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Energy Newsbriefs Blog

This current awareness service is prepared by the WSU Energy Program Library with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. This information is provided for energy professionals and interested members of the public to highlight recent energy-related news, articles, and reports that discuss energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable sources of energy in engineering and policy circles.


Harvesting Energy Savings in Cannabis Cultivation Facilities: Quick Wins for Cultivators and Utilities

E Source, Sep. 11, 2015, by David Podorson.

"With the recent legalization of cannabis in some states, cultivation facilities have rushed to increase production and gain market share, and they have often overlooked energy considerations in the process. Indoor cannabis cultivation facilities are huge energy consumers with year-round loads; each marijuana plant consumes more energy than seven refrigerators, and each cultivation facility may contain up to 400 plants.... Here we present nine tips for quickly and easily reducing the energy consumption of these facilities."

Validate Sealing Systems for Optimized Performance

Pumps & Systems, Aug 2015, by Larry Castleman.

"Sealing systems can play a vital role in equipment performance and are considered critical components in the validation process of a design. Engineers should closely examine the sealing systems used in their equipment, because they do everything from preventing seal leakage and extending hydraulic cylinder life to lowering dynamic friction and controlling hydraulic motor position."

Optimize High-Energy Pumps With Improved Impeller Design

Pumps & Systems, Aug 2015, by Bob Jennings & Dr. Gary Dyson.

"The rising cost of electrical power has caused many industrial plants to shift their focus to energy consumption. Plants often run pumping equipment continuously, and much research has pointed to opportunities for cost savings by optimizing pumping equipment. When evaluating the potential for energy savings, end users cannot consider a pump in isolation. The suitability of the pump for the system within which it operates is vital. Even the best designed and most efficient equipment offers power-saving potential if it is run off its best efficiency point (BEP) in a system for which it is ill-applied."

Winning the Cooling Tower Trifecta: Controlling Corrosion, Scale, and Microbiological Fouling

Power Magazine, Sep. 2015, by David Daniels.

"In cooling water chemistry for power plants, it is not enough to control one or two of the major chemistry issues. Successful treatment requires simultaneous control of corrosion, scale, and microbiological fouling. These three are so strongly tied to each other that if one is allowed to go out of control, the other two soon will be."

Inverter Benchmarking Results in Smarter Residential Inverter Solutions

Solar Industry Magazine, Aug. 2015, by Michael Mills-Price.

"Today’s residential and small commercial solar photovoltaic inverter marketplace includes a myriad of solutions and choices... These products are expected to operate in electrically and environmentally harsh environments, with service lifetimes that can approach and exceed 20 years. The PV inverter landscape is also marked by many new entrants and products from established industry players. These dynamic market characteristics increase the importance of thorough due diligence in the inverter selection process. Independent third-party data can be very beneficial in choosing the optimal inverter solution. "

IRS Ruling Could Be A Huge Boost For Community Solar Investment

Solar Industry Magazine, Sep. 10, 2015, by David K. Burton and Richard T. Page.

"In a newly released private letter ruling (PLR), the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has approved an individual taxpayer's plan to claim residential solar tax credits for investing in a community/shared solar energy project, even though the facility's solar panels are not on the taxpayer's residential property. The ruling encourages residential property owners to invest in such projects." 

Balancing Software Conserves Energy in Multiple-Pump Systems

Pumps & Systems, Sep. 2015, by Kurt Bihler.

"Each adjustable speed drive can find its own set point independently without stressing the entire system. Process control through traditional adjustable speed drives (ASDs) with centrifugal pumps has an inherent problem of attempting to use a linear equation to solve a non-linear problem. Common ASD controller software provides an estimated speed to achieve a desired set point. But when the target speed is reached with this method, the set point is not available because the answer is on an unknown non-linear curve."

Pond Loop for Ice Refrigeration

ASHRAE Journal, Sep 2015, by Jason Larosh.

2015 ASHRAE Technology Award Case Studies:
"The pond loop geothermal refrigeration system at the Janesville Ice Arena uses an adjacent pond as thermal storage to pull heat from and reject heat to the ice sheet refrigeration system. Other improvements to the arena include a new ice sheet and hot water heating system."

City Sewage Energy Recovery

North American Clean Energy, Jul/Aug 2015, by Erwin Schwartz B.Eng. is the President at DDI Heat Exchangers.

"Municipal wastewater heat recovery is a system in which a heat exchanger transfers heat energy from the sewer waste water to a solution of water and antifreeze (ethylene glycol). A heat pump then uses the heat of this solution to heat buildings, preheat domestic hot water, and heat garages in the winter and also cool the space in the summer."

The Good News On Renewables — Unleashing Innovation: Energy Report

iBloomBerg Reports, Sept. 14, 2015.

"In February 2013, California energy officials sat down with power-industry executives to figure out how to avert an approaching calamity: The rapid rollout of wind and solar electricity was stressing the state’s grid. The more renewable energy California added, the more its power supply could be whipsawed by a cloudy day or a windy storm. Some at the meeting warned that problems, such as rolling brownouts, could start to show up later that year. ...Plenty of risks still remain. But the fact that the grid has been able to handle more renewables than previously thought is driving massive changes through the industry. One of the places it is being felt most acutely is among utilities."


The Energy Newsbriefs Blog is a continuation of the weekly Energy Newsbriefs. Please bookmark this site and return frequently. Although we will not be accepting comments from within the Blog, we would be happy to hear from you by email at