EERE Network News
February 18, 2004
News and Events
The test installation of a fuel cell at Dow Chemical Company's largest chemical plant is the first concrete step in a collaboration with General Motors Corporation. GM earns real- world experience with its fuel cells, while Dow gains a more efficient use of the hydrogen byproduct produced at the plant.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota claim to have invented a simple way to convert an ethanol-water mixture into hydrogen. The research could tie in nicely with efforts to cut the cost of producing ethanol from woody biomass sources such as corn leaves and stalks.
The U.S. EPA announced in late January that it intends to approve a waiver of the oxygenate requirement for motor fuels in New Hampshire, a move that would hurt growth of the ethanol fuel industry. California again requested a similar waiver shortly after the EPA announcement.
The latest environmental scoring of cars and trucks from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) gives highest marks to Honda's natural-gas-fueled Civic GX, followed by the three hybrid-electric vehicles currently available in the United States.
Power companies from California, Florida, Iowa, Texas, and Vermont committed last week to either increase their use of renewable energy, increase their energy efficiency, or both. The five companies have joined the World Wildlife Fund's PowerSwitch! Challenge.
As one sign of the burgeoning U.S. green power market, the largest electric utility in Florida is now offering power from wind, solar, and bioenergy sources to its 8 million customers. The company will also build 150 kilowatts of solar energy for every 10,000 customers that enroll in the program.
DOE's Solar Energy Technologies Program—one of 11 energy programs in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)—has generated a new Web site that provides easy access to information about solar energy while reflecting the look of the EERE Web site.
DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA) now expects this year's heating bills to be higher than last year's bills, especially for those people heating their homes with natural gas and propane. Gasoline prices will also stay elevated, at about $1.62 for a gallon of regular grade.