Sustainable Energy Part of Worldwatch Roadmap
A new report from the Worldwatch Institute, Washington, D.C., says “embracing an integrated mix of renewable energy, energy efficiency and grid technologies” can help countries “put their energy systems on a more sustainable path while [also] developing economically.”
The report, “Sustainable Energy Roadmaps: Guiding the Global Shift to Domestic Renewables,” lays out “an innovative, targeted approach that details how countries can take specific technical, policy, governance, and financial steps to help make the shift to sustainable energy a reality,” says the institute.
“Still today, an estimated 1.3 billion people worldwide lack access to electricity, and another 1 billion have unreliable access,” says Alexander Ochs, director of Worldwatch’s Climate and Energy Program and the lead author of the report. “But expanding fossil fuels is not the solution to the world’s energy challenges. We need solutions that are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable, many of which are now at hand. Implementing our Sustainable Energy Roadmaps will enable decision makers to pursue strategies that are in the true interest of their people while protecting Earth’s climate.”
To develop a Sustainable Energy Roadmap, Worldwatch analyzes an area’s potential for energy efficiency gains and undertakes what it calls detailed geographic information system (GIS) mapping of local renewable energy resources, including wind, solar and biomass.
Pratt & Whitney Debuts New Gasification Technology
The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota, along with one of its major corporate partners, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Inc. (PWR), East Hartford, Conn., has announced the commissioning of what it calls “a unique commercial-scale gasification technology.”
A reception was held in April 2012 on the University of North Dakota campus, Grand Forks, N.D., where the prototype dry solids feed pump system developed by PWR was designed. The pump can process 400 tons per day of solid fuels, such as biomass and coal, and paves the way for high-efficiency, low-emission gasification.
“The system is designed to align with the needs of a commercial-scale plant, so testing it at the EERC is a perfect fit,” says Tim Saunders, PWR Integrated Process Team Leader.
A variety of coal feedstocks will be tested with the pump over the next 12 months.
“This project stems from interest on the part of DOE and NETL to commercialize gasification as a strategic energy platform,” Saunders says.
Worldwatch says its roadmaps “can be applied almost anywhere—in industrialized and developing countries.”
Worldwatch President Robert Engelman says, “The roadmaps show a route to sustained long-term economic development, universal energy access, cleaner local environments, healthier populations and carbon-free energy systems. It’s impressive that some developing countries are now poised to make this shift more rapidly than many countries that are much wealthier.”
Plastic Material Certified as Suitable for Anaerobic Digestion
SSCCP, the Italian Pulp and Paper Research Institute based in Milan, has certified that ReNew Flexible Film Resins made by DaniMer Scientific (www.danimer.com) will degrade in the absence of oxygen as part of the anaerobic degradation process.
“We are very excited to share with the public the fact that our Flexible Film Resins have received an Anaerobic Digestion certification from SSCCP,” says Scott Tuten, Senior Vice President of DaniMer Scientific, Bainbridge, Ga. “This is major news for us .”
“We believe third-party certifications for our products enables our customers to have confidence as they operate in Europe due to their stricter regulations,” adds Tuten. “DaniMer technology also enables our customers to stay on top of the newest innovations and remain leaders in the bio-plastic industry.”
Anaerobic degradation is widely used as a process to generate renewable energy and a method for reducing the emission of landfill gas into the atmosphere, notes DaniMer in a news release announcing the certification.
DaniMer’s ReNew film resins are used in applications including disposable shopping bags, compostable bags, odor barrier packaging products and agricultural mulch film, among others.
Upon being discarded, these items are able to be used as a renewable energy resource through anaerobic degradation.
Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Win Clean Energy Competition
The Clean Energy Trust, Chicago, has announced Hyrax Energy as the early-stage business winner of the second annual Clean Energy Challenge. As well, NuMat Technologies, a student-led company from Northwestern University in Illinois, has captured top honors in the Student Challenge. Each company received a $100,000 grand prize sponsored by the Department of Energy.
Early-stage winner Hyrax Energy (www.hyraxenergy.com), Madison, Wis., develops bio-refineries that utilize ionic liquids to break down corn stover and waste plant materials into fermentable sugars, which are sold to renewable plastics, chemical and fuel manufacturers.
NuMat Technologies (http://numat-tech.com/), an Evanston, Ill.-based startup, has developed what it calls a “proprietary computational screening tool for rapidly identifying and testing metal-organic frameworks (MOFs).” NuMat also has developed what it calls “a complimentary, low-cost approach to synthesize, purify, stabilize and experimentally evaluate MOFs.”
This year’s Clean Energy Challenge competition also included businesses from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin and introduced a Student Challenge.
According to a news release from the Clean Energy Trust, “the anchor partners for the Student Challenge—Cleantech Open, Nortech , the University of Michigan, Purdue University and Washington University—provided funding for the state-level prizes.”
The five $10,000 Student Challenge state prizes were awarded to:
- NuMat Technologies, Northwestern University, Illinois
- Convolutus, Purdue University, Indiana
- Regenerate USA, University of Michigan
- Saturnis, Washington University of St. Louis, Missouri
- Design Flux Technologies, University of Akron, Ohio
The Energy Department’s National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition (NCEBPC) for university students is part of Startup America, the White House campaign to inspire and promote entrepreneurship. In mid-June 2012, the six DOE-sponsored regional student competition winners will compete in Washington, D.C. This national initiative enables student participants to gain the skills required to build new businesses and transform promising innovative energy technologies from U.S. universities and National Laboratories into innovative new energy products that will to solve our nation’s energy challenges, spur business creation, create American jobs, and boost American competitiveness.
“The National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition is engaging the next generation of America’s energy leaders,” says Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “The winning teams have developed effective strategies for commercializing new clean energy technologies that will help American businesses lead in the global economy.”
Amy Francetic, Clean Energy Trust executive director , says, “These prizes will help the winning clean energy entrepreneurs move their technology out of the laboratory and into the marketplace, creating new high-tech jobs along the way. The Challenge is designed to commercialize innovation by identifying and rewarding the most promising clean energy businesses. It was a tough competition and these winners represent the best of the Midwest’s new entrepreneurs in clean energy.”
More information about the DOE and its research commercialization projects can be found on its website www.doe.gov under the search term EERE (Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy).