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Targeting clean energy

By Chemical Engineering |

Last month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the approval of New York’s Clean Energy Standard, which according to the governor’s office is “the most comprehensive and ambitious clean energy mandate in the state’s history, to fight climate change, reduce harmful air pollution, and ensure a diverse and reliable energy supply.” With the trends in climate change, such as the recent news that July of this year was the warmest month on earth ever recorded, the arguments to reduce carbon emissions and support renewable energy grow stronger.

The new standard will require 50% of New York’s electricity to come from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, by 2030. This mandate is considered to be critical in reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA; www.awea.org), four other states — Oregon, Hawaii, California and Vermont — also have a goal to reach 50% or more of their electricity needs from renewable sources.

In addition to environmental advantages, renewable energy standards are also seen as having a positive economic impact. According to the AWEA, growing wind energy in New York has already attracted $3.4 billion in capital investments, and wind power supports up to 2,000 jobs. And in nearby Pennsylvania, over 8,800 jobs are attributed to renewable energy due to growth in the wind, solar and low-impact hydroelectric industries, according to the report, “Clean Jobs in Pennsylvania,” which was released in July by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) and The Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance (KEEA).

 

The CPI and renewable energy

The growing movement toward renewable energy has caused some of the chemical process industries (CPI) to rethink their portfolios. Traditional oil-and-gas companies, and others, are incorporating technologies related to renewable energy into their plans. For example, Total S.A. (Paris; www.total.com), a leading oil-and-gas company, recently acquired Saft (Bagnolet, France; www.saftbatteries.com), a high-technology battery manufacturer, for around €950 million. Total had already proven its commitment to renewable energy with its strategic relationship with Sunpower (San Jose, Calif.; www.us.sunpower.com), formed in 2011.

One of the biggest challenges in renewable energy is the ability to store electric energy and make it available as needed on demand. In announcing Total’s intent to acquire Saft this spring, Total’s chairman and CEO, Patrick Pouyanné recognized electricity storage solutions as “a key component of the future growth of renewable energy.”

Work on storage technologies is a fast-growing area where chemical engineers, chemists and other scientists are making great strides. A look at the informative Newsfront in this issue, “Redox Flow Batteries Charge Forward,” p.14, gives an impression of the breadth of work going on in this area.

 

In this issue

This issue’s wide array of topics includes a two-part cover story on wastewater treatment, a two-part feature on pumps, news stories on industrial mobile applications and on advances in drying equipment, an article on design of experiments, a preview of the Weftec show and much more. As always, we hope you enjoy reading. ■

Dorothy Lozowski, Editor in Chief

 

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