In this issue:
BIPARTISAN BILL INVESTS IN INDUSTRY ENERGY, WATER EFFICIENCY
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) has introduced a bipartisan bill that would create incentives for America’s industrial sector to greatly enhance its end-use energy efficiency, a move that could save tens of billions of dollars annually. Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) are original co-sponsors of S. 3352, the "Expanding Industrial Energy and Water Efficiency Incentives Act."
S. 3352 creates incentives in four critical areas -- water reuse, advanced motors with adjustable speed drives using process control and connection to Smart Grid, chillers and highly efficient thermal biomass -- and it enhances incentives for combined heat and power systems.
First, it establishes an incentive for industrial motors, which on average account for two-thirds of industrial energy users’ electricity use -- a percentage that is even higher in industries such as water supply, mining and oil and gas extraction. The bill creates a $120 per horsepower tax credit for manufacturers that incorporate advanced motor systems – those that offer variable or multiple speed operation and use a set of approved technologies – into new or redesigned appliances, machines, or equipment.
Second, the bill creates an Industrial Process Water Use Project Credit for investments in reuse, recycling and efficiency measures for industrial and manufacturing facilities. The U.S. currently re-uses only six percent of its water, and there is significant potential for gains in this area. The new credit takes a tiered approach, providing a credit as high as 30 percent for systems that achieve the highest water use savings.
Third, it adds a new incentive for replacing old chillers that harm the atmosphere. Chillers are the engines of air-conditioning systems for almost all large buildings. The bill establishes a credit of $150 per ton, plus an additional incentive of $100 for each ton downsized during replacement. Replacing these obsolete systems would allow for the recovery of 37 million pounds of ozone-depleting CFCs - or 64 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents; the replacement chillers’ enhanced efficiency will save an additional 17.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Finally, the bill improves upon the incentive for combined heat and power systems that Congress enacted in 2008. By expanding the credit’s applicability from the first 15 megawatts to the first 25 megawatts of system capacity and removing the overall system size cap of 50 megawatts, it will allow a greater number of combined heat and power projects to be financially viable and move forward.
The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee on which Bingaman and Snowe are senior members
S. 3552 may be read at http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=41a1abe7-5f15-4dce-be20-fcfbf472ab28
A section-by-section analysis is available at http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=14cc81cd-712a-49ba-aa51-bcdddee449ca
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES NEW INVESTMENTS TO ADVANCE BIOFUELS INDUSTRY AND ENHANCE AMERICA’S ENERGY SECURITY
U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced new funding available to pursue new innovations in biofuels technologies, increase production of U.S. biofuels, and strengthen American energy security. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Navy and Department of Energy (DOE) are announcing $30 million in federal funding to match private investments in commercial-scale advanced drop-in biofuels.
The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is available at https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=6c9c1fb4efd373efb6c7096142c681f7&tab=core&_cview=0
The FOA comprises a two-phased approach, with government and industry sharing in the cost. In Phase 1, applicants will submit a design package and comprehensive business plan for a commercial-scale bio-refinery, identify and secure project sites and take additional required steps spelled out in the announcement. Awardees selected to continue into Phase 2 will submit additional information for the construction or retrofit of a bio-refinery.
DOE also announced new investments in earlier stage biofuels research that complement the commercial-scale efforts announced by the Navy and USDA. The funding announced by DOE includes $20 million to support innovative pilot-scale and demonstration-scale bio-refineries that could produce renewable biofuels that meet military specifications for jet fuel and shipboard diesel using a variety of non-food biomass feedstocks, waste-based materials and algae. These projects may support new plant construction, retrofits on existing U.S. bio-refineries or operation at plants ready to begin production at the pilot- or pre-commercial scale. This investment will also help federal and local governments, private developers and industry collect accurate data on the cost of producing fuels made from biomass and waste feedstocks. The full funding solicitation is available at https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/
DOE also announced $12 million to support up to eight projects focused on researching ways to develop bio-based transportation fuels and products using synthetic biological processing. Synthetic biological processing offers an innovative technique to enable efficient, cost-saving conversion of non-food biomass to biofuels. These projects will develop novel biological systems that can enhance the breakdown of raw biomass feedstocks and assist in converting feedstocks into transportation fuels. The projects will be led by small businesses, universities, national laboratories and industry and will seek to overcome various technical and scientific barriers to cost-competitive advanced biofuels and bio-products. The full funding opportunity announcement is available at https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/
CBO ANALYSIS: DOE’S CURRENT PROGRAM FOR DEVELOPING CCS IS UNLIKELY TO DO MUCH TO SUPPORT ITS WIDESPREAD USE
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released an analysis, "Federal Efforts to Reduce the Cost of Capturing and Storing Carbon Dioxide," which examines the effectiveness of DOE’s efforts to further develop carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, demonstrate its commercial feasibility, and reduce the cost of electricity generated by CCS-equipped plants. To date, CCS technology has not been widely adopted because any electricity generated by such plants would be much more expensive than electricity produced by conventional coal-burning plant.
Engineers have estimated that, on average, electricity generated by the first CCS-equipped commercial-scale plants would initially be about 75 percent more costly than electricity generated by conventional coal-fired plants. That initial cost differential would probably shrink, however, as the technology became more widely applied and equipment manufacturers and construction companies became more familiar with it—a pattern of cost reduction called learning-by-doing.
DOE aims to bring down the additional costs for generating electricity with CCS technology to no more than 35 percent, or less than half the current cost premium. The analysis found that such a reduction in costs might be accomplished over time through learning-by-doing, which would require that a certain amount of new generating capacity be built, in the form of new coal-fired CCS-equipped generating plants. Using the historical pace of reductions in costs for earlier emissions-control technologies, CBO estimates that more than 200 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired generating capacity with CCS capabilities will have to be built to meet DOE’s cost reduction goal. That estimate of new capacity, which is equivalent to about two-thirds of the total current capacity of U.S. coal-powered electricity-generation plants, is subject to considerable uncertainty. Nevertheless, in the absence of a significant technological breakthrough, it seems clear that a large amount of new CCS capacity, installed either at new plants or through retrofitting, at existing plants, would be needed to reduce costs by enough to achieve DOE’s goal.
The analysis also found that:
- Substantial private investment in CCS technology is unlikely under current law and might not occur even if the technology became more competitive economically; and,
- DOE’s current program is unlikely to promote widespread use of CCS, but other policy approaches could be considered including redirecting resources now funding technology demonstration projects toward research and development or imposing costs—for example, through a tax on carbon—on users of electricity whose generation releases greenhouse gases thereby making CCS more competitive.
The complete 29-page analysis may be read at http://cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/43357-06-28CarbonCapture.pdf
NIST ANNOUNCES UP TO $3M IN FUNDING FOR THREE NEW MANUFACTURING EXTENSION PARTNERSHIP CENTERS
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is soliciting proposals to establish three new Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers in Arizona, Maryland and Rhode Island. NIST has $3 million in funding to support the centers, which would join the existing network of more than 400 MEP centers and field offices in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The centers primarily help small- and medium-sized manufacturers enhance their productivity, innovative capacity, technological performance and global competitiveness.
NIST anticipates funding each project up to $1 million for the first year of operation, and each center must identify a non-federal cost share of at least 50 percent of the total project cost for that first year. Any renewal funding of an award will require nonfederal cost sharing that increases to a maximum of two-thirds of the center's budget at year five and beyond.
U.S.-based nonprofit institutions or organizations, including universities, state and local governments and existing MEP centers, are eligible to submit a proposal. An eligible organization may work individually or include proposed sub-awards or contracts with others in a project proposal, effectively forming a team. All proposals must be received no later than 5 PM Eastern time on August 20, 2012.
Manufacturing extension services are provided by using the most cost effective, local, leveraged resources through the coordinated efforts of a regionally based MEP center and local technology resources. The management and operational structure of each MEP center is based on the characteristics of the manufacturers in the region and locally available resources with demonstrated experience working with manufacturers.
Additional information on the application process is available in the notice of Federal Funding Opportunity posted at Grants.gov (www.grants.gov/) under Funding Opportunity Number 2012-NIST-MEP-AZ-MD-RI-01.
NIST MEP will hold an information webinar for organizations considering applying to this opportunity on July 18, 2012, at 2 p.m. Eastern time. More information is available on the NIST MEP website: www.nist.gov/mep
NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD ACCEPTING NOMINATIONS FOR 2013 SCIENCE LEADERSHIP AND PUBLIC SERVICE HONORARY AWARDS
The National Science Board (NSB) is seeking nominations for the 2013 Vannevar Bush Award and the 2013 Public Service Awards. Nominations are due by Thursday, November 1, 2012. Details about each award and the nomination process are below.
The Vannevar Bush Award is awarded annually to exceptional lifelong leaders in science and technology who have made substantial contributions to the welfare of the nation through public service activities in science, technology and public policy. Refer to the 2013 Bush Solicitation flyer at http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/awards/bush/2013_flyer.pdf
Candidates for the Vannevar Bush Award must be U.S. citizens and should have demonstrated outstanding leadership and accomplishment in meeting at least two of the following selection criteria: distinguished himself/herself through public service activities in science and technology; pioneered the exploration, charting and settlement of new frontiers in science, technology, education and public service; demonstrated leadership and creativity that have inspired others to distinguished careers in science and technology; contributed to the welfare of the nation and mankind through activities in science and technology; and/or demonstrated leadership and creativity that has helped mold the history of advancements in the nation's science, technology and education.
Visit the Vannevar Bush Award page (http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/awards/bush.jsp) for detailed nomination instructions and further information about this award.
The NSB Board Public Service Award honors individuals and groups that have made substantial contributions to increasing public understanding of science and engineering in the United States. These contributions may be in a wide variety of areas that have the potential of contributing to public understanding of and appreciation for science and engineering--including mass media, education and/or training programs and entertainment. Refer to the 2013 Public Service Award Solicitation Flyer at http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/awards/public/2013_flyer.pdf
NSB typically gives the Public Service Award to one individual and one group--company, corporation or organization--each year. Members of the U.S. government are not eligible to receive the award.
Candidates for the NSB Public Service Award should have demonstrated outstanding leadership and accomplishment in meeting the following selection criteria: increased the public's understanding of the processes of science and engineering through scientific discovery, innovation and its communication to the public; encouraged others to help raise the public understanding of science and technology; promoted the engagement of scientists and engineers in public outreach and scientific literacy; contributed to the development of broad science and engineering policy and its support; influenced and encouraged the next generation of scientists and engineers; achieved broad recognition outside of the candidate's area of specialization; and fostered awareness of science and technology among broad segments of the population.
Visit the Public Service Award page (http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/awards/public.jsp) for detailed nomination instructions and further information about this award.
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