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Argonne LCA study finds many alternative fuels consume more water than petroleum and natural gas fuels

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Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have analyzed the water consumption for transportation fuels in the United States using an extended lifecycle system boundary that includes the water embedded in intermediate processing steps.

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Audi in new e-fuels project: synthetic diesel from water, air-captured CO2 and green electricity; “Blue Crude”

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Audi’s latest e-fuels project is participation in a a pilot plant project in Dresden that produces diesel fuel from water, CO 2 and green electricity. In a separate process, a solid oxide electrolysis (SOEC) unit powered with green electricity splits water into hydrogen and oxygen.

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ORNL team devises electrocatalyst for direct conversion of CO2 into ethanol with high selectivity; pushing the combustion reaction in reverse

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Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed an electrocatalyst which operates at room temperature and in water for the electroreduction of dissolved CO 2 with high selectivity for ethanol. Carbon Capture and Conversion (CCC) Emissions Ethanol

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SOLAR-JET project demonstrates solar-driven thermochemical conversion of CO2 and water to jet fuel

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The EU-funded SOLAR-JET project has demonstrated the production of aviation kerosene from concentrated sunlight, CO 2 captured from air, and water. Aviation Carbon Capture and Conversion (CCC) Fuels Solar Solar fuels SOLAR-JET concentrated thermochemical reactor.

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GWU team uses one-pot process to co-generate H2 and solid carbon from water and CO2; solar fuels

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One-pot electrolytic process produces H 2 and solid carbon from water and CO 2. In this study, they focused on the electrolysis component for STEP fuel, producing hydrogen and graphitic carbon from water and carbon dioxide.

New catalytic system for conversion of CO2 to methanol shows much higher activity than others now in use

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Scanning tunneling microscope image of a cerium-oxide and copper catalyst (CeO x -Cu) used in the transformation of CO 2 and H 2 to methanol (CH 3 OH) and water. CH 3 OH conversion not seen over a Cu-Zn alloy. Carbon Capture and Conversion (CCC) Catalysts Fuels Methanol

DOE awarding up to $80M for supercritical CO2 pilot plant

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The new facility will support the future commercialization of sCO 2 Brayton cycle energy conversion systems by testing and demonstrating the potential energy efficiency and cost benefits of this technology. Low cooling water consumption.

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New version of Argonne lifecycle model for water footprint of biofuels now includes cellulosic feedstocks

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of the online tool Water Assessment for Transportation Energy Resources ( WATER ) this week. WATER adopts a water footprint methodology, and contains extensive climate, land use, water resource, and process water data. Water footprint accounting.

Rice team demonstrates plasmonic hot-electron solar water-splitting technology; simpler, cheaper and efficient

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Researchers at Rice have demonstrated an efficient new way to use solar energy for water splitting. Structure and mechanism of operation of plasmonic photocathode for plasmon-mediated direct electron injection to drive solar-to-chemical energy conversion. (a)

2015 17

Study finds perennial biofuel crops’ water consumption similar to corn

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Evapotranspiration (ET) refers to the sum total of water lost while the plant is growing, either from evaporation through the plant stem itself (a process called “transpiration”), or from water evaporated off of the plant’s leaves or the ground. Land conversion to biofuel production is an example of a potential large-scale land cover change. Hamilton uses the soil-water sensors to measure the rate of evapotranspiration occurring within each cropping system.

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New inexpensive catalyst for conversion of CO2 to CO could help with storage of renewable energy

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CO can then be reacted with H 2 O via the water?gas As such, development of Bi-based cathodes for conversion of CO 2 to CO would represent an important development for the fields of CO 2 electrocatalysis and renewable energy conversion. Used in conjunction with ionic liquids, it effected the electrocatalytic conversion of CO 2 to CO with appreciable current density at overpotentials below 0.2 Carbon Capture and Conversion (CCC) Fuels Power Generation

USDA provides $91M loan guarantee to Cool Planet for biogasoline blendstock plant; biomass pyrolysis and catalytic conversion

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Cool Planet has devised a biomass-to-liquids thermochemical conversion process that simultaneously produces liquid fuels and sequesterable biochar useful as a soil amendment. The output from each catalytic array when cooled is comprised of volatile gases, renewable fuel and water.

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NREL enzyme enables conversion of biomass to sugar up to 14x faster than current alternatives; changing the economics of conversion

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Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have developed an enzyme that can enable the conversion of biomass to sugars up to 14 times faster and more cheaply than competing catalysts in enzyme cocktails today.

2015 14

ARPA-E to award $60M to 2 programs: enhancing biomass yield and dry-cooling for thermoelectric power

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ARPA-E’s ARID program will focus on new power plant cooling technologies that could significantly improve the overall energy efficiency of thermoelectric power plants by enabling high thermal-to-electric energy conversion efficiency with zero net water dissipation into the atmosphere.

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EPFL team develops low-cost water splitting cell with solar-to-hydrogen efficiency of 12.3%

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A team led by Dr. Michael Grätzel at EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) in Switzerland has developed a highly efficient and low-cost water-splitting cell combining an advanced perovskite tandem solar cell and a bi-functional Earth-abundant catalyst.

EPFL/Technion team develops “champion” nanostructures for efficient solar water-splitting to produce hydrogen

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Fe 2 O 3 (hematite) electrodes that achieve the highest photocurrent of any metal oxide photoanode for photoelectrochemical water-splitting under 100?mW?cm Hydrogen bubbles as they appear in a photoelectrochemical cell. © LPI / EPFL. Click to enlarge.

Swiss team develops effective and low-cost solar water-splitting device; 14.2% solar-to-hydrogen efficiency

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As the V OC of the presented c-Si cells is only ∼600 mV, four cells need to be connected in series to achieve stable water splitting performance.

New $30M ARPA-E program to develop new solar conversion and storage technologies; targeting higher solar penetration in mix

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The primary goal of this funding opportunity ( DE-FOA-0000949 ) is to provide disruptive new solar conversion and storage technology options to enable a much higher penetration of solar energy generation into the US energy mix. Novel approaches to high T solar conversion.

DOE awards LanzaTech $4M for low-carbon jet & diesel demo plant; 3M gpy; Audi evaluating fuel properties

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The catalyst first removes water from the ethanol (dehydration), leaving behind ethylene. Aviation Bio-hydrocarbons Carbon Capture and Conversion (CCC) Diesel Fuels Vehicle ManufacturersLanzaTech has been selected by the Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) to receive a $4-million award to design and plan a demonstration-scale facility using industrial off gases to produce 3 million gallons/year of low-carbon jet and diesel fuels.

UC Berkeley hybrid semiconductor nanowire-bacteria system for direct solar-powered production of chemicals from CO2 and water

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Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed an artificial photosynthetic scheme for the direct solar-powered production of value-added chemicals from CO 2 and water using a two-step process involving a biocompatible light-capturing nanowire array with a direct interface with microbial systems.

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PHEV conversion company Echo Automotive completes $3M financing, joins CALSTART

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a developer of technologies enabling the conversion of existing fleet vehicles into plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, completed a $3-million financing with United Fleet Financing, LLC, through a private placement offering and mezzanine financing. Echo’s Chief Technology Officer is John Waters, the founder & CEO of Bright Automotive ( earlier post ). The EchoDrive conversion system comprises a 30 kW traction motor; modular Li-ion battery pack built with 2.2

SRI developing process for co-gasification of methane and coal to produce liquid transportation fuels; negligible water consumption, no CO2

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Researchers from SRI International (SRI) are developing a methane-and-coal-to-liquids process that consumes negligible amounts of water and does not generate carbon dioxide. Water consumption less than 235 kg/barrel. Top: Conventional F-T process. Bottom: SRI process. Click to enlarge.

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New $30M ARPA-E program to produce renewable liquid fuels from renewable energy, air and water

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The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced up to $30 million in funding for a new program for technologies that use renewable energy to convert air and water into cost-competitive liquid fuels. ( Conversion efficiency, %.

Caltech engineers devise new thermochemical cycle for water splitting for H2; recyclable, non-toxic, non-corrosive and at lower temperatures

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The thermochemical production of hydrogen and oxygen from water via a series of chemical reactions is of interest because it directly converts thermal energy into stored chemical energy (hydrogen and oxygen), and thus can take advantage of excess heat given off by other processes.

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On the road to solar fuels and chemicals

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This motivates the development of sustainable processes to generate fuels and chemical feedstocks from water and CO 2 using solar energy; such a process is analogous to photosynthesis in nature and is sometimes referred to as artificial photosynthesis. Various device configuration powered by a renewable energy source perform electrochemical water splitting or CO 2 reduction. Carbon Capture and Conversion (CCC) Fuels Materials Solar Solar fuels

2016 16

Researchers develop co-catalyst system for lower cost conversion of CO2 to CO; syngas for synfuels

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A team from the University of Illinois and startup Dioxide Materials has developed an electrocatalytic system for the reduction of CO 2 to CO—a key component of artificial photosynthesis and thus an enabler for the conversion of CO 2 to synthetic fuels—at overpotentials below 0.2

MIT researchers devise simple catalytic system for fixation and conversion of CO2

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Molybdate is relatively abundant and stable in air and water. reacts with triethylsilane in acetonitrile under an atmosphere of CO 2 to produce formate (69% isolated yield) together with silylated molybdate (quantitative conversion to [MoO 3 (OSiEt 3 )] ? , Carbon Capture and Conversion (CCC) Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Catalysts Researchers at MIT have devised a simple, soluble metal oxide system to capture and transform CO 2 into useful organic compounds.

Linde pilot testing dry reforming process to generate syngas from CO2 and methane for production of fuels and chemicals

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The dry reforming process differs from steam reforming, which combines CH 4 and water (H 2 O) in the form of steam to produce the syngas. Producing the steam is energy-intensive; dry reforming requires far less water, and hence avoids the energy burden of steam production.

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TU Bergakademie Freiberg launches OTTO-R project with VW Group, Shell, OMV as partners; P2X for green gasoline

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Researchers at the Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg, with partners from the automotive industry (Audi, VW) and the petroleum industry (Shell, OMV) have launched the €1.46-million OTTO-R project for the production of gasoline from “green” methanol produced from CO 2 , water and renewable electricity. Bio-hydrocarbons Biogasoline Carbon Capture and Conversion (CCC) Fuels Power Generation Power-to-Gas Power-to-Liquids

2017 13

Researcher urges more effort on assessment of land and water impacts of oil sands production; reference point for other unconventional fuels

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Bitumen production from the Canadian oil sands provides a point of reference that could be used to observe and better manage the land and water impacts of a rapid transition to unconventional fuels, suggests Dr. Sarah Jordaan of the Energy Technology Innovation Policy Research Group, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University. The two types of bitumen production—surface mining and thermal in situ production—have different land and water impacts.

Researchers from MIT and Sun Catalytix develop an artificial leaf for solar water splitting to produce hydrogen and oxygen

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Researchers led by MIT professor Daniel Nocera have produced an “artificial leaf”—a solar water-splitting cell producing hydrogen and oxygen that operates in near-neutral pH conditions, both with and without connecting wires.

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Elemental boron effective photothermocatalyst for the conversion of CO2 for fuels and chemicals

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Researchers in Japan and China developed an efficient method for CO 2 reduction over elemental boron catalysts in the presence of only water and light irradiation through a photothermocatalytic process. This allowed the team to carry out the efficient reduction of CO 2 to form carbon monoxide (CO) and methane (CH 4 ) under irradiation in the presence of water, with no additional reagents or co-catalysts. Carbon Capture and Conversion (CCC) Catalysts Emissions Fuels

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S. Korean researchers develop new catalytic pathway for direct conversion of CO2 to liquid hydrocarbon fuels

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Proposed carbon capture and utilization (CCU) system based on catalytic CO 2 conversion to liquid hydrocarbon fuels with hydrogen supplied from solar water splitting. Hence, this report focuses on the catalytic CO 2 -to-liquid fuel conversion (CO 2 FT synthesis) with renewable H 2.

Light over heat: UV-driven rhodium nanoparticles catalyze conversion of CO2 to methane

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Duke University researchers have engineered rhodium nanoparticles that can harness the energy in ultraviolet light and use it to catalyze the conversion of carbon dioxide to methane, a key building block for many types of fuels. Carbon Capture and Conversion (CCC) Catalysts Fuels Solar fuels

Novozymes and Sea6Energy collaborating on the conversion of seaweed to sugars for production of fuels and chemicals

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Novozymes will research, develop, and manufacture enzymes for the conversion process, while Sea6 Energy contributes its offshore seaweed cultivation technology. Seaweed can be produced at many locations in the world, but the warm sea conditions, abundant sunlight, and the possibility for several harvest cycles through the year make the waters around India particularly suitable, Novozymes said.

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A Conversation

Revenge of the Electric Car

CHRIS: I care about the health and the quality of life whether its drinking water, the air that we burn up with our cars, or the food we consume everyday. Below is an interview with Director Chris Paine and Journalist Robert Steadman with UK-based Blue and Green Tomorrow : ROB: Was it difficult to gain behind the scenes access to the auto industry after the first film? Was there a level of distrust among the execs? CHRIS: Yes.

Global Bioenergies plans to acquire Dutch start-up Syngip; gaseous carbon feedstocks for renewable isobutene process

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just using water, H 2 , CO 2 and sunlight. Bio-hydrocarbons Carbon Capture and Conversion (CCC) Fuels Synthetic BiologyGlobal Bioenergies, the developer of a process to convert renewable resources into light olefin hydrocarbons via fermentation (with an initial focus on isobutene) ( earlier post ), signed a contribution agreement with the shareholders of Syngip B.V. to transfer all Syngip shares to Global Bioenergies S.A.

CalTech, Berkeley Lab team uses new high-throughput method to identify promising photoanodes for solar fuels

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Researchers globally are exploring a range of target solar fuels fuels, from hydrogen gas to liquid hydrocarbons; producing any of these fuels involves splitting water. Each water molecule consists of an oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms.

Study for European Parliament assesses options for turning CO2 into methanol for use in transport

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The conclusions in the form of policy options suggest possible answers on how to overcome the technological and economic difficulties presently associated to CO 2 capture and conversion processes, as well as the opportunities which may arise from greater fuel variety in transport, among them methanol, and from putting recycled CO 2 to use by turning it into a potentially valuable prime material. Carbon Capture and Conversion (CCC) Europe Methanol Policy Wireless

NCSU team develops catalyst for thermal hybrid water-splitting and syngas generation with exceptional conversion; H2 gas and liquid fuels

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Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a highly effective new perovskite-promoted iron oxide redox catalyst for a hybrid solar-redox scheme they had proposed earlier for partial oxidation and water-splitting of methane.

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