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Energy Newsbriefs

Articles for October 8, 2012

ENERGY NEWSBRIEFS is a weekly current awareness service provided by the WSU Extension Energy Program Library and written by Angela Santamaria, WSU Energy Library Manager, to assist users in tracking developments in the energy field. To view past issues or to subscribe to receive an email notification of the publication of a new issue, go to the Energy Newsbriefs home.

Please be aware that although every URL is checked for accuracy prior to the publication of Energy Newsbriefs, URLs are, for various reasons, subject to change. Further, servers sometimes fail to connect to working URLs.


The following summary appeared in the September 3, 2012, issue of Energy Newsbriefs:

"Energy Consumption: Acid Esterification vs. Glycerolysis: Which Really Consumes More Energy?" was written by Kirk Cobb, Senior Process Design Engineer, Superior Process Technologies Inc.; it was published in the July/August 2012 installment of Biodiesel Magazine. It takes issue with "A Critical Component," which was authored by Erin Voegele, Associate Editor, Biodiesel Magazine and which appeared in the January/February 2012 issue of the same journal. The Voegele article author, relying on identified practitioners in the field of biodiesel production, uses a table from JatroDiesel that includes the information questioned by Cobb. The Cobb article asserts that while acid esterification uses little energy initially, this advantage is cancelled out by the resulting creation of acidic methanol that requires a great deal of energy to neutralize.

As has been kindly pointed out by author Kirk Cobb, the above summary included incorrect information: "It is not the 'neutralization' of the acidic methanol that uses a large amount of energy. It is the subsequent 'distillation' needed to recover the neutralized methanol that uses the large amount of thermal energy." That is an important distinction and this is an opportunity to make it clear.

The following three articles were published in the September 2012 issue of Biomass Magazine:
  1. "Agrisoma Biosciences, U.S. Military Contribute to Biojet Project," by Applied Research Associates, describes the cooperation among governments and private sector companies that aims to test and evaluate a renewable jet fuel that is "100 percent drop-in."

  2. "Demonstrating Portable Energy," by Erin Voegele, discusses a pilot project for a biomass gasification system for a diesel generator that runs on a ratio of about 9:1, bio-based synthetic gas to diesel fuel. (It is said that the system is able to use 100% bio-based syngas with spark-ignited engines.) The genset in this project is installed in a shipping container. The technology for the syngas genset is well described and interesting. Corn cobs are the feedstock for the demo genset – wood chips have been used for others – and the on-site gasification of the cobs is an integral part of the system. Waste heat from the gasifier and the engine is captured and used to treat tar before it leaves the reactor.

  3. "From Paper to Power," by Anna Simet, describes how an economically-depressed, pulp-and-paper town is transformed into a power generating center. The town's last (and closed) paper mill is being re-purposed to function as a biomass power plant with the conversion of a black liquor recovery boiler into a bubbling fluidized bed boiler.


"ACEEE: Massachusetts Still #1 State for Energy Efficiency, While Oklahoma, Montana, and South Carolina Are among Most Improved" is an October 3, 2012 press release from the ACEEE (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy) highlighting some of the findings of the full report "2012 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard." The top 10 list includes a tie for ninth place:
1 Massachusetts
2 California
3 New York
4 Oregon
5 Vermont
6 Connecticut
7 Rhode Island
8 Washington
9 Maryland
9 Minnesota


The following two articles, the second of which is a case study, appeared in the September 2012 issue of Pumps & Systems:
  1. "Characteristics of Centrifugal Pumps" by Sharon James, Rockwell Automation, connects the characteristics to energy efficiency.

  2. "Plant Upgrades Improve Efficiency at Midwest Refinery," by Dave DePasquale, Seimens Industry, Inc., is a five-web-page case study. Cracking is used to divide hydrocarbon chains into smaller units for the refinery to make additional types of products. The upgrades to the refinery's catalytic cracking units (CCUs) and the energy efficiencies gained are described. The upgrades included new motors that are differently designed in several ways and are connected to variable frequency drives for more flexibility.


"Fall and Winter Energy-Saving Tips" is a webpage, revised (and re-named) seasonally, from the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office of the U.S. Department of Energy. The site is now offering many tips for energy savings for the cooler months.


The following five articles appeared in the September 2012 issue of Industrial Heating:
  1. "Calculating the Heat of Combustion for Natural Gas," by Art Morris, Thermart Software, explains why the calculations are necessary and how to make them accurately. The author, additionally, offers the Web addresses of free sources for thermodynamic data.

  2. "Energy-Saving Silicon Carbide Heating Element" was written by Mitsuaki Tada, Tokai Carbon USA, Inc. The author begins with some background information. He explains the context in which Tokai Konetsu Kogyo Co., Ltd. (TKK) functions in Japan, given a particular national regulation that requires attention to saving energy. He, then, describes how one of the ways that furnaces lose heat is addressed by his company's product, EREMA EH, a kind of heating element.

  3. "Furnace Atmosphere Conversion – Exothermic Gas to Hydrogen/Nitrogen," by Bob Esper, Praxair Inc., identifies problems in a plant that makes tubing using the cold-drawn process. The company's two annealing furnaces included exothermic generated atmospheres which, it is explained, were found to be more expensive initially but slightly cheaper to run than H2N2 atmospheres. However, H2N2 atmospheres produce better and more reproducible tubes with higher-quality surfaces which, it is said, might result in saving pickling time. These advantages were judged to be worth the higher cost of operating H2N2 atmospheres. The article shows how the conversion from exothermic atmospheres to H2N2 atmospheres was accomplished. The final paragraph sums up the positive results of the conversion.

  4. "Gear Materials and their Heat Treatment" was co-authored by Daniel H. Herring, President, The Herring Group, Inc.; Frederick J. Otto, Midwest Thermal-Vac; and Fred R. Specht, Ajax-Tocco Magnethermic. This is a valuable introduction to the various heat-treating options for gear materials. It includes a clear review of atmosphere heat-treating (carburizing, carbonitriding, nitriding, and nitrocarburizing) and of vacuum heat-treating (induction hardening via single shot or tooth-by-tooth).

  5. "Using Nitrogen Availability as a Nitriding Process Parameter" was written by Jerzy Michalski, Institute of Precision Mechanics; Warsaw, Poland. The author presents a two-component input atmosphere and two types of single-component input atmospheres. He finds that the first, with two-components, is the only one where nitrogen availability is not simply a function of nitriding potential – the alteration of the former does not alter the latter. Since availability can be understood as a process parameter, he believes such atmospheres have more possibilities in manufacturing.

Past issues of Energy Newsbriefs are available here.

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© 2012 Washington State University Extension Energy Program. This publication contains material written and produced for public distribution. Permission to copy or disseminate all or part of this material is granted, provided that the copies are not made or distributed for commercial advantage, and that each is referenced by title with credit to the Washington State University Extension Energy Program. Copying, reprinting or dissemination, electronic or otherwise, for any other use requires prior written permission from the Washington State University Extension Energy Program.