DRI’S ENERGY RELATED PROJECTSAlan W. Gertler, DRI
Outline Areas of expertise/rationale Clean Technologies and Renewable Energy Center (CTREC) Examples of our research activities
Focal Areas Biomass/Biofuels Wind, Solar, and Geothermal Resource Assessment and Identification Technology Development and Assessment Alternative Fuels Energy Conservation Education/Workforce Development Natural extension of DRI’s fundamental research in atmospheric, hydrologic, and earth and ecosystem sciences Key approach to mitigating current environmental issues Addresses the benefits and limitations of renewable energy systems Considers the impact of RE impacts on the environment
CTREC: Clean Technology and Renewable Energy Center Provides an organizational umbrella under which all of DRI’s renewable energy research, education, and outreach activities are conducted. Facilitates interdisciplinary research across DRI’s three divisions and through collaborations with other organizations. Fosters development of interdisciplinary and inter- institutional research teams Explore emerging areas in renewable energy Development and application of clean technologies Serves as a neutral forum to scientifically assess renewable energy and clean technology initiatives.
Preparation of Renewable Solid Fuels by Hydrothermal Carbonization (HTC) (1) Objectives: Convert biomass into bio-coal (green-coal) Enable handling of non- homogeneous biomass feedstocks. Increase the energy density of all feedstocks. Improve storage stability and logistics of delivery. Joint research with GTI & UNR
Selected HTC Results (2) Key findings: Woody feedstocks can be converted to hydrochar having energy content equivalent to low-grade coal. Herbaceous feedstocks are more difficult to upgrade. Hydrochar products can be pelletized for convenient storage and transport. Material can be used directly for co-firing with coal.
Algal-Based Fuels (1) Objectives included: Develop new analytical methods to provide rapid, direct characterization of triglycerides in algal samples. Create a culture collection of indigenous microalgae. Investigate important parameters (light, temperature, nutrients, etc.) affecting algal growth rates and compositions. Investigate improved production methodologies for biodiesel fromJoint research with UNR algal feedstocks.
Algal-Based Fuels (2) Key findings: Algal lipid contents increased under limited nutrient conditions. An indigenous microalgae culture collection was established. Algal species were shown to grow successfully using wastewater centrate as the nutrient source. Developed catalysts to promote synthesis of biodiesel fuel. Using LCA, the direct use of algae as a fuel for co-firing was determined to be feasible.
Thermophilic Cellulolytic Microbes (1) Objectives: Developing a method for production of “second-generation” biofuels. Isolation and characterization of cellulolytic thermophiles from Great Basin hotsprings. Great Boiling Spring, NV Characterization of Bio-prospectors thermostable cellulases genes. Joint research with UNLV
Thermophilic Cellulolytic Microbes (2) Key findings: Isolated pure cultures for conversion of feedstock. Cultures were able to differentially degrade of feedstocks depending on temperature. Observed microbial population shifts dependent on feedstock and temperature.
Geothermal Resource Assessment (1) Objectives: Resource evaluation Shallow temperature survey Seismic data collection and analysis Structural analysis Drilling Two wells ~ 1,300 m to basement Borehole geophysics Well testing, analysis, and modeling Well testing Geochemical sampling Three-dimensional geologic framework model Three-dimensional reservoir model Joint research with UNR
Geothermal Resource Assessment (2) Key findings Reservoir has high permeability Connected to faults associated with the tufa tower Modeled geological structure Developed assessment of energy production potential
Relationships Between RegionalHeat Flow and Isostatic Rebound (1) The spatial pattern of rebound anomalies appears to correlate with the locations of several active geothermal areas. Objective: Determine if there is a causative relationship between high heat flow and positive rebound anomalies.
Relationships Between RegionalHeat Flow and Isostatic Rebound (2) Key findings: There is a close correspondence between some of the high potential areas and positive rebound anomalies. The areas of highest potential in the Great Basin are larger than have previously been mapped.
Wind Resource Assessment and Forecasting (1) Nevada’s wind resource is highly spatially variable Objectives: Improve wind power density maps at different elevations Develop methodology for long and short term forecasting to efficiently manage the resource 80m tower near Tonopah
Wind Resource Assessment and Forecasting (2) Key findings: 20% improvement of wind maps at 50m Improved wind power density forecasts High resolution wind forecast model for western NV Collaborations: Private sector (multiple) Education and training (TMCC & UNR) High – resolution weather forecasting – NV and western U.S.
Effect of Solar Fields on Wind and Dust (1) Dust abatement is a significant issue. Objectives: Compare wind characteristics on unmodified landscape to wind characteristics between solar array rows and elements. Develop strategies to reduce dust generation.Joint research with UNLV Collaborating with SEMPRA.
Effect of Solar Fields on Wind and Dust (2) Key outcomes: The surface between Wind_speed_Max1_in _array wind_speed_Max2_in _array solar panels does not Wind_speed_Max3_in _array Open_fetch_Wind_Max see the “same” wind as 20 Wind_Direction 350 Wind Direction (degrees from North) 18 300 unobstructed 16 Wind Speed (m/s) 14 250 landscape. 12 200 10 Results will directly 8 150 impact cost of 6 4 100 operating solar facility 2 50 by providing a more 0 0:00 0 1:32 3:04 4:36 6:08 7:40 9:12 10:45 12:17 13:49 15:21 16:53 18:25 19:58 21:30 23:02 realistic estimate of true dust control needs.
DRI’s Renewable EnergyExperimental Facility (REEF)(1) Objectives: Grow DRI’s capabilities and expertise in areas of RE research, development, demonstration, and deployment. Provide “test-bed” for integrating and evaluating performance of renewable energy components. Promote collaboration with private sector developers of RE systems. Provide large space for “pilot- scale” experimental work.
REEF Selected Results (2) Key results: REEF House has capability of operating “off-grid”. Power demands of REEF house are satisfied primarily by solar PV. When available, excess renewable power is stored in the form of H2 Performance of different solar thermal systems being evaluated/compared. Complete HVAC needs of REEF house are being met by solar thermal systems. REEF Workshop is being used to conduct larger-scale biomass work
New and Alternative Fuels (1) Objectives Evaluate feasibility of using hydrogen as a transportation fuel. Assess impact on vehicle performance and emissions.
New and Alternative Fuels (2) Key findings; Able to use existing vehicle technology with minimal modification. Increased performance Reduced CO2, NOx, and CO emissions. Increased HC emissions.
Energy Audits (1) Objectives: Develop capabilities to perform reliable energy audits. Promote energy education and outreach activities by involvement of students and the public. Explore the possibility of establishing a business enterprise at DRI.
Energy Audits (2) Key results: Standard methods have been developed to conduct and document residential energy audits. Methods have been extended to conduct energy audits of small rural businesses. Capability for residential and commercial audits.
Technology Spinoffs (1) Biologics are expensive to produce and are inefficient under bioreactor and bio- industrial conditions. Developed a computational and laboratory screeningA synthetic biology company born fromDRI / University of Delaware Research platform to increase significantly the efficiency of re-engineering biologics under user-specified reaction conditions. Designing a more efficient, low pH stable cellulase.
Technology Spinoffs (2) Created energy management software that determines how energy is used throughout a building. Operates using only one circuit. SBIR2 funding.
GreenPower Sponsored by NV Energy and the Robert S. and Dorothy J. Keyser Foundation. K-12 statewide program with 104 schools currently participating Supports educators in teaching students about renewable energy, conservation, and sustainability Educators also receive a variety of professional development options.
Workforce Development Online Graduate Certificate in Renewable Energy Joint effort led by UNR Designed for practicing engineers, business staff or managers, government regulators, and others impacted by renewable energy policies and practices 12-credit online certificate Courses are multi- disciplinary