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EERE Network News -- 04/06/05

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  • EERE Network News by way of Tom Gray
    [] [] A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 6, 2005


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

      April 06, 2005

      News and Events

      * DOE Tightens Criteria for Energy Star Clothes Washers
      * DOE Announces Four Hydrogen Demonstration Partnerships
      * Ballard Aims to Commercialize Vehicle Fuel Cells by 2010
      * Toyota Announces Pricing and Fuel Economy of Highlander Hybrid
      * New Jersey Utility to Install 500-Kilowatt Solar Power System
      * Eastern States Offer a Variety of Renewable Energy Incentives

      Site News

      * Green Building Initiative

      Energy Connections

      * Nuclear Regulators Give Preliminary Approval to Illinois Site

      News and Events

      DOE Tightens Criteria for Energy Star Clothes Washers

      DOE announced last week that it has developed more stringent criteria for
      clothes washers carrying the Energy Star label. The new, tougher criteria
      are expected to save consumers more than $52.8 million annually. The new
      criteria will go into effect on January 1st, 2007, when tougher minimum
      efficiency standards for all clothes washers take effect. Under the new
      guidelines, models earning the Energy Star label will be 36 percent more
      efficient than washers that meet the minimum requirements and will
      collectively save more than 185.7 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per
      year. The new Energy Star criteria also include water savings requirements
      for the first time, resulting in a savings of 8.9 billion gallons of fresh
      water each year. See the
      press release.

      In 1997, less than one percent of clothes washers qualified for the Energy
      Star label. Today, Energy Star clothes washers account for more than 30
      percent of all units sold throughout the United States, and more and more
      efficient models are becoming available each year. See the
      Washers page on the Energy Star Web site.

      DOE Announces Four Hydrogen Demonstration Partnerships


      Photo of a hydrogen fueling station adjacent to a gas pump at a

      In November, this Shell hydrogen fueling station opened at an existing
      filling station in Washington, D.C., as part of the DOE partnership.
      Credit: Shell

      Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman announced the details of four "Hydrogen
      Learning Demonstration" partnerships last week at the annual conference of
      the National Hydrogen Association. According to Secretary Bodman, companies
      are working in four teams on the five-year, $380-million project, for which
      DOE is providing roughly half the funds. In northern and southern
      California, ChevronTexaco and Hyundai Motor Company will test fuel cells
      manufactured by United Technologies Corporation. DaimlerChrysler and BP
      will be testing Ballard Power System's fuel cells in hot arid climates like
      Sacramento, California, and cold climates like Detroit, Michigan. Ford
      Motor Company is also working with BP and Ballard in Detroit, but also in
      hot, humid climates like Orlando, Florida. And General Motors Corporation
      (GM) is trying out its own fuel cell stack in tests with Shell Hydrogen,
      LLC in several locations: New York, Detroit, California, and Washington,
      D.C. The four teams will collect data both on the open road and in
      controlled test conditions.

      The companies are investigating a myriad of hydrogen production options,
      including hydrogen produced directly from sources such as natural gas and
      ethanol, as well as hydrogen generated by electrolyzing water with
      electricity from sources such as solar and biomass power. Through the
      course of their research, the four teams will employ 134 fuel cell vehicles
      and up to 28 hydrogen fueling stations. See
      Bodman's speech and the related
      press release.

      As noted by Secretary Bodman in his speech, DOE originally announced the
      funding for the Hydrogen Learning Demonstrations a year ago, although few
      details were announced at that time. See the
      press release from April 27th, 2004.

      Ballard Aims to Commercialize Vehicle Fuel Cells by 2010

      Ballard Power Systems, a participant in two of DOE's Hydrogen Learning
      Demonstrations, announced last week that it plans to demonstrate a
      commercially viable fuel cell stack for hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2010.
      The company's technology "road map" sets technology targets for the
      durability, cost, freeze-start ability, and volumetric power density of its
      fuel cell stacks, targets closely aligned with the goals of DOE's Hydrogen,
      Fuel Cells, and Infrastructure Program. Specifically, Ballard aims to
      develop a fuel cell that will run for 5,000 hours, start at temperatures as
      low as 22 degrees Fahrenheit below zero (negative 30 degrees Celsius),
      generate at least 2,500 net watts per liter, and cost $30 per net kilowatt
      when produced at a volume of 500,000 units. Over the next five years,
      Ballard plans to develop fuel cells embodying such technology advancements
      as reduced active area, improved catalyst, and increased membrane
      conductivity, while also capable of being manufactured at high volumes.

      Ballard already has a good track record: In 2004, the company produced a
      fuel cell stack capable of running for 2,200 hours under real-world
      conditions, able to repeatedly start at 4 degrees Fahrenheit below zero,
      and using 30 percent less platinum catalyst, a key component in fuel cell
      costs. See the Ballard press release
      221 KB) and
      <http://www.ballard.com/be_informed/fuel_cell_technology/roadmap>"road map"
      Web page. <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download
      Acrobat Reader.

      Toyota Announces Pricing and Fuel Economy of Highlander Hybrid


      Photo of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

      The Highlander Hybrid is coming in June.
      Credit: Toyota

      Toyota announced last week that its 2006 Highlander Hybrid will go on sale
      in June with a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $33,030 for
      the two-wheel-drive version and $34,430 for the four-wheel-drive version.
      The comparable two-wheel-drive version of the V6 2005 Highlander has an
      MSRP of $25,990, and the four-wheel-drive version has an MSRP of $27,390.
      Toyota notes that the Highlander Hybrid includes more standard options than
      the Highlander, accounting for $2,300 of the price difference. That leaves
      a premium of $4,470 for both versions of the Highlander Hybrid, assuming
      the Highlander MSRPs hold steady for the 2006 model. And just like its
      luxury cousin, the Lexus RX 400h, the Highlander Hybrid includes an all-new
      traction and stability control system that is included in the base price.

      The Highlander Hybrid combines a 3.3-liter V6 engine with a more powerful
      version of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive, yielding 268 peak horsepower with
      a standard towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. According to Toyota, the
      four-wheel-drive Highlander Hybrid will accelerate to 60 miles per hour in
      7.3 seconds.

      The two-wheel-drive Highlander Hybrid carries an estimated fuel efficiency
      rating from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of 33 miles per
      gallon (mpg) in city driving and 28 mpg on the highway, for a combined
      city/highway fuel efficiency rating of 30 mpg. According to EPA estimates,
      the four-wheel-drive version will achieve 31 mpg in city driving and 27 mpg
      on the highway, for a combined rating of 29 mpg. That's an improvement of
      more than 30 percent over the four-wheel-drive V6 version of the 2005
      Highlander, which achieves a combined fuel economy rating of less than 22
      mpg. See the
      Highlander press releases and fact sheets.

      New Jersey Utility to Install 500-Kilowatt Solar Power System

      The Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) in New Jersey announced its
      plans last week to install a 500-kilowatt solar power system at its
      wastewater treatment plant in Atlantic City. The initial phase of the
      $3.25-million project involves installing solar panels on three rooftops at
      the plant and in a canopy over the parking lot, and should be installed
      this summer. By October, three solar arrays will be installed on the ground
      in open areas of the plant, completing the installation. The project has
      been awarded to WorldWater Corporation and its partner, the Conti
      Corporation. See the
      <http://www.acua.com/about/pressrelease1.cfm?id=75>ACUA press release.

      ACUA has already earned a name for itself by developing the first
      utility-scale wind power project in the state. The 7.5-megawatt wind
      installation­developed with Community Energy, Inc.­is expected to begin
      producing power in mid-year. See the
      <http://www.acua.com/Alternative/Services/a_windenergy.htm>ACUA Web site.

      Eastern States Offer a Variety of Renewable Energy Incentives

      Homeowners, businesses, and other institutions located west of the
      Mississippi River—and in California in particular—have in recent years
      led the rest of the country in their pursuit of renewable energy, but
      Eastern states are now offering a variety of incentives that may just help
      them catch up. In Massachusetts, for instance, the Renewable Energy Trust
      has launched a new $5-million rebate program for customer-sited solar
      photovoltaic systems, wind power, and micro-hydropower systems. The rebates
      are for systems up to 10 kilowatts in capacity and can range up to $50,000.
      They are designed to offset one-quarter to one-half of the cost of 400 to
      500 systems across the state. See the
      release and
      description from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust.

      Maryland has chosen to extend its solar energy incentives, allowing
      homeowners, businesses, and local small governments to apply for grants
      through May 16th. The grants cover 20 percent of the system cost for solar
      water heating and solar photovoltaic systems, and can be as large as $5,000
      for non-residential photovoltaic systems. See the press release from the
      Maryland Energy Administration
      (<http://www.energy.state.md.us/press/050224.pdf>PDF 74 KB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Acrobat Reader.

      New Jersey, meanwhile, has seen a surge in demand from public schools for
      its solar energy rebates, which can save 60 percent off the cost of
      installation. To help distribute the funds fairly, the New Jersey Board of
      Public Utilities (BPU) recently set new criteria that caps the amount
      awarded to each school district. New Jersey's Clean Energy Program also
      provides incentives to residential, commercial, and industrial projects.
      See the <http://www.bpu.state.nj.us/home/news.shtml?14-05>New Jersey BPU
      press release.

      Site News

      <http://www.thegbi.org/home/default.asp>Green Building Initiative

      Created in January, the Green Building Initiative is a nonprofit
      organization that promotes energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable
      practices in residential and commercial construction. The group works
      closely with the National Association of Home Builders and local home
      builder associations to create green building programs.

      Energy Connections

      Nuclear Regulators Give Preliminary Approval to Illinois Site

      Efforts to prepare to build the next generation of nuclear power plants in
      the United States made progress in early March, when the U.S. Nuclear
      Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced its preliminary conclusion that
      environmental impacts would not prevent it from issuing an Early Site
      Permit (ESP) for the Clinton site, about six miles east of Clinton,
      Illinois. The ESP process allows an applicant to address site-related
      issues, such as environmental impacts, for possible future construction and
      operation of a nuclear power plant at the site. Exelon Generation Company,
      LLC, filed the Clinton application; if approved, the permit would give
      Exelon up to 20 years to decide whether to build a new nuclear unit on the
      site and to file an application with the NRC for approval to begin
      construction. On April 19th, the NRC staff will hold a public meeting to
      obtain comments on its draft environmental impact statement. See the
      press release and its
      <http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-licensing/esp/clinton.html>Clinton ESP Web

      The NRC also announced in early March that it was meeting with Duke Power
      to discuss Duke's possible application for a "combined license" to build a
      nuclear plant. When the nation's current 104 licensed reactors were built,
      an applicant had to first obtain a construction permit, and could only
      obtain an operating license once the plant was built and had passed all
      applicable tests. In 1989, the NRC amended its licensing regulations to
      allow a combined license, which authorizes both construction and
      conditional operation of a nuclear power plant. According to the NRC, the
      combined license process incorporates inspections, tests, analyses, and
      acceptance criteria into the construction phase, thereby demonstrating that
      the reactor could operate safely once construction is complete. See the
      press release.

      This newsletter is funded by DOE's <http://www.eere.energy.gov/>Office of
      Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and is also available on the
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