Wednesday, October 04, 2006

US DOE Releases Climate Change Technology Program Strategic Plan

US DOE released on September 20th the Climate Change Technology Program (CCTP) Strategic Plan, which details measures to accelerate the development and reduce the cost of new and advanced technologies that avoid, reduce, or capture and store greenhouse gas emissions. CCTP is the technology component of a comprehensive U.S. strategy introduced by President Bush in 2002 to combat climate change. That strategy includes measures to advance climate change science; spur clean energy technology development and deployment; promote international collaboration; and slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions through voluntary, incentive-based, and mandatory partnerships.

The CCTP Strategic Plan organizes roughly $3 billion in federal spending for climate technology research, development, demonstration, and deployment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase economic growth. The plan sets six complementary goals: (1) reducing emissions from energy use and infrastructure; (2) reducing emissions from energy supply; (3) capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide; (4) reducing emissions of other greenhouse gases; (5) measuring and monitoring emissions; and (6) bolstering the contributions of basic science to climate change. It examines energy efficiency, hydrogen, renewable energy, and renewable fuels among an array of other low-emissions energy technologies.

The strategic plan also notes the difficulty of stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions; examining a range of scenarios, the report notes that cumulative global emissions over the next century would have to be reduced by the equivalent of 300 billion to a trillion metric tons of carbon. Deploying a million megawatts of wind power would cut emissions by only about 1 billion metric tons of carbon per year. On the other hand, advanced energy efficiency technologies could cut global carbon emissions by 270 billion tons over the next century. See the US DOE press release and the CCTP Strategic Plan.

Chapter 4, Electric Grid and Infrastructure, explores energy end-use and carbon emission-reduction strategies and opportunities within each of these end-use categories. Section 4.4 deals with technology strategies for the electric grid and infrastructure that can enable and facilitate CO2 emissions reductions in all sectors. Regarding T&D, CCPT says (pp. 72-77) there are many technologies that can improve efficiency and reduce GHG emissions. In the near term, these include high-voltage DC (HVDC) transmission, high-strength composite overhead conductors, solid-state transmission controls such as Flexible AC Transmission System (FACTS) devices that include fault current limiters, switches and converters, and information technologies coupled with automated controls (i.e., a “Smart Grid”). Highefficiency conventional transformers—commercially available although not widely used—also could have impacts on distribution system losses.

Advanced conductors integrate new materials with existing materials and other components and subsystems to achieve better technical, environmental, and financial performance—e.g., higher current lower line losses, and lower installation and operations and maintenance costs. Improved sensors and controls, as part of the next-generation electricity T&D system, could significantly increase the efficiency of electricity generation and delivery, thereby reducing the GHG emissions intensity associated with the electric grid. Outfitting the system with digital sensors, information technologies, and controls could further increase system efficiency, and allow greater use of more efficient and low-GHG end-use and other distributed technologies. Hightemperature superconductors may be able to be utilized in key parts of the T&D system to reduce or eliminate line losses and increase efficiency. Energy storage allows intermittent renewable resources, such as photovoltaics and wind, to be dispatchable.

Advanced storage concepts and particularly hightemperature superconducting wires and equipment represent longer-term solutions with great promise. Digital sensors, information technologies, and controls may eventually enable real-time responses to system loads. HTS electrical wires might be able to carry 100 times the amount of electricity compared to the same-size conventional copper wires. Such possibilities may create totally new ways to operate and configure the grid. Power electronics will be able to provide significant advantages in processing power from distributed energy sources using fast response and autonomous control.

Current US R&D Portfolio

CCPT indicates that current US portfolio of electric infrastructure-related R&D, is focused on a number of major thrusts in hightemperature superconductivity, T&D technologies, distributed generation and combined heat and power, energy storage, sensors, controls and communications, and power electronics. For example:

Research on high-temperature superconductivity (HTS) is focused on improving the current carrying capability of longdistance cables; its manufacturability; and costeffective ways to use the cable in equipment such as motors, transformers, and compensators. More reliable and robust HTS transmission cables that have three to five times the capacity of conventional copper cables and higher efficiency—which is especially useful in congested urban areas—are being developed and built as precommercial prototypes. Through years technology has developed to bond these HTS materials to various metals, providing the flexibility to fashion these ceramics into wires for use in transmission cables; bearings for flywheels; and coils for power transformers, motors, generators, and the like.

US Research program goals in this area include HTS wires with 100 times the capacity of conventional copper/aluminum wires. More broadly, the program aims to develop and demonstrate a diverse portfolio of electric equipment based on HTS, such that the equipment can achieve a 50 percent reduction in energy losses, compared to conventional equipment, and a 50 percent size reduction, compared to conventional equipment with the same rating. Low-cost, highperformance, second-generation coated conductors are expected to become available in 2008 in kilometer-scale lengths. Cost goals include (1) in 1,000 meter lengths, a wire-cost goal of $50 or less per ampere of current carried by superconducting wire used in power lines cooled to liquid nitrogen temperatures; (2) by 2015, the cost performance ratio for superconducting wires improved by at least a factor of 2.


Research on high-temperature superconductivity (HTS) is focused on improving the current carrying capability of longdistance cables; its manufacturability; and costeffective ways to use the cable in equipment such as motors, transformers, and compensators. More reliable and robust HTS transmission cables that have three to five times the capacity of conventional copper cables and higher efficiency—which is especially useful in congested urban areas—are being developed and built as precommercial prototypes. Through years technology has developed to bond these HTS materials to various metals, providing the flexibility to fashion these ceramics into wires for use in transmission cables; bearings for flywheels; and coils for power transformers, motors, generators, and the like.

Research on transmission and distribution technologies is focused on real-time information and control technologies; and systems that increase transmission capability, allow economic and efficient electricity markets, and improve grid reliability. Examples include high-strength composite overhead conductors, grid-status measurement systems that improve reliability by giving early warning of unstable conditions over major geographic regions, and technologies and regulations that enable the customer to participate more in electric markets through a demand response Research program goals in this area include, by 2010, demonstrated reliability of energy-storage systems; reduced cost of advanced conductors systems by 30 percent; and operation of a prototype smart, switchable grid in a region within the U.S. transmission grid.

Research on distributed generation (DG) includes renewable resources (e.g., photovoltaics), natural gas engines and turbines, energy-storage devices, and price-responsive loads. These technologies can meet a variety of consumer energy needs, including continuous power, backup power, remote power, and peak shaving. They can be installed directly on the consumer’s premises or located nearby in district energy systems, power parks, and mini-grids


Current research focuses on technologies that are powered by natural gas combustion and are located near the building or facility where the electricity is being used. These systems include microturbines, reciprocating engines and larger industrial gas turbines that generate from 25 kW to 10 MW of electricity that is appropriate for hotels, apartment buildings, schools, office buildings, hospitals, etc. Combined cooling, heating, and power (CHP) systems recover and use waste heat from distributed generators to efficiently cool, heat, or dehumidify buildings or make more power.

Research is needed to increase the efficiency and reduce the emissions from microturbines, reciprocating engines, and industrial gas turbines to allow them to be sited anywhere, even in nonattainment areas. These technologies can meet a variety of consumer energy needs, including continuous power, backup power, remote power, and peak shaving. Microturbines and reciprocating engines can also be utilized to burn opportunity fuels such as landfill gases or biogases from wastewater-treatment facilities or other volatile species from industrial processes that would otherwise be an environmental hazard.

CHP technologies have the potential to take the DG technologies one step further in GHG reduction by utilizing the waste heat from the generation of electricity for making steam, heating water, or producing cooling energy. The average power plant in the United States converts approximately one-third of the input energy into output electricity and then discards the remaining two-thirds of the energy as waste heat. Integrated DG systems with CHP similarly produce electricity at 30 percent to 45 percent efficiency, but then capture much of the waste heat to make steam or heat, to cool water, or to meet other thermal needs and increase the overall efficiency of the system to greater than 70 percent. Research is needed to increase the efficiency of waste-heat-driven absorption chillers and desiccant systems to overall efficiencies well above 80 percent.

The overall research goal of the Distributed Energy Program is to develop and make available, by 2015, a diverse array of high-efficiency, integrated distributed generation and thermal energy technologies, at market-competitive prices, so to enable and facilitate widespread adoption and use by homes, businesses, industry, communities, and electricity companies that may elect to use them. If successful, these technologies will enable the achievement of a 20 percent increase in a building's energy utilization, when compared to a building built to ASHRAE 90.1 standards, using load management, CHP, and energy-storage technologies that are replicable to other localities.

Research on energy storage is focused in two general areas. First, research is striving to develop storage technologies that reduce power-quality disturbances and peak electricity demand, and improve system flexibility to reduce adverse effects to industrial and other users. Second, research is seeking to improve electrical energy storage for stationary (utility, customer-side, and renewable) applications. This work is being done in collaboration with a number of universities and industrial partners. This work is set within an international context, where others are investing in high-temperature, sodium-sulfur batteries for utility load-leveling applications and pursuing large-scale vanadium reduction-oxidation battery chemistries.

Research on sensors, controls, and communications focuses on developing distributed intelligent systems to diagnose local faults and coordinate with power electronics and other existing, conventional protection schemes that will provide autonomous control and protection at the local level. This hierarchy will enable isolation and mitigation of faults before they cascade through the system. The work will also help users and electric-power-system operators achieve optimized control of a large, complex network of systems; and will provide remote detection, protection, control, and contingency measures for the electric system.

The initial research program goals for sensors, controls, and communications are to develop, validate, and test computer simulation models of the distribution system to assess the alternative situations. Once the models have been validated on a sufficiently large scale, the functional requirements and architecture specifications can be completed. Then more specific technology solutions can be explored that would conform to the established architecture

Research on power electronics is focused on megawatt-level inverters, fast semiconductor switches, sensors, and devices for Flexible AC Transmission Systems (FACTS). The Office of Naval Research and DOE have a joint program to develop power electronic building blocks. The military is developing more electricity-intensive aircraft, ships, and land vehicles, which are providing power electronic spinoff technology for infrastructure applications.

The research program goal in this area is to build a power electronic system on a base of modules. Each module or block would be a subsystem containing several components, and each one has common power terminals and communication connections.

Chapter 5, "Reducing Emissions from Energy Supply", explores energy supply technologies. For each technology area, the chapter examines the potential role for advanced technology; outlines a technology-development strategy for realizing that potential; highlights the current research portfolio, replete with selected technical goals and milestones; and invites public input on considerations for future research directions. The chapter is organized around the following five energy supply technology areas:
  • Low-Emission, Fossil-Based Fuels and Power,
  • Hydrogen as an Energy Carrier,
  • Renewable Energy and Fuels.
  • Nuclear Fission,
  • Fusion Energy

Each of these technology sections contains a subsection describing the current portfolio, where the technology descriptions include an Internet link to the updated version of the CCTP report, Technology Options for the Near and Long Term (CCTP 2005).


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2 Comments:

At 7:10 PM, Blogger Tom Gray said...

Deploying a million megawatts of wind power would cut emissions by only about 1 billion metric tons of carbon per year. On the other hand, advanced energy efficiency technologies could cut global carbon emissions by 270 billion tons over the next century.

(1) This seems intentionally misleading. 1 billion MT per year amounts to 100 billion MT over a century, no?

(2) What is the relative cost of these two options? Wind energy is ready to deploy today.

(3) Let's combine the two, and get 370 billion MT. It seems strange to be weighing energy efficiency against renewable energy when both reduce global warming pollution.

Regards,
Thomas O. Gray
American Wind Energy Association
www.awea.org
www.ifnotwind.org

 
At 4:34 PM, Blogger Power said...

SUPERCONDUCTIVITY PROJECT ADDRESSES URBAN POWER CHALLENGES

Breakthrough cable design offers promise for delivering more power to more people

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 18, 2006 – A new technology that holds promise to transform the global transmission and distribution of electric power was formally energized today near Columbus, Ohio. The $9 million project uses a second-generation High Temperature Superconducting (HTS) cable system to efficiently deliver electric power to approximately 8,600 homes and businesses in suburban Columbus.

The Columbus project is the first demonstration of the new Triax HTS cable design, which dramatically reduces the cost of superconducting systems and brings the technology one step closer to commercial viability. The system was developed by Southwire Company and its partners, American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), Praxair (NYSE: PX), American Superconductor (NASDAQ: AMSC) and the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

Approximately 200 meters (660 feet) of Triax HTS cable from Southwire are part of the system distributing electric power to residential, commercial and industrial customers through AEP's Bixby substation in Groveport, Ohio. The installation phase of the two-year demonstration project came in on time and on budget.

Superconducting cables, operating at extremely low temperatures, eliminate virtually all resistance to the flow of electric current. One Triax HTS cable can carry as much current as 18 large copper cables, with much less energy loss.

"This project demonstrates the potential role for superconductivity in modernizing our electricity system," said Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman. "This new development allows power lines to increase capacity in congested urban areas while using less space. I'm pleased to be part of this excellent and innovative team."

Superconducting cables are one solution to the challenging task of providing sufficient electric power to densely populated areas. In an increasing number of cities, there is little room underground to bury cable. The cost of building new tunnels or ducts, including the cost of acquiring the rights-of-way, to lay additional cable is prohibitive - representing up to 75 percent of a cable project. With their higher capacity, superconducting cables have the potential to multiply the supply of electricity to an area using the existing infrastructure footprint.

Despite these advantages, high temperature superconducting cable systems are still expensive. The U.S. Department of Energy provided partial funding through its Superconductivity Partnership with Industry program to help make the Columbus project possible.

"AEP has a long history of supporting innovation in power generation, transmission and distribution. The demonstration of the Triax cable at our Bixby Station is another example of how we seek to advance technologies to help increase the capacity of and ensure the reliability of our power delivery network," said Michael G. Morris, AEP's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Over the next two years, this project will provide an invaluable, real-world test of state-of-the-art superconducting cable technology on an operating power distribution system."

Rapid advances in HTS cable design are continuing to lower the cost of superconducting systems, with the goal of making superconductivity feasible for commercial applications over the next few years. The Columbus project unveils an important advance toward this goal: the Triax HTS cable. Designed in a joint venture of Southwire and nkt cables, a European cable manufacturer, this second-generation cable design can carry up to 3,000 amps of power, approximately three times more current than other superconducting projects now energized or under construction.

"Superconducting cables have the potential to increase efficiencies in the delivery of electric power in the same way that an expressway can handle more traffic than a typical city street," said Stuart Thorn, president and chief executive officer of Southwire. "The Triax cable design is a major step forward, and we are excited to demonstrate its potential for delivering more power to more people."

The Triax cable places the three necessary phase conductors concentrically around a common central core, surrounded by a copper shield. Earlier designs required a separate cable for each phase. The more compact Triax design reduces by half the quantity of HTS wire needed. It also reduces the cold surface area, and with it the critical cooling requirements. Both of these innovations lower the cost of HTS systems.

"The Columbus project drew on our expertise in the practical application of cryogenic refrigeration solutions," said Steven Lerner, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Praxair. "The proprietary system has a unique level of redundancy to assure uninterrupted, lower-loss electric power transmission."

Because HTS cables can carry more current at a lower voltage over short or long distances, large power transformers can be located farther away from urban centers, allowing urban planners to free up valuable real estate for development or green space. HTS technology also enables greater interconnectivity between electrical substations, creating redundancies that increase the reliability of the electrical grid.

"2006 will undoubtedly go down in history as the year in which high temperature superconductor technology started to deliver on its long held promise," said Greg Yurek, CEO of American Superconductor. "We are witnessing the birth of a new era for the world's utility grids and taking one of the first steps in meeting our growing appetite for electric power."

For more information on the new HTS cable design and the Bixby substation demonstration project
http://www.supercables.com

 

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