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December 2010 Archives

There's Fuels in That Thar Sun
Turning Solar Energy into Liquid Fuels

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New Picture.pngA recently-awarded solar project, being led by University of Minnesota Solar Energy Laboratory Director Jane Davidson, involves using solar energy to produce liquid fuels.

The solar resource on Earth is massive. Needless to say, this resource is largely untapped. The research being done by Dr. Davidson's team will use this abundant solar energy to produce fuels that can be used for electricity on-demand. The fuel can also be stored in large quantities over a long period of time with minimal losses, and high electrical power can be delivered continuously. All in all, this technology will enable wider use of solar energy in fuel cells, for electricity on-demand and for transportation purposes.

Greenhouse Gases, Be Gone!
Using Geothermal for a Cleaner Atmosphere

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IREE recently funded a project, led by UMN Geology & Geophysics professor Martin Saar, which leveraged $1.5M from the Department of Energy. IREE's initial investment was $150,000. The project focuses on advancing the concept of a carbon dioxide-sequestering geothermal power plant. This type of plant would be carbon negative. That is, it would actually remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that is emitted from carbon-burning power plants and other plants that emit carbon dioxide while providing an efficient, environmentally friendly source of electricity. In addition to aiding in carbon dioxide removal and "clean" electricity, this technology would also improve the efficiency of geothermal systems, thus extending the potential use to areas currently considered unsuitable for geothermal energy extraction.

Wouldn't It Be Nice?

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Wouldn't it be nice if you could make your $100 dollars worth $400? What about if you could get a cash return on 80% of the money you spend? Since 2008, IREE has done exactly this. Through leveraging funds from various federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as a wide variety of industry partners, IREE has nearly quadrupled its investments. It has taken the $7 million from the Xcel Renewable Development Fund and, through choosing quality, cutting-edge projects and identifying viable sources of external funding, turned it into nearly $30 million. This leveraging is crucial to making the most of tax payer funds, as it allows IREE to significantly increase the impacts of state funding and facilitate more statewide economic development, more sustainable, healthy and diverse ecosystems and greater national energy security.

Read on for a couple of projects that have leveraged significant funds in the last couple of years!

  The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and not necessarily
  of the Institute on the Environment/University of Minnesota.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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