Bookmark and Share

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.


Microgrids: Self-Sufficient Energy Islands

Public Power, Sep./Oct. 2015, by Ethan Howland.

"Microgrids, small energy systems that can run independently of the main grid, can turn communities into self-sufficient energy islands. The technology may have been made popular by a devastating storm, but public power utilities have been creating electricity islands since before it was cool. Microgrids are positioned to grow quickly, with public power utilities leading the way, thanks to their unique position in their communities."

Understanding Vacuum Pump Lubricants

Blower & Vacuum Best Practices, Sep. 2015, by David Mitchell.

"“What is the best type of oil to use in my vacuum pump?” is a common question for sure, and one that may often yield confusing and conflicting answers. The rule of thumb is that it is always best to follow OEM recommendations, but why do they recommend the lubricants that they do? For the purpose of this article, we will focus on some of the general industrial vacuum pump applications and their lubricant choices."

Direct-Fired Technology: From Makeup Air to Space Heating

ASHRAE Journal, Sep. 2015, by Thomas Boeckermann, and others.

"Direct-fired heating technology is a safe, energy-efficient, and cost-effective means to provide heating for a wide range of applications. The two main uses—makeup air and space heating—have different applications and require different approaches to deliver the most efficient design. This article summarizes the basic operating principles, safety, energy performance, psychrometric behavior, and recommendations for the use of direct-fired heating units."

Can Energy-Intensive Manufacturers be Winners Under the Clean Power Plan?

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Sep. 14, 2015, by Meegan Kelly.

"There is a concern that any new environmental regulation can hurt the bottom lines of energy-intensive manufacturers. In the case of the EPA Clean Power Plan, states that comply with the rule by investing in energy efficiency will find the opposite is likely to be true: their businesses will be more productive and their economies will grow."

What to Expect from an Effective Compressed Air Audit

Compressed Air Best Practices, Sep. 2015, by Don van Ormer.

"Compressed air has moved to higher visibility in the energy conservation field, and the buzzwords abound: “the fourth utility” — “your most expensive utility” — “eight times more expensive than electricity” — “a quarter-inch leak costs $9,000 in wasted energy.” This greater awareness has also produced compressed air auditors that are springing up like summer dandelions. With audits available from many sources, it is important to understand what plant operations, engineers and maintenance managers should expect from a complete audit — or more aptly — a complete air system review."

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."

Powering Pot: Growers Will Gobble Electricity

The Oregonian/Oregon Live, Sep. 5, 2015, by Ted Sinkinger.

"Indoor cannabis grows are notorious energy hogs. And as Oregon's weed industry scales up to meet recreational demand, experts predict it could emerge as a big load on the regional power grid. The questions nagging power planners are how big, and to make the grows more efficient."


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