eHighway Technology – This sounds fascinating!

Posted on May 16, 2012. Filed under: energy, innovation | Tags: , , |

With a little luck and some DOE funding, Los Angeles may be the first  city in the world to adopt a new electric freight trucking system,  introduced by Siemens Corp. at the 26th Electric Vehicle Symposium, or EVS26.

Siemens is working to implement a pilot highway electrification project (eHighway) along Interstate 710, using overhed electrical wires to transmit energy to specially outfitted, hybrid trucks moving freight from the ports of Long Beach and L.A. to inland destinations.

The eHighway system uses diesel hybrid trucks outfitted with software that senses when an overhead electrical line is available and automatically connects or disconnects as needed. When the trucks’ rooftop connectors are attached to the electrical lines, the trucks run entirely on electricity. When the connectors are lowered, they run on a hybrid electric propulsion system similar to the Toyota Prius.

In addition to reducing emissions, the trucks also reduce noise pollution. But there is a downside: Siemens estimates the system will cost between $5 million and $7 million per mile to build.  Hence the need for a real-world pilot program.  Just imagine the possibilities.

Source: “An electrifying freight solution on the 710? Siemens working on it“, Los Angeles Times, May 15, 2012.

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ARPA-E Offers Good News for Advanced Energy Research

Posted on April 24, 2011. Filed under: energy, government programs, research & development, science & technology | Tags: , |

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency -Energy (ARPA-E) has announced an additional $130 million for innovative research focusing on rare earth alternatives and breakthroughs in biofuels, thermal storage, grid controls, and solar power electronics.  More specifically, the five advanced energy technology areas are called:

  • Rare Earth Alternatives in Critical Technologies (REACT) (up to $30 million)
  • Plants Engineered to Replace Oil (PETRO) (up to $30 million)
  • High Energy Advanced Thermal Storage (HEATS) (up to $30 million)
  • Green Electricity Network Integration (GENI) (up to $30 million)
  • Solar Agile Delivery of Electrical Power Technology (Solar Adept) (up to $10 million)

Concept papers are due May 19, 2011.  Learn more at the Funding Opportunity Announcements page. 

Good for the DOE and for the the congressional appropriations process that retained ARPA-E funding.  It’s this kind of high risk/high reward scientific research that industry can’t or won’t sustain alone, but is so essential for scientific advances we and the rest of the world need.

Need research assistance?  Perhaps I can help!

Nora K. Stoecker, NKS Info Services

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Clean Energy Technology Commercialization Portal

Posted on September 22, 2010. Filed under: energy, energy efficiency, research & development, tech transfer |

 Courtesy of the US Dept. of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) comes a Technology Commercialization Portal which could be considered a one-stop shop for technology transfer opportunities in renewable energy and energy efficiency arenas.

The Technology Commercialization Portal enables you to find patents and patent applications for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and a growing number of technology marketing summaries, all developed by U.S. Department of Energy laboratories and participating research institutions.

 The EERE Technology Commercialization Portal currently contains almost 200 technology marketing summaries, almost 12,000 patents available for licensing, and just over 3,000 patent applications.  The technologies covered fall into one of fourteen categories:

  •  Advanced Materials
  • Biomass and Biofuels
  • Building Energy Efficiency
  • Electricity Transmission and Distribution
  • Energy Analysis Models, Tools and Software
  • Energy Storage
  • Geothermal
  • Hydrogen and Fuel Cell
  • Hydropower, Wave and Tidal
  • Industrial Technologies
  • Solar Photovoltaic
  • Solar Thermal
  • Vehicles and Fuels
  • Wind Energy

There’s a nice story about this portal in the August/September issue of Innovation – “Introducing a Portal to Make Technology a Lot Easier“.  This could be a very useful tool.  I like it!  —nks

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For Clean Energy Companies Seeking Growth

Posted on July 14, 2010. Filed under: energy, finance | Tags: , |

Just a quick note.  Clean energy companies interested in investors or strategic partners may want to investigate the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s 23rd “NREL Industry Growth Forum”, planned for October 19-21 in Denver, Colorado.  More information about the program at

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The stackable “city car” close to moving out of the lab?

Posted on March 9, 2009. Filed under: automotive, energy, engineering, innovation |

They’re cute, they’re tiny, and they may be about to move out of the Lab.  MIT is reportedly submitting a proposal to build a network of the cars for a city government in Asia.  If accepted these “small electrical pods on wheels” (as the Boston Globe describes them) could be deployed as a pilot project in five years.

The city cars are tiny electric vehicles that can be picked up and dropped off like rental carts at an airport, or like rented bicycles in Paris and other cities.  They are designed to hook into city-wide networks of chargers, and to rely on computers for navigation.  Benefits could include reduced gridlock in downtown areas, reduced need for parking space, and reduced reliance on, for example, conventional gasoline-powered rental cars. 

MIT suggests they be considered as a ”personal and sustainable mobility system and service. A clean, green machine.”  See my Nov. 22, 2007 post on “stackable cars” for more information, or visit MIT’s Smart Cities website. 

A fascinating concept. –nks

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“The allure of alternative energy”

Posted on March 4, 2009. Filed under: energy, energy efficiency, research & development |

A recent special edition of Innovation reports on an alternative energy summit held in December 2008.  Read the keynote address and the panel discussion on each of the following topics:  nuclear energy, biofuels, solar, wind – and the overarching issue of transmission. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D, NM; Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee) outlined his goals for the committee in his opening remarks.  An informative issue! –nks

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