November 7, 2014
Capitol Update

In this issue:

 

SENATOR MURKOWSKI: ENERGY-WATER NEXUS IMPORTANT TO IRAQ'S FUTURE OIL PRODUCTION

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), newly slated to chair the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in the next Congress, recently released an analysis of the important role water resources play in Iraq’s plans to expand its production of oil. The report, entitled “Oil and Water Do Mix: The Iraq Example for Challenges Associated with the Energy-Water Nexus,” is available at http://ppec.asme.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Murkowski-10-29-14.pdf

Highlights of the report include:

  • ISIS has recently attempted to seize Iraq’s main dams, waterways, and other critical water infrastructure. If successful, ISIS would control the water needed to sustain life and produce oil and other energy resources;
  • In order to meet the country’s planned increase of oil production of 9.5 million barrels per day by 2017, Iraq also needs to increase the amount of water it has on hand as part of the production process. On average it takes 1.5 barrels of injected water to extract one barrel of oil; and,
  • The amount of surface and groundwater currently available in Iraq for oil production is not enough to sustain production expansion. Seawater from the Gulf Coast could augment or replace altogether freshwater supplies.

The report concludes: “Advanced technological solutions that are based on the best available data, research, development and demonstration are crucial to ensure that these industrial and public water supplies are sustainable and guaranteed for many years to come. Public and private stakeholders around the world should work together to ensure the application of water treatment, reclamation and reuse to stretch limited freshwater supplies.”

 

ENERGY DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES NEW LAB PROGRAM TO ACCELERATE COMMERCIALIZATION OF CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES

Late last month, the Department of Energy (DOE) launched a new $2.3 million pilot program to accelerate the transfer of innovative clean energy technologies from the DOE's National Laboratories into the commercial marketplace. Lab-Corps aims to better train and empower national lab researchers to successfully transition their discoveries into high-impact, real world technologies in the private sector.

Lab-Corps, which builds on the National Science Foundation's (NSF) successful Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) model, is a specialized technology accelerator and training curriculum for the national laboratories that will enable lab-based teams to gain direct market feedback on their technologies and pursue the development of startup companies, industry partnerships, licensing agreements, and other business opportunities.

Six national labs have been selected to participate in the Lab-Corps pilot program. Over the next year, these labs will assemble, train, and support entrepreneurial teams to identify private sector opportunities for commercializing promising sustainable transportation, renewable power, and energy efficiency lab technologies. Each Lab-Corps team will receive comprehensive training and access to a suite of commercialization resources, including technology validation and testing, facility access, techno-economic analysis, and other incubation services.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado will leverage its deep expertise in technology commercialization and clean energy sectors to develop, deliver and manage the Lab-Corps training program across the laboratory sites, with support from Brookhaven National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratory.

NREL will work with five national labs that will recruit and support the teams and identify innovative technologies to pursue the commercialization process. These labs include Argonne National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

For news on the recent opening of LBNL's new energy storage lab, visit:
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/lawrence-berkeley-national-lab-opens-new-research-center-2/

 

ENERGY DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES NEW INVESTMENTS IN ADVANCED NUCLEAR POWER REACTORS

On October 31st, the Energy Department announced awards for five companies to lead key nuclear energy research and development projects supporting advanced reactor technologies. These projects will receive $13 million in cost-share agreements to help address significant technical challenges to the design, construction and operation of next generation nuclear reactors, based off needs identified by industry designers and technical experts.

The Department began this program in 2013 to partner with industry in developing next generation reactors that have the potential to achieve significant advances in safety, efficiency and economics. The companies receiving federal investments are:

  • AREVA Federal Services partnering with TerraPower Company, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), and Texas A&M University - Modeling and simulation for longer life cores: Thermal Hydraulic simulations and experimental investigation for liquid metal cooled fast reactor fuel assemblies;
  • GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy partnering with ANL – Development and modernization of next-generation probabilistic risk assessment methodologies;
  • General Atomics partnering with the University of California at San Diego and the University of South Carolina - Fabrication and testing complex Silicon Carbide structures pertinent to advanced reactor concepts;
  • NGNP Industry Alliance partnering with AREVA, UltraSafe Nuclear Company, Westinghouse, and Texas A&M University - High Temperature Gas Reactor (HTGR) Post-accident Heat Removal and Testing; and,
  • Westinghouse Electric Company partnering with ANL and the University of Pittsburgh-- Development of thermo-acoustic sensors for Sodium-cooled Fast Reactors (SFR).

Find more information at the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy Website at:
http://energy.gov/ne/office-nuclear-energy

 

NIST 'COMBS' THE ATMOSPHERE TO MEASURE GREENHOUSE GASES

By remotely "combing" the atmosphere with a custom laser-based instrument, researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in collaboration with researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), have developed a new technique that can accurately measure—over a sizeable distance—amounts of several of the major "greenhouse" gases implicated in climate change.

The technique potentially could be used in several ways to support research on atmospheric greenhouse gases. It can provide accurate data to support ongoing and future satellite monitoring of the composition of the atmosphere. With development, more portable systems based on the technology could provide very accurate, continuous regional monitoring of these gases over kilometer scales—a capability lacking with current monitoring techniques.

Frequency combs are laser-generated tools made up of a large number of very precisely defined frequencies that are evenly spaced, like the teeth on a pocket comb. Each comb "tooth" represents an individual color, or frequency, enabling very accurate measurements of the characteristic absorption signatures of different gas molecules of interest.

In the demonstration, the research team collected data continuously for three days under varied weather conditions. The results were comparable to data collected by a nearby point sensor under well-mixed atmospheric conditions. The comb measurements were also very precise—with uncertainty of less than one part per million for carbon dioxide, for example, obtained in five minutes. Future systems should be able to achieve even better sensitivities over shorter timescales.

Overall, the study results suggest that the dual comb technique is ideally suited to precise, reproducible sensing of trace gases in the atmosphere and can support the development of accurate models for use in global, satellite-based greenhouse gas monitoring. NIST researchers now plan to optimize the comb system by boosting power to improve sensitivity and expanding spectral coverage to identify additional gases.

Additional information is available at: http://www.nist.gov/pml/div686/sources_detectors/portable_frequency_comb.cfm

 

ENERGY SECRETARY MONIZ TO KEYNOTE ARPA-E ENERGY INNOVATION SUMMIT

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that Secretary Ernest Moniz will serve as a keynote speaker for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy's (ARPA-E) Energy Innovation Summit, which will be held from February 9-11, 2015 in National Harbor, MD. In addition, other renowned speakers at the Summit will include: former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson; University of California President Janet Napolitano; CPS Energy CEO Doyle N. Beneby; DBL Investors Founder and Managing Partner Nancy Pfund;  SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive; and, Archer Daniels Midland Company Chairman and CEO Patricia Woertz. Additional speakers will be announced as the agenda is finalized.

Now in its sixth year, the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit draws more than 2,000 participants from all across the United States and over 20 countries to discuss cutting-edge energy issues and cultivate relationships with thought leaders from business, government and academia to help move technologies into the marketplace. The ARPA-E Summit will also feature a variety of hands on workshop sessions led by today's top minds in the industry.

The Technology Showcase at the ARPA-E Summit features more than 250 cutting-edge technologies from across all energy sectors, including prototypes and commercial-ready products–many on public display for the first time. The Showcase brings ARPA-E awardees and other technologists together with investors and corporate decision makers who look to move technologies forward.

For more information, or to register for the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, please visit:
http://www.arpae-summit.com

 

The articles contained in Capitol Update are not positions of ASME or any of its sub-entities, unless specifically noted as such. This publication is designed to inform ASME members about issues of concern being debated and discussed in the halls of congress, in the states and in the federal agencies.

 

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  • Melissa Carl covers public policy-related science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and diversity issues for ASME. She can be reached at carlm@asme.org
  • Paul Fakes covers public policy-related energy, standards and environmental issues for ASME. He can be reached at fakesp@asme.org
  • Roy Chrobocinski covers public policy-related research and development (R&D) and manufacturing issues for ASME. He can be reached at chrobocinski@asme.org