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Industrial Ecology: U.S.-Japan Perspectives APPENDIX C U.S. Department of Energy Programs The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has several ongoing programs that are expected to be environmentally beneficial.1 They are in the following areas: ENERGY CONSERVATION The Energy Conservation Program is directed at developing technologies to improve end-use energy efficiency in major industrial and utility sectors. Total funding for the program in FY92 was $536 million. Approximately half of the program's activity is directed at technology development, while the remainder is targeted at helping transfer the technology into the marketplace at the state and local levels. Specific R&D programs include the following: The Building Technologies Program—To improve energy efficiency in both new and existing commercial and residential buildings. Activities include work in materials and structures, lighting, heating and cooling, indoor air quality, integrating renewable energy sources, and building systems. The Industrial Technologies Program—To improve processes that will reduce or reuse waste energy and materials. Activities include work in advanced drying processes for paper and textiles, heat pumps, steelmaking, sensors for on-line measurement, and conversion of waste wood, plastic and biomass to feedstock chemicals. The Transportation Technologies Program—To improve efficiency through advanced vehicle technologies capable of using alternative fuels; the development of cost-effective, low-polluting fuels; and the associated infrastructure. Work includes development of high-temperature diesels and automotive gas turbines, advanced ceramic components for those engines, fuel cells, battery development, and electric-hybrid automotive systems. The Utility Technologies Program—To provide technical and financial assistance for demand and resource management and planning at the district level. RENEWABLE ENERGY PROGRAM The Renewable Energy Program is directed at investigating technologies for which the environmental impact is beneficial in some respects but, on the whole, uncertain and controversial. For example, hydropower emits virtually no carbon dioxide, sulfur or nitrogen oxides, or other atmospheric pollutants. On the other hand, it disrupts the ecosystems of the river downstream. Total funding for this program in 1992 was $203.7 million, which included work in the following areas: Photovoltaic Systems—Research on materials, equipment, and systems, with particular emphasis on utility applications. Biofuels Energy Systems—Research on liquid transportation fuels, electricity generation by utilities, and combustion of municipal solid waste. Solar Thermal Energy Systems—Research on thermal-electric generation and industrial direct thermal applications. 1 From Federal R&D in Environmental Technologies, Congressional Research Services Report prepared for the Senate Government Affairs Committee, July 21, 1992.
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Industrial Ecology: U.S.-Japan Perspectives Geothermal—Research on techniques for identifying and characterizing geothermal resources, in addition to drilling and generation technologies. Wind Energy Systems—Research on wind flow patterns near turbine installations; interaction between wind and turbine; and advanced equipment components. Ocean Energy Systems—Research on technical data and models to aid industry in evaluating potential commercial projects. Solar Building Technology—Research on direct thermal systems for displacing conventional energy use in residential and small commercial buildings. Energy Storage Systems—Research on inexpensive energy storage that would make intermittent renewable sources, such as solar or wind, more economically viable. COAL RESEARCH PROGRAMS DOE sponsors both the Clean Coal Technology Program and the Coal Research and Development Program with a combined budget of $694 million in 1992. The Clean Coal Technology Program focuses on demonstration of new technologies that extract energy from coal more efficiently, such as fluidized bed combustion (coal is burned in a bed of sand and limestone suspended by compressed air) and various method for removing acid-rain pollutants from flue gases. The Coal Research and Development Program focuses on technologies that are not as yet ready to be demonstrated but have potential environmental benefits, such as coal cleaning, flue-gas desulfurization, and fuel cells. NUCLEAR PROGRAMS The Nuclear Waste Fund and the Nuclear Energy R&D program focus on developing waste transportation, storage, and disposal technologies; examination of the environmental and safety aspects of the advanced liquid metal reactor concept; and the development of methods to assess severe accidents for the advanced light water reactor. MAGNETIC FUSION ENERGY PROGRAM This program focuses on developing a technology base to ensure that environmental consequences of fusion power reactors are minimized. Control and disposal of activation products and computer codes to assess environmental aspects of potential reactors are major areas of concern.
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