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Monday, August 25, 2014

Verizon Plans Major Expansion of Its On-Site Green Energy Program; Company on Track to Become Largest Solar-Power Producer Among U.S. Communications Companies

NEW YORK – Verizon announced today that it will invest nearly $40 million to expand the on-site green energy program that it launched in 2013. This year, Verizon will install 10.2 megawatts of new solar power systems at eight Verizon network facilities in five states – California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. This investment nearly doubles the amount of renewable power generated by solar energy systems installed at six Verizon facilities last year.

Verizon Plans Major Expansion of Its On-Site Green Energy Program; Company on Track to Become Largest Solar-Power Producer Among U.S. Communications Companies

Verizon Is Building a Greener Network

From California to New York, Verizon has been building on-site green energy systems at 24 facilities. We believe that on-site green energy is not just good for our networks and the environment, but is also the right way to do business.
This year, Verizon is investing nearly $40 million in on-site solar power. This new investment nearly doubles the amount Verizon committed to solar in 2013. 

Verizon Is Building a Greener Network

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New Process Helps Overcome Obstacles to Produce Renewable Fuels and Chemicals

NREL News Release:

New Process Helps Overcome Obstacles to Produce Renewable Fuels and Chemicals

Lignin Valorization Study Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

There’s an old saying in the biofuels industry: “You can make anything from lignin except money.” But now, a new study may pave the way to challenging that adage. The study from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) demonstrates a concept that provides opportunities for the successful conversion of lignin into a variety of renewable fuels, chemicals, and materials for a sustainable energy economy.
Lignin Valorization Through Integrated Biological Funneling and Chemical Catalysis” was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The NREL-led research project explores an innovative method for upgrading lignin.
The process for converting glucose from biomass into fuels such as ethanol has been well established. However, plants also contain a significant amount of lignin – up to 30 percent of their cell walls. Lignin is a heterogeneous aromatic polymer that plants use to strengthen cell walls, but it is typically considered a hindrance to cost-effectively obtaining carbohydrates, and residual lignin is often burned for process heat because it is difficult to depolymerize and upgrade into useful fuels or chemicals.
“Biorefineries that convert cellulosic biomass into liquid transportation fuels typically generate more lignin than necessary to power the operation,” NREL Senior Engineer and a co-author of the study Gregg Beckham said.  “Strategies that incorporate new approaches to transform the leftover lignin to more diverse and valuable products are desperately needed.”
Although lignin depolymerization has been studied for nearly a century, the development of cost-effective upgrading processes for lignin valorization has been limited.
In nature, some microorganisms have figured out how to overcome the heterogeneity of lignin. “Rot” fungi and some bacteria are able to secrete powerful enzymes or chemical oxidants to break down lignin in plant cell walls, which produces a heterogeneous mixture of aromatic molecules. Given this large pool of aromatics present in nature, some bacteria have developed “funneling” pathways to uptake the resulting aromatic molecules and use them as a carbon and energy source.
This new study shows that developing biological conversion processes for one such lignin-utilizing organism may enable new routes to overcome the heterogeneity of lignin. And, that may enable a broader slate of molecules derived from lignocellulosic biomass.
“The conceptual approach we demonstrate can be applied to many different types of biomass feedstocks and combined with many different strategies for breaking down lignin, engineering the biological pathways to produce different intermediates, and catalytically upgrading the biologically-derived product to develop a larger range of valuable molecules derived from lignin,” Beckham said. “It holds promise for a wide variety of industrial applications. While this is very exciting, certainly there remains a significant amount of technology development to make this process economically viable.”
A patent application has been filed on this research and NREL’s Technology Transfer Office will be working with researchers to identify potential licensees of the technology.
In addition, researchers from NREL participated in a recent review on lignin valorization published inScience Magazine. This review highlighted the broad potential for manufacturing value-added products from lignin, including low-cost carbon fiber, engineering plastics and thermoplastic elastomers, polymeric foams and membranes, and a variety of fuels and chemicals all currently sourced from petroleum.
The work reported in PNAS initially was financed by the National Advanced Biofuels Consortium via funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; continuing core project support was provided by the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

Benefits of Insulation

From Energy Saver:

One of the most cost-effective ways to make your home more comfortable and #enegyefficient year-round is to add #insulation. Learn more about why you might want to add more insulation to your home in our newest#EnergySaver blog.

Improving Fuel Efficiency by Reducing Vehicle Weight

From the U.S. Dept. of Energy:

#DidYouKnow: Reducing a vehicle's weight by just 10 percent can improve #fuel economy by 6 to 8 percent. That's why more and more #automakers are exploring new ways to incorporate strong, lightweight materials into their vehicles. Learn how new advanced materials are helping vehicles shed pounds (and saving consumers money at the pump) while maintaining vehicle safety →

Partners Sharing Solutions: Leveraging Green Leases To Reduce Energy And Water Use - YouTube

Video (2:17)

Partners Sharing Solutions: Leveraging Green Leases To Reduce Energy And Water Use - YouTube

Geothermal Energy Sources

From the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS):

Geothermal Energy Sources — Hot Creek flows through the Long Valley Caldera in a volcanically active region of east-central California. This stretch of the creek, looking upstream to the southwest, has long been a popular recreation area because of the warm waters from its thermal springs. These springs, however, are unpredictable and can suddenly erupt with violence and at boiling temperature. Because of this danger, the U.S. Forest Service has had to close parts of the Hot Creek Geologic Site to visitors. The same geothermal reservoir that feeds Hot Creek provides heat for geothermal electric power production at nearby Casa Diablo.

Read more about Hot Creek and it's geothermal properties at

Photo credit: Chris Farrar, USGS.

Advanced Materials in the Solar Industry

From DuPont:

There is serious science inside our advanced materials - and some of these materials really help the solar industry shine! We recently introduced two new products to our leading line-up of front-side silver pastes. These DuPont™ Solamet® pastes offer improved efficiency and profitability for solar manufacturers, and help deliver more power from every solar panel.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lease Sale

From the U.S. Department of the Interior:

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today held the nation’s third competitive lease sale for renewable energy in federal waters, which offered nearly 80,000 acres offshore Maryland for potential wind energy development. 

The provisional winner of today’s lease sale is US Wind Inc. When fully built, this wind energy area could generate enough energy to power about 300,000 homes.

To read more, click here:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

PEV Charging Station

From U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy:

Plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) sales continue to soar in#America#PEV sales in the first six months of 2014 were more than 30% higher than the same period in 2013 and battery technology costs have come down more than 60% since 2009. The #Energy Department announced new research funding today to keep the momentum going and further reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Learn more:

Internal Combustion Engine Efficiency

From the U.S. Department of Energy:

Wonder how your car's #engine works? Our new animated #infographic breaks down the basic mechanics of the internal combustion engine and highlights how the #Energy Department is investing in new technology that'll improve its efficiency and save consumers money at the pump. Check it out now ➝ #HowEnergyWorks

King Cove Hydropower Plant

From U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy:

This week’s Throwback Thursday photo comes from 1994 when engineers first switched on the 800-kilowatt King Cove, #Alaska, hydropower plant and started producing electricity for a rural area that previously generated power with expensive diesel-fueled generators. Most small-scale hydropower projects such as this use a "run of river" design that generates#electricity by diverting only part of the stream.
Our Water Power Program pioneers research for#hydropower technologies that improve performance, lower costs, and ultimately support the United States' ability to sustainably meet its growing #energydemands. Learn more:

Partners Sharing Solutions: Integrated Model for Long Term Campus Energy Planning - YouTube

Video (2:09)

Partners Sharing Solutions: Integrated Model for Long Term Campus Energy Planning - YouTube

GE's Lumination™ LED DownLights Now Offered in More Versatile and Designer-Friendly Options with New Reflector and Wall Wash Options

GE Press Release:

GE's Lumination™ LED DownLights Now Offered in More Versatile and Designer-Friendly Options with New Reflector and Wall Wash Options

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (Aug. 12, 2014)---GE's Lumination™ LED DownLights are now available with new reflector finishes and anodized color options, offering even greater versatility and customization of the energy-efficient Lumination DI Series for new construction of high-end retail, commercial office and hospitality spaces.
In addition to new configurations and finishes, GE's Infusion™ technology gives users more options, including a variety of lumen output and color temperatures, to illuminate key products or focal points with the simple switch of an LED module.
"GE's Lumination DI Series LED DownLights come in a wider range of finishes and colors---from wheat, semi-diffused and white colors to specular, clear and even black---giving designers and architects more versatile options than ever before," said GE Indoor LED Product Manager John Koster. "Adding in theInfusion technology, which provides outstanding efficacy and color rendering---including high R9 values across all color temperatures---this truly is the ideal downlight solution for retail spaces and other areas where the color, richness and detail of merchandise and key interest areas can pop."
Additionally, the Lumination DI Series is available in a wall washer option, which helps highlight walls, artwork and architectural features, allowing the lighting to make a room appear brighter, bigger and livelier. With wide, even illuminance, the DI Series wall wash optimizes uniformity horizontally on the wall while delivering light all the way up to the ceiling line.
With lumen package options from 1,000 to 4,000 lumens, the Lumination DI Series is an energy-efficient alternative to a range of traditional downlights, from 13-watt CFL to 100-watt metal halides. It also gives more future-friendly versatility than typical LED downlights, ensuring the lowest total cost of ownership.The GE Lumination LED DownLight modules can be effortlessly upgraded in seconds through the Infusion twist-fit design that doesn't require a fixture change.
A product of GE ecomagination℠, the LED modules of GE Lighting's Lumination LED DownLights come in a variety of lumen outputs and color temperatures. With up to 90 CRI color rendering and high R9 values, colors appear more vibrant---ideal for retail, hospitality and other environments where lighting quality is essential, especially for spaces with 10- to 20-foot ceilings.
Additionally, the Lumination DI Series has a 50,000-hour rated lifetime, providing considerable maintenance savings compared to the 20,000-hour rated life for many CFL downlights. It is available in 4- and 6-inch round and square shapes that allow users to choose the perfect light for each application.
To learn more about Lumination LED lighting fixtures, visit Read more about GE's commitment to innovative solutions to today's environmental challenges at
About GE Lighting
GE Lighting invents with the vigor of its founder Thomas Edison to develop energy-efficient solutions that change the way people light their world in commercial, industrial, municipal and residential settings. The business employs about 13,000 people in more than 100 countries, and sells products under the reveal®and Energy Smart® consumer brands, and Evolve™, GTx™, Immersion™, Infusion™, Lumination™, Albeo™ and Tetra® commercial brands, all trademarks of GE. General Electric (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter to build a world that works better. For more information, visit
50 Years of LED Innovation
Oct. 9, 1962, GE scientist Dr. Nick Holonyak, Jr., invented the first practical visible-spectrum light-emitting diode (LED). In the 50 years since, GE has been on the forefront of LED innovation. The company has released inspired LED products for both residential and commercial settings, from the first ENERGY STAR®-qualified A19-shaped LED bulb to LED street lighting that illuminates cityscapes the world over.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Going Off the Grid

Via U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy:

Have you ever considered producing clean #energy at home or even going off the grid with renewables? OurEnergy Saver Blog finished up a two-part series today that explains how to analyze your energy needs and how to find out which renewable energy system is best for you.

Part one of the blog series details planning for renewable energy systems:

Part two of the series compares clean energy options:

Green Aviation Fuels

Via U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy:

Aviation fuels are going green. At the recent#Biomass2014 conference, Energy Department Assistant Secretary David Danielson announced we are joining the U.S. Department of AgricultureFederal Aviation Administration, and airline industry in “Farm to Fly 2.0,” an initiative to develop a jet biofuel that requires no jet engine modifications. The #US airline industry uses 23 billion gallons of fuels annually, and the international airline industry was responsible for 777 million tons of carbon emissions in 2013. Switching to#biofuels for aviation transportation will increase our#energy independence and protect our environment. Learn more about renewable jet fuels and this critical collaboration:

Smart Development in Vellinge, Sweden

Via Siemens:

#FactsVsFacts: Siemens helped the inhabitants of Vellinge, Sweden, to save 2,000 tons of CO2 emissions!

Green Data Center

Siemens News Release:

The city of Zurich has two of Europe’s most modern and green data centers. Interested in some details? The waste heat from the server rooms for example, is used to heat around 400 apartments nearby:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Better Buildings Challenge

The 2013, U.S. Census Bureau population estimate said New York state had more than 19.5 million residents. A state with that level of population uses a lot of energy. That’s why we’re excited to announce that New York state has joined our Better Buildings Challenge, committing to improve #energy use of 205 million square feet of building space. Through its Build Smart Initiative, the state is driving efficiency improvements across the public sector including school districts and universities such as Grand Central Station and the State University of New York. To date, improvements of 4.7% are verified, with even more future savings expected. Read the full report and learn more about what New York state is trying to accomplish:

Photo of the Grand Central Station building in#NewYorkCity courtesy of the New York Power Authority.