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EERE Network News -- 06/16/04

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  • EERE Network News by way of Tom Gray
    17f4c7c9.jpg 17f4c873.jpg A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 16, 2004

      A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The EERE Network News is also available on the Web at: www.eere.energy.gov/news/

      June 16, 2004

      News and Events

      Site News

      • University Leaders for a Sustainable Future

      Energy Connections

      • BP Releases "Statistical Review of World Energy 2004"

      News and Events

      Ford Announces Pricing for Escape Hybrid

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      The Ford Escape Hybrid will go on sale in late summer.
      Credit: Ford Motor Company

      Ford Motor Company announced Monday that its 2005 Escape Hybrid will be priced from $3,300 to $3,425 above a comparably equipped V6-powered Escape. The base price for the Escape Hybrid will be $26,380, plus destination and delivery charges of $590, for a total of $26,970. The four-wheel-drive version of the Escape Hybrid will cost $28,005, plus the destination and delivery charge. According to Ford, the Escape Hybrid will qualify for a "Clean Fuel Vehicles" federal tax deduction of $1,500 if purchased this year. See the Ford press release.

      Ford claims the Escape Hybrid to be the world's cleanest and most fuel-efficient sport utility vehicle. It has the ability to run on electric power only at low speeds, and can also run using the gasoline engine only or using the combined power of the gasoline engine and the electric motor. See the Ford Escape Hybrid Web site.

      The Ford Escape Hybrid appears to be arriving on the scene as the popularity of hybrid vehicles is growing. Last month, the Honda Civic Hybrid posted its third consecutive month of record sales, at 3,183 vehicles, and the Toyota Prius achieved its best-ever sales for May, at 3,962 vehicles. The hybrid system in the new Prius won the "International Engine of the Year 2004" award in May, as well as taking first place in three award categories. See the Honda press release and June 2nd and May 26th press releases from Toyota.

      California Proposes Cuts in Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions

      The California Air Resources Board (CARB) released a draft staff report on Monday that examines potential regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles in the state. In 2002, the state enacted a law that gives CARB until the end of this year to develop and adopt regulations that "achieve the maximum feasible and cost-effective reduction of greenhouse gas emissions" from passenger vehicles. The law did not set specific standards. The new CARB report proposes regulations that phase in reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from new cars and light trucks, starting with small reductions in 2009 and increasing to a nearly 30 percent reduction by 2014.

      Several of the technologies examined in the CARB report address fuel economy: The report finds the technologies that could achieve significant reductions at favorable costs include improved engine technologies, turbocharging combined with smaller engines, and automated manual transmissions. But the report also notes ways to cut emissions of refrigerants from cars' air conditioning systems, including improved compressors, more leak-proof systems, and alternative refrigerants. According to CARB, nearly all the combinations of technologies examined for the report provided reductions in lifetime operating costs that exceed the added retail price of the vehicles caused by the new technology. See the CARB press release or go directly to the full report (PDF 1.1 MB). Download Acrobat Reader.

      New Standards Boost Promise for Hydrogen Fueling Stations

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      Hydrogen fueling stations, such as this one in West Sacramento, may soon become a more common sight.
      Credit: California Fuel Cell Partnership

      The prospect for new hydrogen fueling stations is brightening, due in part to new standards and efforts to standardize fueling systems. In late May, the International Code Council (ICC) approved several new standards relating to hydrogen storage at fueling stations. The ICC International Fire Code now allows hydrogen to be stored in insulated containers underground or as a pressurized gas in tanks mounted in the station's overhead canopy, where any gas leaks would go up and away from the fueling station. It also allows stations to treat metal hydride storage systems the same as gaseous hydrogen systems. The National Hydrogen Association praised the new standards in a June 8th press release (PDF 94 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.

      Meanwhile, the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) has launched an incentive program to encourage makers of hydrogen fuel-dispensing nozzles to demonstrate that their systems meet industry standards. The CaFCP is offering to pay four manufacturers for half the cost of third-party testing of their fuel nozzles, up to $25,000 per manufacturer. See the CaFCP press release.

      The growing emphasis on hydrogen fueling systems highlights the importance of President Bush's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, which includes a significant effort to advance hydrogen storage technologies. Last week, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham toured Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., which is participating in two DOE-funded hydrogen energy research projects. See the DOE press release.

      The emphasis on hydrogen fueling has also caused a business casualty: Shell Hydrogen and UTC Fuel Cells announced last week that they will dissolve their joint project, HydrogenSource LLC, which was developing fuel processors for vehicles. The companies say that over the past three years, the hydrogen industry has moved away from on-board fuel processing in favor of on-board hydrogen storage. See the announcement on the HydrogenSource Web site.

      Office Depot and Whole Foods Market Buy Green Power

      Office Depot, a leading seller of office supplies, announced last week that 12 of its California outlets are buying 12 million kilowatt hours per year of electricity from renewable energy, also called green power. Strategic Energy will produce the electricity from landfill gas. The agreement marks the first green power purchases for Office Depot. See the Office Depot press release.

      Whole Foods Market is also expanding its green power purchases, as all 28 of its stores and facilities in the North Atlantic region are buying enough wind power to meet 10 percent of their electricity needs. Community Energy, Inc. (CEI) will supply an estimated 5.2 million kilowatt-hours of wind power each year to the Whole Foods facilities in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. The agreement follows a November 2003 announcement that 24 Whole Foods Market locations in the mid-Atlantic region would buy green power. According to CEI, the combined purchases rank among the top 10 non-governmental purchases of green power in the United States. See the CEI press release.

      New Energy Technologies to Yield Longer Run Times for Laptops

      If you're reading this newsletter on a laptop computer, you're part of a growing trend, and companies that work on energy-related devices are working on ways to let you spend more time on your laptop without having to find a power outlet. The market for laptop batteries is currently over a billion dollars a year and is expected to reach $1.8 billion by 2008, according to Business Communications Company, Inc. (BCC). The market research company anticipates a declining role for nickel-metal-hydride batteries and a rapidly growing market for lithium-ion batteries. But new technologies may upset that forecast: A company called Zinc Matrix Power, Inc. is working with Intel Corporation to develop a polymer-based rechargeable alkaline battery that could extend laptop run times to up to 10 hours. Micro fuel cells are also expected to enter the competition, and ABI Research predicts they will power 13.5 percent of the world's laptops by 2012. See the press releases from BCC, Zinc Matrix Power, and ABI.

      U.S. Research Groups Investigate Wave Energy Technologies

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      A model of a wave energy system under development by Australia's Energetech.
      Credit: Energetech Australia Pty Ltd

      The Electricity Innovation Institute (E2I) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) announced Monday that they have identified sites in four states for possible demonstration plants to convert offshore wave energy from the ocean into electricity. E2I and EPRI have identified a number of potential sites in Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, and Maine. By September, the institutes will pick the best site for each state and produce a detailed study for that site.

      E2I and EPRI are collaborating with DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and with energy agencies and utilities from the four states to produce a conceptual system design for a pilot plant and future commercial-size facility in each state. This will include estimates of the construction costs and power-generating potential for each plant. The study will help determine whether wave energy will be economically practicable in the United States within the next decade and will make a case either for or against additional funding to develop this technology.

      The wide variety of offshore wave energy conversion devices capture the kinetic energy produced by the bobbing or pitching motion of the ocean via floating platforms. The potential energy production is significant: the average wave off the Northwest coast carries about 25 kilowatts of energy per meter of wave crest. At 50 percent efficiency, a 50-meter-wide device would produce about 625 kilowatts of electricity. See the E2I press release.

      The E2I and EPRI project also produced a report in May that provides a detailed assessment of 12 wave energy conversion technologies, using information provided by the device manufacturers. The report is among the most comprehensive summaries to date of this nascent energy technology. See all the wave energy reports on the E2I Web site.

      Site News

      University Leaders for a Sustainable Future

      The mission of the Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future (ULSF) is to make sustainability a major focus of teaching, research, operations, and outreach at colleges and universities worldwide. ULSF pursues this mission through advocacy, education, research, assessment, membership support, and international partnerships to advance education for sustainability. The ULSF Web site links to resources for higher education such as campus assessment tools, curricula, and site operations plans.

      Energy Connections

      BP Releases "Statistical Review of World Energy 2004"

      BP continued its 53-year tradition of compiling world energy statistics with the publication of its "Statistical Review of World Energy 2004" yesterday. This year's report shows that at current rates of production, the world's proved reserves of oil are sufficient to last for 40 years, although nearly 77 percent of those reserves are located in OPEC countries. The proved reserves of natural gas are sufficient to last for 67 years at current rates of production, with the largest reserves in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Proved reserves of coal are sufficient to last 192 years at current production rates, with most reserves in North America, the Asia Pacific region, and Europe and Eurasia.

      World energy use increased 2.9 percent in 2003, with the strongest growth (6.3 percent) in the Asia Pacific region. Among fossil fuels, coal grew fastest in 2003, with an increase of 6.9 percent, largely due to a reported increase of more than 15 percent in China. Chinese oil demand has also doubled over the past ten years, leading BP's Chief Executive, the Lord Browne of Madingley, to conclude in his foreword that China "will be a major influence on the world energy scene from now on."

      In contrast to the fossil fuel statistics, BP's statistics on renewable energy sources are relatively limited. The report does note that world geothermal capacity was just shy of 6,000 megawatts in 2000 and that wind power capacity has reached 40,000 megawatts worldwide, "signaling wind's emergence as a mainstream energy source." The report also notes that solar photovoltaic capacity has increased more than ten fold over the last decade. World consumption of large hydroelectric power held nearly steady in 2003, increasing by only 0.4 percent. See BP's "Statistical Review of World Energy 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 can subscribe to the EERE Network News using our simple online form, and you can also update your email address or unsubscribe online.

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