It has been announced that the U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command has given Lockheed Martin a $4.4 million contract to press forward with the design for an ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) pilot plant off the coast of Hawaii.
Ocean thermal energy conversion is a process by which the temperature difference between shallow and deeper waters is used to power a heat engine.
Chris Myers, Lockheed Martin vice president for energy and government programs, has been quoted as saying, "OTEC is an ideal energy generation technology for shoreline communities and military bases in tropical areas, some of which are largely dependent on imported fossil fuels for power and transportation. We are applying our decades of experience designing and deploying maritime systems for defense markets to ocean power, helping to produce clean energy."
The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority was established at Keahole Point on the Kona coast of Hawaii in 1974, when the United States decided to conduct research into ocean thermal energy conversion technology.
Since then, the laboratory has led the world in OTEC research and technology.
Lockheed Martin will design and create vital system components for a pilot plant, which will leverage the temperature difference between warmer water at the ocean's surface and colder water.
The contract is an addition to a Naval Facilities Engineering Command contract for $8.1 million issued Lockheed Martin in 2009.
Significantly, OTEC is not an intermittent energy source and so can be used as a stable base-load power generator, operating around the clock and not affected by weather conditions.
Last month algae biofuel company Solazyme released an announcement that the Navy purchased 20,000 gallons of its algae-based fuel. The Department of Defense will buy 150,000 gallons of the biofuel by 2011, according to a contract.
Solazyme has funding from multiple investors. Morgan Stanley and the Chevron's venture-capital investors have made investments in the company, as well.
Algae have an exceptional capability to convert sugar to fats and oils. Solazyme decided the most efficient way to capitalize on this ability would be to use sugarcane or switchgrass to provide sugar to industrial fermentation vats supplied with algae that would then convert the sugar into oil.
Solazyme is working on generating algae strains that are best for producing diesel fuel, as well as other products. According to reports, Solazyme has garnered $75 million in venture capital and now a $21.8 million Department of Energy grant.
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Former U.S. admirals and generals have submitted signed documents that warn the U.S. military's dependence on foreign oil and an undependable electrical grid compromise U. S. security.The document claims that a portion of the fuel imported by the U.S. military was basically a conveyor of wealth to countries linked with terrorism. The report recommends the development of alternative fuel sources.
The military is taking the situation seriously and attacking the problem in multiple ways.
One way is represented by a buoy anchored in 100 feet of water, bouncing around in the heaving, churning waves and swells about a mile off Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Base in Hawaii. It is no ordinary buoy. It has a piston-like apparatus within it that converts the energy of the movement of the ocean into energy that is sent via an underwater cable to the power grid on the base.
Ocean Power Technologies, or OPT, has won the support of both the Navy and the Marine Corps, and currently three of its buoys are jostling around in the ocean, sending roughly 3 to 4 kilowatts of energyback to land, and sending information from multiple sensors to the OPT headquarters in New Jersey.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has been quoted as saying, "This project demonstrates the Navy and Marine Corps' commitment to lead the country toward a new energy future. Of the five energy targets I issued in 2009, the most important is that by 2020, half of all the energy we use - ashore and afloat, in the air, on the sea, under the sea and on land - will come from alternative sources. In order to end our reliance on fossil fuels, we must continue to invest in projects such as ocean energy. In doing so, we will improve our energy security, increase our energy independence, and help build a new clean energy economy. "
The Navy has funded the project with at $300,000 and a contract for $3 million so far.
Hawaii has the dubious distinction among the fifty states of obtaining more than 90 percent of its energy from oil. Its geographically remote location means it cannot obtain power from nearby states. It has no conventional energy resources of its own, such as oil, coal or natural gas. It imports all of the oil and coal that it uses.
What better location to take advantage of solar power? Kauai, with a resident population of roughly 58,000, has a proposed solar project in the works that will bring power to 8,000 homes. The 12 megawatt facility will be situated on agricultural land. The privately owned company, PowerWorks Inc., reports on their website that they are “currently working on advanced site development activities.”
The benefits to Kauai are obvious and subtle at the same time. Energy the project will generate will be clean, renewable, and is estimated to result in a sizeable reduction in dependence on imported oil, saving the consumption of 11,800 barrels per year. The power generated by the project will be stable, cost-wise, since it will not be subject to the volatility of foreign oil price spikes.
PowerWorks Inc. says the less obvious benefits will save our society roughly $80 million over 20 years in health and societal costs. Water pollution/consumption should be reduced by 8,600,000 gallons per year.
The company also claims that the emissions and pollution that will be prevented in the course of the project’s life of 20 years should equal over 567,000,000 pounds of NOx, SOx, and CO2.
According to PowerWorks:
Further, the hidden economic burdens placed on society from air pollution created by fossil-fired power generation is huge—the costs to "medicate" and "repair" our society, based upon the various air pollution values over 20 years mentioned above, is roughly estimated at $80 million, which comprises health care and disease costs, plus damage to crops, property, climate, livestock, etc., as well as, impacts to public services.
PowerWorks and its affiliate, Pacific Winds Inc., currently own and operate four wind power projects that use 900 wind turbines, generating 95,000 kilowatts of energy at their fields near Livermore, California.
Other proposed projects around the country are envisioned for Texas, North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, Kansas, California, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Missouri, and Colorado.
Hawaii’s economy will benefit by the creation of local construction jobs and expenditures on materials, supplies and equipment rentals. The local economic benefits from this solar Project over 20 years are estimated to be approximately $33 million. This figure includes property taxes, payroll from high-skilled jobs, land owner/farmer land leases, sales taxes, business taxes, various services purchased from local retailers (both during initial construction, plus continuing services for operation and maintenance), etc.
Kauai has some of the most spectacular and vulnerable wildlife habitat in the world. PowerWorks claims that the use of clean, natural solar power saves human lives, but it also saves the lives of birds and other wildlife:
Birds are far more sensitive to pollution than humans due to the thinness of the bird's lung's air-sac gas-exchange tissue, roughly half of the thickness of mammals, plus the large amounts of oxygen required for flight. Therefore, birds are far more sensitive to airborne particulates and pollution. In addition, fossil-fired power plants cause significant bird fatalities not only from air pollution, but from mining, destruction of forests, collisions with power plant smokestacks and structures, climate change which wreaks havoc on migration routes and degrades habitats, etc.
Going green is no longer considered a fad. It’s just plain sensible. We want homes that don’t waste energy and that are healthy for us to live in.
Real estate agents who are certified EcoBrokers have done the work to educate themselves on environmental issues and the advantages of eco- and people-friendly, sustainable building.
From energy efficient appliances, windows, energy recovery-controlled ventilation systems, insulation, moisture management, lighting, heating and cooling systems, to water heaters---there’s a lot to know. EcoBrokers have training in all these energy-related topics
We don’t want to breathe the toxic chemicals that can be released from certain building materials. We don’t want to buy a home and find out later that we have a mold problem. We want to know what kind of roof a house has and how long it will last.
We want to deal with someone who understands, not only about the materials homes are built with, but also the features that will save us money for decades to come. We need someone who understands advances in solar and passive cooling and heating. We want to know about all these things before we buy a property.
If we’re selling a home, we want someone who is knowledgeable about the features of our home and can explain its advantages to buyers. That’s just one reason why Paul Kyno is such a successful agent. Not only does he have more than 25 years of real estate experience, but he’s also a certified EcoBroker.
In 2008 and 2006, Paul Kyno, Kauai Real Estate agent was the number one producing agent on Kauai. He earned the EcoBroker certification in 2009. As an EcoBroker, Paul Kyno knows about the leading “green” home certification programs, including Energy Star®, LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and Built Green®. He can help you to understand and avail yourself of the most critical and valuable new green technologies.
Currently Hawaii gets about 90% of its energy from imported oil. Last year, Assistant Secretary Alexander Karsner and Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the state government and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The agreement produced the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.
The Initiative is intended to convert Hawaii’s energy sources into a predominately renewable energy supply, and move the state away from its reliance on fossil fuels. MOU will propel Hawaii will to become a model for renewable energy technologies such as solar, oceanic, geothermal, and wind. The state intends to initiate policies that can be a leader for other states throughout the U.S.
Kauai, Hawaii, has long been shaped and defended by environmentally-minded residents. It is known for the way its citizens have fought to contain overbuilding and exploitation through the years. Their efforts have helped to retain the “Garden Island’s” pristine and pastoral character.
An example of this sort of enlightened, forward-thinking ethic is a car dealership on the island, King Auto Center. The company stepped up to the plate in the most concrete way by purchasing a $200,000 solar array-- a system that consists of 156 panels that can each generate 160 watts of power in full sun.
The owner, Charlie King, who also own's a Hawaii Nissan Dealer, was quoted as saying, “We want to do our part to support forms of clean, alternative energy. With our high electric rates, this kind of investment pays for itself in a relatively short amount of time."
State and federal tax incentives help increase the return on alternative energy systems, and this system may pay for itself in as little as five years, according to Doug Bath, vice president of ProVision Technologies. Bath’s company designed the system and provided the main components.
Kaua'i does have very high power rates that make the investment a little easier. But even at that, it takes decisive and visionary leadership to make such a considerable investment.
The Kaua'i Island Utility Co-op approved a hookup with the island's power grid. Since the dealership uses more power than the array will generate, the system will largely reduce the firm's demands on the electric utility—not to mention the reduction in CO2 emissions that will result.
If the system generates more power than it uses the co-op will buy the excess power.
Bath has noted that residential photovoltaic systems receive more limited tax incentives and do not pay for themselves as quickly.
In another example of efforts to move to home-grown sources of energy, Oren Rubin says you can help get America off oil imports by going to Long John Silver's more often.
He says the deep fat fryers and waste oil containers of America house a large, untapped source of transportation fuel. Rubin is business development general manager for a biodiesel company based in Sausalito, Calif, called BiOil. He claims that billions of gallons of animal fat and waste vegetable oil that can be converted into domestically produced, cleaner-burning biodiesel.
With assistance from biodiesel producer Pacific Biodiesel, based in Kahului, Hawaii, Ruben wants to collect a substantial portion of the 3.9 billion gallons of waste vegetable oil produced at fast-food eateries, refine it and then sell it to trucking companies and drivers.
BiOil is trying to raise $97 million. The sum is an unusually enormous sum for a start-up. The company needs it to build 30 processing plants. BiOil hopes to raise the money to build 30 processing plants.