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JBEI and LS9 Biotechnology of SF converting Biomass to fuel with microbes: huge money saving potential

In agriculture, Bioscience, Biotechnology, cleantech, Energy, entrepreneur, Environment, greentech, Power Grid, Science, Sustainable, Technology, Venture Capital on January 31, 2010 at 10:59 am

The secret to cheap, sustainable fuel from waste is near and natural. We have microbes that can get the job done without expensive chemical conversions.

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Read about it in Science Daily.

ScienceDaily (Jan. 31, 2010) — A collaboration led by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) has developed a microbe that can produce an advanced biofuel directly from biomass. Deploying the tools of synthetic biology, the JBEI researchers engineered a strain of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria to produce biodiesel fuel and other important chemicals derived from fatty acids.
See Also:
Plants & Animals
Food
Bacteria
Matter & Energy
Fossil Fuels
Energy Policy
Earth & Climate
Energy and the Environment
Renewable Energy
Reference
Biomass
Biomass (ecology)
Biodiesel
Distributed generation
“The fact that our microbes can produce a diesel fuel directly from biomass with no additional chemical modifications is exciting and important,” says Jay Keasling, the Chief Executive Officer for JBEI, and a leading scientific authority on synthetic biology. “Given that the costs of recovering biodiesel are nowhere near the costs required to distill ethanol, we believe our results can significantly contribute to the ultimate goal of producing scalable and cost effective advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals.”
Keasling led the collaboration, which was was made up of a team from JBEI’s Fuels Synthesis Division that included Eric Steen, Yisheng Kang and Gregory Bokinsky, and a team from LS9, a privately-held industrial biotechnology firm based in South San Francisco. The LS9 team was headed by Stephen del Cardayre and included Zhihao Hu, Andreas Schirmer and Amy McClure. The collaboration has published the results of their research in the January 28, 2010 edition of the journal Nature. The paper is titled, “Microbial Production of Fatty Acid-Derived Fuels and Chemicals from Plant Biomass.”
A combination of ever-increasing energy costs and global warming concerns has created an international imperative for new transportation fuels that are renewable and can be produced in a sustainable fashion. Scientific studies have consistently shown that liquid fuels derived from plant biomass are one of the best alternatives if a cost-effective means of commercial production can be found. Major research efforts to this end are focused on fatty acids — the energy-rich molecules in living cells that have been dubbed nature’s petroleum.
Fuels and chemicals have been produced from the fatty acids in plant and animal oils for more than a century. These oils now serve as the raw materials not only for biodiesel fuel, but also for a wide range of important chemical products including surfactants, solvents and lubricants.
“The increased demand and limited supply of these oils has resulted in competition with food, higher prices, questionable land-use practices and environmental concerns associated with their production,” Keasling says. “A more scalable, controllable, and economic alternative route to these fuels and chemicals would be through the microbial conversion of renewable feedstocks, such as biomass-derived carbohydrates.”
E. coli isa well-studied microorganism whose natural ability to synthesize fatty acids and exceptional amenability to genetic manipulation make it an ideal target for biofuels research. The combination of E. coli with new biochemical reactions realized through synthetic biology, enabled Keasling, Steen and their colleagues to produce structurally tailored fatty esters (biodiesel), alcohols and waxes directly from simple sugars.
“Biosynthesis of microbial fatty acids produces fatty acids bound to a carrier protein, the accumulation of which inhibits the making of additional fatty acids,” Steen says. “Normally E. coli doesn’t waste energy making excess fat, but by cleaving fatty acids from their carrier proteins, we’re able to unlock the natural regulation and make an abundance of fatty acids that can be converted into a number of valuable products. Further, we engineered our E. coli to no longer eat fatty acids or use them for energy.”
After successfully diverting fatty acid metabolism toward the production of fuels and other chemicals from glucose, the JBEI researchers engineered their new strain of E. coli to produce hemicellulases — enzymes that are able to ferment hemicellulose, the complex sugars that are a major constituent of cellulosic biomass and a prime repository for the energy locked within plant cell walls.
“Engineering E. coli to produce hemicellulases enables the microbes to produce fuels directly from the biomass of plants that are not used as food for humans or feed for animals,” Steen says. “Currently, biochemical processing of cellulosic biomass requires costly enzymes for sugar liberation. By giving the E. coli the capacity to ferment both cellulose and hemicellulose without the addition of expensive enzymes, we can improve the economics of cellulosic biofuels.”
The JBEI team is now working on maximizing the efficiency and the speed by which their engineered strain of E. coli can directly convert biomass into biodiesel. They are also looking into ways of maximizing the total amount of biodiesel that can be produced from a single fermentation.
“Productivity, titer and efficient conversion of feedstock into fuelare the three most important factors for engineering microbes that can produce biofuels on an industrial scale,” Steen says. “There is still much more research to do before this process becomes commercially feasible.”
This research was supported by funds from LS9, Inc., and the UC Discovery Grant program. LS9 is using synthetic biology techniques to develop patent-pending UltraClean™ fuels and sustainable chemicals. The UC Discovery Grant program is a three-way partnership between the University of California, private industry and the state of California that is aimed at strengthening and expanding California’s economy through targeted fields of research.

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Department of Energy DOE: Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Peer Review Best Practices Workshop

In building, cleantech, Energy, entrepreneur, Environment, finance, greentech, maintech, Power Grid, Science, Solar, Sustainable, Technology, technology transfer, Venture Capital on January 27, 2010 at 11:10 pm

This Association of Public Land Grant Universities (APLU) sponsored event was designed to help DOE employees improve the grant review process. Had it been open to the public… it would have been of great interest to anyone trying to get government funding in the renewable energy arena.

It was a privilege to attend this event.

Jim Turner at the Association of Public Land Grant Universities (APLU) put on a stellar speaker panel and provided participants with the opportunity to meet the experts in the funding process. A select group of speaker presentations are listed below. One of the best featured speakers included D. Wayne Silby (Chair), Founding Chair of the Calvert Funds; Co-chair, Calvert Social Investment Foundation; Chair-elect and Principal, Syntao.com. Catherine Hunt, Dow, Director of Technology Collaboration Development was engaging and informative about finding practical solutions to industry problems.

The agenda and presentations are included below:

EERE Peer Review Best Practices Workshop
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
1307 New York Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20005
8:30 am Continental Breakfast

9:00 am Welcome : Peter McPherson, President, APLU

9:05 am Opening Remarks:Henry Kelly, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, DOE Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

9:15 am Keynote : Bill Bonvillian, Director of Federal Relations, MIT

9:45 am Peer Review Best Practices: Basic Science
Moderator: Jim Turner, Energy Programs, APLU

  • W. Lance Haworth, Director of Office of Integrative Activities, NSF
  • David T. George, Director, Office of Scientific Review, NIBIB, NIH
  • Linda Blevins, Senior Technical Advisor, Office of Science, DOE
  • Diana Jerkins, Interim Integrated Programs Director, Competitive Programs Unit, NIFA, USDA

11:15 am Peer Review Best Practices: Applied Research and Technology Development
Moderator: JoAnn Milliken, EERE

  • Marc Stanley, Deputy Director, NIST
  • Arun Majumdar, Director, ARPA-E
  • Julie A. Christodoulou, Director, Naval Materials Division, ONR
  • Lita Nelsen, Technology Licensing Office, MIT

12:30 pm Lunch

1:00 pm Peer Review Best Practices: Private Sector and Academic
Moderator: Jim Turner, Energy Programs, APLU

  • Catherine Hunt, Dow, Director of Technology Collaboration Development
  • Supratik Guha, Senior Manager, Semiconductor Materials and Devices,
  • Thomas J. Watson Research Center, IBM
  • Wayne Silby, Chairman, Calvert Special Equities
  • Mike Witherell, Vice Chancellor for Research, University of California at Santa Barbara and former head of Fermilab

2:15 pm Alternate Approaches to Peer Review

  • Ken Gabriel, Deputy Director, DARPA
  • Doug Comstock, Director, Innovative Partnerships Program, NASA

3:00 pm Public Comment Period

:: EERE Peer Review Best Practices Workshop Agenda
:: EERE Peer Review Best Practices Workshop Speaker Bios
Powerpoint Presentations
  1. :: Henry Kelly, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary,
  2. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
  3. :: W. Lance Haworth, Director of Office of Integrative Activities, NSF
  4. :: Linda Blevins, Senior Technical Advisor, Office of Science, DOE
  5. :: Diana Jerkins, Interim Integrated Programs Director, Competitive Programs Unit, NIFA, USDA
  6. :: Marc Stanley, Deputy Director, NIST
  7. :: Julie A. Christodoulou, Director, Naval Materials Division, ONR

Clean Energy Week Events 2010 in Washington DC

In cleantech, Energy, Environment, greentech, Power Grid, Solar, Sustainable, Technology on January 25, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Complete list of events: http://www.cleanenergyweek.org/schedule.php

National Coalition of Organizations Create Clean Energy Week, Washington DC — February 1st – 5th, 2010

Organizations nationwide are joining together to maximize efforts to move clean energy to the forefront of national policy. Officially declaring February 1-5, 2010 as Clean Energy Week, a growing list of partners are working together to produce a high-impact week of powerful and effective activities and events.

Clean Energy Week, February 1-5, highlights:

  • February 1: Clean Energy Week Press Conference – Presented by ACORE, Alliance to Save Energy, and the Clean Economy Network. National Press Club, Holeman Room, 9:30am
  • February 1-5: NASEO State Energy Policy and Technology Outlook Conference
  • February 2-3: Business Advocacy Day for Jobs, Climate & New Energy Leadership – Clean Economy Network and Ceres’ Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy. More Information
  • February 3-5: RETECH 2010 Conference & Exhibition, Washington DC Convention Center
  • February 4: Finance Education Day by the U.S. Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance (US PREF)
  • February 4: Clean Energy Breakfast Roundtable – with Special Hill Guest Speaker. 8am (Clean Technology & Sustainable Industries Organization, Clean Economy Network and K&L Gates). Please contact CTSI or community@ct-si.org for an invite. Free with Invite
  • February 4: Renewable Energy Interactive Webinar (World Team Now) – 2:30-4pm. For more information and to register. Free Webinar
  • February 4: Buy Clean Energy 2010 Program Launch (Center for Resource Solutions). More information available! – Open Opportunity
  • February 4: A cutting-edge feed-in tariff that has the potential to transform New York State into a leading center for renewable-energy investment and job creation will be discussed in a public forum at the Cooper Union’s Great Hall in NYC at 6:30 p.m. http://www.nyses.org
  • February 5: Opportunities and Challenges for Renewable Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean (Latin American and Caribbean Council on Renewable Energy – LAC-CORE, Washington Convention Center: For more information and to register. Free Event

Partners Include:

Landfill Creates Fuel for Garbage Trucks in CA- What’s Maryland going to do about it?

In cleantech, Energy, entrepreneur, Environment, greentech, investment, Science, Sustainable, Technology on January 20, 2010 at 8:58 pm

  • Landfill Creates Fuel for Garbage Trucks
  • So Arnold Schwarzenegger has set the bar high for the other Governors and asked for zero emissions. T. Boone Pickens is answering the call and helping to provide natural gas to all bus and garbage trucks in California. Methane from garbage dumps is a source of dirty but clean local fuel.
    This begs the question- what is our state going to do about it?

    In my case- this means Maryland. Our Governor- Martin O’Malley is green and getting greener. Let’s see him learn from California’s example- don’t let politics get in the way. We have green initiatives- can’t we have the MTA switch to natural gas. If not- why not? The Federal government supports clean fuel and pays most of the bill for new buses. Why can’t ours be clean like California’s?

    LIVERMORE, CALIF. – Hundreds of trash trucks across California are rumbling down city streets using clean fuel made from a dirty source: garbage. The fuel is derived from rotting refuse that San Francisco and Oakland residents and businesses have been discarding in the Altamont landfill since 1980. Since November, the methane gas created from decaying detritus at the 240-acre landfill has been sucked into tubes and sent into an innovative facility that purifies and transforms it into liquefied natural gas.

    http://greenopolis.com – Altamont, California, best known for the Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter concert, now has a new claim to fame- passing gas. Only this time its all good. The Altamont Landfill and Resource Recovery Facility is now the worlds largest landfill to liquefied natural gas facility. With the innovative capture technologies in place, methane- a Greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than CO2- is being turned into a resource. The project represents cross sector collaboration with Waste Management, Linde, and the State of California.The captured methane is processed into liquefied natural gas that is powering 300 Waste Management trucks daily, realizing ultra low carbon emissions from the natural gas and saving all that petro diesel and fine particle pollution to boot. WM is hoping to harvest 13,000 gallons of this fuel a day for their fleet. This is a project grand in concept, innovative leadership and scale. Its a great example of once again closing the loop and transforming waste to resources. This approach will provide green jobs and cleaner air for California and the rest of us.

Clean tech gets big piece of venture-capital funding – USATODAY.com

In cleantech, Energy, entrepreneur, Environment, greentech, investment, Power Grid, Science, Solar, Technology, technology transfer, Venture Capital on January 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Clean tech gets big piece of venture-capital funding – USATODAY.com.

Venture-capital funding for clean-technology firms fell 33% in 2009 from the year before, but the sector fared better than others amid a dismal economy, data released Wednesday indicate.

More than $5.6 billion in venture-capital investment went to clean-tech firms — including solar, wind, energy efficiency, transportation and biofuels — last year, say preliminary data from market researcher Cleantech Group and finance firm Deloitte.

Total venture-capital investment has retreated to 2003 levels, but clean tech has reset only to 2007 levels, the Cleantech Group says. “It was a difficult year, but I see clean tech … as the best of the worst,” says Shawn Lesser, founder of finance firm Sustainable World Capital.

The money flow underscores that:

Clean tech has muscle. In 2004, the sector accounted for about 3% of venture-capital investment. That expanded to about 25% in 2009. The sector last year, for the first time, received more private venture capital than any other sector, including software, Cleantech Group says.

Efficiency and transportation are in. The top clean-tech recipient in 2009 was solar, which got 21% of it. But solar investment was down 64% from the previous year, while the transportation and energy-efficiency sectors had record years.

The drop for solar stems from several factors, including the big amounts of money needed to commercialize technologies, says Dallas Kachan, managing director of the Cleantech Group. Meanwhile, energy-efficiency firms — those concentrating on everything from lighting to green building materials — often need less money to bring products or services to market, may rely on more proven technologies and may pose less risk to investors. “They’re not reinventing the wheel,” Kachan says.

Last year, venture capital for transportation — for such things as electric cars and new battery technology — rose 47% to $1.1 billion. Investment in energy efficiency rose 39% to $1 billion.

North America may be slipping. The region is still dominant for clean-tech venture capital, but it’s getting a smaller share than it used to. Last year, North America received 62% of clean-tech venture-capital dollars, down from 72% in 2008, the Cleantech Group says. Europe and Israel took in 29% of 2009 dollars, up from 22% in 2008. That Europe and Israel increased their share of venture-capital funding may reflect the desire for investors to pursue less risky deals in markets where clean tech is already more widely deployed, Lesser says.

MIT Press Reframing the Conversation on Energy and Climate

In cleantech, Energy, Environment, greentech, investment, Power Grid, Science, Sustainable, Technology on December 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm

MIT Press Reframing the Conversation on Energy and Climate.

If you have any trouble playing the video here- then press HERE

Bolton Hill Consulting assisted MIT Innovations editors to organize this educational event at the National Academy of Sciences. (Live Streaming & Video production provided by Alan Tone at Fimmaker etc).

Time For Change
Reframing the Conversation on Energy and Climate

A discussion on the occasion of the release of the Innovations journal special issue on energy & climate.

November 24, 2009
The National Academy of Sciences
Washington, D.C.

The solutions to our climate challenge aren’t just “out there,” they are right here-before your eyes, in your hands.
—John P. Holdren,
Science Adviser to the President of the United States, Introduction to Innovations 4:4 Energy for Change: Creating Climate Solutions

EVENT DESCRIPTION

The goal of this meeting was to contribute to reframing the conversation on energy and climate by illuminating opportunities inherent in the transition away from carbon intensity. The meeting focused on how technologies already in use can be combined with common-sense policies and 21st century modes of organization to create jobs, advance innovation, and enhance international cooperation. Led by the Science Adviser to the President of the United States, John Holdren, and informed by a year-long project on energy & climate at the National Academy of Sciences, the meeting was be organized into a set of forward-looking conversations respectively emphasizing opportunities for business, for the United States, and for the global community of nations.

Selected video highlights from Time for Change: Reframing the Conversation on Energy and Climate.

AGENDA

Panel #1: Building Change: The built environment and electric power service delivery video

Moderator:Ellen Vaughan, Environmental and Energy Study Institute .pdf

Panelist:Ralph Cavanagh, Natural Resources Defense Council .pdf

Panelist: James Turner, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities .pdf

Panelist: Henry Green, National Institute of Building Sciences .pdf


Panel #2: Driving Change: Transport and reduced oil consumption
video

Moderator:Philip Auerswald, George Mason University

Panelist:Judi Greenwald, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Panelist: L. Jerry Hansen, United States Army

Panelist:William Drayton, Ashoka and Get America Working! .pdf


Panel #3: Legislating Change: U.S. policy options and directions
video

Moderator:Edward Maibach, George Mason University

Panelist:Richard Meserve, The Carnegie Institution

Panelist:Jason Grumet, Bipartisan Policy Center

Panelist:Bracken Hendricks, Center for American Progress


Introduction of Keynote Speaker

Philip Auerswald, George Mason University

Keynote Address video

John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to the President of the United States .pdf


Panel #4: Negotiating Change: International agreements and new institutional arrangements at a global scale
video

Moderator:William Bonvillian, MIT .pdf

Panelist:Thomas Schelling, University of Maryland .pdf

Panelist: Frank Alix, Powerspan Corp. .pdf

Panelist:Iqbal Quadir, MIT

Closing Address video

Rear Admiral Philip Hart Cullom, United States Navy


Concluding Remarks
video

William Bonvillian, MIT .pdf

Read William B. Bonvillian and Charles Weiss’s MIT Press Book: Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution

Subscribe to Innovations

NREL Uncovers Clean Energy Leaders State by State

In Bioscience, cleantech, Energy, Environment, greentech, Power Grid, Solar, Sustainable on November 22, 2009 at 11:33 pm

via NREL: News Feature – NREL Uncovers Clean Energy Leaders State by State.

 

 

The State of the States project was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy, NREL and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). It is funded by the Department of Energy’s office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

While states such as California and Texas with abundant resources continue to rank among the leading states in terms of total renewable electricity generation, the study shows that a range of other states are demonstrating strong growth in the clean energy sector, including those with historic fossil fuel legacies, such as Oklahoma and Illinois.

Wind energy accounted for the largest percentage of nationwide growth in renewable generation between 2001 and 2007, including a 30 percent increase in 2006 and 2007.

Biomass generation continued to expand across most regions, with states as disparate as Delaware, Utah, Minnesota and Alaska showing the most recent growth in the sector. Biomass generation continued to be strong in southeastern states, including Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

Key Findings

* Non-hydro renewable electricity generation as a percent of total electricity generation increased 33.7 percent between 2001 and 2007, reaching a national total of 105 million megawatt-hours.

* California led the nation in terms of total non-hydroelectric renewable generation in 2007; Maine is No. 1 when also considering state population and gross state product.

* Washington led in total renewable generation in 2007 if hydroelectric resources are included.

* South Dakota ranks first in overall growth in non-hydro renewable energy generation between 2001 and 2007.

* Geothermal electricity generation in the Lower 48 is concentrated in California, Nevada and Utah.

* Solar capacity is concentrated in the southwestern and northeastern states.

* Leading wind energy states are Texas, California, Iowa, Minnesota, and Washington. However, sparsely populated Wyoming leads in per-capita wind generation.

 

Northeast Adds 17 Gigawatts of Renewable Power to Meet RPS : CleanTechnica

In cleantech, Energy, investment, maintech, Power Grid, Sustainable on November 1, 2009 at 12:19 pm

 

Written by Susan Kraemer for CleanTechnica.com

 

Renewable energy comprised more than half the energy added this year to the Northeast grid, comprising part of Canada and 6 US states. 17 GW of renewable energy projects in the region will be completed in the next five years.

It is no coincidence that each of these states has a state renewable portfolio standard which requires utilities to add an increasing percent of renewable power to the grid each year. New York’s RPS requires 24% by 2013, Maine:40% by 2017(met), Vermont:20% by 2017, New Hampshire:16% by 2025, Rhode Island:16% by 2019, and Connecticut:27% by 2020 )

The Renewable Portfolio Standard is a sure way to get more homegrown climate-friendly renewable power on the grid and is up for votes yet again this year (in the American Clean Jobs & American Power Act) after multiple previous attempts to pass it.

>>Find local group discounts on solar power for your home.

Democrats have attempted to pass a Renewable Portfolio Standard multiple times, for example here and again. Each time Republicans have defeated it by calling coal renewable, or filibustered it to prevent passage. (Renewable energy is defined as energy that is from a resource that is renewable and that has low carbon dioxide emissions, a greenhouse gas.)

It is included again in the current renewable energy bill in the Senate now (CEJAPA) and is the closest it has been to having the critical mass needed to pass it.

Maine has a RPS and has more renewable energy on the grid than any state in the nation; 55%. Collins and Snowe of Maine are two of the four Republicans who have reliably sided with Democrats on renewable energy. However the other two were both voted out last year; Smith of Oregan and Coleman of Minnesota.

Even when states don’t meet them, having an RPS requirement has been proven to get more power on the grid than not having one.

Image: Flikr user Katerina

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Tags: American Clean Jobs & American Power Act, Connecticut 27% by 2020, Maine:40% by 2017(met), New Hampshire:16% by 2025, Northeast 17 Gigawatts renewable, NY: 24% by 2013, Renewable Portfolio Standard, Rhode Island:16% by 2019, Vermont:20% by 2017

via Northeast Adds 17 Gigawatts of Renewable Power to Meet RPS : CleanTechnica.

Tiny agency has big role in energy debate – KansasCity.com

In cleantech, Energy, Power Grid, Science on November 1, 2009 at 11:50 am

By BARBARA BARRETT
McClatchy Newspapers


As energy increasingly dominates the economy, a quiet little agency in Washington holds the responsibility for tracking the particles that conduct, fuse, blow, heat, combust and convert the earth, wind and water into the energy that makes our society run.

The man behind the quiet data-crunching enterprise is Richard Newell, a Duke University economist and energy enthusiast.

He sits in a glass-walled office a block off the National Mall, between the president who hired him and the congressional lawmakers who hammer his numbers into policy. He visits his wife and two young daughters in North Carolina every weekend, reads massive amounts of analysis and tries to know, always, the big picture about what’s going on in the world.

Newell took over Aug. 3 as the administrator for the Energy Information Administration. Utility companies make decisions about whether to build new power plants based in part on the EIA’s long-term projections of energy use. The office is responsible for dozens of daily, weekly and monthly reports on all aspects of energy.

It tracks how much energy comes from solar, geothermal and biomass sources. It follows the production and use of coal, natural gas and petroleum. It tracks greenhouse gas emissions.

Its work can shake financial markets and propel legislation.

It does all this, by law, in a nonpartisan, neutral fashion. The only political appointee is the director: Newell.

“Energy is a part of so many aspects of our daily lives, our economy,” Newell said in an interview in his Washington office. “It’s the car you drive. It’s when you turn the lights on, drive the kids to school.”

“Environmental issues are increasing in attention and importance over the last decade or two,” he said. “So I think there’s a lot of interest on the part of policymakers and society in how we meet our energy needs in a way that allowed the economy to keep running and addresses environmental concerns. I think we can do all that.”

A friendly man with wavy hair and a fashionable beard, Newell sports just enough gray to give the 44-year-old gravitas in the very serious town of Washington. When he smiles, which is often, his eyebrows shoot above his glasses, crinkling his forehead.

The work he does at the EIA, though, is very serious.

“They’re not trying to spin the facts,” said Ron Planting, an economist at the American Petroleum Institute, an advocacy group for the oil industry in Washington. “They’re trying to gather the best data available. From their data you can get a picture of what’s happening in U.S. energy consumption.”

via Tiny agency has big role in energy debate – KansasCity.com.

Solar power from Sahara step closer | Business | guardian.co.uk

In cleantech, Energy, Power Grid, Solar, Sustainable on November 1, 2009 at 11:31 am

by Ashley Seager for guardian.co.uk, Sunday 1 November 2009 14.20 GMT

The German-led Desertec initiative believes it can deliver power to Europe as early as 2015

The technology is not new – it is the scale of the Desertec initiative which is a first…

A $400bn (£240bn) plan to provide Europe with solar power from the Sahara moved a step closer to reality today with the formation of a consortium of 12 companies to carry out the work.

The Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII) aims to provide 15% of Europe’s electricity by 2050 or earlier via power lines stretching across the desert and Mediterranean sea.

The German-led consortium was brought together by Munich Re, the world’s biggest reinsurer, and consists of some of country’s biggest engineering and power companies, including Siemens, E.ON, ABB and Deutsche Bank.

It now believes the DII can deliver solar power to Europe as early as 2015.

“We have now passed a real milestone as the company has been founded and there is definitely a profitable business there,” said Professor Peter Höppe, Munich Re’s head of climate change.

“We see this as a big step towards solving the two main problems facing the world in the coming years – climate change and energy security,” said Höppe.

The solar technology involved is known as concentrated solar power (CSP) which uses mirrors to concentrate the sun’s rays on a fluid container. The super-heated liquid then drives turbines to generate electricity. The advantage over solar photovoltaic panels, which convert sunlight directly to electricity, is that if sufficient hot fluid is stored in containers, the generators can run all night.

The technology is not new – there have been CSP plants running in the deserts of California and Nevada for two decades. But it is the scale of the Desertec initiative which is a first, along with plans to connect North Africa to Europe with new high voltage direct current cables which transport electricity over great distances with little loss.

via Solar power from Sahara step closer | Business | guardian.co.uk.