Oak Ridge National Laboratory will be home to two Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) announced by U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. The Department of Energy awarded a total of $100 million to 32 EFRC projects to accelerate the scientific breakthroughs needed to build the 21st-century energy economy. The two ORNL EFRCs are a renewal of the Fluid Interface Reactions, Structures and Transport (FIRST) Center, which is led by David Wesolowski, and a new award to the Energy Dissipation to Defect Evolution (EDDE) Center, led by Yanwen Zhang.
A decades-long partnership between Sandia National Laboratories and the Norwegian research organization SINTEF (Stiftelsen for industriell og teknisk forskning) will now tackle energy challenges such as renewable energy integration, electric grid modernization, gas technologies and algae-based biofuels, under an expanded agreement. The goal of the collaboration is to investigate various technical areas from an international perspective. The agreement enables the organizations to undertake joint research, seek new funding opportunities and establish multidisciplinary partnerships. Both research organizations are known for groundbreaking work in energy research.
Clean energy campaign Operation Free criticized three anti-clean energy amendments to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2015 (H.R. 4870). The amendments were introduced by Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), and Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), respectively. “If adopted, these amendments would irreparably harm DoD’s investments in clean energy and energy efficiency,” said Michael Breen, leader of Operation Free. “The Department of Defense needs the freedom to continue to address this vital strategic objective – without unnecessary hindrances from Congress. As the largest institutional consumer of fuel in the world, the U.S. military is dangerously vulnerable to the volatile global oil market. Domestically-produced renewable options improve American energy security, help supply our military around the world, and grow the economy here at home.”
A new “drop-in” aviation biofuel called farnesane, which is made from plant sugars, has now been approved for use in commercial jets by ASTM. It can now be blended up to 10 percent with conventional petroleum jet fuel (Jet A/A1). Some facts: Farnesane, which is made from plant sugars, is the third type of biofuel approved for use by airlines and other stakeholders in the commercial aviation industry. When produced sustainably, aviation biofuel reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 50 to 80 percent compared to petroleum Jet A/A1 through its lifecycle. The newly approved biofuel is made with a process called “direct fermentation of sugar” using an advanced biotechnology developed by California-based Amyris, Inc. and with support from TOTAL, S.A., the French oil company.