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Posts Tagged ‘USDOE’

US DOE International Solar Decathlon 2009 Winners & 2011 Rules

In building, cleantech, construction, Energy, entrepreneur, Environment, greentech, investment, maintech, Science, Solar, Sustainable, Technology, technology transfer, Venture Capital on February 10, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Video: Pentagon commits to use biofuels- Secretaries Vilsack and Mabus Onboard

In agriculture, biofuel, Biotechnology, cleantech, Energy, entrepreneur, Environment, finance, greentech, investment, maintech, Power Grid, Science, Sustainable, Technology, technology transfer, Venture Capital on February 6, 2010 at 3:16 pm

The Secretaries of Agriculture and the Navy were at the Pentagon in January 2010, showing their commitment to going green. Secretaries Vilsack and Mabus signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing the two departments to work together to develop biofuels.

In November of 2009- Rear Admiral Phil Cullom spoke plainly at the MIT Innovations Journal event co-organized by Bolton Hill Consulting at the National Academies of Science. The message was clear. The U.S. Navy has a long-standing commitment to the use of biofuels because it makes economic sense. The Navy is the largest consumer of biofuel in the United States. Rear Admiral Cullom controls a 21 Billion dollar budget. He attests that the Navy has used cutting edge clean technology for a long time to save money, increase access to domestic fuel sources and promote American innovation. The talk he gave at this event was riveting because not only is he interested in the topic- he is extremely well-educated (nuclear engineer & Harvard business graduate among other things), well spoken and highly committed to the use of biofuels in multiple contexts. Listen to him in his own words below.

Video provided by Allan Tone at ProVDN

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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DOE Solar Decathlon: About Solar Decathlon

In cleantech, Energy, entrepreneur, Environment, finance, greentech, Sustainable, Technology, technology transfer on October 13, 2009 at 8:45 pm

DOE Solar Decathlon: About Solar Decathlon.

For three weeks in October 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy will host the Solar Decathlon—a competition in which 20 teams of college and university students compete to design, build, and operate the most attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar-powered house. The Solar Decathlon is also an event to which the public is invited to observe the powerful combination of solar energy, energy efficiency, and the best in home design.

Exact dates of the 2009 event are:

  • Oct. 1—Teams arrive at the National Mall and begin assembly of their houses
  • Oct. 8-16—Teams compete in 10 contests
  • Oct. 9-13—Houses are open to the public
  • Oct. 15-18—Houses are open to the public
  • Oct. 19-21—Teams disassemble their houses.

The Solar Decathlon houses will be open for public tours 11 a.m.­–3 p.m. Monday–Friday and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Please note that all homes will be closed Wed., Oct. 14.

The Solar Decathlon consists of three major phases:

  • Building: This is where most of the work—and the learning—happens. In addition to designing houses that use innovative, high-tech elements in ingenious ways, students have to raise funds, communicate team activities, collect supplies, and work with contractors. Although the Solar Decathlon competition receives the most attention, it’s the hard work that students put in during the building phase that makes or breaks a team.
  • Moving to the Solar Village: When it’s time for the Solar Decathlon, the teams transport their houses to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and rebuild them on site.
  • Competing: During the competition itself, the teams receive points for their performance in 10 contests and open their homes to the public.

Purpose

The Solar Decathlon brings attention to one of the biggest challenges we face—an ever-increasing need for energy. As an internationally recognized event, it offers powerful solutions—using energy more efficiently and using energy from renewable sources.

The Solar Decathlon has several goals:

  1. To educate the student participants—the “Decathletes”—about the benefits of energy efficiency, renewable energy and green building technologies. As the next generation of engineers, architects, builders, and communicators, the Decathletes will be able to use this knowledge in their studies and their future careers.
  2. To raise awareness among the general public about renewable energy and energy efficiency, and how solar energy technologies can reduce energy usage.
  3. To help solar energy technologies enter the marketplace faster. This competition encourages the research and development of energy efficiency and energy production technologies.
  4. To foster collaboration among students from different academic disciplines—including engineering and architecture students, who rarely work together until they enter the workplace.
  5. To promote an integrated or “whole building design” approach to new construction. This approach differs from the traditional design/build process because the design team considers the interactions of all building components and systems to create a more comfortable building, save energy, and reduce environmental impact.
  6. To demonstrate to the public the potential of Zero Energy Homes, which produce as much energy from renewable sources, such as the sun and wind, as they consume. Even though the home might be connected to a utility grid, it has net zero energy consumption from the utility provider.