Taco D'MAND System, an
      electronically activated water-pumping system that quickly delivers hot
      water to a fixture while returning water that has been sitting in the hot
      water pipes back to the water heater. See the list of Top-10 Green Building

      U.S. Wind Growth Nears Record in 2003, but 2004 Outlook Dim

      [] []

      The Blue Canyon Wind Power Project.
      Credit: Zilkha Renewable Energy

      The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced last week that 2003
      was one of the best years ever for the U.S. wind industry, but its outlook
      for 2004 is considerably less optimistic. In 2003, a total of 1,687
      megawatts of new wind capacity were installed in the United States, just 9
      megawatts shy of the record established in 2001. There are now 6,370
      megawatts of wind power installed throughout the country, and utility-scale
      wind turbines are spinning in 30 states. But since the wind energy
      production tax credit expired at the end of the year, AWEA claims that the
      industry is now facing layoffs, stalled projects, and a negative near-term
      market outlook. See the AWEA press release.

      Among the wind power projects completed in December 2003 is the
      74.25-megawatt Blue Canyon Wind Power Project, built near Lawton, Oklahoma,
      by Zilkha Renewable Energy. See the Zilkha Web site.

      The latest wind industry trends are sure to be a topic of discussion at the
      Global WINDPOWER 2004 Conference and Exhibition, to be held in Chicago in
      late March. See the conference Web page.

      Ethanol Production Hits Record as MTBE Bans Take Effect

      The U.S. ethanol fuel industry had its best year yet in 2003, producing a
      record 2.81 billion gallons of fuel, according to the Renewable Fuels
      Association (RFA). The record ethanol production in 2003 is about 32
      percent more than the industry produced in 2002. The ethanol market has
      been growing steadily in recent years as gasoline suppliers switch to
      ethanol to replace MTBE as an additive. Due to concerns about groundwater
      pollution, MTBE bans took effect in California, Connecticut, and New York
      on January 1st. See the RFA press release.

      RFA is sponsoring the 9th Annual National Ethanol Conference, from February
      16th to 18th in Miami Beach, Florida. See the conference announcement.

      Advances in Materials Show New Promise for Superconductors

      It was bound to happen: "superconductor" a material able to carry
      electrical current with little or no resistance has long been one of those
      technology buzzwords you could impress your friends with, but in recent
      years it has been largely supplanted by the latest thing, "nanotechnology,"
      the use of materials at the sub-microscopic scale of a billionth of a
      meter, or nanometer. So leave it to a superconductor company to put the two
      together! American Superconductor Corporation is currently selling 10-meter
      lengths of its second-generation high-temperature superconductor (HTS) wire
      to select customers, but plans to enhance the product by dispersing
      "nanodots" particles of inorganic materials throughout the superconductor
      coating in the wire. The technical explanation is that the nanodots
      immobilize magnetic lines of flux in the superconductor, but the bottom
      line is that they allow 30 percent more current to flow through the wire.
      The company expects to produce the second-generation HTS wire in commercial
      volumes in three to four years. See the American Superconductor press release.

      DOE's national laboratories are also advancing superconductor technology.
      At DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory, researchers have found a way to
      produce superconductor wire from magnesium diboride, a material that was
      found to be a superconductor in early 2001. Although the material is much
      cheaper than earlier superconductors, researchers have had difficulty
      fabricating useful products from it. The Los Alamos researchers overcame
      that difficulty by subjecting the material to high pressures and
      temperatures, a process known as hot isostatic pressing. They were able to
      produce 80 feet of wire that was able to carry 45 percent more current than
      previous magnesium diboride wires. See the Los Alamos press release.

      DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is investigating yet another
      class of superconductors, made from cobalt oxide. A BNL scientist has found
      a way to make the superconductor, sodium cobalt oxyhydrate, without using
      dangerous chemicals. The superconductor is unusual because the compound
      contains water; if allowed to dry out it loses its superconductivity. See
      the BNL press release.

      NASA Delivers Solar-Powered Vehicles to Mars

      [] []

      The Mars rover.
      Credit: JPL

      Thanks to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Mars is
      now the planet in our solar system with the highest percentage of
      solar-powered electric vehicles. In fact, 100 percent of the Mars fleet is
      now solar-powered, a feat not expected to be repeated here on Earth anytime
      soon! NASA even managed to double the size of the Mars fleet in a single
      day, when it landed a second vehicle on Mars on Saturday. With the two
      vehicles on the opposite sides of the planet, NASA has also dramatically
      extended the geographic coverage of its solar-powered fleet.

      Of course, we're referring to the two Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and
      Opportunity, each of which is powered by 140 watts of solar power. Each
      craft carries two rechargeable batteries that are energized by the solar
      cells. See the Mars Exploration Rover Mission Web site, provided by the Jet
      Propulsion Laboratory.

      In defense of the fleet of vehicles here on Earth, the Mars fleet falls
      short on a couple items, including its top speed of two inches per second,
      an average speed of less than half an inch per second, and a price somewhat
      higher than the average Earth vehicle (the pair cost roughly $800 million).
      The rovers do, however, feature four-wheel-drive. See the "Wheels" section
      of the Rover Mission Web site.

      Spectrolab, Inc. is the proud manufacturer of the high-efficiency solar
      cells used on the Mars rovers. The "triple junction" cells use three layers
      of photovoltaic material to capture a high percentage of the solar energy
      striking the cell and convert that energy into electricity. Each rover
      carries 1.3 square meters (about 14 square feet) of solar cells. See the
      Spectrolab press release.

      Energy Connections

      Energy Companies Propose Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline

      Last week, after years of discussions about a pipeline to carry natural gas
      from Alaska's North Slope to the lower 48 states, Alaska Governor Frank
      Murkowski announced that two groups of companies have separately applied to
      build it. On January 22nd, Governor Murkowski announced that a group led by
      MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company applied to build a pipeline, and on the
      following day, the governor announced that the three major North Slope oil
      producers had also applied to build a pipeline. "It has long been Alaska's
      dream to see commercialization of our vast gas reserves, believed to be
      well over 100 trillion cubic feet," said Governor Murkowski. The state will
      now enter negotiations with the two proposing groups. See the governor's
      press releases from January 22nd and January 23rd.

      MidAmerican proposes to build a 745-mile, $6.3-billion pipeline from the
      North Slope near Prudhoe Bay to the Alaska-Yukon border. According to
      MidAmerican, another company will build a companion pipeline in Canada to
      carry the natural gas to Canadian and U.S. markets. The company plans to
      place the pipeline in service by the end of 2010. See the MidAmerican press
      release and accompanying fact sheet (PDF 524 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.

      In the latest energy outlook from DOE's Energy Information Administration
      (EIA), the availability of natural gas from Alaska is considered part of
      the necessary expansion in U.S. natural gas supplies needed to meet the
      anticipated growth in demand. The EIA projections assume that the Alaska
      natural gas pipeline will be completed in 2018. The EIA recently finalized
      its Annual Energy Outlook 2004.

      This newsletter is funded by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and
      Renewable Energy (EERE) and is also available on the EERE news page. You
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      If you have questions or comments about this newsletter, please contact the
      editor, Kevin Eber, at kevin_eber@....
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