The EERE Blog includes updates to current Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) projects, interviews with energy experts, and success stories about EERE’s technology offices and national laboratories. Subscribe to the blog email list.
The Lab-Corps pilot program was launched last year to accelerate the transfer of new clean energy technologies from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Laboratories into the commercial marketplace. Just six months into the program, we are already seeing some exciting results.
With support from the Energy Department and the U.S. Navy, a prototype wave energy device has advanced successfully from initial concept to grid-connected, open-ocean pilot testing. The device, named Azura, was recently launched by Northwest Energy Innovations at a 30-meter test berth at the Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Oahu’s Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii.
The National Park Service is working with the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities Program to provide sustainable travel options, including using more efficient vehicles themselves and encouraging visitors to “green their rides” in the parks to minimize their contribution to climate change and air pollution.
The effect on a property’s value is usually one of the first things to consider before a building is retrofitted with green features. However, appraisers are often not experienced in working with green buildings. When an appraiser is not versed in investigating the costs and benefits of green strategies, they might miss some of the benefits. To address this concern, the Energy Department and the Appraisal Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding to improve resources for appraisers who are involved with energy efficient buildings.
The Energy Department’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI) recently held its Southeast Regional Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. The more than 200 clean energy manufacturing leaders attending the summit and our Assistant Secretary David Danielson’s visits to GE, Suniva, the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, and the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council highlighted the region’s growing strength in building cutting-edge automobiles, high-efficiency natural gas turbines, advanced composites, and a number of other clean energy technologies.
The Green Button Initiative provides American businesses and families with simple and secure access to their energy consumption data in a standardized format. The effort has grown significantly in size and sophistication since it launched in 2012, and now more than 150 utilities and service providers have committed to providing more than 60 million U.S. households access to their own Green Button energy data in a consumer- and computer-friendly format.
Earlier this year, EERE’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provided key data and analytical support to the White House Council on Environmental Quality to determine the government-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target. As the scorekeeper for federal agency energy performance data, FEMP is uniquely positioned to project the government’s future path in a clean energy economy. In its support to the White House, FEMP assessed the GHG mitigation impact of achieving the key goals for 2025 contained in the Executive Order (EO) including:
Historically, the U.S. dairy industry has been one of the most energy-intensive forms of agriculture. Dairies operate every hour of every day. Milk harvesting and cooling, equipment sterilization, lighting, and ventilation all require energy. With support from the Energy Department's State Energy Program, Colorado has implemented a successful pilot program to help the dairy industry reduce it electricity bill that could be emulated in other states.
Traditional supermarket refrigeration systems found in most U.S. grocery stores require a substantial amount of energy to keep fruits and vegetables fresh year round. An average supermarket consumes nearly 2 million kilowatt hours per year, and refrigeration accounts for nearly half of that. They are also prone to significant refrigerant leakage—from two to four thousand pounds a year—emitting environmentally harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The most common of these gases are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are 4,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
In order to harness the power of waves to generate electricity, engineers must be able to predict how large floating devices will perform in a dynamic environment—that is, in the water among waves. A team sponsored by the Energy Department, including members from NREL and Sandia National Laboratories, addressed that challenge and won a recent international competition.
The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) that was officially launched by the Energy Department’s Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Dr. David Danielson, has met another successful groundbreaking. One of the flagship research facilities of the IACMI partnership, the Indiana Manufacturing Institute at Purdue University, broke ground this past June.
When it comes to making performance predictions and cost-of-energy estimates for grid-connected power projects, you can trust SAM to make it happen. SAM, or the System Advisor Model, is a performance and financial analysis tool funded by the SunShot Initiative that was built based on computer models developed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and other organizations.
New Small Business Vouchers Pilot will connect clean energy innovators across the country with the top-notch scientists, engineers, and world-class facilities at Energy Department National Laboratories.
Despite great recent advances in lowering the cost of solar energy, this technology is not yet affordable for every segment of the population. For low-income communities, solar energy is still viewed as a luxury. But new programs are working to expand access to solar energy and create job opportunities for all Americans.
The Carbon Fiber Technology Facility (CFTF) at the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory offers a unique, highly flexible, highly instrumented research space for demonstrating ways to scale up and bring down testing costs of carbon-fiber prototypes for use in new polymers and products to manufacture larger land-based wind turbine blades and lighter vehicles with improved fuel efficiency. The 42,000-square-foot facility can make up to 25 tons of carbon fiber each year, enabling industry to experiment with new carbon-fiber precursors, or base materials, at a small scale.
A mill owned and operated for six generations by the Weisenberger family has been grinding grains in the heart of Kentucky since the Civil War. In 1862, August Weisenberger emigrated from Baden, Germany, to start milling grains in Midway, Kentucky. He purchased the existing three-story stone mill on the banks of South Elkhorn Creek in 1865—the perfect location to harness water power to operate the mill.
In an effort to help our nation's veterans transition to civilian life, veterans are being trained for jobs in the growing solar industry as part of a workforce program supported by the Energy Department.
Selling corn stover—the non-edible corn stalks, husks, and leaves of a corn plant—after the corn harvest has generated a new revenue stream for many farmers. Biorefineries buy the corn plant residue from farmers and turn it into cellulosic ethanol, allowing farmers to "add revenue without adding acres."
The upcoming Southeast Regional Summit will connect the U.S. southeast innovation ecosystem to Energy Department programs and resources, and help shape the Department’s strategy to boost U.S. competitiveness in clean energy manufacturing.
Thanks to R&D funding from the Energy Department’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO), the Federal Express Hub at the Memphis International Airport in Tennessee has a new 15-vehicle fleet of hydrogen fuel cell powered ground support equipment. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on April 9 to mark the kickoff of the two-year demonstration of the vehicles, which are part of the world’s first zero-emissions ground support fleet in the world.