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DOE issues draft loan solicitation for up to $4B for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects; drop-in biofuels a key area

The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a draft loan guarantee solicitation for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects located in the US that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases. The Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects Loan Guarantee solicitation is intended to support technologies that will have a catalytic effect on commercial deployment of future projects, are replicable, and are market ready.

When finalized, the solicitation is expected to make as much as $4 billion in loan guarantees available to help commercialize technologies that may be unable to obtain full commercial financing.

Within the draft solicitation, the Department has included a sample list illustrative of potential technologies for consideration. While any project that meets the eligibility requirements is eligible to apply, the Department has identified five key technology areas of interest: advanced grid integration and storage; drop-in biofuels; waste-to-energy; enhancement of existing facilities; and efficiency improvements.

  • Drop-in Biofuels. These projects take advantage of existing infrastructure by providing nearly identical bio-based substitutes for crude oil, gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel, or produce intermediate fuel feedstocks that can be delivered to and integrated into existing oil petroleum refineries. These types of projects would not be restricted by current ethanol/biodiesel blend levels and could drive a catalytic change in the fuels market.

    DOE anticipates qualifying projects may include, butare not limited to: new bio-refineries that produce gasoline, diesel fuel, and/or jet fuel; bio-crude refining processes; and modifications to existing ethanol facilities to gasoline, diesel fuel, and/or jet fuel.

  • Advanced Grid Integration and Storage. This area focuses on renewable energy systems that mitigate issues related to variability, dispatchability, congestion, and control by incorporating technologies such as demand response or local storage. These advanced system designs will demonstrate greater grid compatibility of generation from renewable resources and open up an even larger role for renewable power generation.

    DOE anticipates qualifying projects may include, but are not limited to: renewable energy generation, including distributed generation, incorporating storage; smart grid systems incorporating any combination of demand response, energy efficiency, sensing, and storage to enable greater penetration of renewable generation; micro grid projects that reduce CO2 emissions at a system level; and storage projects that clearly enable greater adoption of renewable generation.

  • Waste-to-Energy. This area focuses on projects harnessing waste products such as landfill methane and segregated waste as a source of energy. These types of projects will enable commercial scale utilization of waste materials which are otherwise discarded and produce significant clean, renewable energy. DOE anticipates qualifying projects may include, but are not limited to, the following: methane from landfills or ranches via biodigesters; crop waste to energy and bioproducts; and forestry waste to energy and co-firing.

  • Enhancement of Existing Facilities. This area focuses on projects incorporating renewable generation technology into existing renewable energy and efficient energy facilities to significantly enhance performance or extend the lifetime of the generating asset. DOE anticipates qualifying projects may include, but are not limited to, the following: incorporation of power production into currently non-powered dams; inclusion of variable speed pump- turbines into existing hydro facilities; and retrofitting existing wind turbines.

  • Efficiency Improvements. This area focuses on projects that incorporate new or improved technologies to increase efficiency and substantially reduce greenhouse gases. DOE anticipates qualifying projects may include, but are not limited to, the following: improve or reduce energy usage in residential, institutional, and commercial facilities, buildings, and/or processes; recover, store, or dispatch energy from curtailed or underutilized renewable energy sources; recover, store, or dispatch waste energy from thermal, mechanical, electrical, chemical or hydro-processes.

The Department welcomes public comment on a range of issues and will consider public feedback in defining the scope of the final solicitation. In addition to initiating a 30-day public comment period, a schedule of public meetings will be posted on the Department’s website.

Once the solicitation is finalized, the Department’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) will be accepting applications in three areas, which also include the $8-billion Advanced Fossil Energy Projects Solicitation that was released in December 2013 and the $16-billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.

The Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy solicitation is authorized by Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 through Section 1703 of the Loan Guarantee Program. Currently, the LPO supports a diverse portfolio of more than $30 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and commitments, supporting more than 30 projects nationwide.





The reciprocating internal combustion engine (RICE) is a simple device to transform energy from one form to another according to the first law of thermodynamics, pV = mRT. Because T is a measurement of the internal energy E, pV = mRT can be written as pV = mRE/cv. When T distribution of cylinder gas is multiplied by cv, an E (cvT) distribution is obtained. Both total V and total E contained within the total volume V become state variables. An equation of state relating state variables E and V is derived first. This equation of state is used to create a new constant-V constant-E two-stage combustion process. A special compression ignition reciprocating internal combustion engine (RICE) is developed to operate on the new CVCE two-state combustion process. This newly developed CI-CVCE RICE has the capacity of reducing specific fuel consumption and CO2 to less than one half of that of comparable existing conventional internal combustion engines.

The Creation of a New CVCE Two-Stage Combustion Process

The ratio of (p1V1/T1)/(p2V2/T2) is a constant to satisfy the law of conservation of energy. Because p1/p2 = (V2/V1)k, T1/T2 = (V1/V2)k-1. As mentioned previously, when T distribution is multiplied by cv, an E (cvT) distribution is obtained. A equation of state E2/E1 = (V1/V2)k-1 relates the E and V for any gas. Apply Dalton’s partial pressure law, E2/E1 = (V1/V2)k-1, the ET (energy transform) equation is applicable to a mixed gas with the k as the weighted average k values of all component gases. Because the velocities of piston and cylinder gas are many orders smaller than that of cylinder gas molecular, the ET equation can be used to compute change in E from the change in V and vice versa.

At the beginning of a compression process 1-2 of a RICE, V1 = 15.6ft3, p1 = 14.7 pisa, T1 = 311o K, E1 = cvT1.= 95.73 Btu, and p1V1/E1 = 2.395 (to satisfy conservation of energy law). At state (E2, V2), E2 = E1(V1/V2)k-1. Following a compression process 1-2, a constant-V combustion process 2-3 converts fuel chemical energy into heat energy Q to increase E2 to E3 with E3 = E2 + Q. An expansion process 3-4 reduces E3 to E4 with E4 = E3(V3/V4)k-1. Total E input is E3 and output is E3-E4. The indicated fuel conversion efficiency (IFCE) is equal to (E3 – E4)/E3 or 1 – E4/E3.

For achieving high fuel efficiency without engine out emission, a high compression ratio is chosen to provide high compression temperature for burnout whatever combustible substances. When combustion temperature reaches a critical temperature, NOx formation will take place. Therefore combustion process 2-3 is divided into 2-3a and 3a-3b two- stage. The first stage 2-3a is under constant-V from state (E2, V2) to state (E3, V2) and second stage under constant-E from state (E3a, V2) to state (E3a, V3b) under constant-E such that formation of NOx will not take place throughout the whole range of engine operation.

The new two-stage combustion process is created for a new RICE to operate on. Following Table 1 gives the performance analysis of the new RICE.

Table 1

1 V3b 0.867 0.956 1.055 1.163 1.283 1.415
2 E3bx 650 625.1 601.0 577.9 555.9 534.3
3 E3a - E3b 0 24.9 49.9 72.1 96.1 115.7
4 E3b 650 650 650 650 650 650
5 P3b 1796 1629 1476 1339 1214 1100
6 E3a+(3) 650 674.9 699.9 722.1 746.1 765.7
7 E4 204.6 220.9 238.3 255.6 274.7 293.1
8 IFCE 0.685 0.673 0.660 0.646 0.633 0.617

At the beginning of a compression process 1-2, V1 = 15.6 ft3, T1 = 311o K, and E1 = cvT1 = 95.73 Btu. A compression ratio of 18.0 is chosen for this discuss and V2 = 0.867 FT3. Using the ET equation, E2 = E1(V1/V2)k-1 is computed. Row 1 V3b is the combustion chamber volume begins from 0.867 ft3 in Column 3 which is the first stage combustion process. Each next step of V3b is obtained by multiplied current V3b by a properly chosen constant. In this case, the constant multiplier is 1.103. E3bx in Row 2 is the E3b at volume V3b when no heat addition takes place. Because V2/V1 is a constant of 1.103, E1/E2 is a constant and heat addition in each step to keep E3b equal to E3a is a constant. Row 3 Q3a-3b is the required heat addition to keep E3b equal to E3a in Row 4. Row 5 p3b is the pressure at V3b with p3b = 2.395(E3b/V3b) to satisfy the law of conservation of energy. Row 6 is the total E input equal to E3a plus Row 3. Row 7 E4 is the E not transformed into work done W. Row 8 IFCE is equal to 1 - Row 7/Row 6. A plot of E-V diagram is shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1: E-V Diagram

The vertical line (2) to (3a) represents the E increase from constant-volume (CV) combustion process. The horizontal line (3a) to (3b) represents the work done W transformed directly from heat energy converted from fuel chemical energy under constant-internal energy (CE) combustion process. This adiabatic E-V diagram shows various components of internal energy E input and E4 rejected from the cylinder without being transformed into work done W. For achieving ultra-high thermal efficiency, a high compression ratio of say 18.0 is chosen. At state (E2, V2), V2 = 0.867 ft3 and E2 = E1(V1/V2)k-1.= 304.2 Btu. Because T1 is same throughout the cylinder volume, E1 and E2 are in equilibrium.

A New CI-CVCE RICE Operating On the Two-Stage Combustion Process

A compression ignition reciprocating internal combustion engine (RICE) is developed to operate on the new CVCE two-state combustion process. In practice, the constant-V combustion process can not be realized. The constant-V combustion process, however, can be approximated by another path from state (Ex, Vx) before TDC to state (E3a, V2). As long as the sum of work done and heat addition is the same, E3a at V2 will not change. The work done from (Ex, Vx) to (E2, V2) is equal to E2 – Ex with Ex = E2(V2/Vx)k-1 and heat addition is 345.8 (650 – 304.2) Btu. Any practical path from state (Ex, Vx) to state (E3a, V2) can be taken without change state (E3a, V2). During the combustion process (Ex, Vx) to (E3a, V2), at some point pre-ignition will occur without detonation because of lean air/fuel mixture. The remaining 345.8 Btu is injected into continuously increasing temperature and turbulence cylinder gas to prevent localized high temperatures. Because state (E3a, V2) is not changed, the second stage constant-E combustion process remains the same.

During the two-stage combustion process of a CI-CVCE RICE, both cylinder gas mass and k of the products of combustion vary from state (E2, V2) to state (E3a, V3b). The brake fuel conversion efficiency of a CI-CVCE RICE would be difficult to compute theoretically. The BFCE of the new engine, however, can be determined by conducting a relatively simple engine tests/experiments as follows.

Engine Tests/experiments

For a new production engine, two fuel injection jerk pumps are installed between intake and exhaust valves, one for the first state combustion process and the other for the second stage. For a testing engine fuel injection pulses are employed. A selected steady idling rpm is obtained first. Fuel injection quantity per cycle is gradually increased and specific fuel consumption and engine out emissions (including NOx) are measured and recorded until cylinder pressure reaches 1796 psia the upper limit of the first stage CV combustion process. This pressure is corresponding to a combustion temperature of 2112o K (E/cv) which is below the critical temperature of NOx formation. When torque/power demand is higher, the second fuel injection pump kicks in seamlessly to begin the constant-E combustion process. After the upper limit of the first stage combustion process E3a has been determined, the fuel burned in the first step of constant-E combustion process between combustion chamber volumes of 0.867 and 0.956 ft3 is gradually increased until cylinder pressure reaches the value shown in Row 5 in Table 1 to assure that E3b is equal to E3a. For each of the next four steps, this engine testing procedure is repeated.

The heat addition obtained from engine experiments will be higher than that given in Row 3 of Table 1. This difference is the heat loss and friction loss at that power output. For the new CI-EVCE RICE, fuel burned between two combustion chamber volumes will increase E and the mass of the products of combustion as if there are no other gases in the combustion chamber. This fact greatly reduces engine testing time as well as shows that IFCE is a sole function of V3b at which the conversion of fuel chemical energy into heat energy Q to increase the internal energy E takes place.


The first law of thermodynamics pV = mRT has been converted to a energy transformation (ET) equation which is used to transform energy from one from to another for all thermodynamic processes of a reciprocating internal combustion engine. Using this single ET equation, a two-stage combustion process has been created for a newly developed CI-CVCE RICE to operate on. The CI-CVCE RICE is an entirely new energy producing power plant which can achieve the highest possible fuel efficiency under the condition that no engine out emissions is produced. Table 1 and engine experiment results show how internal energy E is increase from E1 to E3b by compression work done and two-sage combustion process and losses due to heat loss and friction loss (including pumping loss). It should be used for generating electricity instead of being replaced with electrical machines. Furthermore, a CI-CVCE RICE can greatly reduce construction and operation costs. It can also generate electricity locally to avoid power loss though electrical grid. Existing gasoline and diesel engines can be retrofitted to operate as CI-CVCE RICE.


"The Creation of a New CVCE Two-Stage Combustion Process" diagram(s) and existing/expected efficiency would be what?


Well, a look at DoE's LPO page tells you why I have little hope for this new round of projects:

Hover your cursor over the map and you'll see that they STILL tout
-- Vehicle Production Company LLC (bankrupt May '13, $50M Loan bought for $3M)
-- AREVA Eagle Rock Enrichment (start date slipped from 2011 to '12 to '13/'14 to TBD with -- thank goodness -- pretty much no Loan $$ released)
-- Solyndra (no background needed)

My point isn't so much that they have had some embarrassments. As Harvey correctly pointed out in a prior post you will have some failures when playing long shots (though some of these are comically tragic, and did not require accounting or technical genius to discern obvious hopelessness from the beginning). The problem is that the DoE is out announcing the release of the second half of ATVM ($8B of the $16B) and $4B more in REEP and they can't be bothered to provide nominally accurate data to the public. It speaks poorly of their stewardship of the Treasury's largesse; arguably it makes them look arrogant.

FWIW, Anton Chigurh... I mean Ernie M... says “We want to replicate that success by focusing on technologies that are on the edge of commercial-scale deployment today.” Interesting to know exactly where this "edge" is on his technology map. If any of the public meetings are held within a Leaf tankful of leptons and a quick charge, I will attend to offer challenging questions (with ultimately no effect).

Pao Chi Pien


The E-V diagram of my original comment has not been reproduced by the Green Car Congress. The limited-pressure diesel cycle p-v diagram, 1-2-3a-3b-4-1 can be changed to 1-2-3a’-3b’4-1 E-V diagram with the constant-pressure combustion portion 3a-3b replaced by the constant-E combustion process 3a’-3b’. Then the combustion temperature T (E3a/cv) will not over the critical temperature of NOx formation. I assume that the existing IFCE of IC engine is 25% and the expected IFCE of the CI-CVCE RICE range from 68.5 to 61.7% depends on the power/torque output as shown in line 8 of table 1.

The purpose of my comment is to give my feedback to DOE in defining the scope of the final solicitation. I hope to see more comments from the readers of Green Car Congress on the energy transformation equation E2/E1 = (V1/V2)k-1.


Mr. Pao, your long comments are irrelevant to the post and this forum.  If you have a paper or other report worthy of summarizing, submit it to Michael Milliken.  Otherwise, stop being a blogwhore.



My comment was intended to ask DOE to redefining the scope of the final solicitation. If I have troubled you, please accept my apology and favor me with your critical evaluation of my two-stage CVCE combustion process and my CI-CVCE RICE.


This site is not run by the US Department of Energy.  If you have something you want to say to them, follow the links to the source of the press release.



Even through this site is not run by the US department of Energy, it should not prevent us to offer our solution to increase engine fuel efficiency and reduce engine out emissions.


Making a nuisance of yourself to readers who have no use for what you're promoting won't help anything.

Roger Pham


Your comment is best related to the Delphi-GM GDCI engine using the PPCI process earlier mentioned in GCC. This engine also uses 3 separate fuel injections per combustion stroke to approximate the constant volume combustion of the Diesel cycle, in order to maximize power output for a given amount of peak pressure and for a given amount of NOx emission.

The combustion process that you're referring is already realized in an experimental engine. Please kindly read the link I provided and let me know what you think of the comments of Peter XX and mine.

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