HP Hood Converts Fuel Oil to CNG

HP Hood’s plant located in Lafargeville, New York is converting from fuel oil to compressed natural gas (CNG) as a boiler fuel. According to the company, CNG is much less expensive than fuel oil, therefore the new technology will make the plant more competitive. After the conversion, the plant will emit 26 percent less CO2, much less SO2 and NOx, and almost no particulates.

HP Hood’s Lafargeville plant is not located on a gas pipeline so needed another conversion HP Hood CNG truckoption. NG Advantage LLC provided the answer. NG Advantage trucks CNG using its “virtual pipeline” of 27 trailers to deliver the natural gas from existing pipelines to large institutions and industrial facilities in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts and is now expanding into eastern New York State.

HP Hood LLC was founded more than 160 years ago and has grown to be a national company distributing dairy products throughout the United States. Today, HP Hood is now one of the country’s largest branded dairy operators with 15 manufacturing plants throughout the United States. As a leader in its industry, Hood is committed to conducting business in a way that maintains a vigilant focus on sustainability.

NG Advantage will begin delivering natural gas to very large energy users that do not have access to a pipeline in upstate and eastern New York in Q4, 2014. The company said it is committed to bringing the economic and environmental benefits of natural gas to customers located beyond the reach of pipelines. Customers do not need to build storage tanks as the tractor/trailers automatically arrive 24/7 and gas is drawn directly from the trailers into the boilers at the plant.

Freeman Covert, Director of Operations at the HP Hood Lafargeville plant, expressed his support of the conversion to CNG. “As we strive to work smarter and better, we are pleased that the partnership with NG Advantage creates both environmental and business efficiencies.”

According to NG Advantage, their customers save 20-40 percent off the cost of their process and comfort heating bills by replacing fuel oil as their primary source of heat with cleaner, less expensive, North American natural gas.

NG Advantage CEO Tom Evslin added, “We are pleased to have the opportunity to bring the benefits of natural gas to HP Hood, its customers, employees, and neighbors. We are looking forward to bringing natural gas beyond the pipeline to New York institutions just as we have already done in New England where we got our start.”

CSP: ELEMENTS Awarded to Southern Research Institute

Southern Research Institute has signed a jointly funded cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the DOE’s new Concentrating Solar Power: Efficiently Leveraging Equilibrium Mechanisms for Engineering New Thermochemical Storage (CSP: ELEMENTS) funding program. The program is part of the SunShot Initiative. CSP: ELEMENTS supports the development of high-temperature thermochemical energy storage (TCES) systems that enable concentrating solar power plants to produce electricity in the evenings and even overnight when the sun is no longer shining.

“Southern Research Institute is excited and honored to be selected by DOE for this project,” said Michael D. Johns, vice president engineering at Southern Research Institute. “We are proud to be recognized for our leadership in alternative energy, and the development of this innovative thermochemical storage system is in great alignment with the work at our recently established Southeast Solar Research Center, where we design, test, and validate technologies throughout the solar energy spectrum.”

CSP technology employs mirrors that concentrate reflected sunlight onto receivers containing heat transfer fluids. From there, the fluids are used to heat water, which in turn generates steam that is used to power turbines and produce electricity. By adding thermal storage to these facilities they are able to operate at significantly higher capacity factors and produce approximately double the energy for the same size power facility. In addition, the production of electricity can be shifted to occur at the same time as peak power demand, making the electricity much more valuable.

More specifically, the Southern Research Institute project will develop a TCES system that uses a low-cost calcium-based sorbent in a reversible closed-loop endothermic-exothermic chemical reaction cycle. The system stores energy during mid-day when sunlight is plentiful in the endothermic step, and then releases energy when the sun is no longer shining during the exothermic step, allowing for electricity to be produced in a more stable and consistent fashion. This TCES system is projected to cost less than a current state-of-the-art molten salt storage systems, and will be able to store the same amount of energy in a system about one-sixth the size. Continue reading

Spider ST Solar Roof Mount System Seeing Success

Patriot Solar Group (PSG) has announced they are seeing success with their recently launched Spider ST roof mount system. The Spider ST is a polypropylene polymer-based roof mount for commercial flat roof applications. Because of its design and ease of use, the company says it offers solar installers unique cost saving features.

Patriot Solar Group Spider STAlthough mounting systems are defined as “hardware costs,” the the company says Spider ST reduces soft costs, which account for a large percentage of installed system costs for roof-top solar projects.

Patriot Solar Group explains its “snap together” design requires no tools for assembly and comes standard with integrated grounding – significantly lowering associated mechanical and electrical labor. The design to build process is shortened due to zero roof penetrations and lighter roof loading because of its airfoil wind deflector design.

“Projects are getting financed quicker and more easily because of our extensive research data, wind tunnel testing and UL 2703 compliance – thus further reducing associated soft costs,” said Jeff Mathie, president of Patriot Solar Group, “Developers, building owners, roof manufacturers and financiers feel very comfortable using the Spider ST and we are seeing a stronger market acceptance towards polymer based materials for racking.”

EPA Officially Releases Clean Power Plan Proposal

In what could be an unprecedented move by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the agency has released a proposed plan to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants by 30 percent nationwide below 2005 levels by 2030. The Clean Power Plan is the first proposed policy that would cut CO2 from existing power plants – the single largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S. Possible solutions to cutting carbon include integrating renewable power to the grid from sources such as geothermal, solar, wind and bioenergy (biomass or pellets derived from waste).

According to the EPA, power plants account for nearly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Although there are current limits in place for the level of arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particle pollution that power plants can emit, there are currently no national limits on carbon pollution levels.

EPA Gina McCarthy“Climate change, fueled by carbon pollution, supercharges risks to our health, our economy, and our way of life,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “EPA is delivering on a vital piece of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan by proposing a Clean Power Plan that will cut harmful carbon pollution from our largest source–power plants.”

“By leveraging cleaner energy sources and cutting energy waste, this plan will clean the air we breathe while helping slow climate change so we can leave a safe and healthy future for our kids. We don’t have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment–our action will sharpen America’s competitive edge, spur innovation, and create jobs,” added McCarthy.

Building upon trends already underway to reduce GHG emissions (including carbon) in other industry sectors including the transportation sector (cars, planes, etc.) as well as working along side states who have already put carbon policies in place for their utility sectors, the goal is to create a nationwide plan to cut pollution while make power plants more energy efficient. In addition, the plan fits within the steps laid out in President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and his June 2013 Presidential Memorandum.

In 2009, the EPA determined that greenhouse gas pollution threatens Americans’ health and welfare by leading to long lasting changes in our climate that can have a range of negative effects on human health and the environment. By 2030, The Clean Power Plan specifically calls for:

  • Cutting carbon emission from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide below 2005 levels, which is equal to the emissions from powering more than half the homes in the United States for one year;
  • Cutting particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent as a co-benefit;
  • Avoiding up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 490,000 missed work or school days—providing up to $93 billion in climate and public health benefits; and
  • Shrink electricity bills roughly 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.

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Halco Energy Deploys Propane Trucks

Phelps, New York – based Halco Energy is deploying 25 vehicles powered by propane autogas in their service and installation fleet. The company provides residential and commercial renewable energy solutions including high-efficiency heating and cooling systems; home energy audits; and envelope improvements including insulation, air-sealing, and clean renewable energy systems. And now the company is “walking the walk” with its fleet conversion to propane autogas.

The company is now sporting 16 Ford E-350 cargo vans and 9 Ford F-250 pickup trucks equipped with ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel systems. The conversions were funded, in part, by a $200,000 grant from the Genesee Region Clean Communities. The domestically fueled vehicles will help the company drive down fuel and maintenance expenses by an estimated $600,000 and reduce their carbon footprint by more than 1.6 million pounds over thee lifetime of the vehicles.

Halco Energy Hal Smith“We’re in the renewable energy business so doing the right thing for the environment is very important to us,” said Hal Smith, co-owner of Halco Energy. “We were looking for a fuel that’s cleaner, better for environment and less costly. With propane autogas, we are optimistic that we’ve found a great solution to meet these needs.”

Halco Energy is working to install a 16,000-gallon on-site fueling station but in the meantime they will fuel the vehicles at a local public station. According to ROUSH CleanTech, the infrastructure for propane autogas is less expensive than any other alternative fuel, and with thousands of stations across the nation, propane autogas already has the largest public refueling infrastructure of all alternative transportation fuel options.

“Energy efficiency is our life, so for us, propane autogas, has been a no-brainer,” said Smith. “By deploying propane autogas vehicles in our fleet, we’re helping our pocketbook and the environment at the same time. I just wonder why more companies aren’t doing the same thing.”

A 2013 recipient of the national “Home Performance with Energy Star” award, Halco Energy aims to transition 75 percent of their total fleet to propane autogas over the next four years.

PowerBridgeNY Student Award Winners Announced

The first student winners of the PowerBridgeNY awards have been announced by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. The recently established Proof-of-Concept Center aids clean energy ideas move from the laboratory to commercial product. These awards continue to support the development of New York’s cleantech economy to create jobs and businesses focused on emerging clean-energy technologies.

New York is taking a leading role in supporting the development of cleantech products that are environmentally friendly, reduce energy use and increase reliability of the State’s energy systems,” said Governor Cuomo. “When the best and brightest cleantech researchers in New York State have the opportunity to collaborate with smart, experienced experts in the private sector, the result can be a powerful force for economic development resulting in a cleaner, greener, more sustainable state for future generations.”

cleaning-solar-panelsPowerBridgeNY was created by Columbia University and New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering, leading a consortium of public research institutions throughout the State, and is partially funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The winners, who were awarded up to $150,000, are working on products with the potential to reduce wastewater treatment costs, increase energy efficiency of solar panels, reduce electricity outages, decrease the cost of fuel cells, absorb carbon dioxide.

“The funding announced today will help these scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs move their innovative technology closer to market-readiness as they tackle technical clean-energy issues,” said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA. “Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s support, the proof-of-concept centers are advancing cleantech innovation in New York State, growing new companies and commercializing the next generation of products that will help reduce the State’s energy use.”

Businesses were judged on the products’ technical potential, the potential appeal to investors and how the scientists could benefit by taking part in this program. Continue reading

GM Fuel Cell Vehicles Surpasses 3 Million Miles

General Motors’ fleet of fuel cell vehicles has surpassed the three million mile mark running on hydrogen-power. According to GM, some individual vehicles have accumulated more than 120,000 miles and by using hydrogen, the fleet has avoided 157,894 gallons of gasoline consumption. This specially equipped fleet of Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell vehicles are part of GM hydrogen-powered Chevrolet EquinoxGM’s 119-vehicle Project Driveway program, which launched in 2007. Since then, more than 5,000 drivers have provided feedback on the functionality and drivability of fuel cell technology.

“Hydrogen fuel cell technology is an important part of GM’s advanced propulsion portfolio and we continue to make substantial progress in furthering this technology,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s global fuel cell engineering activities. “These vehicles have operated through seven full winters and a wide range of environmental conditions, proving that fuel cells can meet the demands of real-world drivers.”

GM has announced several fuel cell-related collaborations over the past few years. In July, 2013, GM and Honda announced a long-term collaboration to co-develop next-generation fuel cell and hydrogen storage systems, aiming for potential commercialization in the 2020 time frame. In addition, GM and Honda are working together with stakeholders to further advance refueling infrastructure, which is critical for the long-term viability and consumer acceptance of fuel cell vehicles.

Also last year GM opened a new state-of-the-art Fuel Cell Development Laboratory at GM Powertrain World Headquarters in Pontiac, Mich. In September, 2013 GM and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC) jointly announced an expansion of their relationship for testing automotive fuel cell technology.

Deepwater Wind Unveils Right Whale Protection Agreement

An historic offshore wind energy announcement was made today that will help to protect the right whale while development occurs of an offshore wind farm known as the Deepwater ONE Offshore wind farm. The project is being developed off the coast of Rhode Island and North American Right WhaleMassachusetts coasts, an area where the endangered right whale is frequently seen. With less than 500 right whales believed to be alive, they are highly endangered and can become confused due to underwater sounds caused by noise from the vessels doing the pre-construction site activities. The noise also impacts the right whale’s ability to communicate.

A coalition of leading environmental and conservation organizations — Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and National Wildlife Federation (NWF) — and Deepwater Wind today announced an agreement to implement additional protections that will minimize potential impacts on North Atlantic right whales and other marine mammals from underwater noise and construction vessels during the developer’s site characterization and assessment activities.

“We take our responsibility to be a national leader in responsible offshore wind development very seriously, and ensuring marine mammals are protected is just one way we’re fulfilling our commitment,” said Jeffrey Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind during a press call this morning.

Deepwater Wind reached another similar agreement in the Mid-Atlantic Wind Energy areas (the area where the Cape Wind project is in development) and has committed to tailoring its business to protect marine animals in every area it develops a project.

Click here to listen to the media call:Historic Offshore Wind Right Whale Protection Agreement

Deepwater Wind in July 2013 acquired a 30-year lease to develop the Deepwater ONE project in the Rhode Island-Massachusetts Wind Energy Area, located in Rhode Island Sound, after winning the first-ever competitive lease auction for offshore wind energy development in America. The lease area covers approximately 256 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean, roughly 30 miles east of Montauk, N.Y. and roughly 17 miles south of Rhode Island, between Block Island, R.I., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

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H2FIRST To Improve Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure

Last year the U.S. Energy Department launched H2USA, a program aimed at addressing the challenge of hydrogen infrastructure. Established by the Energy Department’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Research and Station Technology (H2FIRST) project will draw on existing and emerging core capabilities at the national labs and aim to reduce the cost and time of new fueling station construction and improve the stations’ availability and reliability.

By focusing on these aspects of the hydrogen fueling infrastructure, the effort hopes to accelerate and support the widespread deployment of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. Automakers are investing in hydrogen technology as evidenced by Toyota’s recent announcement that it will begin selling its Fuel Cell Vehicle in 2015. Last year, GM and Honda announced plans to jointly develop hydrogen fuel cell cars, and Hyundai will lease its Tucson Fuel Cell hydrogen-powered vehicle in California this spring.

“The success of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles largely depends on more stations being available, including in neighborhoods and at work, so drivers can easily refuel,” said Daniel Dedrick, hydrogen program manager at Sandia who is involved with several other partners in the program. “With H2FIRST, we’re definitely on the road to making that happen more quickly.”

The partners include several agencies from the state of California, widely regarded as the nation’s epicenter of zero-emission vehicles.

“This new project brings important federal know-how and resources to accelerate improvements in refueling infrastructure that support the commercial market launch of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles,” said Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols. “California is committed to deploying at least 100 hydrogen refueling stations in the next decade, and the H2FIRST effort is a big step toward the development and deployment of a broader, consumer-friendly infrastructure for us and the rest of the United States. We are excited to be joined by such prestigious partners in this effort.”

H2FIRST’s technical goal is to develop and apply physical testing, numerical simulation and technology validation to help create low-cost, high-performance materials, components and station architectures. H2FIRST also will collect and distribute data supporting industry’s efforts to reduce the costs of integrated fueling systems and networks. Continue reading

First Diesel Hybrid PV System Online in Guelph

Canadian Solar Inc. has completed one of the first diesel hybrid PV system in the remote microgrids in northern Ontario, Canada. The 152kW rooftop solar array on the Deer Lake First Nation Elementary School is the first project under the strategic partnership with NCC Development, LP (NCC), a First Nation renewable energy management company, in a commitment to use renewable energy (RE) microgrid solutions to assist the energy needs of off-grid First Nations and remote communities.

canadian solar logoNCC has identified more than 80 First Nations and remote communities for potential RE microgrid solution deployment, in an effort to promote photovoltaic services and projects to areas heavily reliant on diesel and challenged by limited access to electricity.

“NCC is optimistic in moving forward with our partner Canadian Solar, as we continue to build strategic collaborative efforts with leaders in the solar and renewable energy industry to foster sustainable development of Canada’s indigenous communities. As North America’s largest producer of solar power solutions, Canadian Solar’s industry leading experience and expertise will greatly contribute to our efforts,” said Geordi Kakepetum, Chief Executive Officer of NCC Development LP.

Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar Inc. noted of the project, “Our partnership with NCC started 3 years ago. It underscores our strong commitment to Canada, helping to bring solar power to areas previously unable to get connected to the grid. Solar is a green, flexible, low-cost, and sustainable energy solution for these underserved First Nations and other rural areas. We are proud of our involvement in this important effort and the direct impact we will have on so many deserving families.”

During a ribbon cutting ceremony, Chief Royale Meekis, the leader of Deer Lake First Nation said, “To reduce peak load and connect five more homes, we developed a three-part plan, including conservation, load shifting, and installing a PV solar system. This is important not only for the families who are waiting to move into these new houses, but for all of Deer Lake.”

Deer Lake First Nation aims to eventually replace 50 percent of their diesel consumption with the RE microgrid retrofit solution. The focus of the partners in developing RE microgrid solutions is also to help to build much needed additional clean energy capacity, and to support future economic development in the communities.

UK Announces 8 Major Renewable Energy Projects

The UK government has announced support for eight major renewable electricity projects giving a big boost to green energy and green jobs. By 2020, the projects will provide up to £12 billion of private sector investment, supporting 8,500 jobs, and they could add a further 4.5GW of low-carbon electricity to Britain’s energy mix (or around 4% of capacity), generating enough clean electricity to power over three million homes.

Once completed and in operation, the projects will contribute around 15TWh or 14 percent of the renewable electricity estimated to be produced by 2020, helping to put the UK well on the way to meeting its renewable energy target. The clean energy projects will also reduce emissions by 10 MtCO2 per year compared to fossil fuel power generation.

The projects have been offered under Contracts for Difference (CfD), which form part of Government’s Electricity Market Reform programme. They include offshore wind farms, coal to biomass conversions and a dedicated biomass plant with combined heat and power.

offshore-wind-power-Photo Christopher ThomondEnergy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said of the announcement, “These contracts for major renewable electricity projects mark a new stage in Britain’s green energy investment boom. By themselves they will bring green jobs and growth across the UK, but they are a significant part of our efforts to give Britain cleaner and more secure energy.”

“These are the first investments from our reforms to build the world’s first low carbon electricity market – reforms which will see competition and markets attract tens of billions of pounds of vital energy investment whilst reducing the costs of clean energy to consumers,” Davey continued. “Record levels of energy investment are at the forefront of the Government’s infrastructure programme and are filling the massive gap we inherited. It’s practical reforms like these that will keep the lights on and tackle climate change, by giving investors more certainty.”

The eight projects have been awarded contracts under the Final Investment Decision (FID) Enabling for Renewables process, allocating the first CfDs that are being introduced through the Electricity Market Reform programme. Under CfDs, generators and developers receive a fixed strike price for the electricity they produce for 15 years. As a result, these contracts are vital to give investors the confidence they need to pay the up-front costs of major new infrastructure projects. The contracts are supported by the new legislative framework introduced through the Energy Act 2013. Further CfDs will be made available in the fall.

Renewable Electricity Could Reach 16% In Five Years

According to an early release review of the Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (the final report is slated for release on April 30th) published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable energy could hit 16 percent of the net U.S. electrical generation by the year 2040. This includes biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind. But the SUN DAY Campaign challenges these predictions by asserting this could happen in the next five years.

When reviewing EIA’s own published data for the 11-year period January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2013 revealed that the percentage of the nation’s net electrical generation Biomass pelletsrepresented by renewable energy has expanded from less than 9 percent in 2004 to nearly 13 percent in 2013. Given the relatively consistent growth trends of the past decade or longer for most renewable energy sources and their rapidly declining costs, it seems improbable that it will require another 27 years to grow from 13 percent to 16 percent according to SUN DAY Campaign. Thus, EIA’s forecast is not just unduly conservative; almost certainly, it is simply wrong.

If the trends reflected in EIA data from the past decade continue, cite the SUN DAY campaign, renewable energy sources could increase to as much as 13.5 percent of net U.S. electrical generation in 2014, to 14.4 percent in 2015, to 15.3 percent in 2016, and reach or exceed 16.0 percent no later than 2018 — i.e., within five years and not the 27 years forecast by EIA. At worst, they would reach 16 percent by 2020.

“Inasmuch as policy makers in both the public and private sectors – as well as the media and others – rely heavily upon EIA data when making legislative, regulatory, investment, and other decisions, underestimation can have multiple adverse impacts on the renewable energy industry and, more broadly, on the nation’s environmental and energy future,” noted Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “Consequently, EIA is doing a serious disservice to the public by publishing analyses that are inherently inconsistent with its own historical data and near-term projections.”

The SUN DAY Campaign has published its own full 32-page report that includes the assumptions and projections made, on a technology-by-technology basis, using EIA data. In addition, following the projections provided for each technology is a listing of recent studies and news reports that offer alternative or complementary scenarios – many of which are more aggressive than those provided by the SUN DAY Campaign. These additional studies suggest that even SUN DAY’s analysis may prove to be unduly conservative.

Shell Eco-Marathon Seeks Most Energy Efficient Car

The North America leg of the Shell Eco-Marathon will kick off in Houston, Texas April 25-27, 2014. The event brings hundreds of high school and college students from around the world together to showcase their energy efficient cars. The winning team’s car will travel the farthest distance using the least amount of energy.

For the Houston leg, Linde North America will be the supplier of the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Mike Beckman, vice president Hydrogen Fueling, said, “Shell chose Linde as its exclusive worldwide hydrogen supplier because it wanted a solid and technically capable global partner for all of its Eco-marathon events around the world.” The first event of 2014 was held in Manila, Philippines, in February; Rotterdam, Netherlands, will be the site for the May event.

Shell Eco-marathon is also an educational platform, giving innovators practical experience of developing smarter, sustainable transportation. “We’re excited about the opportunity to work 2014 Shell Eco Marathon Prototype Concept Carwith this highly motivated and skilled group of future engineers that falls in line with our support for the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiative,” Beckman added. “These young people are our future, and we’re happy to support this effort.”

Linde will be working with eight teams whose vehicles will require hydrogen, and will be providing valuable technical support and advice to the student teams from North and South America.

“The Shell Eco-marathon is a unique competition that challenges students to design, build and drive the world’s most energy-efficient car,” said Norman Koch, Technical Director Shell Eco-marathon. “We are very pleased to partner with Linde for the fourth consecutive year supporting these students to develop energy efficient mobility solutions for the future.”

The Houston event will be held at Discovery Green Park and George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston.

DOE Issues Draft Renewable Energy Solicitation

The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a draft loan guarantee solicitation to identify innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects located in the U.S. The projects much avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases. When finalized, the solicitation is US DOE Energy logoexpected to make as much as $4 billion in loan guarantees available to help commercialize technologies that may be unable to obtain full commercial financing.

“Through our existing renewable energy loan guarantees, the Department’s Loan Programs Office helped launch the U.S. utility-scale solar industry and other clean energy technologies that are now contributing to our clean energy portfolio,” said Secretary Ernest Moniz. “We want to replicate that success by focusing on technologies that are on the edge of commercial-scale deployment today.”

The Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects Loan Guarantee solicitation is intended to support technologies that are catalytic, replicable, and market ready. Within the draft solicitation, the DOE 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.

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 DOE’s website. The draft solicitation can be found online at http://lpo.energy.gov.

Hydrogen Fuel Cells Soon to Power Forklifts

Forklifts may soon be powered by zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell systems. Research being conducted by Sandia National Laboratory and Hawaii Hydrogen Carriers (HHC) are looking to design a solid-state hydrogen storage system that can refuel at low pressure four to five times faster than it takes to charge a battery-powered forklift, a $33 billion market in 2013 according to Pell Research. The researchers say this technology would give hydrogen a competitive advantage over batteries.

Dino Vournas, Sandia National Labs

Dino Vournas, Sandia National Labs

“Once you understand how these forklifts operate, the fuel cell advantage is clear,” said Sandia’s project manager Joe Pratt.

Pratt explains that refueling hydrogen fuel cell powered forklifts takes less than three minutes compared to the hours of recharging needed for battery-powered forklifts. In addition, fuel cell-powered forklifts are able to operate continuously for eight or more hours between fills. Whereas today companies using battery-powered forklifts need to purchase three battery packs for each forklift to ensure continuous operation. They also need to set aside warehouse space for battery recharging.

Sandia has worked with the fuel cell forklift industry for several years to help get clean, efficient and cost effective fuel cell systems to market faster. Standards developed by Sandia soon will be published so industry can develop new, high-performing hydrogen fuel systems for industrial trucks.

Intrigued by the potential benefits of fuel cells over the electric batteries that now power most forklifts, HHC obtained a grant from the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and asked Pratt to help improve the design of a hydrogen storage system for fuel cells.

Pratt has spearheaded other Sandia efforts to introduce hydrogen systems into the marketplace. He served as technical lead, for instance, for studies on the use of fuel cells to power construction equipment, personal electronic devices, auxiliary equipment and portable generators. Most recently, he led a study and subsequent demonstration project on commercial use of hydrogen fuel cells to provide power at ports.

HHC is developing technologies for the fuel cell forklift market and expects cost reductions and performance improvements that will help the market grow. The company is developing a low-pressure hydrogen storage system that can be refueled at standard industrial gas pressures. This technology should reduce fuel system cost and expand the market to facilities that can’t accommodate conventional high-pressure fueling systems.