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EERE Network News -- 08/31/05

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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 , Aug 31, 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:

      August 31, 2005

      News and Events

      * DOE Offers $4 Million for Solid-State Lighting Research
      * DOE Provides $4.7 Million for Automotive Technology Education
      * Transportation Department Proposes New Fuel Economy Standards
      * Oregon Moves to Implement Greenhouse Gas Standards for Cars
      * GM to Debut Front-Wheel-Drive, Six-Speed Transmissions in 2006
      * DOE National Laboratory Expert Notes Energy Benefits of Ethanol

      Site News

      * National Corn Growers Association Launches EthanolFacts.com

      Energy Connections

      * Hurricane Katrina Shuts Refineries and Oil and Gas Production

      News and Events

      DOE Offers $4 Million for Solid-State Lighting Research


      Closeup photo of a white-light-emitting diode, a cylindrical tr

      Solid-state lighting sources such as this white-light LED could eventually
      replace light bulbs.
      Credit: CREE Lighting

      DOE announced Monday a solicitation totaling roughly $4 million for applied
      research into solid-state lighting technologies, which include
      light-emitting diodes (LEDs), organic LEDs (OLEDs), and light-emitting
      polymers. The solicitation seeks to advance the development of solid-state
      lighting technologies that can compete in the general illumination market
      and deliver significant energy savings. Breakthroughs in LED and OLED
      technologies are already leading to better quality, more energy-efficient
      white-light sources that could ultimately replace many incandescent and
      fluorescent lamps. See the
      press release.

      DOE currently has two solicitations for solid-state lighting: one is open
      to most research organizations and the second is open only to DOE national
      laboratories. For each solicitation, DOE expects to provide $3.75 million
      to two to five awardees over the next three years. Both solicitations focus
      on four areas of interest: high-efficiency semiconductor materials for
      LEDs, novel LED designs, high-efficiency OLED materials, and novel methods
      to encapsulate and package OLEDs. Both solicitations close on October 18th.
      See the
      Lighting Core Technologies" solicitation, the "Research Call to DOE
      National Laboratories"
      (<http://www.netl.doe.gov/ssl/PDFs/SSL_Lab_Call_2005.pdf>PDF 483 KB), and
      the <http://www.netl.doe.gov/ssl/>Solid-State Lighting page of DOE's
      National Energy Technology Laboratory Web site.
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Adobe Reader.

      DOE Provides $4.7 Million for Automotive Technology Education

      DOE announced Monday its selection of eight universities that will receive
      $4.7 million to be Graduate Automotive Technology Education (GATE) Centers
      of Excellence. The goal of GATE is to train a future workforce of
      automotive engineering professionals to develop and produce cost-effective,
      high-efficiency vehicles for the U.S. market. The awards will go to
      universities in Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio,
      Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia.

      The grants will support graduate fellowships and help establish graduate
      engineering degrees that focus on a critical automotive technology area,
      such as propulsion systems (including fuel cells and hybrid systems),
      energy storage systems, biofuels, and lightweight materials. The
      universities will share 20 percent of the cost under these grants. See the
      press release.

      Transportation Department Proposes New Fuel Economy Standards


      Photo of the Ford Escape Hybrid.

      Hybrid SUVs, such as the Ford Escape Hybrid, will help automakers meet the
      proposed changes in fuel economy standards.
      Credit: Ford

      The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed new fuel economy
      standards for light trucks last week. The proposed new Corporate Average
      Fuel Economy standards would apply to most minivans, pickups, and sport
      utility vehicles (SUVs), and the DOT expects them to save 10 billion
      gallons of gasoline in the years to come. The standard sets six different
      fuel economy standards based on vehicle size. It allows manufacturers to
      choose between existing standards and the new standards from 2008 to 2010,
      after which the new standards will be fully implemented. The National
      Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will take comments on the
      proposal for 90 days, with plans to issue the final rule by April 2006. See
      the <http://www.dot.gov/affairs/dot112-05.htm>DOT press release and the
      Truck Fuel Economy Standard Rulemaking."

      Oregon Moves to Implement Greenhouse Gas Standards for Cars

      Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski initiated several actions on Monday that
      will lead to new greenhouse gas emissions standards for vehicles sold
      within the state. The governor directed the state's Department of
      Environmental Quality (DEQ) to develop administrative rules for such
      standards, and also issued his intent to veto a line in the DEQ budget that
      would have prevented the DEQ from developing the rules. The governor also
      announced the formation of a Vehicle Emissions Workgroup to help identify
      and address issues related to the rules. The governor's goal is for the new
      rules to set tailpipe emissions standards starting with the 2009 model
      year. See the governor's
      <http://governor.oregon.gov/Gov/press_082905.shtml>press release and the
      <http://www.deq.state.or.us/aq/>DEQ Web site.

      Oregon's proposed standards will follow the lead of California, which
      approved its greenhouse gas standards in September 2004. Washington State
      adopted California's standards in May, contingent on Oregon also adopting
      the standards. So when Oregon's rules are in place, the entire West Coast
      will have the same greenhouse gas emissions standards in place for new
      vehicles. For background, see the articles from this newsletter on the

      GM to Debut Front-Wheel-Drive, Six-Speed Transmissions in 2006

      General Motors Corporation (GM) announced last week that a new
      fuel-efficient, six-speed automatic transmission will debut next year on
      the 2007 Saturn Aura, a midsized sedan. GM's new six-speed,
      front-wheel-drive automatic transmission will deliver a four percent
      improvement in fuel economy when compared to today's standard four-speed,
      front-wheel-drive automatic transmissions. The transmission­developed
      jointly with Ford Motor Company­saves fuel by better matching engine speed
      to power needs, while the sixth "overdrive" gear allows the engine to run
      at low speeds while driving on the highway. By 2010, GM intends to produce
      3 million cars featuring the new six-speed transmission.

      GM is also debuting two types of six-speed, rear-wheel-drive transmissions
      on five vehicles this year: the 2006 Chevrolet Corvette, the 2006 Cadillac
      STS-V and XLR-V, the 2006 Chevrolet Silverado HD, and the 2006 GMC Sierra
      HD. GM says the rear-wheel-drive versions also save fuel, but does not
      specify how much. See the GM press releases about the
      transmission and about
      efficiency improvements, including the rear-wheel-drive transmissions.

      DOE National Laboratory Expert Notes Energy Benefits of Ethanol

      DOE's Argonne National Laboratory announced last week that one of its
      researchers recently completed a study that defends the energy and
      environmental benefits of producing ethanol from corn and other biomass
      sources. Argonne researcher Michael Wang presented research at the National
      Press Club confirming that ethanol fuel substantially helps reduce fossil
      fuel and petroleum use, when compared with gasoline. Wang also found that
      ethanol produced from corn achieves moderate reductions in greenhouse
      gases. Ethanol produced from grass and other "cellulosic" or woody biomass
      sources can achieve much greater energy and greenhouse gas benefits. See
      the <http://www.anl.gov/Media_Center/News/2005/news050823.html>Argonne
      press release.

      The Argonne research dismisses an ongoing academic argument about the
      amount of energy needed to produce ethanol. A paper published in the March
      edition of "Natural Resources Research" by researchers at Cornell
      University and the University of California at Berkeley claims that ethanol
      production from corn requires 29 percent more energy than is provided by
      the resulting ethanol fuel. In contrast, a 2004 study by the U.S.
      Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that ethanol produces 67 percent
      more energy than is consumed in its production. But according to the
      Argonne research, what really matters is that ethanol compares favorably to
      gasoline, the fuel it replaces. See the Berkeley/Cornell study
      (<http://petroleum.berkeley.edu/papers/Biofuels/NRRethanol.2005.pdf>PDF 114
      KB), posted on UC Berkeley's Petroleum Engineering Web site, and the USDA
      study (<http://www.ethanolrfa.org/net_energy_balance_2004.pdf>PDF 23 KB),
      posted on the Renewable Fuel Association (RFA) Web site.
      <http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html>Download Adobe Reader.

      The ethanol fuel industry continues to set new records: in June, the
      industry set an all-time monthly production record of 249,000 barrels per
      day, 12 percent more than the industry produced in June 2004. In recent
      months, an ethanol plant was completed in Kansas, and existing plants in
      New Mexico and South Dakota were significantly expanded. Construction also
      began on new ethanol plants in Iowa, Michigan, and North Dakota. Currently,
      88 ethanol plants nationwide have the capacity to produce over 3.9 billion
      gallons annually. There are 16 ethanol plants and two major expansions
      under construction with a combined annual capacity of nearly 1 billion
      gallons. See the press releases on the
      <http://www.ethanolrfa.org/press.shtml>RFA Web site.

      Site News

      <http://www.ethanolfacts.com/>National Corn Growers Association Launches

      EthanolFacts.com, a new Web site from the National Corn Growers
      Association, offers consumers information about ethanol, a growing
      alternative to fossil fuels. Ethanolfacts.com is a comprehensive source of
      ethanol information links and includes basic facts about ethanol and its
      benefits to U.S. consumers. See the
      <http://www.ethanolfacts.com/>EthanolFacts.com Web site.

      Energy Connections

      Hurricane Katrina Shuts Refineries and Oil and Gas Production

      While Hurricane Katrina resulted in a tragic and yet-untold loss of life
      and property in the Gulf Coast states, the hurricane also significantly
      impacted the production of oil and gas and the refining of oil into
      gasoline and other products. According the Department of Interior's
      Minerals Management Service (MMS), as of Tuesday the hurricane had resulted
      in the evacuation of 645 platforms and 90 rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, which
      account for 88 percent of the natural gas production and 95 percent of the
      oil production in the Gulf. A press release from Williams, a natural gas
      company, notes that on-shore facilities such as natural gas processing
      plants and compressor systems were also shut down, while natural gas
      pipelines continued operating at reduced capacity. Press reports indicate
      that several oil refineries were also shut down, and of course, the region
      is suffering from extensive power outages. The extent of damage to these
      facilities is not yet known. See the press releases from the
      <http://www.mms.gov/ooc/press/2005/press0830.htm>MMS and

      According to Platts, an energy information company, prices of all major
      energy commodities in the U.S. markets rose to record levels on Monday.
      Although analysts generally track next-month futures prices as traded on
      the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), Platts notes that real-time
      prices on Monday exceeded the futures prices, particularly in the Gulf
      Coast region. Meanwhile, diesel fuel prices at the pump hit a new record of
      $2.649 per gallon on Tuesday, as reported by the American Automobile
      Association (AAA), while average gasoline prices remained below last week's
      record price. See the
      <http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/releases/platts/20050830.shtml>Platts press
      release and the AAA "<http://www.fuelgaugereport.com/>Fuel Gauge Report,"
      and for the latest futures prices for crude oil and other energy
      commodities, see the <http://www.nymex.com/lsco_fut_cso.aspx>NYMEX Web site.

      Commenting Monday on the impacts of the storm, Secretary of Energy Samuel
      Bodman extended the thoughts and prayers of the entire DOE family to the
      people affected by the storm, and noted that DOE is working with the
      Federal Energy Management Agency to restore energy services. Secretary
      Bodman noted that the Strategic Petroleum Preserve could be used to lend
      petroleum to refineries if needed, but it was still too early to say if
      that response is warranted. 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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