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Plugging into Alternative Energy Technologies, at ANSI and Beyond

New York, Nov 05, 2010

It’s just possible that a solution to one of the world’s biggest problems can be found in the green all around us.

Inspired by the chemical reactions in leaves, scientists at the Helios project are trying to pull off technologically what plants have been doing naturally for three billion years: producing clean energy. They are working to mimic the natural process of photosynthesis, with the ultimate goal of harnessing the sun’s energy and replacing fossil fuels. The Helios project is a joint initiative of the University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) – an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) member.

Simply put, photosynthesis is the process by which green plants take in sunlight, consume carbon dioxide from the air, and use it to produce energy. The idea behind the Helios project is to build an artificial “leaf” that – using energy from the sun – could turn carbon dioxide into ethanol or another alcohol to be pumped directly into cars.

Driving the Helios project and other alternative energy initiatives is the global prioritization of solutions for the growing energy needs of a world population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. The widespread adoption of clean and renewable technologies will help to stem the energy crunch and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. ANSI is engaged in several initiatives that help to support a cleaner environment and the entry of new energy technologies into everyday life.

Electric Vehicles
Tailpipe exhaust from gasoline-run cars accounts for twenty percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Electric vehicles (EVs) run on batteries charged by common electricity and produce no emissions. As battery technology for electric vehicles continues to advance, EVs are expected to have a major impact on the overall auto industry.

ANSI is convening a standards-needs assessment workshop in the spring of 2011 to address electric vehicles. Specifically, the workshop will consider the standards and codes needed to facilitate the successful introduction and widespread acceptance and deployment of light-, medium-, and heavy-duty electric vehicles that must be connected to the electric grid for purposes of recharging. The workshop is being organized on behalf of Battelle Energy Alliance, operator of DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory. [see related news item]

Nuclear Energy
Nuclear energy can be harnessed as a clean source of power free of pollution and emissions. In fact, nuclear energy is currently used to power roughly twenty percent of the country.

To address and respond to the current needs of the nuclear industry, ANSI and the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) formed the Nuclear Energy Standards Coordination Collaborative (NESCC) in 2009. The NESCC works to facilitate the timely identification, development, and revision of standards for the design, operation, development, licensing, and deployment of nuclear power plants. Standards for other nuclear technologies, including advanced reactor concepts, will also be addressed.

The NESCC will hold its next meeting on Monday, November 22, 2010, at NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD. Participation is open to all stakeholders representing standards developing organizations, consortia and other forums, industry, government, and consumers. For more information or to register, click here.

Greenhouse Gas Reductions
With a growing global awareness of the need for environmental responsibility, many organizations are looking to demonstrate their efforts to inventory, report, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In order to assure the credibility of their claims, many organizations are turning to third-party bodies to validate and verify their emission assertions.

The ANSI offers an accreditation program for organizations providing third-party validation/verification services for the reduction and removal of GHGs. ANSI accreditation enhances the credibility and value of the process by attesting to the competence and qualification of validation/verification bodies to perform these duties. Applicable to a broad range of industries, the ANSI GHG accreditation program operates according to requirements defined in the international standards developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Emerging Energy Alternatives
An open council session on energy generation, distribution, and conservation was held on October 15 as part of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 2010 General Meeting in Seattle, hosted by the U.S. National Committee (USNC) of the IEC. The USNC is a fully integrated committee of ANSI and serves as the official U.S. representative to the IEC.

The event featured panel discussions on “hot button” energy issues led by high-level experts in such areas as electric vehicles, Smart Grid, fuel cells, solar photovoltaic energy systems, nuclear energy, and wind and wave energy. [see related news item]

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