The Oil Crash Sours LNG Future, Project Put on Hold

The floating 8 million tonne per annum (mtpa) export plant moored at Lavaca Bay, Texas advanced by Houston-based Excelerate has been put on hold, according to regulatory filings obtained by Reuters.

Source: www.businessinsider.com

>” […] The project was initially due to begin exports in 2018.

Excelerate’s move bodes ill for thirteen other U.S. LNG projects, which have also not signed up enough international buyers, to reach a final investment decision (FID). Only Cheniere’s Sabine Pass and Sempra’s Cameron LNG projects have hit that milestone.

Back when LNG and crude oil prices were riding high in February, Excelerate, founded by Oklahoma billionaire George Kaiser, applied for permits to build the facility.

Eleven months on, its submission to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Dec. 23 said that uncertainty generated by a steep decrease in oil prices has forced it to conduct a “strategic reconsideration of the economic value of the project” and to suspend all activities until April 1, 2015.

“Due to the recent global market conditions, the company has determined that, at this time, this project no longer meets the financial criteria necessary in order for us to move forward with the capital investment,” a company spokesman told Reuters.

Stiff economic headwinds are making new developments tough going.

Prices that LNG projects can charge for long-term supply are falling from historic highs as new producers crowd the market, which is already oversupplied due to slowing demand and rising output that has seen spot Asian LNG prices halve this year.

At the same time, major consumers from Japan to South Korea and China are seeking to offload some of their long-term LNG supply commitments, contributing to the glut. […]”<

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/r-exclusive-oil-price-crash-claims-first-us-lng-project-casualty-2014-12#ixzz3NVGgV68I

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New Boston Start-up Tracks Multifamily Residential Energy Efficiency “Score”

wego_screen_shotWegoWise Inc., which provides energy analytics to private property owners and public housing entities, last week launched WegoScore, a rating system that assesses buildings in three areas, energy, water and carbon and then spits out a score between one and 100.

Source: www.bizjournals.com

>” […] “We are focusing on a universal approach with meaningful reductions,” WegoWise founder and CTO Barun Singh said of the platform.

With the water crisis in California and with 39 percent of carbon dioxide coming from buildings, property owners and public housing agencies are making energy-saving retrofits and want to market what they’ve done.

Those buildings that reach a high rating are issued certificates and decals to let the world know they are more efficient. Maloney Properties Inc., a Wellesley-based real estate management, sales and construction firm with 350 buildings, is featuring its decal proudly. Other area companies include Peabody Properties in Braintree and Homeowners Rehab, based in Cambridge.

The score not only brings awareness to a building’s efficiency, it also provides a way for property owners to market the value of the work completed in their buildings to perspective tenants who are concerned about the environment, Singh said. And the stickers are a fun way to market their accomplishments.

After using WegoWise, Maloney Properties was able to find $2.5 million in 2014 retrofits and expects to save 10 to 20 percent on utility costs related to the retrofits annually. John Magee, an assistant facilities director at Maloney, said the real estate company has been looking for a way to market the value of its properties. And now, the WegoScore will enable it to do that.

With the $4.9 million in funding it has raised from Boston Community Capital, WegoWise was able to build a portfolio of 23,000 multifamily buildings covering more than 600 million square feet. With all of the data that WegoWise has collected since its launch in 2010, coming up with a rating system would be a simple solution, right? Not exactly, according Singh.

Launching WegoScore was an expensive and lengthy process for the 25-person company, he said. Before launching the rating system, Singh said he wanted to be sure that had enough data to come up with a score that was meaningful.

“The end result is a straight-forward algorithm,” he said.

The WegoScore is currently only available for multifamily buildings, according to the company. Scores will be refreshed on a weekly basis and stickers are awarded twice a year.

In addition to gaining interest from its existing customers, venture-backed WegoWise is also garnering the attention of other potential partners including banks, who could use the score as a way to get a sense of the building and decide whether or not to lend to them, and insurance providers that would make decisions based on the building’s efficiency score and other factors. […]”<

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University to Install Combined Heat and Power Plant for Energy Savings and Climate Goals

“Construction is will soon begin on a $96 million combined heat and power (CHP) plant in another aging facility near the river’s edge that will dramatically cut the campus’ carbon footprint while driving down the cost of energy”

Source: www.midwestenergynews.com

>” […] The project, in the 1912-vintage Old Main Utility Building, will produce enough steam to heat the entire campus and meet about half of its electricity demand.

CHP and carbon reductions

CHP will be a major tactic in the goal of reducing the University’s carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2020, said Shane Stennes, who serves as the University Services’ sustainability coordinator. The Southeast Steam Plant, itself a CHP facility, mainly used natural gas but still had a small measure of coal in its fuel mix, along with oat hulls.

“The carbon reduction is partly due to a change in fuel but mostly a result of increased efficiency,” Stennes said. The ability to use the waste heat from the electricity generation process is the real reason the University will see carbon emissions plummet, he added.

“From the sustainability point of view this plant is the right thing to do,” he said, noting that in 2008 the University’s campus system agreed to a net zero scenario in the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

CHP is on a bit of a roll. President Barack Obama signed an executive order in 2012 promoting wider adoption of CHP and the state Department of Commerce recently held stakeholders’ meetings on the issue to determine how the state might help in moving forward projects.

The potential was described in a Commerce policy brief associated with the stakeholder meetings: “Power generation waste heat in Minnesota is nearly equal to the total requirement for heat energy in buildings and industry.” […]

Minnesota has at latest count 55 CHP systems in the state, according to the ICF International.

Reasons for CHP at the U

A campus CHP comes with another advantage by creating an “island” of energy independence should a regional blackout hit. Many major Midwest and coastal universities have CHP in part to rely less on power grids that are vulnerable to major storms or other weather maladies, he said.

“We see CHP as a way to be competitive with other schools and to protect research if we had a catastrophe,” he said.

The need for more boilers, said Malmquist, stems from growing demand for power. Although the nearly dozen new buildings constructed in the last few years meet rigorous energy efficiency standards they tend to demand more power due to their function as research centers.

The Biomedical Discovery District, a new physics laboratory, technology classroom and other science-related buildings, as well as a new residence hall, have added square footage for steam and electricity, he said.

“The buildings we’re putting up today are more energy intensive than the ones we’ve been taking down,” said Malmquist. […]”<

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Morgan Stanley Installs Bloom Energy Fuel Cells At Purchase, NY Facility

Morgan Stanley Installs Bloom Energy Fuel Cells At Purchase, NY Facility

Source: www.bloomenergy.com

“The project will provide clean and uninterruptible power for the 750,000 Sq. Ft. Office Building

PURCHASE, NY, Nov. 14 — […] The fuel cell system, along with a solar panel field completed earlier this year, are the latest in a series of initiatives to improve the facility’s energy efficiency and resiliency.

The Bloom Energy fuel cell system produces electricity without burning fossil fuels, thus reducing emission of greenhouse gases. It will supply approximately 250 kilowatts (kW) of constant base load power to the facility, as well as grid-independent electricity to power portions of the building’s critical load during grid outages.  […]

The new solid oxide fuel cell system (SOFC) technology converts fuel into electricity through a highly efficient electrochemical process, resulting in on-site, clean and reliable power. Combined with the solar field, these new installations are expected to produce approximately 3 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy a year. During peak energy consumption times, they can supply approximately one megawatt, or up to 30 percent of the building’s demand.

Support for this project was provided by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Founded in 1975, NYSERDA is a public benefit corporation that provides information, services, programs and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

About Bloom Energy

Bloom Energy is a provider of breakthrough solid oxide fuel cell technology generating clean, highly-efficient on-site power from multiple fuel sources. The company was founded in 2001 with a mission to make clean, reliable energy affordable for everyone in the world. Bloom Energy Servers are currently producing power for several Fortune 500 companies including Apple, Google, Walmart, AT&T, eBay, Staples, The Coca-Cola Company, as well as notable non-profit organizations such as Caltech and Kaiser Permanente. The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA. For more information, visit www.bloomenergy.com.

About Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, investment management and wealth management services.  […]”<

 

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Bloom Box: The Alternative Energy Fuel Cell Technology – 60 Minutes

“Derived from a common sand-like powder, and leveraging breakthrough advances in materials science, our technology is able to produce clean, reliable, affordable power,… practically anywhere,… from a wide range of renewable or traditional fuels.”

Source: www.youtube.com

Changing the Face of Energy

Bloom Energy is changing the way the world generates and consumes energy.

Our unique on-site power generation systems utilize an innovative new fuel cell technology with roots in NASA’s Mars program.  […]

Our Energy Servers® are among the most efficient energy generators on the planet; providing for significantly reduced electricity costs and dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions.

By generating power on-site, where it is consumed, Bloom Energy offers increased electrical reliability and improved energy security, providing a clear path to energy independence.

Founded in 2001, Bloom Energy is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.”
http://www.bloomenergy.com/about/&nbsp;

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Renewable Geothermal Power with Oil and Gas Coproduction Technology may be Feasible

The U.S. has been harnessing geothermal energy since 1960 and if recently announced research projects and startups are successful, even more geothermal power might soon be available.

Source: www.renewableenergyworld.com

>” […]  in the past, wastewater from oilfield production processes was viewed as a nuisance byproduct that needed to be disposed of. But new research has shown that much of the 25 billion barrels of this geothermally heated “wastewater” produced at oil wells each year in the U.S. is hot enough to produce electricity. It is estimated that many of the wells might have clean energy capacities of up to 1 MW.

Oil and Gas Coproduction in the US

In 2008, the DOE developed the first low-temperature geothermal unit in an oil field at the Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center (RMOTC) in Wyoming. The well is producing energy and has a capacity of approximately 217 kW. RMOTC continues to test power units produced by Ormat Technologies and UTC/Pratt and Whitney Power Systems at the center and more than 30 oil firms have visited the center to learn about coproduction technology. The technology is also being implemented in Nevada, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Dakota and Texas.

In Nevada, Florida Canyon Mining Inc. is using the 220°F groundwater in a coproduction project that uses ElectraTherm’s 50-kW waste heat generators, aka “Green Machines” to generate electricity.

Energy can be harnessed at working oilfields and used to power them without interrupting their operation. A Gulf Coast Green Energy (GCGE) coproduction project at the Denbury oilfields in Laurel, Mississippi, is using this technique again with ElectraTherm Green Machines.  It replaced Denbury’s electric submersible pump and cut electricity costs by a third. GCGE has a second 50-kW geothermal natural gas coproduction project in Louisiana.

University of North Dakota was awarded $1.7 million through the DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Program to install a geothermal Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) system at another oilfield operated byDenbury. For two years the plant will be used to develop engineering and economic models for geothermal ORC energy production. The technology could be used throughout the Williston Basin.

Liberty County Pilot Project

Texas is oil country, and the 4000+ dormant oil and gas wells speckled across the landscape provide a new, or perhaps recycled, frontier in geothermal energy production.  To tap some of that energy,Universal GeoPower CEO and petroleum geologist George Alcorn Jr. and his partner, Chris Luchini, a PhD physicist will use the $1.5 million in federal stimulus funds that they were awarded to bring geothermal energy to Liberty County, Texas. The company said that to prepare its DOE application, it worked with Southern Methodist University. The university has performed extensive research on coproduction and has found that it is applicable to an estimated 37,500 oil and gas wells in the Gulf Coast region.

Universal GeoPower’s pilot project is expected to be one of many that will recomplete the wells to produce low temperature, geopressured brine water. The brine will run through a commercial off-the-shelf turbo expander and an ORC binary generator.

Alcorn spoke recently at GEA’s global geothermal meeting in Washington, DC, offering a snapshot of the economic benefits of the process. “The lead-time to revenue generation is about 6 months, whereas traditional geothermal can take up to five years,” he said. “The wells already have known geothermal potential, and capital costs are dramatically reduced.”

Additionally, Alcorn noted, units are installed at existing oil wells, eliminating the need for investment in drilling, new roads or transmission lines. […]”<

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Potential of liquefied natural gas use as a railroad fuel

Source: www.eia.gov

>” […]  Continued growth in domestic natural gas production, along with substantially lower natural gas spot prices compared to crude oil, is reshaping the U.S. energy economy and attracting considerable interest in the potential for fueling freight locomotives with liquefied natural gas (LNG). While there is significant appeal for major U.S. railroads to use LNG as a fuel for locomotives because of its potentially favorable economics compared with diesel fuel, there are also key uncertainties as to whether, and to what extent, the railroads can take advantage of this relatively cheap and abundant fuel.

Freight railroads and the basic economics of fuel choice  Major U.S. railroads, known commonly as Class 1 railroads, are defined as line-haul freight railroads with certain minimum annual operating revenue. Currently, that classification is based on 2011 operating revenue of $433.2 million or more [1]. While there are 561 freight railroads operating in the United States, only seven are defined as Class 1 railroads. The Class 1 railroads account for 94% of total freight rail revenue [2]. They haul large amounts of tonnage over long distances, and in the process they consume significant quantities of diesel fuel. In 2012, the seven Class 1 railroads consumed more than 3.6 billion gallons (gal) of diesel fuel [3], amounting to 10 million gal/day and representing 7% of all diesel fuel consumed in the United States. […]

The large differential between crude oil and natural gas commodity prices translates directly into a significant disparity between projected LNG and diesel fuel prices, even after accounting for natural gas liquefaction costs that exceed refining costs. […]

Given the difference between LNG and diesel fuel prices in the Reference case, railroads that switch locomotive fuels could accrue significant fuel cost savings. Locomotives are used intensively, consume large amounts of fuel, and are kept in service for relatively long periods of time. The net present value of future fuel savings across the Reference case projection for an LNG locomotive compared to a diesel counterpart is well above the roughly $1 million higher cost of the LNG locomotive and tender (Figure IF3-3).  […]

Relatively large changes in assumptions used to evaluate investments in LNG locomotives (such as a significantly shorter payback period or much higher discount rate) or in fuel prices would be required to change LNG fuel economics for railroad use from favorable to unfavorable. […] “<

 

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Chile’s Mines Run on Renewables

Chilean mines are more and more run on renewable energy, which will soon be bigger than conventional energy in Chile. Thanks to China, writes John Mathews.

Source: www.energypost.eu

>” […] Miners in Chile are building independent solar, solar thermal, wind and geothermal power plants that produce power at costs competitive with or lower than conventional fuel supplies or grid-connected electric power.

Consider these facts.

The Cerro Dominador concentrated solar power (CSP) plant (see here for an explanation of the different solar technologies), rated at 110 megawatts, will supply regular uninterrupted power to the Antofagasta Minerals complex in the dry north of Chile, in the Atacama desert. Construction began in 2014. This is one of the largest CSP plants in the world, utilising an array of mirrors and lenses to concentrate the sun’s rays onto a power tower, and utilising thermal storage in the form of molten salts, perfected by Spanish company Abengoa. It will supply steady, dispatchable power, day and night.

The El Arrayán wind power project, rated at 115 megawatts, now supplies power to the Los Pelambres mine of Antofagasta Minerals, using Pattern Energy (US) as technology partner. Antofagasta Minerals has also contracted with US solar company SunEdison to build solar panel arrays at the Los Pelambres mine, with a power plant rated at 70 megawatts; while the related plant operated by Amenecer Solar CAP is rated at 100 megawatts, the largest such array in Latin America when it came online in 2014.

There are many more such projects under review or in the pipeline. The Chilean Renewable Energy Center reported in 2014 that the pipeline of renewable power projects in Chile added up to 18,000 megawatts (or 18 gigawatts), which is more than the country’s entire current electric power grid. […]”<

 

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Thermoelectric Solid-State Cooling Technology Wins $44.5M Funding

The near-term applications for Phononic’s science are high-end refrigeration for labs and medical facilities, as well as cooling for fiber optics and data servers that are “necessary to continue Moore’s law,” according to the company.

Source: www.greentechmedia.com

>” […] The 75-employee Phononic develops thermoelectrics — materials that can convert a temperature gradient to a voltage or vice versa. The technology is a brilliant pursuit, but no one has brought it to mass markets economically or at scale just yet. Traditional thermoelectrics use materials such as bismuth telluride or silicon germanium, and more recently, silicon nanowires.

[…] Phononic is looking to develop thermal management technology for consumer devices, and, more strikingly, to replace cheap, ubiquitous and century-old incumbent compressor technology.

CEO Anthony Atti told us this morning that the investment thesis around Phononic is that “semiconductors have revolutionized IT and LEDs, but have not had that same impact on cooling and heating.” He notes that Phononic’s thermoelectric technology is in the realm of Peltier cooling technology, but addresses three major shortcomings of that technology: efficiency, ability to scale, and ease of integration. […]

Atti claims that the compound semiconductor material used in his firm’s thermoelectrics can be manufactured using high-volume, standard semiconductor tools and equipment.

Bruce Sohn, the former president of First Solar, is on the board at Phononic. When we spoke with him this morning, he told us that he had been working with the firm for four years and believes the startup is doing something “revolutionary that can do to compressors what the [integrated circuit] did to the vacuum tube.”

Other companies developing thermoelectric technologies for cooling or capturing waste heat include the following:

  • Alphabet Energy is commercializing thermoelectric waste-heat harvesting technology developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and has raised more than $30 million from Encana, a developer of natural gas and other energy sources,
  • TPG Biotech, Claremont Creek Ventures, and the CalCEF Clean Energy Angel Fund.GMZ Energy, spun out of MIT with funding from KPCB, BP Alternative Energy, and Mitsui Ventures, is working on a bismuth-telluride thermovoltaic device that converts solar heat directly into power via the Seebeck effect. In the Seebeck effect, a sharp temperature gradient can result in an electric charge.
  • MTPV describes its product as a thermophotovoltaic. MTPV uses a silicon-based MEMS emitter which takes heat and transfers radiation to a germanium-based photovoltaic device, according to an article inSemiconductor Manufacturing and Design. The company just raised $11.2 million led by Northwater Capital Management’s Intellectual Property Fund, along with Total Energy Ventures, SABIC, the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, and follow-on investments from Spinnaker Capital, Ensys Capital, the Clean Energy Venture Group and other existing shareholders.
  • Silicium, funded by Khosla Ventures, is investigating high ZT thermoelectrics. The firm’s website claims, “Silicium is developing silicon thermoelectrics that enable substantially increased battery longevity for wearable electronics. By using body heat, Silicium technology can help power an entire spectrum of wearable devices…using off-the-shelf silicon wafers.
  • “Recycled Energy Development (RED) and Ormat have retrofitted factories to capture waste heat, not using thermoelectrics, but by adding CHP or cogeneration. […]”<

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Electric vehicles could reduce air pollution deaths by 70%, reveals study

Electric cars can save lots of lives from air pollution, but only if they’re powered by renewable energy, not energy from coal or ethanol, a new study find

Source: www.consumeraffairs.com

>" […] The study, published Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that deaths from air pollution could be cut by 70% if electric cars use only renewable-source electricity. But if they use energy from "dirty" sources like coal, they could actually make matters worse and could increase the number of deaths by 80% or more.  

“These findings demonstrate the importance of clean electricity, such as from natural gas or renewables, in substantially reducing the negative health impacts of transportation,” said Chris Tessum, co-author on the study and a researcher in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering in the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering.

The University of Minnesota team estimated how concentrations of two important pollutants — particulate matter and ground-level ozone — change as a result of using various options for powering vehicles. Air pollution is the largest environmental health hazard in the U.S., in total killing more than 100,000 people per year. Air pollution increases rates of heart attack, stroke, and respiratory disease. […]"<

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