Carbon nanotube films created at Rice University enable method to recycle waste heat

Rice University scientists are designing arrays of aligned single-wall carbon nanotubes to channel mid-infrared radiation—i.e., heat—and greatly raise the efficiency of solar energy systems. Gururaj Naik and Junichiro Kono of Rice’s Brown School of Engineering introduced their technology in a paper in ACS Photonics. A Rice University simulation shows an... Read more →


Study finds shifts to renewable energy can drive up energy poverty

Efforts to shift away from fossil fuels and replace oil and coal with renewable energy sources can help reduce carbon emissions but do so at the expense of increased inequality, according to a new study by researchers at Portland State University (PSU) and Vanderbilt University. Julius McGee, assistant professor of... Read more →


Bloom Energy, a developer of solid oxide fuel cell power generators, announced the ability of its Energy Servers to operate on renewable hydrogen. Current Bloom Energy Servers generate electricity using natural gas or biogas as fuel. At peak times, some US states and countries already have more renewable power than... Read more →


A new study published in Nature Communications by researchers from IIASA, Boston University, and the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice found that by mid-century, climate change will increase the demand for energy globally, even with modest warming. The world is dependent on energy both for human wellbeing and society’s continued... Read more →


Deep declines in wind, solar and battery technology costs will result in a grid nearly half-powered by the two fast-growing renewable energy sources by 2050, according to the latest projections from BloombergNEF (BNEF). In its New Energy Outlook 2019 (NEO), BNEF sees these technologies ensuring that—at least until 2030—the power... Read more →


BP: world on unsustainable path; growing divergence between demands for climate change action and pace of progress

BP released the 68th annual edition of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy (BP Stats Review), a comprehensive collection and analysis of global energy data. This year’s edition highlights the growing divergence between demands for action on climate change and the actual pace of progress on reducing carbon emissions.... Read more →


LevelTen Energy raises $20.5M in Series B; expanding renewable energy procurement platform

LevelTen Energy, a renewable energy procurement platform, closed a $20.5-million Series B funding round led by Prelude Ventures, with participation from Constellation Technology Ventures, the venture investing arm of Exelon Corporation, Equinor Energy Ventures, Total Ventures and participants from LevelTen’s Series A funding, including Avista Development, Element 8 Fund, Founders’... Read more →


With nuclear power facing an uncertain future in many countries, the world risks a steep decline in its use in advanced economies that could result in billions of tonnes of additional carbon emissions, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency. Nuclear is the second-largest low-carbon power source... Read more →


Audi has opened Germany’s largest multi-use battery energy storage unit on the EUREF Campus in Berlin. The 13.6-acre EUREF campus serves as a site for pilot projects for the transition to sustainable energy and networked mobility. The Audi storage unit has a capacity of 1.9 MWh and uses used lithium-ion... Read more →


DOE awards $5.5M to apply machine learning to geothermal exploration

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $5.5 million for 10 new projects to apply machine learning techniques to geothermal exploration and production. Machine learning—the use of advanced algorithms to identify patterns in and make inferences from data—could assist in finding and developing new geothermal resources. If applied... Read more →


Porsche has launched two new cogeneration plants in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen to enhance its environmentally friendly energy mix and close the remaining gap to CO2 neutral production of the fully electric Taycan in Zuffenhausen. The heat and power plants, each of which has an output of around two megawatts, run exclusively on... Read more →


EPIC: state-level renewable electricity mandates increase electricity prices up to 17% over 12 years; cost more expensive than benefit

As states take the lead in confronting climate change, a flagship policy is often Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). RPS programs, which require that a certain percentage of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources, currently cover 64 percent of the electricity sold in the United States. A new study analyzing... Read more →


DOE to award up to $100M for future coal plants in Coal FIRST initiative

The US Department of Energy (DOE) intends to provide up to $100 million in awards (DE-FOA-0002116) for the Coal FIRST (Flexible, Innovative, Resilient, Small, and Transformative) initiative (announced in November 2018), which aims to develop coal plants of the future that will provide secure, stable, reliable power with near-zero emissions.... Read more →


DOE awards $19M to four advanced nuclear energy technology projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced funding selectees for multiple domestic advanced nuclear technology projects. Four projects in two states will receive varying amounts for a total of approximately $19 million in funding. The projects are cost-shared and will allow industry-led teams, including participants from federal agencies, public and... Read more →


DOE announces $130M for early-stage solar research

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $130 million for new research to advance early-stage solar technologies (DE-FOA-0002064). This funding program targets five research areas: photovoltaics (PV); concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP); soft costs reduction; innovations in manufacturing; and solar systems integration. These projects are intended to make solar... Read more →


ARPA-E announces $36M for high-temperature materials projects

The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) announced $36 million in awards for 18 projects as part of the High Intensity Thermal Exchange through Materials and Manufacturing Processes (HITEMMP) program, as well as the final OPEN+ Cohort, High Temperature Devices. These project teams seek to... Read more →


Carbon dioxide emissions from S energy consumption will remain near current levels through 2050, according to projections in EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2019. The AEO2019 Reference case, which reflects no changes to current laws and regulations and extends current trends in technology, projects that US energy-related CO2 emissions will be... Read more →


Although Germany, the UK, US, Canada and Ukraine are phasing out domestic coal production capacity, expansion of production capacity in countries such as India and Indonesia is predicted to generate modest annual growth of 1.3% in coal production over the next four years, with output reaching 7.6 billion tonnes in... Read more →


Reciprocating internal combustion engines (piston engines), which are typically used for backup, standby, or emergency power, are now becoming increasingly popular for larger utility-scale power generation applications, especially in areas with high levels of electricity generation from intermittent sources such as wind and solar, according to the US Energy Information... Read more →


Transmission system operator TenneT and Daimler AG, through its wholly owned subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Energy GmbH, have researched and tested the feasibility of innovative system services in the transmission grid as part of a joint development partnership. The project partners have shown in the Kamenz test lab that automobile battery storage... Read more →


Volkswagen subsidiary Elli offering Naturstrom CO2-free power throughout Germany with immediate effect

The Volkswagen Group’s new subsidiary, Elli Group GmbH (earlier post), is offering an eco-power tariff that is available throughout Germany with immediate effect. The first product from Elli is called “Volkswagen Naturstrom” (nature power), comes from 100% renewable sources and is intended for private households and small businesses. The new... Read more →


US electric power sector CO2 emissions have declined 28% since 2005 because of slower electricity demand growth and changes in the mix of fuels used to generate electricity, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). EIA calculated that CO2 emissions from the electric power sector totaled 1,744 million metric... Read more →


The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and Capstone Turbine have received $380,000 from the DOE Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) to refine Argonne’s high-efficiency, fast charging/discharging latent heat thermal energy storage system (TESS) for use in building applications and process/manufacturing industries. The TESS is a ​“thermal battery”... Read more →


Global spending on energy, as proportion of economic output, is set to slow sharply because the world’s energy demand will decline from 2035 onwards, according to DNV GL’s Energy Transition Outlook. The historically significant change in energy needs is largely down to rapid electrification and its inherent efficiency. The decarbonization... Read more →


In Denmark, Air Liquide inaugurated HyBalance, a pilot site for the production of carbon-free hydrogen. The facility uses electrolysis technology to balance the electricity grid and to store surplus electricity in the form of hydrogen that will be used in industry and transportation. This project, initiated in 2016, is led... Read more →


California legislature passes SB 100: 100% renewable and zero-carbon energy by 2045

The California Assembly has passed Senate Bill 100—a bill to move California to 100% renewable and zero-carbon energy by 2045. This bill—known as The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018—increases the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirement from 50% by 2030 to 60% and creates the policy of planning to... Read more →


Bosch entering strategic partnership with SOFC company Ceres Power; to make £9M investment

Bosch is entering a strategic partnership with solid-oxide fuel-cell (SOFC) specialist Ceres Power. Bosch also plans to make a £9-million (US$11.5 million) strategic equity investment in Ceres for an approximate 4.4% equity stake. The two companies signed a collaboration and license agreement, for the further development of technology, and establishment... Read more →


Researchers in Norway report that the carbon efficiency of a conventional Biomass-to-Liquid (BtL) process can be increased from 38 to more than 90% by adding hydrogen from renewable energy sources. The increased carbon efficiency is possible because the water gas shift reaction is avoided and instead a reversed water gas... Read more →


California’s grid is facing an era of rapid change. Three reports from Next 10, an independent, non-profit, non-partisan think tank, explore how the grid might be challenged or helped by the rise of electric vehicles; by the increase in distributed energy resources, such as rooftop solar panels; and by the... Read more →


Considering electrification, autonomy and sharing (the “Three Revolutions”), a team from Boston University and the University of California, Berkeley projects that electricity use from light duty vehicle (LDV) transport will likely be in the 570–1140 TWh range—13–26%—respectively, of total electricity demand in 2050. Their open-access study appears in the journal Energy... Read more →


ARPA-E issues $5M funding opportunity to support upcoming grid optimization competition

The Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) issued a funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0001952) of up to $5 million for research and development of algorithms to modernize the electric grid. If successful, awardees will participate in Challenge 1 of ARPA-E’s Grid Optimization (GO) Competition, set to launch in fall 2018.... Read more →


Chemical reactor company INERATEC, a spinoff of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), and the Spanish company GAS NATURAL FENOSA have built a plant in Spain that produces synthetic natural gas from CO2 and renewable hydrogen. The process is based on the production of hydrogen by electrolysis (renewable power-to-gas) and its... Read more →


DOE awarding nearly $20M for advanced nuclear technology projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected nine domestic projects to receive nearly $20 million in funding for cost-shared research and development for advanced nuclear technologies. These awards are through the Office of Nuclear Energy’s (NE) funding opportunity announcement (FOA) U.S. Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development and... Read more →


DOE to award ~$13.5M to 16 R&D projects for solid-oxide fuel cell technologies

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has selected 16 projects to receive approximately $13.5 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development (R&D) projects that will advance solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technologies. SOFC technologies enable efficient, cost-effective electricity generation from abundant domestic coal... Read more →


The energy control stations at BMW Group Plants Dingolfing and Landshut are stepping up their activities in the balancing-power market in Germany. Together with other highly-flexible controllable systems in the BMW Group production network, they will contribute to the stability of the public grid outside of the plant. Electricity generation... Read more →


Ferguson Marine and partners to develop renewables-powered hydrogen ferry: EU-funded HySeas III project

Port Glasgow-based Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited has successfully led a European consortium in a bid for EU funding support for the building and launch of the first sea-going car and passenger ferry fueled by Hydrogen. The supported development is expected to cost around €12.6 million (US$14.6 million) of which €9.3... Read more →


Bloomberg NEF forecasts falling battery prices enabling surge in wind and solar to 50% of global generation by 2050

Wind and solar power generation will surge to almost 50% of world generation by 2050 (“50 by 50”), supported by precipitous reductions in cost, and the advent of cheaper and cheaper batteries that will enable electricity to be stored and discharged to meet shifts in demand and supply, according to... Read more →


Scenario study suggests increased vehicle electrification in Europe increases demand for gas in power sector; limited ability for power-to-gas

A study published by the Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE) has explored the possible impact of increased electrification of road transportation and domestic heating and cooking on the energy system (electricity and gas), as well as on CO2 emissions and on GDP. The study is based on a set... Read more →


Drax, C-Capture to pilot Europe’s first bioenergy carbon capture storage project

UK-based renewable power generator Drax will pilot the first bioenergy carbon capture storage (BECCS) project of its kind in Europe, which, if successful, could make the renewable electricity produced at its North Yorkshire power station carbon negative. The demonstration project will see Drax partner with C-Capture and invest £400,000 (US$539,000)... Read more →


Mercedes-Benz Cars plants in Germany to be supplied with CO2-neutral energy from 2022

In Germany, all Mercedes-Benz plants will be supplied with CO2-neutral energy. The preparations for exclusively green electricity for a climate-friendly production in Europe are already well advanced. From 2022, the production of our Mercedes-Benz plants in Germany will operate CO2-neutral. Thereby, we completely forego coal-based electricity and obtain our electrical... Read more →


The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 13 projects to receive approximately $60 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development for advanced nuclear technologies. Of that, $40 million will go to NuScale Power to further its commercialization of small modular reactor technology. (Earlier post.) These selections are... Read more →


For the first time, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has published state-by-state energy and water Sankey diagrams in one location so that analysts and policymakers can find all the information they need in one place. These diagrams depict energy use and water flow during the year 2010, the latest year... Read more →


BP selects Tesla batteries for pilot storage project at US wind farm

BP Wind Energy, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Rolling Thunder I Power Partners LLC, has signed a purchase agreement to install a high-storage battery at its Titan 1 Wind Farm in South Dakota. The project is the first of its kind in BP’s US-operated wind business and a potential step forward... Read more →


Numerous studies have tackled the future environmental impact of battery-electric vehicles; the resulting assessments are highly uncertain. Now, a team of researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institut in Switzerland, with colleagues at Leiden University (Netherlands) and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency have used Monte Carlo and global sensitivity analysis to... Read more →


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 →