December 4, 2015
Capitol Update

In this issue:


ASME has the unique distinction of being the very first engineering/scientific society to have the vision to establish a Congressional fellowship program.  For the past 42 years, ASME has provided a valuable service to the nation by sponsoring over 100 Federal Fellows in the Executive and Legislative Branch.  ASME Federal Government Fellowships have enabled selected ASME members to devote a year working in government providing engineering and technical advice to policy makers in Congress, federal agencies, and the White House.  This premier program serves as a testament to ASME’s long-standing commitment to national security, national issues and the continuing development of the engineering profession.

ASME Members and non-members are invited to join ASME Government Relations for a webinar scheduled for Thursday, January 14, 2016 from 12:00pm-1:00pm (EST) highlighting a current and a former ASME Congressional Fellow, both of whom will be providing their personal perspectives on the accomplishments and challenges associated with the Fellowship. Guest speakers will include:

  • Kalan Guiley, Chair of the Committee on Government Relations, will host the webinar and provide general information about the Fellowship program and current opportunities. Guiley has been a member of the ASME Committee on Government Relations since 2007, and has served as VP/Chair since 2013.  He works for The Boeing Company as the Manager of Continued Airworthiness for Twin-Aisle Airplanes.
  • Dr. Briana Tomboulian, ASME’s 2015 Congressional Engineering Fellow, has been serving in the office of the Honorable Edward Markey (D-MA), U.S. Senate since January 2015, where she has been working on energy, environment and manufacturing issues.  Dr. Tomboulian came to ASME’s Fellowship program from a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship program, where she spent time at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and Glenn Research Center developing critical components for deep-space power systems.  She received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering (ME) from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and her B.S. in Engineering Science from Smith College.
  • Stephen Lehrman served as ASME’s 2006 Congressional Engineering Fellow for the Honorable Mark Pryor (D-Ark), U.S. Senate.  After his fellowship ended in 2006, Mr. Lehrman was offered - and accepted - a position as Legislative Assistant for Sen. Pryor.  He was ultimately promoted to Senior Legislative Assistant for the economy, tax, budget, banking, housing, small business, energy, environment, and science and technology policy issues.  Prior to working on Capitol Hill, he founded an intellectual property consulting and marketing firm, LabraTek Consulting, and worked for RTI International, Fuentek LLC, Corporate Consulting and Development Company, and Stone & Webster Engineering.  A registered professional engineer, Mr. Lehrman received his M.S. in ME from Northeastern University, and his B.S. in ME from Brown University.  Mr. Lehrman is currently working as an independent contractor for the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office.

Register for the webinar at:

Additional information about the webinar can be found at:
Please share this link with interested colleagues.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the final volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, and the final volume requirements for biomass-based diesel for 2014 to 2017. This rule finalizes higher volumes of renewable fuel than the levels EPA proposed in June, boosting renewable production and providing support for growth in the biofuels industry.

The final 2016 standard for cellulosic biofuel — the fuel with the lowest carbon emissions — is nearly 200 million gallons, or seven times more, than the market produced in 2014. The final 2016 standard for advanced biofuel is nearly one billion gallons, or 35 percent, higher than the actual 2014 volumes; the total renewable standard requires growth from 2014 to 2016 of more than 1.8 billion gallons of biofuel, which is 11 percent higher than 2014 actual volumes. Biodiesel standards grow steadily over the next several years, increasing every year to reach 2 billion gallons by 2017.

The RFS, established by Congress, requires EPA to set annual volume requirements for four categories of biofuels. The final rule considered more than 670,000 public comments, and relied on the latest, most accurate data available. EPA finalized 2014 and 2015 standards at levels that reflect the actual amount of domestic biofuel used in those years, and standards for 2016 (and 2017 for biodiesel) that represent significant growth over historical levels. 

More information is available at:


On November 23rd, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced $125 million across 41 cutting-edge energy technologies awarded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). These new projects are funded under ARPA-E’s OPEN 2015 program and came in advance of the COP21 U.N. Climate Negotiations in Paris. The announcement was made at D.C. technology incubator 1776 at an event that focused on leveraging America’s top innovators to find technological solutions to combat climate change, enhance security and solve pressing energy challenges around the globe.

Open solicitations – also issued in 2009 and 2012 - serve as an open call to scientists and engineers for transformational technologies across the entire scope of ARPA-E’s energy mission. Through both open and focused solicitations, ARPA-E funds innovative technologies that display promise for both technical and commercial impact, but are too early for private-sector investment. The OPEN 2015 projects come from 21 states and encompass 10 technical categories, including transportation, electricity generation and delivery and energy efficiency.

The 41 projects selected under OPEN 2015 will pursue novel approaches to energy innovation across the full spectrum of energy applications, with approximately 36 percent of the projects led by universities, 39 percent by small businesses, 10 percent by large businesses, 10 percent by national labs, and five percent by non-profits.

To view the complete list of selected OPEN 2015 projects, please visit:


The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released its World Energy Outlook 2015 (WEO 2015) report that sees clear signs that the energy transition is underway, but warns strong direction is needed from the Paris climate summit.

The report finds that the plunge in oil prices has set in motion forces that will lead the market to rebalance via higher demand and lower growth in supply. In the central scenario of WEO 2015, a tightening oil balance leads to a price around $80 per barrel by 2020. But WEO 2015 also examines the conditions under which prices could stay lower for much longer.

Overall, world energy demand is projected to grow by nearly one-third between 2013 and 2040 in the central scenario of WEO 2015, with the net growth driven entirely by developing countries. The links between global economic growth, energy demand and energy-related emissions weaken: some markets (such as China) undergo structural change in their economies and others reach a saturation point in demand for energy services. All countries adopt more energy efficient technologies, although a prolonged period of lower oil prices could undercut this crucial pillar of the energy transition; diminished incentives and longer payback periods also mean that 15 percent of the energy savings are lost in a low oil price scenario. Lower prices alone would not have a large impact on the deployment of renewables, but only if policymakers remain steadfast in providing the necessary market rules, policies and subsidies.

Detailed information on WEO 2015 may be viewed at:


On November 30th, President Obama, French President Hollande, and other world leaders launched Mission Innovation, a landmark commitment to dramatically accelerate public and private global clean energy innovation. Through the initiative, 20 countries representing 80 percent of global clean energy research and development (R&D) budgets are committing to double their respective R&D investments over five years. These additional resources will dramatically expand the new technologies that will define a future global power mix that is clean, affordable, and reliable.

As part of its contribution to Mission Innovation, the U.S. Government will seek to double its current level investment in clean energy research and development over five years. New funding will initially be strategically allocated to early stage research and development, which offers some of the greatest opportunities for breakthroughs and transformative change. The current U.S. Government investment portfolio of more than $5 billion spans the full range of research and development activities – from basic research to demonstration activities (RD&D). Additional information is available at:

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition, an independent initiative launched simultaneously with Mission Innovation and spearheaded by Bill Gates, is a global group of 28 private investors from 10 countries that will take the risks that allow the early stage energy companies that emerge from the research programs of Mission Innovation countries to come out of the lab and into the marketplace. For additional information, visit:

Mission Innovation and the Breakthrough Energy Coalition constitute a powerful public-private effort to accelerate the research and development of affordable clean energy technologies efforts and support a new generation of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs.  To reinvigorate global efforts at clean energy innovation, all participants of both efforts share a common goal to develop breakthrough technologies and substantial cost reductions to enable the global community to meet our shared climate goals, increase access to clean and affordable energy, support economic development, and strengthen energy security.

Additional country commitments can be found at:


The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) recently called on the UN climate negotiators’ meeting in Paris to commit significant new resources to research and development initiatives that spur innovation in clean energy. ITIF said the only realistic way to reach zero carbon emissions is to accelerate breakthrough technologies that can replace fossil fuels—and achieving that goal will require a global effort to ramp up research and development to at least $100 billion per year – a nearly 75 percent increase over current levels.

ITIF launched a “$100 Billion Campaign” earlier this year to educate policymakers about how clean energy innovation should be a key pillar of global climate policy. The campaign urges negotiators from all developed and emerging economies to commit to increasing public investments in clean energy innovation to at least 0.15 percent of their respective GDPs annually, which would total $100 billion a year globally. Other leading organizations, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Energy Agency, also support the need for at least $100 billion per year in clean technology research to address climate change.

In its press release, ITIF said, “Right now, we are investing less than 25 percent of what is needed to get the job done when it comes to slowing climate change. Without increased investment in clean energy innovation, it will be practically impossible to adopt clean energy at the pace and extent needed to reach near-zero carbon emissions during this century. At its core, climate change is a technology problem, so we need a technology solution. But we won’t get there without enough worldwide investment.”

For more information about ITIF’s $100 Billion Campaign, please visit:

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