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EERE Network News -- 07/06/05

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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 , Jul 6 6:59 AM


      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:

      July 06, 2005

      News and Events

      * Oil Companies, U.K. Utility to Fuel Power Plant with Hydrogen
      * Hydrogen-Fueled Vehicle Achieves 12,665 MPG on Test Track
      * Honda is First to Lease Fuel-Cell Vehicle to Private Family
      * U.S. Automakers and EPA to Cut Energy Use in Assembly Plants
      * Maine Governor Approves Rebates for Solar Energy Systems
      * New University Centers Focus on Energy Challenges

      Site News

      * "Our Wind Co-Op" Brings Small Wind Turbines to the Northwest

      Energy Connections

      * France to Host International Fusion Research Reactor

      News and Events

      Oil Companies, U.K. Utility to Fuel Power Plant with Hydrogen

      BP, ConocoPhillips, Shell, and the largest utility in the United Kingdom
      announced last week their plan to develop an industrial-scale "carbon free"
      power plant fueled with hydrogen. Under the plan, up to 70 million cubic
      feet of natural gas will be converted into hydrogen each day to fuel a new
      350-megawatt power station near Peterhead in northeast Scotland. The
      hydrogen production process will generate carbon dioxide, which will be
      captured and shipped via existing pipelines to an oil field in the North
      Sea, 150 miles off the coast, where it will be injected into the oil
      reservoir. Compared to a power plant fueled directly with natural gas, the
      proposed plant will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 90
      percent, storing about 1.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.
      Along with the reduced emissions, the carbon dioxide will yield a side
      benefit for the oil companies: It will increase oil production and extend
      the useful life of their oil field by up to 20 years.

      The companies have already carried out their initial engineering
      feasibility studies for the $600-million project, and are now starting
      detailed engineering design studies to confirm that the project is
      economically feasible. With those studies in hand by mid-2006, the
      companies will make their final investment decision, which could lead to
      the plant starting operations in 2009. The utility partner, Scottish and
      Southern Energy (SSE), currently operates a natural gas-fired power plant
      at the planned location. See the
      <http://www.scottish-southern.co.uk/news/viewcurrent.asp?id=146>SSE press
      release and the
      <http://www.bp.com/genericarticle.do?categoryId=97&contentId=7006978>BP Web

      Hydrogen-Fueled Vehicle Achieves 12,665 MPG on Test Track


      Photo of a bullet-shaped vehicle, its four wheels encased in le

      The PAC-Car II stands only knee-high as it races around the test track in
      Ladoux, France.
      Credit: ETH Zurich

      Remember a couple weeks ago, when we made a big deal about
      <http://www.eere.energy.gov/news/news_detail.cfm/news_id=9127>a vehicle
      achieving 1,836 miles per gallon (mpg)? Silly us. That achievement, a
      laudable effort using a four-cycle engine, falls far short of the new world
      record: 12,665 mpg (5,385 kilometers per liter), set last week by students
      from the Federal Polytechnical School of Zurich. The team set the new world
      record in a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle on a track in France as part of the
      Shell Eco-marathon. Called the PAC-Car II, the diminutive vehicle weighs
      only 66 pounds and carries one driver in a prone position. To qualify for
      the record, the car had to travel just under 13 miles on a test track while
      maintaining an average speed of at least 18.6 miles per hour (30 kilometers
      per hour), a feat that the Swiss team achieved while using only 1.02 grams
      of hydrogen. The record 12,665 mpg is based on converting that hydrogen to
      its equivalent in 95-octane gasoline. As pointed out by the Swiss team,
      with that fuel efficiency a car would need only 2 gallons of gasoline to
      travel around the globe. See the
      release from the Federal Polytechnical School of Zurich, as well as the
      school's <http://www.paccar.ethz.ch/>PAC-Car II Web site.

      According to Shell, the first Shell Eco-marathon was held in France in
      1985, setting a record of 1,600 mpg. The fuel economy record rapidly
      improved, and in 2003, a French team achieved 10,705 mpg, a record that
      stood until last week. But the Swiss team's new record could be under
      challenge already today, as another round of the Shell Eco-marathon is
      underway at Britain's Rockingham Motor Speedway. See the
      Eco-marathon Web site.

      Of course, there is one type of vehicle that can travel an indefinite
      distance without using any fuel at all: a solar car. Across North America,
      students are currently loading their solar cars onto trailers and hitting
      the road, as solar car teams from 28 colleges and universities will soon
      converge in Austin, Texas. Next weekend is the start of the final
      qualifying event for the North American Solar Challenge, a 2500-mile solar
      race that will run from Austin due north into Canada, then will head west
      to Calgary, Alberta. The staged race starts in Austin on July 17th and ends
      in Calgary on July 27th. See the
      <http://americansolarchallenge.org/index.html>2005 North American Solar
      Challenge Web site.

      Honda is First to Lease Fuel-Cell Vehicle to Private Family


      Photo of a couple and their two young daughters posing with a t

      The Spallino family and their Honda FCX.
      Credit: Honda

      Jon and Sandy Spallino of Redondo Beach, California, are now the first
      private individuals in the world to lease a fuel-cell vehicle. Though it's
      usually a rare privilege to drive a fuel-cell vehicle, American Honda Motor
      Company, Inc. is leasing a 2005 Honda FCX to the Spallino family for two
      years of everyday use, including commuting to work and daily errands such
      as dropping the kids off at school. The vehicle requires hydrogen fuel, so
      the Spallinos will also be the first private citizens to take advantage of
      fueling stations built under California's Hydrogen Highway initiative. The
      2005 FCX has a range of 190 miles and carries a fuel economy rating of 62
      miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 51 mpg on the highway. Honda didn't
      make public the terms of the lease. See the
      <http://world.honda.com/news/2005/4050629.html>Honda press release.

      Converting all the vehicles in the United States to fuel-cell vehicles
      could save up to 6,000 lives each year, according to an article published
      last week in the journal Science. The study compared the impacts on
      pollution of today's gasoline and hybrid electric vehicles with fuel cell
      vehicles fueled with hydrogen, and found the greatest pollution decrease
      and health benefit for fuel cell vehicles using hydrogen derived from wind
      power. The study also compared fuel costs. See the
      press release.

      The U.S. public embraces advances in automotive technology, according to a
      new poll, and many are expecting success from hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
      The poll, sponsored by General Motors Corporation (GM), found that reducing
      U.S. dependence on foreign oil is a much higher priority for Americans than
      other environmental or economic considerations. Unfortunately for GM, when
      it comes to meeting that challenge, the poll found that domestic automakers
      are given much less credit than Japanese automakers. See the
      press release, or go directly to a summary of the report
      (<http://media.gm.com/images/hart_research.pdf>PDF 60 KB).
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Adobe Reader.

      U.S. Automakers and EPA to Cut Energy Use in Assembly Plants

      While vehicle fuel economy ratings provide a clear standard of comparison
      for U.S. automakers, historically they've had no simple way to compare the
      energy efficiency of their assembly plants, where they collectively spend
      $700 million per year for energy. That all changed in late June, when the
      U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled a new rating system
      that compares the energy efficiency of a U.S. assembly plant producing any
      type of vehicle to that of the entire industry. With support from DOE's
      Argonne National Laboratory, the EPA and U.S. automakers developed the
      Energy Star Automobile Assembly Plant Energy Performance Indicator, which
      is now available on the Energy Star Web site. The Web site also includes a
      report from DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that examines
      opportunities for saving energy in assembly plants. See the
      press release and the
      Vehicle Manufacturing Focus" page of the Energy Star Web site.

      Ford Motor Company has found one way to save energy in its assembly plants:
      the company recovers the fumes from its paint shops and converts them into
      electricity. Ford's "fumes to fuel" technology, developed in partnership
      with Detroit Edison, concentrates the exhaust fumes and burns them in a
      combustion engine, which drives a generator. In the past, Ford has also
      worked with Fuel Cell Technologies, Inc. (FCT) to fuel a solid-oxide fuel
      cell with the fumes. See the
      <http://media.ford.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=21018>Ford press
      release and the <http://www.fct.ca/index.php?pressid=15>July 2003 press
      release from FCT.

      Maine Governor Approves Rebates for Solar Energy Systems

      Maine Governor John Baldacci approved a bill last week that creates rebates
      for homeowners and businesses that install solar energy systems. The
      rebates apply to both solar photovoltaic power systems and solar thermal
      systems used to heat water or air. Solar photovoltaic systems installed
      before 2007 will earn a rebate of $3 per watt for the first 2,000 watts and
      $1 per watt for the next 1,000 watts, for a maximum rebate of $7,000. Solar
      thermal systems will earn a rebate of 25 percent of the system cost,
      including installation, up to a maximum rebate of $1,250. The rebates will
      be funded through an assessment of the state's utilities. See the
      and status of the bill on the State of Maine Legislature Web site.

      New University Centers Focus on Energy Challenges

      If universities are truly the seats of knowledge, it's well worth noting
      what trends universities are following: Lately, a number of universities
      are beefing up their involvement in energy issues. Rensselaer Polytechnic
      Institute (RPI), for example, opened the Center for Future Energy Studies
      on its campus in Troy, New York, in early June. RPI created the new $20
      million research center in partnership with Cornell University and DOE's
      Brookhaven National Laboratory, with a goal of meeting this century's
      energy challenges through energy conservation and renewable energy. In late
      June, RPI also launched a new $4.8 million interdisciplinary program to
      train doctoral students in fuel cell science and engineering. See the RPI
      press releases from <http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=743>June
      7th and <http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=750>June 21st.

      The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is also preparing to take
      on the world's energy challenges, and has formed the Energy Research
      Council to help it do so. MIT Provost Robert Brown appointed the Energy
      Research Council to lead MIT's planning for an initiative in energy-related
      research and education. The new council will develop a picture of the
      current state of MIT energy-related research and expertise, create a list
      of promising science and engineering research areas that match global needs
      and MIT capabilities, and recommend an organizational structure that would
      facilitate work in these areas. See the
      <http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2005/energy-0608.html>MIT press release.

      The California Clean Energy Fund is hoping to find a university in northern
      California with a similar vision toward the future. The fund­formed earlier
      this year with settlement money from the bankruptcy of Pacific Gas and
      Electric­intends to award a grant of $1 million to help establish and
      maintain a leading university center for energy efficiency. See the fund's
      request for proposals
      Word 90 KB).

      Site News

      <http://www.ourwind.org/windcoop/>"Our Wind Co-Op" Brings Small Wind
      Turbines to the Northwest

      Our Wind Co-Op is a cooperative that invests in small-scale (10-kilowatt)
      wind turbines for farms, ranches, and public and private facilities in the
      Northwest. Initially supported by grants from DOE's National Renewable
      Energy Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural
      Development program, Our Wind Co-Op is creating low-risk opportunities to
      explore on-farm green power production, distribution, ownership, and
      marketing models to meet local energy needs. See the
      <http://www.ourwind.org/windcoop/>Our Wind Co-Op Web site.

      Energy Connections

      France to Host International Fusion Research Reactor

      An international project to build an experimental fusion reactor took a
      critical step forward last week, as the project participants chose a site
      in Cadarache, France, for the project. Called ITER, the fusion reactor is
      meant to be the mid-way step between research experiments and the first
      commercial fusion reactor. ITER will use a reactor design called a tokomak,
      in which magnetic fields contain a hot plasma that re-creates conditions
      within the sun. The $5-billion facility will be capable of producing 500
      megawatts of thermal energy from fusion power for periods of at least 400
      seconds. ITER is designed to maintain a controlled plasma in which fusion
      is occurring ("a controlled burn") and may even be able to achieve a
      self-sustaining fusion reaction, referred to as "ignition." See the
      <http://www.iter.org/index.htm>ITER and
      "<http://www.itercad.org/intro.html>ITER at Cadarache" Web sites.

      ITER is an international project involving the United States (represented
      by DOE), The People's Republic of China, the European Union (represented by
      Euratom), Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the Russian Federation. It is
      technically ready to start construction, and the first plasma operation is
      expected in 2016. According to DOE, the United States supports the decision
      to locate ITER in France and looks forward to getting ITER construction
      underway there as soon as practical. The United States had previously
      supported an alternate site in Japan on technical grounds. See the last
      week's <http://www.itercad.org/pr_ministers_jun05.html>joint declaration on
      ITER and 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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