About craig1949

A specialist in securing grants and loan guarantees to help commercialize promising technologies and find private sector financing for renewable and energy efficient businesses and shovel-ready projects. Have raised over $195 million in grants and loan guarantees. Successful lobbyist: Accomplishments include Rail-to-Trails enabling legislation, allowing abandoned railroad rights of way to be converted to trails (1982); contributions to 2002 and 2008 U.S. Farm Bill conservation and energy programs; improvements to the 2005 and 2007 U.S. Energy Policy grant and loan guarantee programs; incentives for private landowners to maintain endangered species habitat; implementation of land conservation programs; and a co-creator of Florida's innovative Rural Lands Stewardship Program (chapter 163.3177(11)(d), Florida Statutes), using market forces to protect environmental resources and accommodate development in clustered patterns, allowing landowners who maintain and protect natural resources to share in profits earned by development on other lands Project leader of two innovative wildlife and wetland restoration projects using "created wetlands" and phytoremedian to replace traditional sewage treatment settling ponds that removed a farm from development, expanded the water utility district's sewage treatment capacity and created a vibrant bird habitat and tourist attraction Author of multiple fiscal and economic impact studies

Wind Energy is Growth is Accelerating

Quietly, persistently, and completely imperceptibly to folks who don’t drive the nation’s flatlands often, wind power has become a significant force. Wind energy supplied 4.7 percent of the total electricity generated in the U.S. in 2015, according to the Global Wind Energy Council and the U.S. Energy Information Administration. And in 12 states (including Maine, Colorado and North Dakota), 10 percent or more of the state’s electric power generated comes from wind power (Iowa leads with 31 percent).

Sprawling chains of wind farms—some covering hundreds of acres, some consisting of a few dozen wind turbines—have sprung up in large numbers, turning a perpetually renewable resource into an industry that’s significantly reducing the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels.

There are now more than 53,000 utility-scale wind turbines operating in 41 states plus Guam and Puerto Rico, according to the American Wind Energy Association, and they are producing power sufficient to fill the energy needs of 25 million homes.

Although wind power has been used for centuries (to pump water and to power simple machines and milling operations, for example), not until 1887 was a windmill used to produce electricity—in Scotland first, and a few months later in Cleveland. Both were for private use. For the next several decades, wind power was primarily a single-use application on farms and ranches and for small business power backup. In the 1970s, when concern about reliance on foreign sources of fuel escalated, a concerted effort to press forward the potential of wind power began. The U.S. government partnered with a nascent industry (which had been serving mostly back-to-the-land groups) to develop turbines appropriate for large-scale commercial use.

Now miles of sleek, tall towers and spinning blades dot the rural landscape. In fact, eight of the largest wind farms in the world are in this country, five of them in Texas. Other states that are producing a great deal of wind power are California, Iowa, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Oregon, Colorado, Washington, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

Wind employment increased by 32 percent in 2016, employing more than 100,000 workers, and experts from all arenas believe this trajectory will continue.

The American Wind Energy Association is predicting that this low-cost, zero-emission energy will be supplying 20 percent of U.S. electricity by 2030. And because of the strong domestic supply chain, the U.S, Department of Energy (DOE), in its “Wind Vision Report,” noted that wind has the potential to support more than 600,000 U.S. jobs in manufacturing, installation, maintenance and supporting services by 2050.

This number, some might argue, is a relatively small workforce compared to some other industries. But employment potential is not the only upside of harnessing this energy source. Wind energy reduces air pollution, preserves the water resources that would be used by the electric power sector, and increases community revenues, the DOE report notes.

These are among the factors that motivate those of us at Renewable Energy Consulting Services (RECS) to help bring wind power projects to fruition.


Renewable Energy is Adding Jobs 12 Faster Than the Rest of the Economy

A great deal of misinformation is floating about regarding just how important leading-edge energy technologies are to our economy.

The fact is, a new energy infrastructure has emerged in the United States, and the U.S. is now, by every international measure, the world leader in energy innovation. That means recently developed and currently emerging technologies are—and will continue to be—extremely important.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report, jobs in the renewable energy sector—which includes solar and wind technologies, plus hydrogen, biofuel, fuel cells, and energy-conserving technologies—grew by 18 percent between the second quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016. Renewable energy technologies are now providing direct employment for 3.38 million Americans (compared to the fossil fuel industry, which provides jobs for 2.89 million people).

Even more notable, according to the DOE, the renewable energy industry is adding jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the economy even as the fossil fuel industry is losing jobs (in the years between 2012 and 2015, that industry experienced a job reduction of 4.5 percent).

The solar workforce increased by 25 percent last year and wind employment increased by 32 percent. As of 2016, about 374,000 worked for solar firms and 102,000 had jobs at wind firms across the country. And the financial commitment is huge: the wind industry’s investment in wind projects in recent years amounts to $143 billion, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Virtually all experts are predicting these technologies will continue to grow—expanding their bases and employing more people—as each becomes more affordable and accessible.

All this growth in innovative clean energy fields during the last 10 to 15 years has resulted in 41 states now having more jobs in renewable energy technologies than in fossil fuels.

As attention in Washington focuses now on stimulating job creation and growth in the fossil fuel industries, those efforts should not come at the expense of the momentum that has been building in recent years in the energy growth areas.

Four of the budget bills introduced in the past few weeks Congress — House bill H.R. 3266 and Senate bill S. 1609 which set forth the 2018 fiscal year budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and H.R. 3268 and S. 1603 which detail the FY2018 budget for the DOE – propose the elimination of all programs supporting renewable energy and energy innovation.

We at Renewable Energy Consulting Services (RECS) believe that would be an unfortunate development for the well-being of our planet and our national economy.

Renewable Energy Programs Are Being Eliminated in the 2018 Federal Budget


capitol-sunset-hdr-5-pixRenewable Energy Programs Are Being Eliminated in the 2018 Federal Budget

Three federal loan guarantee programs that have helped advance hundreds of innovative energy projects in recent years are on the chopping block. This is a troubling development for those who believe the U.S. should be moving ever faster toward finding alternative energy sources, not creating barriers.

Bills introduced in July in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate eliminated the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Title 17 Loan Guarantee Program (House bill H.R. 3266 and Senate bill S. 1609). Also, funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Business Service (RBS) and its Sections 9003 and 9007 loan guarantee programs will be wiped out if H.R. 3268 and S. 1603 pass as currently framed. The Title 17 and Section 9003 funding programs have long been regarded as critical to spurring new energy ideas into being since conventional bank loans are rarely granted to first-of-a-kind projects because of the risk they will fail or not operate properly the first time they are deployed.

The Section 9007 program provides support to rural communities, businesses and farmers to install renewable energy and energy efficiency systems to reduce energy costs.

The DOE Title 17 Loan Guarantee Program was created by Congress in 2005 to remove the obstacles in obtaining loans for the first commercial deployments of American energy project by establishing a $40 billion revolving loan fund.  The bills would do away with the $17 million it costs annually to administer that fund. Some elected officials are suggesting that because Senate bill S. 1609 includes a $40 million increase in funding over the past two years for DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), transformational energy projects will continue to emerge. However, without the path to commercialization that the loan guarantee program has provided, many cutting-edge ideas can never come to fruition.

Even worse, there are more than $41 billion in capital projects under review that will create 75,000 jobs that would be stopped in their tracks if these bills become law.

As for the USDA programs: 17 projects are now in Phase 2 of review for Section 9003 loan guarantees that total $1.3 billion.  The projects being reviewed originate in 11 states across the U.S.—from Florida to Hawaii and from Georgia to Oregon.  Moreover, there are 781 grant applications for Section 9007 Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) grants, totaling $53.2 million, and 823 applications for guaranteed loan applications totaling $11.6 million. The individuals and companies that have applied for a USDA grant or a loan represent most of the 50 states.

Any reduction or cessation in funding for these important loan guarantees or grants from DOE and USDA will almost certainly create a barrier sufficiently intractable that many good ideas will not be able to take flight in the foreseeable future. Moreover, many job-creating projects currently under review would be brought to a halt.

If you want  to weigh in on this matter with your elected officials—and timing is urgent because Congress begins its August recess soon—you can find the phone number of your senators or      representatives at https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm or https://www.house.gov/representatives/.

Although it might seem an outdated approach in these times of electronic communication, experts say it’s more impactful if you call rather than email or text, even if you’re routed to voicemail.    

Visit Our New Blog

WordPressRECSBanner - 2 - with lettering

We have a new blog.

The blog continues to feature information on energy innovations and inspirations, but now covers a much greater number of subjects, including renewable energy and energy efficiency advancements, notices of new grant and loan guarantee opportunities, and news briefs related to the environment, plastic pollution in the oceans, and climate change.

The new blog can be viewed at: www.renewableenergydotconsulting.wordpress.com

New Energy Storage Innovations


By Craig Evans, Renewable Energy Consulting Services, www.renewable-energy.consulting

Three new types of batteries could change the renewable energy world. These include:

  • Aquion’s low-cost sodium-ion battery, for which Aquion recently raised $55 million of venture capital funding from investors including Bill Gates and has just finished installing its first commercial-scale production line in a former Sony TV factory near Pittsburgh.
  • The inexpensive, high capacity “Organic Battery” recently developed at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; and
  • Sugar batteries being developed by Virginia Tech, the Tokyo University of Science and CFD Research Corporation in Huntsville, Alabama.

Energy storage also is poised to get a big push:

  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is actively working to promote grid energy storage; and
  • Two bills promoting energy storage are pending in Congress, H.R. 1465 and S. 1030 which offer tax credits for three categories of energy storage facilities.


The need for energy storage in the electric grid is increasing as a result of the growing use of renewable power generation, which varies with wind and solar conditions.  The proliferation of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids also contributes to the growing interest in grid storage, and the need for cheaper, more efficient, more environmentally friendly batteries.

DOE released a report to Congress in December that identifies the benefits of grid energy storage, the challenges that must be addressed to enable broader use, and the efforts of DOE, in conjunction with industry and other government organizations, to meet those challenges.

The challenges are: (1) a limited portfolio of cost competitive energy storage technologies; (2) the lack of processes for evaluating and reporting the performance of existing storage systems on a unified basis; (3) inequities in the regulatory environment, which tend to mute the case for investment in energy storage; and (4) the lack of industry acceptance due to uncertainty about how storage technologies will perform over time.

The new batteries have the potential to not only meet the grid’s energy storage challenge, but to provide business, industry, homeowners and consumers with affordable energy storage options.

Here’s a brief overview of the new battery technologies:


Aquion’s sodium-ion battery: This battery will compete in price with a lead-acid battery—one of the cheapest types of battery available—yet will last more than twice as long.  While lead is toxic and the sulfuric-acid electrolyte in lead-acid batteries is potentially dangerous, Aquion’s battery is made of inexpensive materials including manganese oxide and water, which the inventor, Carnegie Mellon professor of materials science and engineering Jay Whittaker, says are safe enough to eat—adding however that they taste terrible.

The battery operates much like a lithium-ion battery, in which lithium ions shuttle between electrodes to create electrical current. But the new battery uses sodium ions instead of lithium ones, which makes it possible to use a salt water electrolyte instead of the more expensive—and flammable—electrolytes used in lithium-ion batteries. 

The trade-off is that the batteries store less energy by weight and volume than lithium-ion batteries do, so they’re not practical for cars or portable electronics. But space isn’t an issue for stationary applications, where batteries can be stacked in warehouses or shipping containers.

By providing an affordable way to store solar power for use at night or during cloudy weather, the technology will provide a workable a solution to grid energy storage.  It also will allow isolated populations to get electricity from renewable energy.


Harvard’s Organic Flow Battery:  Harvard University researchers also have developed a new type of battery that could make it economical to store as much as two or three days of electricity from wind, solar and other intermittent sources of power. The battery is based on an organic molecule—called a quinone—that’s found in plants such as rhubarb and can be cheaply synthesized from crude oil. The molecules could significantly reduce the cost of energy storage materials in a type of battery called a flow battery, which is particularly well suited to storing large amounts of energy.

Flow batteries store energy in liquid form in large tanks. Such batteries have been in use for decades to help manage the power grid.  But they’re expensive, about $700 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of storage capacity.  Harvard’s organic flow battery is projected to cost only $27 per kWh, well below the $100 per kWh threshold at which DOE says it becomes economical to store hours of energy from wind and solar farms.

For a homeowner, a day’s worth of energy generated from wind or solar panels could be stored in a flow battery the size of a typical propane or heating oil tank.

The Harvard work is the first time that researchers have demonstrated high-performance flow batteries that use organic molecules instead of metal ions. The technology now faces grueling tests to assess its degradation rate over thousands of cycles (to address DOE’s challenge #4), with early tests indicating no signs of degradation.

CDFRC sugar battery

Sugar batteries:  Virginia Tech’s Prof. Y.H. Percival Zhang is leading research into batteries that run on sugar, which will make them both refillable and biodegradable.  The sugar batteries will have a higher energy density and cost less than rechargeable lithium batteries, which lose their ability to hold a charge after a while, and are considered toxic waste once discarded.  Researchers at the Tokyo University of Science also are working on sugar batteries.

Zhang envisions users refilling the batteries with sugar when they need refueling, “much like filling a printer cartridge with ink.” He hopes they may be powering electronic devices in as little as three years.

The CFD Research Corporation in Huntsville, Alabama, has developed and patented a novel Bio-Battery that can convert a single packet of sugar into the enery equivalent to that found in a six-pack of AA batteries.  CFDRC was awarded a $750,000 contract in September 2013 from the U.S. Air Force to further advance the Bio-Battery by extending the platform to more fuel choices and developing a novel paper-based passive fuel pumping system.  The batteries can be recharged using a sugar solution or even a can of soda.

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Vapor Drive: “The Little Engine That Could” … revolutionize power equipment

By Craig Evans, Renewable Energy Consulting Services, www.renewable-energy.consulting

AGP Energy logoVaporDrive Technology

VaporDrive:  “Putting the Power Back into Power Equipment”


TODAY’S SMALL COMBUSTION ENGINE is at best only 60% efficient in converting energy from fuel consumed into work completed. 

The innovative VaporDrive engine is 95% in overall efficiency.  It has only 13 moving parts (see illustration below).  It is powered by a 42-volt battery system, which is largely recharged during operation of the engine; as a result, the engine burns no fossil fuels, consumes no oxygen, and is nonpolluting.

The VaporDrive is a new, easily-scalable, highly improved steam vapor engine based on traditional steam engine technology with modern enhancements in recirculating design, using highly dependable, durable and cost efficient advances in metallurgy, physics, geometry, chemistry and electronics.  The engine is closed loop, self-storing and recycling, and uses injected vapor as a fuel source for the work to be performed.

VaporDrive Fly Apart

The VaporDrive engine can be dropped in to existing products with few or no design modifications.  Its initial target market, therefore, is as an engine replacement for portable gasoline- and diesel-powered generators, water and sewage pumps and other workhorse engines that require long-running durability.  Because of its plug-and-play design, it offers Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) the opportunity to make change incrementally, trying out the engine component in one or two product lines, then as consumer acceptance and demand increases, expanding to other lines.

VaporDrive has the additional benefit of offering more power and significant cost savings, since the VaporDrive can provide twice as much power as a gasoline engine and 60% more power than a diesel engine on a cubic inch displacement and weight basis, and can run as much as four times longer than standard gasoline- or diesel-powered engines without topping off its fuel supply.

Future expansion will include lawn and garden equipment, aircraft main power units, air compressors, heavy-duty self-propelled equipment, servo motors, recharging stations and specialty pumps.

Refined by a metallurgist who designed and produced high-performance parts for NASA shuttle boosters and the Long Duration Effects Facility (the LDEF Space Lab), VaporDrive has been proven in component and bench scale tests.

VaporDrive’s licensed owner, AGP Energy, is seeking  $1.7 million to build a working prototype to begin marketing the engine to OEMs.

For more information on the VaporDrive engine, please contact me at www.energy-inspirations/contact-us. 


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The Amazing Edison2 Very Light Car

Website Car Comparison

The Edison2 Very Light Car (VLC) — the original design (left) that won the X Prize and the next generation VLC (right)

By Craig Evans, Renewable Energy Consulting Services, www.energy-inspirations.com, using excerpts from the Edison2 website:

Edison2 at heart and in spirit is a racing team. Racing as in Le Mans, Sebring and Daytona. The team is made up of designers, engineers, mechanics, builders and drivers of very fast, championship-caliber cars, who engaged in a race – the X Prize – to build a highly efficient, safe, and well-performing automobile.  They succeeded.

One hundred and eleven teams from around the world entered the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize in 2008, and in September 2010 Edison2 was awarded the top prize, winning the Mainstream class and with it $5 million.

The X Prize combined a simple goal with demanding requirements. The goal: a car with mileage greater than 100 MPGe. The requirements: 4 passengers, 4 wheels, range exceeding 200 miles, 0-60 in less than 15 seconds, meeting Consumers Union dynamic safety standards and Tier 2 Bin 8 emissions.

In the rigorous Mainstream class only two cars could even make the finals: Edison2’s #97 and #98 Very Light Cars.

The Very Light Car (VLC) is a reflection the Edison2 team’s background.  The team understands how to make a car light and aerodynamic since these are two ingredients of any successful race car. They know how to make a light car strong and safe, evidenced by race drivers walking away from very high-speed collisions. They also realize the value of simplicity of design and clarity of function.

Edison2 combines sound physics with innovative design to produce workable and sustainable transportation solutions through the absolute virtues of low weight and low aerodynamic drag.  The VLC – a low-mass vehicle using mostly recyclable aluminum and steel – also requires little energy in production and avoids scarce and hazardous materials.

For the X Prize, the team anticipated developing a hybrid or electric vehicle – hence the name, Edison2 – but their studies on efficiency led them away from the significant added weight of batteries to a one-cylinder, 250cc internal combustion engine fueled by E85.

Weighing just 830 pounds with a drag coefficient of 0.160 – lowest ever recorded at the GM Aero Lab for a 4 passenger car – the X Prize VLC achieved 110 MPGe (combined) and 129 MPGe (highway) at the X Prize.  It also posted a peak lateral acceleration of 1.18g on a skid pad, the fastest speed through the double lane change, and shortest stopping distance (128 feet) from 60 – 0 (Consumers Union).

In 2011 Edison2 decided to build an electric VLC, using off the shelf batteries, motor and controller, which was tested at Roush Laboratories in Michigan.  The all-electric VLC was rated at 350 MPGe in the EPA combined cycle – a new EPA fuel economy record, according to Consumer Reports.  This makes the Edison2 the most efficient 4-person electric car on the planet; it also may well be the technology that enables widespread adoption of EVs. 

Through light weight and low aerodynamic drag the VLC requires very little energy to move – only 5.3 hp to cruise at 60 mph – which means a small battery pack (10.5 kWh, compared with the Nissan Leaf’s 24 kWh) and a short recharging time. In fact, the eVLC can completely recharge in less than 7 hours from any ordinary 110V outlet, and has a 100+ mile range.

VLCs are incredibly efficient regardless of how they are powered.  The X Prize was won with a 250 cc internal combustion engine running on E85.  Edison2s electric VLC set a new standard for 4-person electric cars on the EPA 5-cycle test (combined), and a VLC with a Smart Car drivetrain recorded 89 MPG (highway), compared to 41 in the Smart.

Edison2 incorporates many safety innovations from racing into the Very Light Car. A strong steel cage encompasses the passenger compartment. Unlike the rectangular shape of contemporary cars, the diamond shape of the VLC deflects forces on impact, which means that the most common collisions become indirect. Also, additional collapsible space for impact absorption is designed into the VLC, by having the wheels outside of the frame, for example.

Since winning the X Prize, the Edison2 team has been working in their Lynchburg, Virginia facility on a stunning new version of the VLC. Although the next generation VLC uses the same architecture and virtues of efficiency that won Edison2 the X Prize, it is a completely new vehicle. It is designed to be capable of meeting regulatory requirements (beyond 2025 CO2 and MPG regulations), and will have production-car fit-and-finish, safety, comfort and handling at an affordable price.

For additional information on Edison2, please contact me at www.energy-inspirations/contact-us

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