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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.


Improving Energy Efficiency with Thermal-Capture Technology

Industrial Heating, Apr. 2015, by Art Morris. (Free registration required to view full article.)

"Energy costs represent a large fraction of the operating cost of an industrial furnace, most of which use natural gas as their source of heat. Companies that operate thermal-processing systems can maintain a competitive edge with efficient fuel use while minimizing the emission of CO2 and NOx."

Maintaining Modular Conveyor Systems in Flexible Manufacturing Systems

Maintenance Technology, Mar. 2015, by Paul Zielbauer.

"Pallet-based modular conveyors used in flexible manufacturing provide a wealth of benefits in just about any assembly operation. Suitable for applications ranging from small electronic parts assembly to large appliance manufacturing, automotive drivetrain and even medical-device assembly, these conveyors help improve production, achieve higher product quality and enhance manufacturing flexibility. Regularly scheduled maintenance and attention to detail are crucial for ensuring the longevity and efficiency of these systems."

Part Two: Radiant Heating and Cooling Systems

ASHRAE Journal, Mar. 2015, by Kwang Woo Kim and Bjarne W. Olesen.

"Control of the heating and cooling system needs to be able to maintain the indoor temperatures within the comfort range under the varying internal loads and external climates. To maintain a stable thermal environment, the control system needs to maintain the balance between the heat gain/loss of the building and the supplied energy from the system."

Part One is here -

Solar Power Purchase Agreements: a Toolkit for Local Governments

Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), Mar. 2015. [Requires free registration to view full report.]

"In an effort to reduce solar soft costs and assist local governments and other public entities seeking to install and finance rooftop solar systems, IREC developed a comprehensive toolkit on retail solar power purchase agreements (PPAs), sometimes referred to as solar service agreements. With this new resource, IREC seeks to help overcome the common challenges and costs associated with PPAs by providing a full suite of legal resources and related documents in a highly user-friendly format."

Growing Factory Experiences Air Compressor Control-Gap Issues

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

"This case study illustrates the importance of verifying the installation after the installation by monitoring the system with data loggers. Sometimes, even with the best intentions, the conditions that exist and the limitations of the control system can cause the system to run inefficiently."

USGS: Happy Earth Day 2015

U.S. Geological Survey Science Features, Apr. 20, 2015, by Jessica Robertson and others.

"The USGS is joining people across the world to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, 2015. To help build environmental awareness, the USGS has outlined some of the critical issues facing our planet as well as science projects underway to address these challenges. Starting with science provides a valuable foundation for managers, policymakers, and other decision makers to make the most informed decisions to protect our changing world."

The Most and Least Eco-Friendly States in 2015

EcoBuilding Pulse, Apr. 21, 2015, by Katie Gloede.

"In honor of Earth Week, WalletHub’s latest study ranks the most and least eco-friendly states. The study found that Vermont is the top state for environmental quality and number two in eco-friendly behavior, putting them at the top of the list. Louisiana, on the other hand, is ranked lowest in 2015 coming in 47th for environmental quality and 50th for eco-friendly behavior."

Mining for Lithium in Geothermal Brine: Promising but Pricey

Power Magazine, Mar. 2015, by Gail Reitenbach.

"Brine, the waste stream of the geothermal power production cycle, is usually considered a nuisance. High in corrosive minerals, even when reinjected, it’s challenging to manage. So when Simbol Inc. showed it had a way to turn this waste stream into a revenue stream by mining it for high-value minerals like lithium, a lot of people got excited. However, just as this article was going to press, a lot of people got laid off."

Centralized & Decentralized PV Power Plants: Vendor Perspectives

SolarPro, Mar/Apr 2015, by Joe Schwartz.

"As the capacity of utility-scale PV plants has increased in the US, so has the capacity of the centralized power-conditioning units used in these projects. Today, many plants utilize factory-integrated skids that combine inverters, medium-voltage transformers and switchgear into packages that range in capacity from 1 MW to 2.5 MW. These integrated systems offer project developers many advantages, including optimized component compatibility, as well as reduced installation time and expense."

Assessing Performance Upgrades: Free Does Not Always Mean Free [Windpower]

North American Windpower, Mar. 2015, by Alex Byrne.

"Wind farm owners and operators need to carefully examine so-called performance upgrades for optimal turbine performance."


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