Washington

The City of Tacoma expanded its electricity generating capacity by more than 3.6 megawatts, thanks to support from EERE. The funding EERE provided allowed Tacoma to exploit unused water flow by installing two turbine units to a dam within Tacoma Power’s Cushman Hydroelectric Project. The extra capacity is enough to power about 2,000 homes for a year.

EERE funds also contributed to the development of technology that allows fish to breach dams safely, which has revived the endangered steelhead and salmon populations of Washington state.

Partners: City of Tacoma

Funding: $4.67 million

Benefits: Increased hydroelectric power generation. City of Tacoma expands hydroelectric dam to produce more than 23,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually.

The use of graphene to improve lithium-ion battery capacity, life-cycle, and power is a discovery made possible by support from the DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office.

The partnership between Vorbeck Materials, Princeton University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory resulted in high-performing batteries that can charge up a smartphone in 10 minutes or an electric vehicle in a few hours. This exciting advancement earned a spot amongst R&D magazine’s R&D 100 award winners in 2012.

Features like this will help electric vehicle adoption reach an all-time high, and act as a foundation for technology improvements that will add to the more than 83,000 jobs in Washington State’s clean energy economy.

Partners: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Vorbeck Materials Corp, Princeton University

Funding: $300,000

Benefits: EERE-supported graphene nanostructures increases capacity of batteries, improves performance and convenience of electric vehicles.

Prior to EERE’s support, EnerG2 had to outsource much of its materials production to facilities in Asia. But with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds made available by EERE, the firm built a new plant and hired domestic manufacturers to supply the advanced, nano-engineered carbon materials needed to develop batteries and other energy storage devices for hybrid and EV vehicles. EnerG2 hired 35 permanent employees to work at the plant, and created 200 temporary jobs during its construction.

The new batteries help reduce fossil fuel consumption and pollution, and EnerG2 is on track to produce enough carbon materials to equip 60,000 electric drive vehicles each year. These batteries enable electric drive vehicles to consume less petroleum and produce less pollution than conventional vehicles. At full capacity, the EnerG2 plant will produce enough advanced carbon material to produce 60,000 electric drive vehicles each year.

Partners: EnerG2, State of Washington State Energy Program

Funding: $21.3M

Benefits: EnerG2’s new plant will produce enough advanced carbon material to produce 60,000 electric drive vehicles each year.

Solar Energy Technologies Office funded a partnership between BARR Engineering, Diver Solar LLC, Oregon State University, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to enhance the electric generation capacity of solar plants.

Together, the team created the Solar Thermochemical Advanced Reactor System, or STARS, which uses sunlight to convert natural gas into a more energy-rich fuel called syngas that power plants can burn to generate electricity.

SETO funds supported the sophisticated engineering involved in constructing STARS, which turned an impressive 69 percent of the solar energy that reached the system into chemical energy. STARS’ world-record setting conversion rate won it a 2014 R&D 100 Award.

The technology in STARS is relevant to a range of projects, including those under the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, and NASA, and is ripe for commercialization.

Partners: BARR Engineering, Diver Solar LLC, Oregon State University, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

Funding: $3.5 million

Benefits: Solar Thermochemical Advanced Reactor System, or STARS, converts natural gas and sunlight into a more energy-rich fuel called syngas, which power plants can burn to make electricity.