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SolarCity Joins New York State Smart Grid Consortium (Ind. Report)
SolarCity,New York State Smart Grid Consortium
Date: 2015-03-02
The New York State Smart Grid Consortium (NYSSGC), a public-private partnership promoting the statewide implementation of the smart grid, reports that rooftop solar specialist SolarCity has has joined the consortium as an Associate Member. San Mateo, California-based SolarCity specializes in solar installations for homeowners, businesses, schools, non-profits and government organizations. The company, which is building a solar panel manufacturing facility in Buffalo, has operations in Albany, Long Island, New Windsor and Westchester in New York State, and more than 65 operations centers across the nation.

The not-for-profit NYSSGS consortium provides businesses with the platform, tools and resources to identify opportunities that show the most promise for broader smart grid technology deployment. (Source: NYSSGS, SolarCity, 27 Feb., 2015) Contact: SolarCity Corp., Lyndon Rive, Pres., (650) 638-1028, www.solarcity.com; NYSSGS, James T. Gallagher, Executive Director, (646) 472-2064, info@nyssmartgrid.com, www.nyssmartgrid.com

Tags Rooftop Solar news,  Solar news,  SolarCity news,  

Just What is the White House's Climate Action Plan? -- Plan Attached (Ind. Report)
White House
Date: 2014-12-12
The White House Climate Action Plan recognizes that even as we act to curb the carbon pollution that is driving climate change, we must also prepare our citizens and communities for the climate impacts that are already underway. HERE.

The Climate Data Initiative, part of the Climate Action Plan, is a broad effort to leverage the federal government's extensive, freely available climate-relevant data resources to stimulate innovation and private-sector entrepreneurship in support of national climate-change preparedness. HERE. (Source: White House, Office of the President, USGS, 9 Dec., 2014)

Tags Climate Change news,  Carbon Emissons news,  

Baseline and Projected Future Carbon Storage and GHG Gas Fluxes in Ecosystems of the Eastern U.S. -- Report Attached (Ind. Report)
US Geological Service
Date: 2014-06-27
The attached assessment was conducted to fulfill the requirements of section 712 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and to conduct a comprehensive national assessment of storage and flux (flow) of carbon and the fluxes of other greenhouse gases in ecosystems of the Eastern United States.

These carbon and greenhouse gas variables were examined for major terrestrial ecosystems (forests, grasslands/shrublands, agricultural lands, and wetlands) and aquatic ecosystems (rivers, streams, lakes, estuaries, and coastal waters) in the Eastern United States in two time periods: baseline (from 2001 through 2005) and future (projections from the end of the baseline through 2050). The Great Lakes were not included in this assessment due to a lack of input data.

The assessment was based on measured and observed data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey and many other agencies and organizations and used remote sensing, statistical methods, and simulation models.

Access the full report HERE. (Source: USGS, 26 June, 2014) Contact: USGS, www.usgs.gov

Tags USGS news,  Carbon Emissions news,  Greenhouse Gas news,  

Reservoirs Affect Movement of Carbon in Large Rivers (Ind. Report)
U.S. Geological Survey
Date: 2014-06-18
A recent study conducted by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has found that a combination of climate and human activities (diversion and reservoirs) controls the movement of carbon in two large western river basins, the Colorado and the Missouri Rivers.

Rivers move large amounts of carbon downstream to the oceans. Developing a better understanding of the factors that control the transport of carbon in rivers is an important component of global carbon cycling research. The study is a product of the USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesisand the USGS Land Carbon program.

Different downstream patterns were found between the two river systems. The amount of carbon steadily increased down the Missouri River from headwaters to its confluence with the Mississippi River, but decreased in the lower Colorado River. The differences were attributed to less precipitation, greater evaporation, and the diversion of water for human activities on the Colorado River. For upstream/headwater sites on both rivers, carbon fluxes varied along with seasonal precipitation and temperature changes.

The study presents estimates of changes in the amount of carbon moving down the Colorado and Missouri Rivers and provides new insights into aquatic carbon cycling in arid and semi-arid regions of the central and western U.S, where freshwater carbon cycling studies have been less common. This work is part of an ongoing effort to directly address the importance of freshwater ecosystems in the context of the broader carbon cycle. In the future, changing hydrology and warming temperatures will increase the importance of reservoirs in carbon cycling, and may lead to an increase in Greenhouse Gas Emissions that contribute to global warming, but may also increase the amount of carbon buried in sediments. (Source: USGS, 16 June, 2014) Contact: U.S. Geological Survey, (650) 329-4006, www.usgs.gov

Tags U.S. Geological Survey news,  Carbon news,  Carbon Emissions news,  

Amazon Carbon Dynamics: Understanding the Photosynthesis-Climate Link -- Report Available (Ind. Report)
Date: 2014-03-12
Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Michigan, the University of Arizona, and the University of Technology, Sydney (Australia) are collaborating with Brazilian scientists on a three-year investigation of a basic yet unanswered question in Earth-system and global carbon-cycle science: What controls the response of photosynthesis in Amazon tropical forests to seasonal variations in climate? Results of the study will help improve the reliability of global climate forecasts by guiding improvements in the treatment of tropical forest photosynthesis and related water-cycle processes in Earth-system models.

The project aims to resolve disagreements between the computer models, and actual forest CO2 measurements by developing new knowledge and deeper understanding of seasonal climate, photosynthesis, and water relationships in Amazon tropical forests, through the use of advanced remote-sensing techniques and field observations.

The project focuses on existing tropical forest study sites near Manaus and Santarem, Brazil. Scientists will measure physiological properties of leaves and trees, and water flow, and use innovative remote-sensing instruments to monitor the light-reflecting properties of the forest and the effects of clouds and smoke on solar radiation. Scientists will also model the three-dimensional variation in photosynthesis in various forest structures and light levels.

The project is supported in part by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, GOAmazon campaign. (Source: US DOE, USGS, 10 Mar., 2014) Contact: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey Office of Communications and Publishing, Leslie Gordon, (650) 329-4006, www.usgs.gov

Tags U.S. Geological Survey news,  Carbon Emissions news,  Climate Change news,  

New Permafrost, But is it Permanent? (Ind. Report)
Date: 2014-03-10
A recent USGS-led study shows new, recently-formed patches of permafrost in one of Alaska's retreating lakes, a finding that, at first glance, would seem at odds with prevailing theories about arctic climate and climate change.

Widespread lake shrinkage in discontinuous regions of permafrost has been linked to global warming, climate change and shallow permafrost thaw. Counter-intuitively, USGS scientists have observed newly forming permafrost around Twelvemile Lake in interior Alaska, where lake water level has dropped by several meters over the past three decades.

Permafrost typically forms in colder climates when average annual temperatures remain close to or below freezing. Permafrost soils accumulate ice and plant material and can impede groundwater flow. During periods of thaw, water, methane and other gases are released from their frozen pockets of ice.

By understanding permafrost thaw, its degradation in a warming climate, and its impacts on ecosystems and society, managers will be able to plan for rising global temperatures, and climate change. New permafrost formation should also be considered as a possibility in some systems.

This study considered ecological succession, the pattern of vegetation regrowth, within the receded lake margin as the driver of new permafrost through alterations in ground shading and water infiltration. This hypothesis was tested by modeling variably saturated groundwater flow and heat transport under freeze-thaw conditions.

The simulations supported new permafrost development under current climatic conditions, when the net changes effects of woody vegetation are considered, thus pointing to the role of ecological succession. (Source: USGS, Mar. 10, 2014) Contact: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S., Geological Survey, (703) 648-4406, www.usgs.gov

Tags Global Warming news,  Climate Change news,  

Yuroks Register Calif.'s First Carbon Offset Project (Ind. Report)
California Carbon Market
Date: 2014-02-17
The Golden State's first forest carbon offset project under the California Compliance Offset Protocol developed for US Forest Projects has been registered by the Yurok Tribe and Forest Carbon Partners, and has been verified by SGS Global Services.

Encompassing 7,660 forested acres in Northern California, the Yurok's Improved Forest Management project has been selling carbon offsets in the California Cap-and-Trade system . The project has avoided more than 800,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from 2012 to 2013, marking the first forestry offset credits from a native compliance project.

(Source: Yurok Tribe, SGS Global, TurlockJournal.com, 14 Feb., 2014) Contact: SGS Global, Dr. Robert J. Hrubes, Exec. VP, www.scsglobalservices.com

Tags SGS Global news,  California Carbon Market news,  Cap-and-Trade news,  

USGS Releases First-ever Interactive National Wind Turbine Map -- Map Attached (Ind. Report)
U.S. Geological Survey
Date: 2014-02-12
Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing sectors of renewable energy in the U.S. About 3 percent of the total electricity in the U.S. was generated by wind turbines in 2012 (according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration), which is equivalent to the annual electricity use for about 12 million households. The amount of electricity generated by wind has increased from about 6 billion kwh in 2000 to 140 billion kwh in 2012.

In response to the DoI's Powering Our Future initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has begun investigating how to assess the impacts of wind energy development on wildlife at a national scale. In additional to the turbines and blades, habitat impacts include the turbine pads, service roads, transmission lines, substations, meteorological towers, and other structures associated with wind energy siting, generation, and transmission. Knowing the location of individual turbines, as well as information such as the make, model, height, area of the turbine blades, and capacity creates new opportunities for research, and important information for land and resource management. For example, turbine-level data will improve scientists' ability to study wildlife collisions, the wakes causes by wind turbines, the interaction between wind turbines and ground based radar, and how wind energy facilities overlap with migratory flyways.

In addition to the value this powerful tool has to Federal and State land managers, non-governmental organizations, the energy industry, scientists, and the public, it will be a useful component in the methodology that the USGS is developing for assessing wind energy impacts. Once developed, the methodology will be externally peer-reviewed and tested with pilot-level data projects. Once peer reviewed, the revised methodology will be published for others to understand and use.

View wind farm map HERE. View video HERE. (Source: USGS, Feb. 11, 2014) Alex Demas, (703)648-4421, apdemas@usgs.gov, www.usgs.gov

Tags U.S. Geological Survey news,  Wind news,  

Permafrost -- It's Chill (Ind. Report)
Date: 2014-01-13
Imagine being kept below freezing temperatures for thousands of years to be trapped with no way to escape other than to thaw out over time. Permafrost, or permanently frozen ground, forms during colder climates, when average annual temperatures remain below freezing. The soils accumulate ice and plant material from plants living at the Earth's surface. While the upper few centimeters thaw seasonally, frozen soil and dead plant material continues to accumulate at depth over thousands of years, depending on the strength and duration of the colder climate.

During periods of thaw, soil, rocks, small plants, and gases -- CO2, nitrogen and methane -- are released from the permafrost into the atmosphere. In the next 50 years, as arctic systems warm, the release of carbon and nitrogen in permafrost could greatly exacerbate the warming phenomenon, according to USGS scientists and their collaborators.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) contributes to several science networks dedicated to detecting and understanding permafrost, its degradation in a warming climate, and its impacts on ecosystems and society. Time series of observations are the focus of several networks such as the Real-Time Permafrost and Climate Monitoring Network in Arctic Alaska, Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM), borehole temperature monitoring, and ecosystem assessments. Meanwhile, spatial surveys are used to develop an understanding of complex processes involved in permafrost formation and degradation, and permafrost cores are used to understand the timing of permafrost formation and degradation on longer timescales. Ultimately and in tandem with computer modeling, the measurements of ice, water, carbon, and biology fundamentally improve our assessments of arctic change.

Permafrost is primarily found where average annual air temperatures remain below freezing: Scandinavia, Siberia, Tibet, Alaska, and Canada as well as in Patagonia in Chile and the Southern Alps in New Zealand.

Periods of warming in the Arctic cause permafrost to degrade. As permafrost thaws, large amounts of carbon and nitrogen are subjected to decomposer organisms in the warming soil. Potentially huge amounts of carbon dioxide and methane are released into the atmosphere, and these gases in turn exacerbate the warming climate because of their greenhouse effect in the upper atmosphere.

The USGS uses carbon comparisons between past climate cycles and recent warming trends; between wildfires and unburned landscapes; between wetter and drier conditions; and younger to older thaw histories, to help build a picture of how ecosystems and the atmosphere are likely to respond in a permafrost-free future. (Source: U.S. Geological Survey, 13 Jan., 2014) Contact: U.S. Geological Survey, www.usgs.gov

Tags USGS news,  Climate Change news,  Soil Carbon news,  Carbon news,  

Hydro Nano Gas Neutralizes Carbon Emissions (New Prod & Tech)
Hydro Infra Technologies
Date: 2014-01-07
Stockholm-based Hydro Infra Technologies (HIT) is touting an innovative patent pending approach for neutralizing carbon fuel emissions by generating a novel gas called Hydro Nano Gas (HNG).

HNG production involves pulsing a range of low energy frequencies in a very specific sequence into water. The pulsing treatment effectively manipulates the molecules to line up in a certain structure which are then put through a splitting process. The result is HNG which instantly neutralizes carbon fuel pollution emissions. HNG can be pressurized up to 2 bars and combusts at a rate of 9000 meters per second while normal Hydrogen combusts at a rate 600 meters per second. Oxygen values actually increase when HNG is inserted into a diesel flame and HNG acts like a vortex on fossil fuel emissions causing the flame to be pulled into the centre thus concentrating the heat and combustion properties.

Injecting HNG into a combustion chamber produces several effects that increase the burn efficiency of the fuels. HNG gasification effectively burns unburned residue/cluster while completing the burn process quicker. The long term impact of using HNG in the burning of fossil fuels can provide the balanced solution for the on going economic-climate change debate.

HIT is also developing a Smoke Eliminator for all sorts of plants and facilities. The process reduces the need for smoke analysis as it results in a clean wet scrubber technology where CO2 becomes a clean by-product ready to be reused.

HIT has selected SGS as its’ permanent testing-validation protocol partner, providing certification that enables HIT to expand into global markets. (Source: Hydro Infra Technologies, 30 Dec., 2014) Contact: Hydro Infra Technologies, www.hydroinfra.com

Tags Hydro Infra Technologies news,  Carbon Emissions news,  

SCS Certifications Lead to to LEED v4 Credits (Ind. Report)
USGBC,SCS Global Services
Date: 2013-12-09
Emeryville, Calif.-based SCS Global Services (SCS), a global leader in third-party environmental sustainability certification, reports that its SCS Indoor Advantage™, SCS Indoor Advantage Gold™ and FloorScore® certifications meet U.S. Green Building Council requirements under the new LEED v4 (version 4) Environmental Quality credit for low-emitting materials. This credit provides a pathway to LEED certification, assuring that certified materials contribute to the comfort and well-being of a building's occupants.

In addition to furniture and building products, SCS Indoor Advantage Gold certification can now be earned for carpeting that meets its IAQ standards for low-emitting materials. Indoor Advantage Gold, along with FloorScore certification, also verifies compliance with established standards for low volatile organic compound (VOC) content in wet-applied products such as adhesives, paints, coatings, caulks and sealants. SCS verifications minimize the risk of VOC chemical hazards and off-gassing by interior building products, both of which may present health and safety issues for occupants.

Products certified by SCS meet the standards for good indoor air quality (IAQ) as specified by CDPH Standard Method v1.1-2010 (aka CA 01350) and ANSI/BIFMA M7.1 and X7.1. (Source: SCS Global Services, 9 Dec., 2013) Contact: SCS Global Services, Lawrence Nussbaum, (510) 452-6821, lnussbaum@scsglobalservices.com, www.sgsglobalservices.com

Tags LEED Certification news,  SCS Global Services news,  

SCS Verifies Fruit of the Loom's Carbon Footprint (Ind. Report)
SCS Global Services,Fruit of the Loom
Date: 2013-10-28
SCS Global Services (SCS) has independently verified U.S.-headquartered garment manufacturer Fruit of the Loom's 2012 North American carbon footprint which will serve to measure Fruit of the Loom's progress toward reaching its 2015 goal of reducing electricity-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40 percent.

To achieve their goal, Fruit of the Loom is investing in biomass electricity generation for use in its Honduran operations. The company has also committed to purchase electricity from a new hydroelectric power generation facility that is being constructed in Honduras.

SCS Global Services independently verified Fruit of the Loom's carbon footprint against the ISO 14064-3 and ISO 14065 standards as well as the World Resource Institute/World Business Council for Sustainable Development Greenhouse Gas Protocol. The total 2012 footprint included emissions from stationary combustion of fossil fuels, refrigerant and chemical consumption, transportation, and purchased electricity. (Source: SCS Global Services, 22 Oct., 2013) Contact: SGS Global, Elsie Hunter, (510) 452-6820, ehunter@scsglobalservices.com, Dr. Robert J. Hrubes, SCS Executive Vice President www.scsglobalservices.com; Fruit of the Loom, Rick Medlin, President and CEO, www.fruit.com

Tags SCS Global Services news,  Carbon Footprint news,  Greenhouse Gas news,  

USGS Carbon Storage Methodology Scores IEA "Best Practice" Endorsement (Ind. Report)
International Energy Agency,USGS
Date: 2013-09-23
The US Geological Survey (USGS) methodology for assessing CO2 storage potential for geologic carbon sequestration has been endorsed as a "best practice" for a country-wide storage potential assessment by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The USGS approach was praised for several primary reasons:
  • The assessment relies on a probabilistic methodology, which incorporates statistics to make resource estimates. The benefit of a probabilistic approach is that it allows for the resource to be assessed with any given level of uncertainty in the data collected.
  • The USGS based its assumptions on today's available technology and standard industry practices. Using current techniques allows the assessment to have as close to a realistic result as possible.

    The USGS approach is geologically based, as the rock layers included in the assessment were limited to those determined to have sufficient natural seals to prevent CO2 from escaping.

    The USGS released its first national assessment of technically accessible geologic CO2 storage potential in June of 2013. According to that assessment, the U.S. has the potential to store a mean of 3,000 metric gigatons of CO2 in geologic basins throughout the country. This national assessment complements the regional estimates that the Department of Energy includes in their periodically updated Atlas. (Source: USGS, 20 Sept., 2013) Contact: USGS, U.S. DOI, Peter Warwick, (703) 648-6469, http://energy.usgs.gov; IEA. +33 1 40 57 6500, www.iea.org

    Tags International Energy Agency news,  Carbon Storage news,  USGS news,  

  • USGS to Create Climate Change Vulnerability Database (Ind. Report)
    USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center
    Date: 2013-08-21
    The US Geological Survey (USGS) is moving to create a registry of climate change vulnerability to better protect wildlife, ecosystems and dams. The registry will collect information from various levels of government on climate change adaptation projects underway nationwide and make publically available. It will include information like the location of project, who is conducting it, what kind of methodology was used and what kind of climate assessment was considered.

    The registry is intended to improve planning as governments embark on climate change mitigation efforts to protect species, habitats and water infrastructure. (Source: USGS, E2Wire BLOG, Aug. 20, 2013) . Contact: USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, Laura Thompson, www.usgs.gov

    Tags Climate Change news,  

    DHL Taiwan Lauds Standard Chartered Bank's Green Efforts (Int'l.)
    DHL Express
    Date: 2013-08-07
    In Taipei, Taiwan, DHL Express Taiwan has presented Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan with a SGS-certified carbon credit certificate for using DHL GoGreen products and services. The bank has been a consistent user of the DHL GoGreen Carbon Neutral service and in 2012 alone the Taiwan office successfully offset over 66 tons of CO2 through the carbon neutral shipping option provided by DHL.

    The DHL GoGreen Carbon Neutral service allows customers to eliminate their carbon footprint generated during the consignment of each international document and parcel by reinvesting in internationally certified environmental protection projects. In 2012, DHL delivered over 2.4 billion GoGreen shipments, offsetting approximately 180,000 tons of CO2 -- 30 percent more than 2011. (Source: DHL GoGreen, China Post, 7 August, 2013) Contact: DHL, www.dhl.com; Standard Chartered Bank, Taiwan, www.standardchartered.com.tw/en

    Tags Carbon Neutral news,  

    Decoupling Carbon Emissions from Cement (Ind. Report)
    Date: 2013-07-22
    According to new Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) data for 2011, the global cement industry has reduced its specific net CO2 emissions per tonne of cement production by 17 percent since 1990. Using U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) world production data, if cement producers in 2011 were still emitting C02 at 1990 levels 456Bt of additional CO2 would have been released between 1990 and 2011.

    Unfortunately there are a couple of problems. Firstly, submitting data for the project is voluntary. As the CSI points out in its press release the data set comprises 55 percent of cement production outside of China. A rough calculation based on global cement production capacity suggests that this could only account for about one third of cement made. So how much carbon does the other two-thirds of cement made emit?

    Secondly, although CO2 emissions per tonne of cement have gone down by a sixth since 1990, global cement production more than tripled in the same time period. USGS data placed world production at 1.40Bt in 1990. It estimated 3.59Bt in 2011. In terms of net CO2 released into the atmosphere, in 1990 this was 1058Bt. In 2011 it was 2260Bt.

    The CSI data shows that the cement industry has made an effort to reduce CO2 emissions since 1990, but this has been counteracted by a rise in cement production. To compensate for the rise in production between 1990 and 2011 the specific net CO2 emissions-per-tonne of cementitious product would have had to have fallen to below 300kg/t, a drop of 60 percent.

    As the CSI has demonstrated, emissions and production are gradually separating in the cement industry. From 2010 to 2011 specific net CO2 emissions per tonne of cementitious product fell from 638kg/t to 629kg/t. If this trend continues -- and if it is representative for the cement producers the CSI doesn't cover -- then the industry may be getting a handle on its emissions. We may be about to hit peak emissions for the cement industry sooner rather than later. (Source: Global Cement, July 17, 2013)

    Tags Cement news,  Carbon Emissions news,  

    DOI Releases First Comprehensive National Assessment of Geologic CO2 Storage Potential (Ind. Report)
    Date: 2013-06-26
    The U.S. has the potential to store a mean of 3,000 metric gigatons of CO2 in geologic basins nationwide, according to the first-ever detailed national geologic carbon sequestration assessment released today by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The assessment comes on the heels of a national plan to combat climate change announced by President Obama yesterday.

    Based on present-day geologic and hydrologic knowledge of the subsurface and current engineering practices, this assessment looked at the potential for CO2 storage in 36 basins in the U.S.. The largest potential is in the Coastal Plains region, which accounts for 2,000 metric gigatons, or 65 percent, of the storage potential. Alaska and the Rocky Mountains and Northern Great Plains region also have significant storage capacity. Technically accessible storage resources are those that can be accessed using today's technology and pressurization and injection techniques. The most common method of geologic carbon storage involves pressurizing CO2 gas into a liquid, and then injecting it into subsurface rock layers for long-term storage.

    The assessment is the first geologically based and probabilistic assessment, estimating a range of 2,400 to 3,700 metric gigatons of CO2 storage potential across the U.S . For comparison, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that in 2011, the U.S. emitted 5.5 metric gigatons of energy-related CO2, while the global emissions of energy-related CO2 totaled 31.6 metric gigatons. Metric gigatons are a billion metric tons.

    Although the scope of sequestration included in this assessment is unprecedented, injecting CO2 into geologic formations is not a new process or technology. CO2 injection has been one method of enhanced oil recovery since the 1980s. The process works by flooding the oil reservoir with liquid CO2, which reduces the viscosity of the hydrocarbons and allows them to flow to the well more easily.

    The USGS project results announced today represent an assessments of storage capacity on a regional and national basis, and results are not intended for use in the evaluation of specific sites for potential CO2 storage. All sedimentary basins in the U.S. were evaluated, but 36 were assessed because existing geologic conditions or the available data suggested only these 36 met the assessment's minimum criteria.

    In 2007, Congress authorized the USGS to conduct the carbon sequestration assessment in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The USGS also studies biologic carbon sequestration -- sequestration that happens naturally in trees, fields, and different types of ecosystems that store carbon. The USGS has already completed assessments for the Great Plains Region and the western U.S.; reports on the eastern U.S., Alaska and Hawaii will follow. (Source: USGS, 26 June, 2012) Contact: USGS, Jessica Kershaw, (202) 208-6416, www.usgs.gov

    Tags CCS news,  Carbon Sequestration news,  USGS news,  

    NDR Energy Plans 100-MW Solar Project in N.C. (Ind. Report)
    NDR Energy,JSG Solar
    Date: 2013-06-05
    NDR Energy Group has inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Orange Park, Florida-based JSG Solar to build a $167 million solar power farm in North Carolina. The 100-MW facility is estimated to generate 143.9 kWh and is expected to add $301 million in revenue over 25 years.

    The company says it has secured funding and has inked a 25-year PPA with a large North Carolina utility. (Source: NDR Energy, EBR 4 June, 2013) Contact: NDR Energy Group, Ken Harris, Pres., (704) 248-0583, www.ndrenergy.com; JSG Solar, (904) 579-4360, www.jsgsolar.com

    Tags NDR Energy news,  Solar news,  

    Green Plains Renewable Energy Earns ISCC Certification (Ind. Report)
    Green Plains Renewable Energy,SCS Global Service
    Date: 2013-05-22
    Omaha-based biofuel producer Green Plains Renewable Energy has qualified for recognition under the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) program, based on the findings of a third-party audit conducted by SCS Global Services. SCS found that Green Plains' biofuels production and use results in about 45 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with ordinary gasoline. The award of certification confirms that Green Plains is in compliance with the European Union's Renewable Energy Directive, allowing the company to export biofuel to Europe.

    Green Plains Renewable Energy has a production capacity of approximately 740 million gpy from nine plants located in Indiana, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Tennessee, and Michigan. The company also produces valuable co-products such as distiller's grains (DDGs) used for animal feed and corn oil, often used in the production of biodiesel.

    SCS provides accredited services under a wide range of internationally recognized certification programs. (Source: SCS Global Services, 21 May, 2013) Contact: Green Plains Renewable Energy, Jim Stark, VP, (402) 884-8700, jim.stark@gpreinc.com, www.gpreinc.com; SGS Global Services., Nick Kordesch , (510) 452-8035, nkordesch@scsglobalservices.com , www.scsglobalservices.com

    Tags Green Plains Renewable Energy news,  Biofuel news,  SCS Global Service news,  DDGs news,  Biodiesel news,  

    U.S. Geological Survey Sea-Level-Rise Modeling forecasts Major Climate Impact to Low-Lying Pacific Islands - Report Attached (Ind. Report)
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Date: 2013-04-12
    Dynamic modeling of sea-level rise, which takes storm wind and wave action into account, paints a much graver picture for some low-lying Pacific islands under climate-change scenarios than the passive computer modeling used in earlier research, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey report.

    A team led by research oceanographer Curt Storlazzi of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, Calif., compared passive "bathtub" inundation models with dynamic models for two of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. The team studied Midway, a classic atoll with islands on the shallow atoll rim and a deep, central lagoon, and Laysan, which is higher, with a deeper rim and an island in the center of the atoll. Together, the two locations exhibit landforms and coastal features common to many Pacific islands. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, they are also among the world's most important nesting and breeding sites for migratory birds and other wildlife.

    The team found that at least twice as much land is forecast to be inundated on Midway and Laysan by sea-level rise than was projected by passive models. For example, 91 percent of Midway's Eastern Island is projected to be inundated under a model that takes into account storm and wave activity accompanied by a sea-level rise of 2 meters as compared with only 19 percent under passive sea-level-rise models. Storm waves on Midway are also projected to be three to four times higher than they are today, because more deep-water wave energy could propagate over the atoll rim and larger wind-driven waves could develop on the atoll. These findings have importance not only for island wildlife on the largely uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and other low-lying Pacific Island groups.

    The report, Forecasting the Impact of Storm Waves and Sea-Level Rise on Midway Atoll and Laysan Island within the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument - A Comparison of Passive Versus Dynamic Inundation Models, is available online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2013/1069. (Source: USGS, 11 April, 2013) Contact: USGS, Curt Storlazzi, (831) 427-4748, cstorlazzi@usgs.gov; Barbara Wilcox, (650) 329-4014, bwilcox@usgs.gov, www.usgs.gov

    Tags Global Warming news,  

    Piedmont Biofuels SGS Certified under Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels Program (Ind. Report)
    Piedmont Biofuels,SGS Global
    Date: 2013-02-27
    Pittsboro, North Carolina-based Piedmont Biofuels has been certified under the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) Program following a third-party assessment conducted by SCS Global Services (SCS). Piedmont Biofuels collects used cooking oil from restaurants in the Research Triangle Park area and uses it to produce biodiesel that it sells locally through seven filling stations. Piedmont is a Certified B corporation that sells its fuel to approximately 300 members of a biodiesel cooperative.

    SCS Global Services (SCS) provides third-party environmental and sustainability certification, auditing, testing, and standards development. SCS is a chartered benefit corporation and Certified B Corp™, reflecting its commitment to socially and environmentally responsible business practices. (Source: SCS Global Services, 25 Feb., 2013) Contact: Nick Kordesch (510) 452-8035, nkordesch@scsglobalservices.com, www.scsglobalservices.com; Piedmont Biofuels, (919)321-8260, www.biofuels.coop

    Tags Piedmont Biofuels news,  SGS Globa news,  Biodiesel news,  Biofuels news,  Sustainable Biofuelsl news,  

    FREE National Geothermal Data System Linked Below (New Prod & Tech)
    Arizona Geological Survey
    Date: 2012-12-05
    The Arizona Geological Survey has announced that the National Geothermal Data System (NDGS) has reached a milestone with data from over one million wells now online and available free of charge at http://geothermaldata.org.

    The database contains information from a network of academic researchers, private industry, and state and federal agencies. It includes more than 717,000 oil and gas wells, 414,000 water wells, and 9,300 geothermal wells nationwide. An additional 2 to 3 million wells will be added to the database within a year.

    These wells are critical resources to aid in the exploration and development of the nation's geothermal energy resources. They also represent an invaluable resource for a wide variety of environmental, hydrological, and other natural resource uses. Each well is accompanied by geographical coordinates, county and state location, well status, total depth, and spud and end-of-drilling dates. Some wells include bore hole temperature, aqueous geochemistry, drillers log, and geophysical logs -- typically porosity, resistivity and temperature logs.

    To serve the geothermal exploration and research communities, the NDGS catalog portal provides data discovery via an interactive geographic map tool, ready data access, and analysis. NGDS uses open standards and protocols to encourage developers to build custom applications for accessing and displaying data. The site also includes a FAQ section and tutorials for use of the system. The system can accommodate common GIS applications, including GoogleEarth, ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Explorer, NREL Geothermal Prospector, Microsoft Layerscape, and the USGS' National Map Viewer. (Source: Arizona Geological Survey, Tucson Citizen, 4 Dec., 2012) Contact: Access FREE National Geothermal Data System at http://geothermaldata.org

    Tags Arizona Geological Survey news,  Geothermal news,  

    Permafrost Thaw Could Trigger Massive Carbon Release (Ind. Report)
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Date: 2012-10-29
    As much as 44 billion tons of nitrogen and 850 billion tons of carbon stored in arctic permafrost could be released into the environment over the next century by the effects of global warming. This is roughly the amount of carbon stored in the atmosphere today, and its release could have a serious impact on ecosystems, the atmosphere, and water resources including rivers and lakes. According to the US Geological Survey, the study quantifies the impact on Earth's two most important chemical cycles -- carbon and nitrogen, from thawing of permafrost under future climate warming scenarios.

    To generate their estimates, the USGS scientists studied how permafrost-affected soils, known as Gelisols, thaw under various climate scenarios. They found that all Gelisols are not alike: some have soil materials with large amounts of decaying organic matter that burns easily and will impart newly thawed nitrogen into the ecosystem and atmosphere. Others have materials that are very nutrient rich and will impart a lot of nitrogen into the ecosystem. All Gelisols will contribute carbon dioxide and likely some methane into the atmosphere as a result of decomposition once the permafrost thaws. And, gases will themselves contribute to further warming.

    "The scientific community researching this phenomena has made these international data available for the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says USGS soil scientist Jennifer Harden. "As permafrost receives more attention, we are sharing our data and our insights to guide those models as they portray how the land, atmosphere, and ocean interact." Harden added. (Source: USGS, TG Daily, Oct. 29, 2012) Contact: U.S. Geological Survey, www.usgs.gov

    Tags U.S. Geological Survey news,  Carbon Emissions news,  

    Salt Marshes May Slow Climate Warming ... For a While (Ind. Report)
    Salt Marsh,U.S. Geological Survey
    Date: 2012-09-28
    U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research suggests that the value of salt marsh ecosystems in capturing atmospheric carbon might become much more important as the climate warms, said Matthew Kirwan, a University of Virginia environmental scientist, and the lead author of this USGS-funded and supported research.

    The research forecasts that under faster sea-level rise rates, salt marshes could bury up to four times as much carbon as they do now. The study forecasts that marshes will absorb some of that carbon dioxide, and if other coastal ecosystems -- such as seagrasses and mangroves -- respond similarly, there might be a little less warming.

    Interestingly, salt marshes are perhaps the best example of an ecosystem that actually depends on carbon accumulation to survive climate change: the accumulation of roots in the soil builds their elevation, keeping the plants above the water. Salt marshes store significant quantities of carbon by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere through their leaves, and then storing it in their roots. As plants die, the carbon becomes part of the soil and helps the marsh survive sea level rise.

    "Coastal wetlands are among the most economically and ecologically valuable ecosystems on Earth, with their services estimated worth about $15,000 an acre," said Matthew Larsen, associate director for climate and land use research at the U.S. Geological Survey. "They provide clean water, abundant food, wildlife habitat and protection from storms. This and other USGS research aims to understand and forecast the vulnerability of coastal wetland systems to global change and identify ways that managers can effectively respond to global change effects."

    Kirwan cautioned that the study also showed that marshes can survive only moderately fast rates of sea level rise. To survive, the elevation of the soil surface has to build vertically through time. If the seas rise more quickly than the marsh can build up, marshes drown and die off. "At fast levels of sea level rise, no realistic amount of carbon accumulation will help them survive. And, , if marshes are drowned by fast-rising seas, they no longer would provide a significant carbon storage capacity," Kirwan said.

    The US DOI manages 35 million acres of low-lying coastal areas, including marshes and thousands of miles of shoreline. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service alone manages about 5 million acres of coastal wetlands. "This research can help decision makers understand and prepare for how coastal areas may fare in response to climate change," said Glenn Guntenspergen, a USGS researcher who leads a project on Coastal Marsh Response to Climate and Land Use Change Project that this study was a part of. Kirwan and his co-author, Simon Mudd, a geosciences researcher at the University of Edinburgh used computer models to predict salt marsh growth rates under different climate change and sea level scenarios. (Source: USGS, PR, 26 Sept., 2012) Contact: USGS, www.usgs.gov

    Tags U.S. Geological Survey news,  Climate Change news,  Salt Marsh news,  

    Utah Geological Survey Finds Massive Geothermal Hotspot (Ind. Report)
    Utah Geological Survey
    Date: 2012-09-28
    Utah Geological Survey scientists have found a massive new source of potential geothermal power in Utah's west desert. It is a different type of resource, they say, much deeper than the geothermal industry now uses but it still should be exploitable.

    Over the past two years, crews drilled nine wells in Utah's Black Rock Desert basin south of Delta to test out a theory that water at high temperatures might exist deep beneath the surface that would be hot enough to be turned into steam, which could then be used to generate electricity.

    The agency has identified an approximately 100-square-mile area within the Black Rock Desert basin it believes could eventually support power plants that could conservatively produce hundreds of megawatts of electricity. The area is especially attractive for geothermal development because of the existing infrastructure, including a large coal-fired power plant, a 300-MW wind farm and a nearby major electrical transmission line.

    The U.S. Geological Survey several years ago conducted a survey of the nation's available geothermal resources and, at that time, estimated 80 percent of the potential sites had yet to be discovered. (Source: USGS, Utah Geological Survey, Salt Lake Tribune, Sept. 27, 2012) Contact: Utah Geological Survey, www.geology.utah.gov; USGS, www.usgs.gov

    Tags Utah Geological Survey news,  USGS news,  Geothermal news,  

    USGS Scientists Explore Changing Arctic Ocean (Ind. Report)
    US Geological Survey
    Date: 2012-08-24
    The Arctic Ocean is one of the most vulnerable places on the planet for acidification, yet it is the least-explored ocean. Acidification can disturb the balance of marine life in the world's oceans, and consequently affect humans and animals that rely on those food resources. The USGS is leading this project, and this is the third consecutive year of research. On this year's expedition, scientists will travel onboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy for four weeks, collecting water and ice samples.

    "Ocean acidification is a particularly vexing problem associated with the release of CO2 into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels because it interferes with the ability of marine organisms to build hard shells of calcium carbonate," said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. "Comparatively more research has been devoted to the tropics, where coral reefs are threatened. This important expedition focuses on polar latitudes, where the acidification effects can cascade from microscopic organisms up to our economy, as the organisms at risk form the base of the food chain for some of the world's most productive fisheries."

    Oceans currently absorb about one-fourth of the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. Ocean acidification occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2) increases in the atmosphere and is absorbed by the ocean. Ocean acidity will continue to rise as CO2 levels are projected to increase. The Arctic Ocean's cold surface waters absorb CO2 more rapidly than warmer oceans, thus contributing to its vulnerability. This vulnerability is increased as the warming climate causes sea-ice to retreat and melt, leaving less of a buffer and more exposure of surface water to the atmosphere.

    On the previous two cruises in 2010 and 2011, scientists collected more than 30,000 water samples and traveled throughout the Canada Basin up to very near the North Pole. Data from the cruises are currently being processed. "This cruise offers us an opportunity to collect more information over a vast spatial extent of the Arctic Ocean," said USGS oceanographer and project chief Lisa Robbins. "These data will provide a better understanding of the current patterns of acidification and thus they will significantly contribute to society's efforts to understand, forecast, and potentially mitigate impacts to the Arctic ecosystem and its many globally important resources."

    USGS field experiments on ocean acidification are currently being run in tropical, temperate, and polar environments, including the Gulf of Mexico, Florida Keys, Virgin Islands, and the Arctic Ocean. (Source: USGC, 24 Aug.2012) Contact: USGS, www.usgs.gov

    Tags Global Warming news,  

    Algae Tec Commissions NSW Algae-to-Biofuels Facility (Ind. Report)
    Algae Tec
    Date: 2012-08-06
    Australian advanced algae-to-biofuels producer Algae Tec has officially opened its Shoalhaven One production facility in New South Wales. Shoalhaven One is a high-yield, enclosed and scalable algae growth and harvesting system. The showcase facility is connected into the Manildra Group waste carbon dioxide, which is used in the algae growth process.

    Algae.Tec Executive Chairman Roger Stroud said Algae.Tec offers NSW and Australia energy security at a time when traditional fossil fuel companies are leaving the local market. "Algae.Tec offers the promise of home grown transport fuels (aviation and diesel), which is the number one energy security priority for countries like the USA and increasingly Australia." Algae.Tec announced that leading inspection, verification, testing and certification services company SGS will now undertake the third party yield validation process.

    Algae.Tec has projects with Holcim Lanka, joint venture discussions in China, and a manufacturing base in Atlanta, Georgia (USA). The Company is also in talks with relevant firms in NSW, Brazil and the United States. (Source: Algae Tec, 2 Aug., 2012) Contact: Algae Tec, (678) 679-7370 (U.S. Office), www.algaetec.com.au

    Tags Algae Tec news,  Algae Biofuel news,  

    Sea Level Rise Accelerating in Atlantic "Hot Spot" (Ind. Report)
    Date: 2012-06-25
    Rates of sea level rise are increasing three-to-four times faster along portions of the U.S. Atlantic Coast than globally, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey report published in Nature Climate Change.

    Since about 1990, sea-level rise in the 600-mile stretch of coastal zone from Cape Hatteras, N.C. to north of Boston, Mass. -- coined a "hot spot" by scientists -- has increased 2 - 3.7 millimeters per year; the global increase over the same period was 0.6 to 1.0 millimeter per year. The report shows that the sea-level rise hotspot is consistent with the slowing of Atlantic Ocean circulation. Models show this change in circulation may be tied to changes in water temperature, salinity and density in the sub-polar north Atlantic. Though global sea level has been projected to rise roughly two-to-three feet or more by the end of the 21st century, it will not climb at the same rate at every location. Differences in land movements, strength of ocean currents, water temperatures, and salinity can cause regional and local highs and lows in sea level.

    "Cities in the hot spot, like Norfolk, New York, and Boston already experience damaging floods during relatively low intensity storms," said Dr. Asbury Sallenger, USGS oceanographer and project lead. "Ongoing accelerated sea level rise in the hotspot will make coastal cities and surrounding areas increasingly vulnerable to flooding by adding to the height that storm surge and breaking waves reach on the coast."

    During the 21st century, the increases in sea level rise rate that have already occurred in the hotspot will yield increases in sea level of 8 to 11.4 inches by 2100. This regional sea level increase would be in addition to components of global sea level rise. To determine accelerations of sea level, USGS scientists analyzed tide gauge data throughout much of North America in a way that removed long-term (linear) trends associated with vertical land movements. This allowed them to focus on recent changes in rates of sea-level rise caused, for example, by changes in ocean circulation. (Source: USGS, PR, 23 June, 2012) Contact: USGS, www.usgs.gov

    Tags USGS news,  

    ADM, Schlumberger Carbon Services Move to Advance Carbon Storage Efforts (Ind. Report)
    Schlumberger Carbon Services,Archer Daniels Midland
    Date: 2012-05-22
    Further to our Nov. 18, 2011 coverage, the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC) has begun injecting dense-phase CO2 into a porous rock layer more than a mile below the earth's surface. The methodology could provide a means for point sources of CO2 throughout the 60,000-sq-mile Illinois Basin, including more than 100 fossil-fuel-burning powerplants, to improve their environmental friendliness, given concerns about the contributions of CO2 emissions to global climate change. In a little more than a year, when crews complete a second injection well, just under a mile from the first, in the Mount Simon Sandstone layer that underlies much of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. Intensive subterranean and surface instrumentation will allow scientists to monitor the ways in which two injection streams interact in close proximity to one another, a significant accomplishment, given that carbon-storage projects may require several wells to capture the volume of CO2 produced by powerplants or other point sources. "This will mark the first site in the world where we'll be able to follow the interaction of two plumes of CO2 injected in the same saline formation," says Robert Finley, principal geologist with the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) and director of its Advanced Energy Technology Initiative.

    ISGS is one of five consortium members involved in ongoing carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) efforts in Decatur; others include Schlumberger Carbon Services and Decatur-based Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) which is supplying the CO2 and financing construction of the collection, compression and dehydration facilities required to sequester it. The U.S. Dept. of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy is providing additional funding and support for both projects. (Source: ENERMidwest, 21 May, 2012) Contact: Robert Drummond, President, North America, Schlumberger Carbon Services, (281) 285-1300, rdrummond@slb.com, www.slb.com; Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium, www.sequestration.org

    Tags Schlumberger Carbon Services news,  

    Heliatek Advances Organic Solar Cell Efficiency (Ind. Report)
    Helitek GmBH
    Date: 2012-04-30
    German organic solar cell start-up Heliatek GmbH of Dresden has achieved an efficiency of 10.7 percent in a 1.1 square centimeter tandem cell. The efficiency was measured by independent test house SGS SA (Geneva Switzerland).

    Heliatek, founded in 2006 as a spin off from the universities of Dresden and Ulm, is based on the use of small organic molecules to produce highly tailorable, low temperature, low cost organic photovoltaics which, although less optically efficient than silicon could prove to be more economically efficient. SGS measurements included showed that the cell has improved efficiency under low light conditions and that the efficiency remains constant with temperature.

    The company is currently working on its first roll-to-roll manufacturing line installed in Dresden, Germany, to go in production in the third quarter of 2012. It has also kicked off a third financing round to raise 60 million euro from current and new investors for a new roll-to-roll 75 megawatt-peak production line. (Source: Heliatek, 29 April, 2012) Contact: Heliatek, Martin Pfeiffer, co-founder and CTO, www.heliatek.com

    USGS Eyes Switch Grass Mapping Tools (New Prod., & Tech.)
    Date: 2012-04-02
    US scientists announced they're working to take the guesswork out of which crops to use for the production of biofuels in Nebraska grasslands. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has developed a tool for mapping grasslands using remote sensing data from satellites to identify areas in and around Nebraska that are ideally suited for the production of cellulosic biofuels from native switch grass.

    Scientists at the U.S. DOE's Joint BioEnergy Institute announced last year they were working with new strains of Escherichia coli that could more easily digest biomass from switch grass for use in gasoline, diesel and jet fuels. The USGS said it expected demand for biofuel products to increase as global economics search out alternatives to fossil fuels. The agency said "critical considerations" are made when examining energy derived from biofuels compared to the energy used to grow and process them. In December, 2011, the U.S. DOE announced that, along with the USDA, it awarded $12.2 million for 10 separate grants that target improvements in biofuels and bioenergy crops. (Source: USGS) Contact: U.S. Geological Survey, www.usgs.gov

    Tags USGS news,  Switchgrass news,  

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