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EERE Network News -- 06/22/05

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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 , Jun 22, 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:

      June 22, 2005

      News and Events

      * DOE to Award $2.5 Million to 18 Tribes for Efficiency, Renewable Energy
      * Nissan to Build Altima Hybrid in Tennessee Starting in 2006
      * Indiana Students Achieve 1,836 MPG in Supermileage Competition
      * Ethanol Partnership Plans to Produce Biodiesel from Corn
      * Vermont Sets Renewable Energy Requirement; Iowa Expands Tax Credits
      * Planetary Society Launches a Solar Sail

      Site News

      * SolWest

      Energy Connections

      * International Funding Helps Shape China's Energy Future

      News and Events

      DOE to Award $2.5 Million to 18 Tribes for Efficiency, Renewable Energy

      DOE announced last week that it plans to award nearly $2.5 million to 18
      Native American tribes to advance the use of renewable energy and energy
      efficient technologies on tribal lands. The tribes will investigate energy
      audits, energy efficiency improvements, and a wide range of renewable
      energy technologies, including biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind energy.
      Notable projects include plans to tap geothermal energy resources on the
      Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal lands in central Oklahoma, efforts to
      evaluate wind power development in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, and
      plans to install utility-scale wind power plants on tribal lands of the
      Hualapai and Hopi in Arizona. See the
      press release, or go directly to the full list of projects
      9 KB). <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Adobe

      The grants are being awarded through DOE's Tribal Energy Program, which
      promotes tribal energy self-sufficiency and fosters employment and economic
      development on tribal lands in the United States. As part of the program's
      effort to promote energy self-sufficiency, it has created a new Web site
      called "A Guide to Tribal Energy Development." See the new
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/tribalenergy/guide/>Tribal Energy Development
      Web site.

      Nissan to Build Altima Hybrid in Tennessee Starting in 2006

      A hybrid-electric version of the Nissan Altima sedan will not only be sold
      in the United States next year, but will also be built here. Nissan
      announced last week that its first hybrid vehicle will be built at its
      existing manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, in 2006 for the 2007
      model year. Nissan first unveiled a prototype of the Altima Hybrid a year
      ago. The car mates Nissan's four-cylinder engine to hybrid system
      components from Toyota. Under an agreement signed in 2002, Nissan can
      produce up to 100,000 hybrid vehicles within a five-year period using
      Toyota hybrid components. See the Nissan press releases from
      week and <http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/NEWS/2004/_STORY/040603-01.html>a
      year ago.

      Meanwhile, Ford Motor Company is gearing up for the sale of its newest
      hybrid vehicle, the 2006 Mercury Mariner Hybrid. The new hybrid sport
      utility vehicle (SUV) uses a drivetrain similar to the Ford Escape Hybrid
      to achieve estimated mileage ratings of 33 miles per gallon (mpg) in the
      city and 29 mpg on the highway. Ford donated its first production vehicle
      to a California-based environmental group, which sold it for $47,500 at a
      fund-raising auction. See the
      press release and the
      <http://media.ford.com/products/model.cfm?vehicle_id=1245>2006 Mariner
      Hybrid press kit.

      Indiana Students Achieve 1,836 MPG in Supermileage Competition

      A team of students from Mater Dei High School in Evansville, Indiana, took
      top honors last week at the 2005 Supermileage competition by achieving
      1,836 miles per gallon (mpg). Sponsored by the Society of Automotive
      Engineers (SAE), the competition requires each team to build a
      fuel-efficient vehicle using a small four-cylinder engine, then demonstrate
      its fuel efficiency by traveling 9.6 miles on an oval track while
      maintaining a speed of at least 15 miles per hour. The competition involves
      building lightweight, highly aerodynamic vehicles with low rolling
      resistances, and most teams also rebuild the engine and fuel system for
      greater fuel efficiency.

      Photo looking down at a long, skinny, teardrop-shaped vehicle,

      The Supermileage entry from the University of British Columbia.
      Credit: UBC

      For instance, the entry from the University of British Columbia (UBC) rides
      extremely low with wheels totally encased in a teardrop-shaped body,
      powered by a reduced-displacement, fuel-injected engine. The vehicle
      features an aluminum honeycomb chassis with a carbon fiber body that
      achieves a drag coefficient of only 0.11 (for comparison, the aerodynamic
      Honda Insight has a drag coefficient of 0.25, and the ideal teardrop shape
      has a drag coefficient of about 0.04). The vehicle took first place among
      the college teams with a fuel economy of 1,608 mpg. See the
      <http://www.sae.org/news/releases/05smfinal.htm>SAE press release and
      <http://students.sae.org/competitions/supermileage/>Supermileage Web page,
      as well as the
      <http://www.mech.ubc.ca/~supermileage/2005/tech_specs.htm>UBC team Web site.

      DaimlerChrysler researchers are also looking for more aerodynamic vehicles,
      and have drawn their inspiration from an unlikely source: the boxfish. The
      resulting concept car, called the Mercedes-Benz Bionic Car, features an
      extremely short snout and high glass "forehead" for the windshield,
      followed by streamlined contours tapering towards the rear of the car. With
      a drag coefficient of only 0.19, combined with a lightweight honeycomb body
      structure and a direct-injection diesel engine, the Bionic Car achieves an
      estimated fuel economy of about 70 mpg. See DaimlerChrysler's
      report on the Bionic Car.

      Ethanol Partnership Plans to Produce Biodiesel from Corn

      A new company plans to build a biodiesel production facility that will
      extract a crude-oil-like substance from corn and convert it into biodiesel
      fuel. The company, SunSource BioEnergy LLC, was formed by four ethanol
      producersĀ­VeraSun Energy; Glacial Lakes Energy, LLC; KAAPA Ethanol LLC; and
      Golden Grain Energy, LLCĀ­and one technology company, called Ethanol Oil
      Recovery Systems LLC. The latter company developed the oil-extraction
      technology, which SunSource BioEnergy plans to employ in a new facility
      capable of producing 50 million gallons of biodiesel per year. SunSource
      BioEnergy hopes to extend the benefits of the technology throughout the
      ethanol industry by offering producers extraction units and oil purchase
      agreements. See the <http://www.verasun.com/releases_6_14_05.htm>VeraSun
      Energy press release.

      Vermont Sets Renewable Energy Requirement; Iowa Expands Tax Credits

      Vermont and Iowa have both advanced legislation that will encourage greater
      use of renewable energy within their states.

      In Vermont, Governor Jim Douglas signed a bill on June 14th that
      establishes a renewable energy requirement for electricity sold within the
      state. Through 2011, every retail provider of electricity in Vermont must
      meet its growth in electrical demand using new renewable energy resources
      or must buy renewable energy credits equal to its growth in energy sales.
      Electricity providers can also use a combination of new renewable energy
      resources and renewable energy credits. The new law sets a cap at 10
      percent of the electricity provider's energy sales in 2005 and provides an
      incentive for electricity providers to enter into long-term purchase
      agreements with renewable energy facilities. The law also includes measures
      to encourage combined heat and power facilities, removes a cost cap for
      energy efficiency programs, and requires the state's public service board
      to set interconnection standards for small power generators. See
      bill S. 52.

      In Iowa, Governor Tom Vilsack signed a bill on June 15th that extends wind
      energy production tax credits to producers of energy products from biomass
      or solar energy. To earn the tax credit, the producers must have a signed
      agreement for the purchase of their energy product, which can be in the
      form of electricity, biogas, hydrogen, or heat for a commercial purpose.
      The bill, Senate File 390, applies to facilities placed in service after
      July 1st of this year and before 2011. The renewable energy facilities can
      earn tax credits for up to 10 years. See the
      and status of the bill on the Iowa General Assembly Web site.

      Planetary Society Launches a Solar Sail


      An illustration of the solar sail, consisting of eight triangle

      An artist's conception of the solar sail in orbit.
      Credit: The Planetary Society

      The Planetary Society launched a prototype "solar sail" into space
      yesterday, marking the first attempt to prove that thin films of reflective
      material can be deployed in space to capture the solar wind. Solar sails
      may one day serve as a space propulsion technology; although they
      accelerate slowly, they will continue to accelerate for a long time without
      the need for fuel. The Planetary Society, which bills itself as the world's
      largest nonprofit, non-governmental space advocacy group, is trying to
      prove the potential of solar sails by placing one in Earth orbit. Called
      Cosmos 1, the craft features eight triangular sails, each 50 feet long,
      which will deploy outward from the small craft. Cosmos 1 was launched from
      a Russian nuclear submarine aboard a converted intercontinental ballistic
      missile. As of press time, the Planetary Society still didn't know if the
      craft was successfully inserted into Earth orbit and operating correctly.
      If the launch proves successful, Cosmos 1 will attempt to capture the solar
      wind and use the energy to move to a higher orbit. See the
      <http://www.planetary.org/solarsail/>Solar Sail Web site, and for the
      latest news, see the
      <http://planetary.org/solarsailblog/index_03.html>Solar Sail Weblog, posted
      by the Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla.

      Both Japan and the United States are investigating solar sails. Japan's
      Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) successfully deployed
      two solar sails in space last August, but did not attempt to control the
      sails once they were launched. Last month, Alliant Techsystems and the
      National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) conducted a successful
      ground test of a solar sail measuring 66 feet wide in a vacuum chamber
      operated by the NASA Glenn Research Center. See the press releases from
      <http://www.isas.ac.jp/e/snews/2004/0809.shtml>ISAS and

      Site News


      The <http://www.solwest.org/>SolWest Fair, an annual event hosted by the
      Eastern Oregon Renewable Energies Nonprofit, is an occasion for learning,
      networking, and supporting renewable energy. The three-day event, held on
      the last full weekend in July, offers activities for all ages and knowledge
      levels and includes a lightweight electric vehicle race. Among the many
      exhibitors at this year's event are DOE's Western Regional Office and
      Washington State University's Solar Decathlon team.

      Energy Connections

      International Funding Helps Shape China's Energy Future

      As China's hunger for energy steadily grows, both the World Bank and the
      United Nations have recently announced plans to support China's progress
      toward sustainable energy solutions. Last week, the World Bank approved a
      loan of $87 million to the People's Republic of China for the financing of
      the "Renewable Energy Scale-up Program," which will finance a 100-megawatt
      wind power plant and a 25-megawatt biomass energy facility. The program
      will also provide grants for renewable energy projects, and is supplemented
      by a grant of $40 million from the Global Environment Facility. See the
      Bank press release.

      In early June, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) entered into
      a 12-year program that will using a sustainable, market-based approach to
      support China's efforts to reduce its energy use in industry and buildings.
      According to the UNDP, China's gross domestic product is expected to
      quadruple by 2020, but the country wants its energy use to grow at only
      half that rate. To achieve that goal, China must operate more efficiently.
      Currently, China uses 2.4 times more energy per unit of gross domestic
      product than the world does on average, according to the UNDP. See the
      press release.

      A report issued earlier this year by the Earth Policy Institute
      demonstrates how quickly China is growing: the country is now the world's
      top consumer of grain, meat, steel, and coal, and is second only to the
      United States in oil consumption. Between 1994 and 2004, China's use of oil
      has doubled. But according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China also
      instituted a renewable energy law in February, creating favorable policies
      for achieving China's goal of using renewable energy for 10 percent of its
      energy needs by 2020. The Center for Resource Solutions, a nonprofit
      working to increase the supply and use of renewable energy, is working with
      China to implement the law. See the press releases from the
      <http://www.earth-policy.org/Updates/Update45.htm>Earth Policy Institute
      and the
      Academy of Sciences, as well as the
      <http://www.crs2.net/HTMLemails/2005/China%20RE%20Law_3.07.05.htm>March 5th
      6th press releases from the Center for Resource Solutions.

      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
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/news/>EERE news page. You can
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