ARPA-E awards $16M to 8 projects developing distributed generation systems; solid-oxide fuel-cell/engine hybrids

ARPA-E is awarding $16 million in funding for eight projects as part of the Innovative Natural-gas Technologies for Efficiency Gain in Reliable and Affordable Thermochemical Electricity-generation (INTEGRATE) program. INTEGRATE projects will develop advanced natural-gas-fueled, distributed electric generation systems with conversion efficiencies of more than 70%: double the delivered efficiency of... Read more →

MIT and a new private company, Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), are partnering on a novel approach to fusion power. CFS, which has attracted an investment of $50 million in support of this effort from the Italian energy company Eni, will join with MIT to carry out rapid, staged research leading... Read more →

BP outlook: Energy demand grows as fuel mix continues to diversify; EVs in global car parc at 15% by 2040, but electric share of VMT at 30%

The 2018 edition of BP’s Energy Outlook considers the forces shaping the global energy transition out to 2040 and the key uncertainties surrounding that transition. The speed of the energy transition is uncertain and the new Outlook considers a range of scenarios. Its evolving transition scenario, which assumes that government... Read more →

A team of researchers led by Northwestern Engineering professor and fuel cell pioneer Sossina Haile has created a new protonic ceramic fuel cell (PCFC) offering both exceptional power densities and long-term stability at optimal temperatures, a discovery that heightens the viability of incorporating fuel cells into a sustainable energy future.... Read more →

Volkswagen Saxony plants purchasing renewable power

The Volkswagen brand is stepping up the use of renewable energy in production with a view to further reducing its environmental footprint. Starting this year, the three production plants of Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH have been supplied with Volkswagen Naturstrom electric power from 100% renewable sources by VW Kraftwerk GmbH. This... Read more →

Researchers in Japan propose a more efficient method to reduce radioactive waste; fast reactor system shortens the lifetime of LLFPs

A team of scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) working in collaboration with Tohoku University, Tokyo City University and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency has proposed a novel, more efficient method to reduce radioactive waste. Their approach involves converting radioactive material into short-lived nuclides by absorbing surplus neutrons... Read more →

Audi is systematically building on its e-fuels strategy. (Earlier post.) Together with the partners Ineratec GmbH (earlier post) and Energiedienst Holding AG, the company has plans for a new pilot facility for the production of e-diesel in Laufenburg, in Canton Aargau (Switzerland). For the first time, the energy needed will... Read more →

Southern California Edison has proposed an integrated strategic framework for the state of California to meet its ambitious climate and air quality goals. SCE describes its Clean Power and Electrification Pathway in a white paper. The approach builds upon existing state programs by identifying cost-effective actions to increase clean energy... Read more →

DOE to award up to $36M for design and testing of advanced carbon capture technologies for coal-fired power generation

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $36 million (DE-FOA-0001791) to continue the development of carbon capture technologies to either the engineering scale or to a commercial design, with an eye to reducing fossil fuel power plant emissions. DOE is currently targeting transformational technologies that by 2030... Read more →

EPA proposes repeal of Obama Clean Power Plan

As anticipated, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), proposing to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Released in 2015 by the Obama Administration EPA, the CPP established the first national standards to limit CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel-fired power plants (Electric Generating Units,... Read more →

Navigant Research forecasts that the transportation segment, with hydrogen demand as a catalyst, will jump-start power-to-gas (P2G) demand and further drive down electrolyzer and other infrastructure costs. P2G—the conversion of electrical power into gaseous energy carriers—has been held back from mass adoption by high costs, regulatory hurdles, and difficulties with... Read more →

In conjunction with the annual Solar Power International conference, the US Department of Energy (DOE) released new research showing that the solar industry has achieved the 2020 utility-scale solar cost target set by the SunShot Initiative. Largely due to rapid cost declines in solar photovoltaic (PV) hardware, the average price... Read more →

DOE to award $10.2M to 16 solid oxide fuel cell projects

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has selected 16 projects to receive $10.2 million in funding to advance solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology. The new projects were selected under funding opportunity announcement DE-FOA-000 1735, Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Prototype System Testing and Core Technology... Read more →

Van Hool consortium to deploy first hydrogen bus route in France; green hydrogen for bus rapid transit

A consortium comprising bus-maker Van Hool, ITM Power, SMTU-PPP and Engie will deploy the first hydrogen bus route in France, in Pau. François Bayrou, President of the community of Pau Béarn Pyrénées, made the announcement about the creation of this “zero emission” bus rapid transit (BRT) route, which will be... Read more →

Shell, ITM Power to install 10MW electrolyzer for refinery hydrogen

Shell, together with ITM Power, plans to install a 10MW electrolyzer to produce hydrogen at the Wesseling refinery site within the Rheinland Refinery Complex. This would be the largest unit of its kind in Germany and the world’s largest PEM (Polymer Electrolyte Membrane) electrolyzer. Today, the refinery uses approximately 180,000... Read more →

NREL, Swiss scientists create silicon-based multijunction solar cells that reach nearly 36% efficiency

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM), and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have created tandem solar cells with record efficiencies of converting sunlight into electricity under 1-sun illumination. Their paper appears in the new... Read more →

BASF and bse Engineering have signed an exclusive joint development agreement for BASF to provide custom-made catalysts for a new chemical energy storage process. This process will enable the economically viable transformation of excess power and off-gas carbon dioxide into methanol in small-scale, decentralized production units. In addition to being... Read more →

Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd. and Toyota Motor Corporation have concluded a basic agreement for studies on energy conservation and CO2 emissions reduction in convenience store distribution and operation. The two companies aim to contribute to the realization of a low-carbon and hydrogen-based society in the future, by way of introducing... Read more →

Siemens and AES to form global energy storage technology joint venture: Fluence

Siemens AG and The AES Corporation are forming a new global energy storage technology and services company under the name Fluence. The joint venture will bring together AES’ experience deploying energy storage in seven countries with Siemens’ energy technology leadership and its global sales presence in more than 160 countries.... Read more →

According to a new study led by a team at Duke University, airborne particulate matter and dust are cutting solar photovoltaic energy output by more than 25% in certain parts of the world, with roughly equal contributions from ambient PM and PM deposited on photovoltaic surfaces. The regions hardest hit... Read more →

CSIRO team working to commercialize membrane separating H2 from NH3; opening up an export market for Australia renewable H2

Researchers at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have years of experience researching the best ways to separate pure hydrogen from mixed gas streams. Now, the researchers have developed a thin metal membrane that can separate high-purity hydrogen from ammonia used as a hydrogen carrier. Ammonia (NH3) has... Read more →

GE and Southern California Edison (SCE) unveiled the first battery-gas turbine hybrid system in Norwalk, California: the LM6000 Hybrid Electric Gas Turbine (Hybrid EGT). The hybrid system, the first of two to be deployed at SCE sites, was developed in response to changing regulations and grid requirements in the wake... Read more →

SoCalGas & UC Irvine show power-to-gas technology able to boost use of intermittent renewable energy significantly

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) announced that new research on power-to-gas technology shows the technique holds the ability to significantly increase the use of intermittent renewable energy. The finding came out of ongoing research conducted at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and funded by SoCalGas. Preliminary research findings, announced... Read more →

Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by 70% by 2050 and completely phased-out by 2060 with a net positive economic outlook, according to new findings released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA). Perspectives for the Energy Transition: Investment Needs for a... Read more →

Scientists at Rice University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chile are proposing that quantum-controlled motion of nuclei, starting from the nanometer-size ground state of a molecule, can potentially overcome some of the difficulties of thermonuclear fusion by compression of a fuel pellet or in a... Read more →

voestalpine, Siemens & VERBUND building one of the world’s largest electrolysis plants for H2 production; EU-funded H2FUTURE

The European Commission has awarded the H2FUTURE project consortium—comprising voestalpine, Siemens, VERBUND and Austrian Power Grid (APG) as well as the research-partners K1-MET and ECN—the contract for the construction of one of the world’s largest PEM electrolysis plants for producing green hydrogen. The project partners will work and research cooperatively... Read more →

Siemens has achieved a breakthrough by finishing its first full load engine tests for gas turbine blades completely produced using Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology. The company successfully validated multiple AM printed turbine blades with a conventional blade design at full engine conditions—the components were tested at 13,000 revolutions per minute... Read more →

The 2017 edition of the BP Energy Outlook, published today, forecasts that global demand for energy will increase by around 30% between 2015 and 2035, an average growth of 1.3% per year. However, this growth in energy demand is significantly lower than the 3.4% per year rise expected in global... Read more →

TU Bergakademie Freiberg launches OTTO-R project with VW Group, Shell, OMV as partners; P2X for green gasoline

Researchers at the Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg, with partners from the automotive industry (Audi, VW) and the petroleum industry (Shell, OMV) have launched the €1.46-million OTTO-R project for the production of gasoline from “green” methanol produced from CO2, water and renewable electricity. The new OTTO-R synthesis process is based on... Read more →

Thirteen leading energy, transport and industry companies have launched a global initiative in Davos to voice a united vision and long-term ambition for hydrogen to foster the energy transition. Meeting in Davos for the first time on Tuesday, the Hydrogen Council currently comprises 13 CEOs and Chairpersons from various industries... Read more →

NuScale Power formally announced the submittal of a Design Certification Application (DCA) for their innovative small modular reactor (SMR) design (earlier post) to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for their review and approval. This is the first SMR DCA to be submitted to the NRC and marks a significant milestone... Read more →

ARPA-E awards $35M to 16 REFUEL projects for energy-dense carbon-neutral liquid fuels; leveraging ammonia

The Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has selected 16 projects for a combined $35 million in funding under the new program “Renewable Energy to Fuels Through Utilization of Energy-Dense Liquids (REFUEL)”. (Earlier post.) The 16 REFUEL projects seek to develop scalable technologies for converting water and molecules from... Read more →

JISEA: nuclear-renewable hybrid energy systems can reduce GHG from industry, produce fuels and support the power system

Nuclear-renewable hybrid energy systems (N-R HESs) can enable low-carbon, on-demand electricity while providing reduced-emission thermal energy for industrial processes. N-R HES systems are managed by a single entity that link a nuclear reactor that generates heat, a thermal power cycle for heat-to-electricity conversion, at least one renewable energy source, and... Read more →

Harvard study finds human health risks from Canadian hydroelectric projects

In a new study, Harvard University researchers found more than 90% of potential new Canadian hydroelectric projects are likely to increase concentrations of the neurotoxin methylmercury (MeHg) in food webs near indigenous communities. The research is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology. The research forecasts potential human... Read more →

UC Irvine study concludes intelligent PEV charging can minimize scale of stationary energy storage needed to meet renewable targets

A new study by a team at the University of California Irvine highlights the importance of intelligent plug-in vehicle (PEV) charging for minimizing the scale of infrastructure required to meet renewable utilization targets. In the study, published in the Journal of Power Sources, the UC Irvine team examined how the... Read more →

DOE awarding $3.0M cost-share contract to FuelCell Energy for solid oxide electrolyzer; converting excess electricity to H2

FuelCell Energy, Inc. is developing a solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC) system to convert excess electricity during periods of low power demand into hydrogen efficiently. The US Department of Energy (DOE) is supporting this development with a $3.0 million cost-share contract to advance SOEC system design that will be added... Read more →

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding up to $80 million for a six-year project to design, build, and operate a 10-MWe (megawatts electrical) supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) pilot plant test facility in San Antonio, TX. The project will be managed by a team led by the Gas Technology... Read more →

A large scale roll-out of electric cars on European roads would result in significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions and lower levels of certain air pollutants, according to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) assessment. However, widespread use of such vehicles would pose challenges for Europe’s power grid in meeting increased... Read more →

A technical brief by Dr. John DeCicco at the University of Michigan Energy Institute shows that transportation is overtaking electricity generation as the largest source of US CO2. The average rate at which CO2 is emitted from vehicle tailpipes and other mobile sources has exceeded the rate of CO2 emissions... Read more →

France-based Total is the first oil supermajor aggressively to enter new areas of business including solar plus storage and distributed generation, notes Lux Research in a new report: “Superpower Darwinism: What Big Oil Can and Cannot Do About Total’s Billion-Dollar Battery Move.” Even though viable battery companies have become harder... Read more →

by Nick Cunningham of The US electric power sector burned through a record amount of natural gas in recent weeks, a sign of the shifting power generation mix and also a signal that natural gas supplies could get tighter than many analysts had previously expected. The EIA reported a... Read more →

PSA Groupe is evaluating a free-piston engine linear-generator under development by Israel-based start-up Aquarius Engines for use as a range-extender in its electric vehicles. According to a report from Reuters, PSA Research and Development Director Gilles Le Borgne said that while the company is evaluating the technology, “Nothing has been... Read more →

Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) have developed and are investigating the characteristics of a prototype of a dual-piston spark-ignition (SI) free-piston engine coupled with a linear alternator for electric power generation. Their paper is published in the... Read more →

A new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts that energy policy choices backed by a 7% increase in total energy investment through 2040 could cut premature deaths from air pollution roughly in half by 2040. Under such a scenario, premature deaths from outdoor air pollution would decline by... Read more →

Tesla makes ~$2.8B all-stock offer to acquire SolarCity

Tesla Motora has made an all-stock offer worth approximately $2.8B to acquire all of the outstanding shares of solar energy provider SolarCity. Subject to completing due diligence, Tesla is proposing an exchange ratio of 0.122x to 0.131x shares of Tesla common stock for each share of SolarCity common stock. This... Read more →

PG&E announced a Joint Proposal with labor and leading environmental organizations that would increase investment in energy efficiency, renewables and storage beyond current state mandates while phasing out PG&E’s production of nuclear power in California by 2025 with the retirement of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant—California’s last operating nuclear... Read more →

Opinion: Uranium Prices Set To Double By 2018

by James Stafford of With prices set to double by 2018, we’ve seen the bottom of the uranium market, and the negative sentiment that has followed this resource around despite strong fundamentals, is starting to change. Billionaire investors sense it, and they’re always the first to anticipate change and... Read more →

DOE awarding >$82M to support nuclear energy research and development

The US Department of Energy (DOE) ia awarding more than $82 million to 93 projects that will help push innovative nuclear technologies toward commercialization and into the market. These awards provide funding for nuclear energy-related research through the Nuclear Energy University Program, Nuclear Science User Facilities, and Nuclear Energy Enabling... Read more →

In 2014, a team at Toyota Central R&D Labs Inc. published two SAE papers on their work in developing a prototype 10 kW Free Piston Engine Linear Generator (FPEG) for B/C segment electric vehicles. (Earlier post.) The FPEG consists of a two-stroke combustion system, a linear generator, and a gas... Read more →

NREL reveals thermoelectric potential for tailored semiconducting carbon nanotubes

A finely tuned carbon nanotube thin film has the potential to act as a thermoelectric power generator that captures and uses waste heat, according to researchers at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The research could help guide the manufacture of thermoelectric devices based on either single-walled carbon... Read more →