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Energy Newsbriefs Blog

This current awareness service is prepared by the WSU Energy Program Library with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. This information is provided for energy professionals and interested members of the public to highlight recent energy-related news, articles, and reports that discuss energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable sources of energy in engineering and policy circles.


Energy Storage: Changing the Game, Changing the Grid

Public Power, Sep./Oct. 2015, by Paul Clampoli and Laura D'Alessandro.

"Energy storage is emerging as a jack-of-all-trades resource. It's essential to renewable generation proliferation, the backbone of the smartphone decade, and the technology behind peak-shaving, grid-shoring, and other ancillary services. It also holds the key to the future grid, but there are still some obstacles standing in its way."

Variable Inlet Guide Vanes Boost Centrifugal Air Compressor Efficiency

Compressed Air Best Practices, Sep. 2015, by Chris Downs.

"Variable inlet guide vanes are an ingenious yet simple option that, when installed on your centrifugal compressor, can deliver energy savings of up to 9 percent. By replacing a standard inlet butterfly valve with a new inlet guide vane assembly, substantial energy savings can be realized whenever the compressor operates at less than full load or when ambient air temperature is less than design temperature (usually 95°F, 35°C). Many manufacturers offer this option as a retrofit for existing compressors."

Sizing Up Tesla Energy's Powerwall

Rural Electric Magazine, Sep. 2015, by Reed Karaim.

"Tesla Energy’s Powerwall, a home and commercial battery system expected to be available late this year, could be an important step forward in home energy storage, according to an assessment by NRECA’s Business and Technology Strategies (BTS) department."

Industrial Dust Collection Vacuum System Audits

Blower & Vacuum Best Practices, Sep. 2015, by Tim Dugan.

"Industrial vacuum systems are a challenge to optimize. They have more distribution system variables to balance than a compressed air system does. Vacuum systems conveying particulate are sensitive to velocity. If the velocity is too high, pressure drop results. If it’s too low, particulate doesn’t stay in suspension, and there can be compliance and safety problems."

Manufacturers in U.S. Energy Department’s Better Plants Program Save More Than $2 Billion in Energy Costs; Program Expands to Help America’s Water Systems

U.S. Department of Energy News, Sep. 30, 2015.

"Today, as the U.S. Department of Energy prepares to kick off October’s National Energy Action Month, the department announced that manufacturers in its Better Buildings, Better Plants Program (Better Plants) have racked up an estimated $2.4 billion in cumulative energy cost savings over the last five years. Across America, manufacturers spend more than $200 billion each year to power their plants. As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to double energy productivity, American manufacturers and water and wastewater treatment agencies made a voluntary commitment to improve energy intensity by about 25 percent over ten years, or an equally ambitious level for their sector, through the Better Plants Program. Today, the department also announced that nine partners have met their energy efficiency targets this year."

Verifying Energy Efficiency Job Creation: Current Practices and Recommendations

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Sep. 2015, by Casey J. Bell, and others.

"Among the many benefits ascribed to energy efficiency is the fact that it can help create jobs. Although this is often used to motivate investments in efficiency programs, verifying job creation benefits is more complicated than it might seem at first. In this paper we identify some of the issues that we believe contribute to a lack of consistency in attempts to verify efficiency-related job creation. We then propose an analytically rigorous and tractable framework for program evaluators to use in future assessments."

Flexible Aerogel Blanket in Cryogenic Applications

Insulation Outlook, Aug. 2015, by Neal Waaks.

"A thorough discussion of aerogel's physical properties and potential benefits for cryogenic applications." Includes applications in piping and equipment in LNG facilities.

Smart Grid Trailblazers Identify Future Needs through the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project

Northwest Public Power Association (NWPPA) Bulletin, Sep. 2015, by Tim Ledbetter.

"The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project, a five-year effort to advance knowledge and understanding of smart grid approaches and technologies, concluded earlier this year. But the project's outcomes are expected to inform smart grid deployment well into the future."

Energy Efficiency in Water & Wastewater

Pumps & Systems, Sep. 2015, by Jeff Bergman.

"VFDs [Variable Frequency Drives] can reduce energy consumption and water loss in variable pumping systems."

Desiccant Air Dryer Control: Seeing Isn’t Always Believing

Compressed Air Best Practices, Aug. 2015, by Ron Marshall.

"Many thousands of dollars of annual electrical savings are being achieved worldwide using special purge reduction controls on desiccant air dryers. These controls reduce the expensive purge air that must flow through the dryer to regenerate the desiccant beds. But, unexpected problems with these controls can cause hidden problems that can reduce or eliminate the savings."


The Energy Newsbriefs Blog is a continuation of the weekly Energy Newsbriefs. Please bookmark this site and return frequently. Although we will not be accepting comments from within the Blog, we would be happy to hear from you by email at