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Book
1 online resource (642 p.) : digital, PDF file.
With the goal of understanding environmental effects of a growing bioeconomy, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), national laboratories, and U.S. Forest Service research laboratories, together with academic and industry collaborators, undertook a study to estimate environmental effects of potential biomass production scenarios in the United States, with an emphasis on agricultural and forest biomass. Potential effects investigated include changes in soil organic carbon (SOC), greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water quality and quantity, air emissions, and biodiversity. Effects of altered land-management regimes were analyzed based on select county-level biomass-production scenarios for 2017 and 2040 taken from the 2016 Billion-Ton Report: Advancing Domestic Resources for a Thriving Bioeconomy (BT16), volume 1, which assumes that the land bases for agricultural and forestry would not change over time. The scenarios reflect constraints on biomass supply (e.g., excluded areas; implementation of management practices; and consideration of food, feed, forage, and fiber demands and exports) that intend to address sustainability concerns. Nonetheless, both beneficial and adverse environmental effects might be expected. To characterize these potential effects, this research sought to estimate where and under what modeled scenarios or conditions positive and negative environmental effects could occur nationwide. The report also includes a discussion of land-use change (LUC) (i.e., land management change) assumptions associated with the scenario transitions (but not including analysis of indirect LUC [ILUC]), analyses of climate sensitivity of feedstock productivity under a set of potential scenarios, and a qualitative environmental effects analysis of algae production under carbon dioxide (CO<sub>2</sub>) co-location scenarios. Because BT16 biomass supplies are simulated independent of a defined end use, most analyses do not include benefits from displacing fossil fuels or other products, with the exception of including a few illustrative cases on potential reductions in GHG emissions and fossil energy consumption associated with using biomass supplies for fuel, power, heat, and chemicals. Most analyses in volume 2 show potential for a substantial increase in biomass production with minimal or negligible environmental effects under the biomass supply constraints assumed in BT16. Although corn ethanol has been shown to achieve GHG emissions improvements over fossil fuels, cellulosic biomass shows further improvements in certain environmental indicators covered in this report. The harvest of agricultural and forestry residues generally shows the smallest contributions to changes in certain environmental indicators investigated. The scenarios show national-level net SOC gains. When expanding the system boundary in illustrative cases that consider biomass end use, reductions in GHG emissions are estimated for scenarios in which biomass—rather than oil, coal, and natural gas—is used to produce fuel, power, heat, and chemicals. Analyses of water quality reveal that there could be tradeoffs between biomass productivity and some water quality indicators, but better outcomes for both biomass productivity and water quality can be achieved with selected conservation practices. Biodiversity analyses show possible habitat benefits to some species, with other species showing potential adverse effects that may require additional safeguards. Increasing productivity of algae can reduce GHG emissions and water consumption associated with producing algal biomass, though the effects of water consumption are likely of greater concern in some regions than in others. Moreover, the effects of climate change on potential biomass production show gains and losses in yield among feedstocks across the continental United States. Key research gaps and priorities include actions that can enhance benefits and reduce potential for negative effects of increased biomass...
Book
1 online resource (642 p.) : digital, PDF file.
On behalf of all the authors and contributors, it is a great privilege to present the 2016 Billion-Ton Report (BT16), volume 2: Environmental Sustainability Effects of Select Scenarios from volume 1. This report represents the culmination of several years of collaborative effort among national laboratories, government agencies, academic institutions, and industry. BT16 was developed to support the U.S. Department of Energy’s efforts towards national goals of energy security and associated quality of life.
Book
1 online resource (3.9 MB ): digital, PDF file.
NREL's Sustainability Program is responsible for upholding all executive orders, federal regulations, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) orders, and goals related to sustainable and resilient facility operations. But NREL continues to expand sustainable practices above and beyond the laboratory's regulations and requirements to ensure that the laboratory fulfills its mission into the future, leaves the smallest possible legacy footprint, and models sustainable operations and behaviors on national, regional, and local levels. The report, per the GRI reporting format, elaborates on multi-year goals relative to executive orders, achievements, and challenges; and success stories provide specific examples. A section called 'NREL's Resiliency is Taking Many Forms' provides insight into how NREL is drawing on its deep knowledge of renewable energy and energy efficiency to help mitigate or avoid climate change impacts.
Since its creation in 1946, Argonne National Laboratory has addressed the nation’s most pressing challenges in science, energy, the environment, and national security. United by a common goal – to improve the world – Argonne continues to drive the scientific and technological breakthroughs needed to ensure a sustainable future.
Book
1 online resource (607 KB ): digital, PDF file.
This paper presents a comparative techno-economic analysis of five conversion pathways from biomass to gasoline-, jet-, and diesel-range hydrocarbons via indirect liquefaction with specific focus on pathways utilizing oxygenated intermediates (derived either via thermochemical or biochemical conversion steps). The four emerging pathways of interest are compared with one conventional pathway (Fischer-Tropsch) for the production of the hydrocarbon blendstocks. The processing steps of the four emerging pathways include: biomass-to-syngas via indirect gasification, gas cleanup, conversion of syngas to alcohols/oxygenates, followed by conversion of alcohols/oxygenates to hydrocarbon blendstocks via dehydration, oligomerization, and hydrogenation. We show that the emerging pathways via oxygenated intermediates have the potential to be cost competitive with the conventional Fischer-Tropsch process. The evaluated pathways and the benchmark process generally exhibit similar fuel yields and carbon conversion efficiencies. The resulting minimum fuel selling prices are comparable to the benchmark at approximately $3.60 per gallon-gasoline equivalent, with potential for two new pathways to be more economically competitive. Additionally, the coproduct values can play an important role in the economics of the processes with oxygenated intermediates derived via syngas fermentation. Major cost drivers for the integrated processes are tied to achievable fuel yields and conversion efficiency of the intermediate steps, i.e., the production of oxygenates/alcohols from syngas and the conversion of oxygenates/alcohols to hydrocarbon fuels.
Book
1 online resource (3.05 MB ): digital, PDF file.
EC-LEDS is a flagship U.S. government-led effort that assists countries to create and implement low emission development strategies, or LEDS -- development frameworks that promote sustainable social and economic development while reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the medium to long term.
Book
1 online resource (77 p.) : digital, PDF file.
Alaska is considered a world leader in renewable energy and microgrid technologies. Our workplan started as an analysis of existing wind-diesel systems, many of which were not performing as designed. We aimed to analyze and understand the performance of existing wind-diesel systems, to establish a knowledge baseline from which to work towards improvement and maximizing renewable energy utilization. To accomplish this, we worked with the Alaska Energy Authority to develop a comprehensive database of wind system experience, including underlying climatic and socioeconomic characteristics, actual operating data, projected vs. actual capital and O&M costs, and a catalogue of catastrophic anomalies. This database formed the foundation for the rest of the research program, with the overarching goal of delivering low-cost, reliable, and sustainable energy to diesel microgrids.
Book
1 online resource (405 KB ): digital, PDF file.
This fact sheet provides an overview of the work that the Federated States of Micronesia are doing in a variety of renewable energy activities with support from the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and outlines additional opportunities for involvement by other international donors.
Book
1 online resource (p. 435-446 ): digital, PDF file.
A framework for selecting and evaluating indicators of bioenergy sustainability is presented. This framework is designed to facilitate decision-making about which indicators are useful for assessing sustainability of bioenergy systems and supporting their deployment. Efforts to develop sustainability indicators in the United States and Europe are reviewed. The first steps of the framework for indicator selection are defining the sustainability goals and other goals for a bioenergy project or program, gaining an understanding of the context, and identifying the values of stakeholders. From the goals, context, and stakeholders, the objectives for analysis and criteria for indicator selection can be developed. The user of the framework identifies and ranks indicators, applies them in an assessment, and then evaluates their effectiveness, while identifying gaps that prevent goals from being met, assessing lessons learned, and moving toward best practices. The framework approach emphasizes that the selection of appropriate criteria and indicators is driven by the specific purpose of an analysis. Realistic goals and measures of bioenergy sustainability can be developed systematically with the help of the framework presented here.
Book
1 online resource (51 p.) : digital, PDF file.
This document provides a set of high level functional requirements for a generic electronic work package (eWP) system. The requirements have been identified by the U.S. nuclear industry as a part of the Nuclear Electronic Work Packages - Enterprise Requirements (NEWPER) initiative. The functional requirements are mainly applied to eWP system supporting Basic and Moderate types of smart documents, i.e., documents that have fields for recording input such as text, dates, numbers, and equipment status, and documents which incorporate additional functionalities such as form field data “type“ validation (e.g. date, text, number, and signature) of data entered and/or self-populate basic document information (usually from existing host application meta data) on the form when the user first opens it. All the requirements are categorized by the roles; Planner, Supervisor, Craft, Work Package Approval Reviewer, Operations, Scheduling/Work Control, and Supporting Functions. The categories Statistics, Records, Information Technology are also included used to group the requirements. All requirements are presented in Section 2 through Section 11. Examples of more detailed requirements are provided for the majority of high level requirements. These examples are meant as an inspiration to be used as each utility goes through the process of identifying their specific requirements. The report’s table of contents provides a summary of the high level requirements.
Book
1 online resource (13 p.) : digital, PDF file.
Federal agencies manage hazardous waste sites under the assumption that environmental restoration will improve the environment by returning contaminated groundwater to beneficial use, removing waste residuals from a site, treating discharges to surface water, and reducing overall risks to human health and the environment. However, the associated time-consuming and expensive operations, extensive performance monitoring, and post-closure care can lead to unanticipated environmental impacts due to both the technological nature of these cleanup activities and the related protracted timelines. These life-cycle impacts can and should be included in the evaluation of remedial alternatives. Increasingly, Federal agencies are considering these life-cycle impacts— variously referred to as ‘‘environmental footprint analysis, ’’ ‘‘sustainable remediation, ’’ ‘‘green remediation, ’’ ‘‘greener remediation, ’’ and ‘‘green and sustainable remediation’’— when evaluating environmental restoration approaches. For the purposes of this paper, this concept will be referred to as ‘‘green and sustainable remediation’’ (GSR), with application of GSR assumed to take place across the cleanup life cycle, from the investigation phase through site closeout. This paper will discuss the history of GSR, what GSR is, who is implementing GSR, and GSR metrics. Finally, the paper will also discuss two approaches to GSR, using case studies to understand and implement it; the first will be a qualitative approach, and the second a more detailed quantitative approach
Book
1 online resource (1.2 MB ): digital, PDF file.
Climate change is a problem that must be solved. The primary cause of this problem is burning of fossil fuels to generate energy. A dramatic reduction in carbon emissions must happen soon, and a significant fraction of this reduction must come from the transportation sector. This paper reviews existing literature to assess the consensus of the scientific and engineering communities concerning the potential for the United States' light-duty transportation sector to meet a goal of 80 percent reduction in vehicle emissions and examine what it will take to meet this target. It is unlikely that reducing energy consumption in just vehicles with gasoline-based internal combustion drivetrains will be sufficient to meet GHG emission-reduction targets. This paper explores what additional benefits are possible through the adoption of alternative energy sources, looking at three possible on-vehicle energy carriers: carbon-based fuels, hydrogen, and batteries. potential for the United States' light-duty transportation sector to meet a goal of 80 percent reduction in vehicle emissions and examine what it will take to meet this target. It is unlikely that reducing energy consumption in just vehicles with gasoline-based internal combustion drivetrains will be sufficient to meet GHG emission-reduction targets. This paper explores what additional benefits are possible through the adoption of alternative energy sources, looking at three possible on-vehicle energy carriers: carbon-based fuels, hydrogen, and batteries.
Long-term sustainability of fracture conductivity is critical for commercial success of engineered geothermal system (EGS) and hydrogeothermal field sites. The injection of proppants has been suggested as a means to enhance the conductivity in these systems. Several studies have examined the chemical behavior of proppants that are not at chemical equilibrium with the reservoir rock and water. These studies have suggested that in geothermal systems, geochemical reactions can lead to enhance proppant dissolution and deposition alteration minerals. We hypothesize that proppant dissolution will decrease the strength of the proppant and can potentially reduce the conductivity of the fracture. To examine the geomechanical strength of proppants, we have performed modified crushing tests of proppants and reservoir rock material that was subjected to geothermal reservoir temperature conditions. The batch reactor experiments heated crushed quartz monzonite rock material, proppants (either quartz sand, sintered bauxite or kryptospheres) with Raft River geothermal water to 250 ºC for a period of 2 months. Solid and liquid samples were shipped to University of Utah for chemical characterization with ICP-OES, ICP-MS, and SEM. A separate portion of the rock/proppant material was subjected to a modified American Petroleum Institute ISO 13503-2 proppant crushing test. This test is typically used to determine the maximum stress level that can be applied to a proppant pack without the occurrence of unacceptable proppant crushing. We will use the test results to examine potential changes in proppant/reservoir rock geomechanical properties as compared to samples that have not been subjected to geothermal conditions. These preliminary results will be used to screen the proppants for long term use in EGS and hot hydrogeothermal systems.
Book
1 online resource (p. 1397-1415 ): digital, PDF file.
The biomass supply chain is one of the most critical elements of large-scale bioenergy production and in many cases a key barrier for procuring initial funding for new developments on specific energy crops. Most productions rely on complex transforming chains linked to feed and food markets. The term 'supply chain' covers various aspects from cultivation and harvesting of the biomass, to treatment, transportation, and storage. After energy conversion, the product must be delivered to final consumption, whether it is in the form of electricity, heat, or more tangible products, such as pellets and biofuels. Effective supply chains are of utmost importance for bioenergy production, as biomass tends to possess challenging seasonal production cycles and low mass, energy and bulk densities. Additionally, the demand for final products is often also dispersed, further complicating the supply chain. The goal of this paper is to introduce key components of biomass supply chains, examples of related modeling applications, and if/how they address aspects related to environmental metrics and management. The paper will introduce a concept of integrated supply systems for sustainable biomass trade and the factors influencing the bioenergy supply chain landscape, including models that can be used to investigate the factors. Our paper will also cover various aspects of transportation logistics, ranging from alternative modal and multi-modal alternatives to introduction of support tools for transportation analysis. Lastly, gaps and challenges in supply chain research are identified and used to outline research recommendations for the future direction in this area of study.
Book
1 online resource (28 p.) : digital, PDF file.
The purpose of this report is to discuss the projects implemented, utilizing Department of Energy grant funds, to support the use and understanding of renewable energy in Orange County, Florida and the Greater Orlando Area. Orange County is located in the State of Florida and is most popularly referred to as Orlando. The greater Orlando area’s current population is 1,225,267 and in 2015 was the first destination to surpass 60 million visitors. Orange County utilized grant funds to add to the growing demand for access to charging stations by installing one level 2 dual NovaCharge CT4021 electric vehicle charging station at the Orange County/University of Florida Cooperative Extension Center. The charging station is considered a “smart” charger connected to a central network operated by a third party. Data collected includes the number of charging sessions, session start and end times, the electricity usage, greenhouse gases saved and other pertinent data used for reporting purposes. Orange County continues to support the use of electric vehicles in Metro Orlando and this project continues to bring awareness to our public regarding using alternative vehicles. Additionally, we offer all visitors to the Orange County/University of Florida Cooperative Extension Center free charges for their electric vehicles 24 hours a day. Since the operation of the charging station there have been 52 unique driver users, a total of 532.2258 kg of greenhouse gas savings and 159.03 gallons of gasoline savings. The installation of the additional electric vehicle charging station is part of a county-wide goal of promoting implementation of renewable energy technologies as well as supporting the use of electric vehicles including the Drive Electric Orlando & Florida programs. http://driveelectricorlando.com/ & ; http://www.driveelectricflorida.org/ . Grant funds were also used for Outreach and Educational efforts. Educational efforts about renewable energy were accomplished through the continued support as well as a proposed expansion and potential relocation of the Climate Change Education Center. The growth of the Climate Change Education Center focused on 2 educational subsectors. The first educational sector focused on an apprenticeship with university students. The second sector Orange County partnered with a hospitality college that held seminars to educate students in sustainability best practices that would influence the industry as a whole as students take jobs around the U.S. and other parts of the world. Orange County completed five of the originally proposed six educational seminars. The first seminar focused on community based social marketing techniques for driving sustainable behavior changes. The second seminar held was a green team workshop. The third seminar focused on urban sustainability planning. The fourth and fifth seminars held were Florida Energy Code workshops for building inspectors. A sixth transit oriented development seminar in partnership with Rollins College was explored, but was not conducted because the proposed on campus venue was not accessible for an extended period of time due to renovations. Additionally, an ENERGY STAR training program was conducted with students from the University of Central Florida; three of the five buildings assessed received ENERGY STAR ratings; one student completed the training and received their certification as an ENERGY STAR Specialist. Background: Location: Orange County is located in the central region of the State of Florida and is most popularly known for including the City of Orlando. The greater Orlando area’s current population is 1,225,267 and is home to large corporations such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, Ritz Carlton, Darden Restaurants, and the nation’s second largest convention center. Opportunities Identified: Encouraging Sustainability in Major Sectors: The Central Florida economy is largely dependent on the hospitality industry and in 2015 it was ...
Book
1 online resource (963 KB ): digital, PDF file.
The Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992, with later amendments, was enacted with the goal of reducing U.S. petroleum consumption by building a core market for alternative fuels and vehicles. The U.S. Department of Energy manages three federal programs related to EPAct; the Sustainable Federal Fleets Program, the State and Alternative Fuel Provider Program, and Clean Cities. Federal agencies and State and Alternative Fuel Provider Fleets are required to submit annual reports that document their compliance with the legislation. Clean Cities is a voluntary program aimed at building partnerships and providing technical expertise to encourage cities to reduce petroleum use in transportation. This study reviews the evolution of these three programs in relation to alternative fuel and vehicle markets and private sector adoption of alternative fueled vehicles to assess the impact of the programs on reduction in petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions both within the regulated fleets and through development of alternative fuel and vehicle markets. The increased availability of alternative fuels and use of alternative fuels in regulated fleets is expected to improve cities' ability to respond to and quickly recover from both local disasters and short- and long-term regional or national fuel supply interruptions. Our analysis examines the benefits as well as potential drawbacks of alternative fuel use for the resiliency of U.S. cities.
Book
1 online resource (p. 1-20 ): digital, PDF file.
Addressing the challenges of understanding and managing complex interactions among food security, biofuels, and land management requires a focus on specific contextual problems and opportunities. The United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals prioritize food and energy security and bioenergy links these two priorities. Effective food security programs begin by clearly defining the problem and asking, What options will be effective to assist people at high risk? Headlines and cartoons that blame biofuels for food insecurity reflect good intentions but mislead the public and policy makers because they obscure or miss the main drivers of local food insecurity and opportunities for biofuels to contribute to solutions. Applying sustainability guidelines to bioenergy will help achieve near- and long- term goals to eradicate hunger. Priorities for achieving successful synergies between bioenergy and food security include (1) clarifying communications with clear and consistent terms, (2) recognizing that food and bioenergy do not compete for land but food and bioenergy systems can and do work together to improve resource management, (3) investing in innovations to build capacity and infrastructure such as rural agricultural extension and technology, (4) promoting stable prices that incentivize local production, (5) adopting flex crops that can provide food along with other products and services to society, and (6) engaging stakeholders in identifying and assessing specific opportunities for biofuels to improve food security. In conclusion, systematic monitoring and analysis to support adaptive management and continual improvement are essential elements to build synergies and help society equitably meet growing demands for both food and energy.
Book
1 online resource (7 p.) : digital, PDF file.
This research project developed educational, research, and outreach activities that addressed the challenges of Las Vegas as related to a secure energy supply through conservation, clean and adequate water supply, economic growth and diversification, air quality, and the best use of land, and usable public places. This was part of the UNLV Urban Sustainability Initiative (USI) that responded to a community and state need where a unifying vision of sustainability was developed in a cost-effective manner that promoted formal working partnerships between government, community groups, and industry.
Book
1 online resource (1.40 MB ): digital, PDF file.
This presentation provides a high-level overview of NREL's research in sustainable transportation, energy productivity, renewable electricity, and systems integration.
Book
1 online resource (41 p.) : digital, PDF file.
Global energy needs are primarily being met with fossil fuel plants in both developed and developing nations. Although it is unlikely to entirely replace fossil fuel systems, the incorporation of alternative energy systems that produce fewer emissions and utilize fewer resources may prove useful in furthering sustainable energy practices. Nuclear and Renewable Energy Integration (NREI) represents one potential, alternative system and is comprised of both nuclear and renewable technologies coupled with energy storage and industrial process heat applications. This article reviews the fundamentals of sustainability and its drivers, defines the necessary scope for analyzing energy systems, details widely used sustainability metrics, and assesses sustainability through the sustainability efficiency factor (SEF) based on the core pillars of economy, environment, and society—all of which aim to promote future sustainable development. The assessment is performed for an NREI system comprised of a small modular reactor (SMR), where a portion of the heat generated is utilized for hydrogen production through high-temperature steam electrolysis (HTSE). The global warming potential for NREI is compared to the typical emissions observed for hydrogen production via steam methane reforming and are estimated to yield 92.6% fewer grams of CO<sub>2</sub>-equivalent per kilogram of hydrogen produced. Furthermore, the calculated SEF for NREI is 22.2% higher than steam methane reforming. Because SMR designs are at varying design, developmental, and deployment stages, a method of estimating economics is presented to demonstrate the differences observed between first-of-a-kind (FOAK) and nth-of-a-kind (NOAK) units, as well as the resulting total capital investment cost. Lastly, a comprehensive list of considerations necessary for future energy system development was enumerated based on four core assessment areas: technical feasibility, environmental impact, economic feasibility and impact, and socio-political impacts.

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