By Marilyn A. Brown, Julia S. Kelley, and Melissa K. Voss
Increasing emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are predicted to lead to significant global warming and possibly undesirable environmental effects by the middle of the next century. These gases trap solar energy that is reradiated from the earth's surface, raising its temperature. The gasescarbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)are emitted as the result of a wide range of anthropogenic activities, including the production and conversion of energy from fossil fuels, the operation of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, coal mining, domestic sewage treatment, and the manufacture of cement and nylon. To slow global warming, technologies are being developed, promoted, and deployed to reduce these emissions.
Julia Kelley (left), Melissa Voss, and Marilyn Brown examine the latest issue of the CADDET Newsletter, which covers the work of the Center for the Analysis and Dissemination of Demonstrated Energy Technologies.
To make a practical response to global environmental issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, it is recognized that international collaboration is needed. Because of the accelerating pace of technology innovation and the increasingly interconnected world economy, national efforts to adapt to global environmental challenges are no longer sufficient. Through international collaboration, scarce resources can be shared and technological solutions can be adapted and replicated.
Several international cooperative agreements are now in place to accelerate worldwide deployment of technologies that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and ORNL staff perform work in support of these agreements. Because energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies have vast potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, much of the support for these international activities comes from DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which funds the ORNL work. In supporting these activities, DOE recognizes the importance of developing foreign as well as domestic markets for new and improved high-efficiency and renewable energy technologies produced in the United States. Widespread deployment of these technologies should reduce energy costs to consumers, improve the nation's standard of living, increase energy security, and enhance environmental quality.
Because of its exploding population, increasing buying power, and growing energy consumption, the developing world is a key market for energy-efficiency and renewable energy technologies. The two main forces driving energy demand in developing countries have been population growth and economic development. The growth in energy use has for some time been fastest in developing countries. In the past decade, for instance, the demand for energy in the developing world has grown by 49%, compared with a 14% increase in the developed world. At these rates of growth, the World Energy Council Commission estimated in 1993 that, by 2010, developing countries will account for the major part of the world's greenhouse gas emissions from burning fuels.
To date, 150 countries have signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which commits them to work toward controlling and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, there is a sizeable commitment around the world to implementing greenhouse gas mitigation technologies. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has established a number of information centers that assist the efforts of these countries. ORNL's role in supporting one of these centersthe Greenhouse Gas Technology Information Exchange (GREENTIE)is the primary focus of this article, although ORNL's involvement with two other IEA activities is also highlighted.
The IEA was created in 1974 within the framework of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It implements an international
energy program of cooperation aimed at reducing the excessive dependence on oil
among its 23 member countries, through energy conservation, development of
alternative energy sources, and energy research and development. Activities are
set up under "implementing agreements" that provide the legal mechanisms and
management structure for collaboration.
These shaded countries currently participate in GREENTIE.
Greenhouse gas technologies include a wide array of options for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Two energy-efficiency approaches are being taken to abate the large emissions of carbon dioxide from combustion of fossil fuels. First, advanced technologies are being developed to improve the efficiency with which stored energy is converted to useful energy. For example, pressurized fluidized-bed combustion is gaining favor as an energy source because it extracts more heat from burning coal than do other coal-combustion methods for generating electricity. As a result of its high thermal efficiency, pressurized fluidized-bed combustion emits less carbon dioxide per unit of energy produced than do other types of coal power plants. Other examples include gas turbine technologies and fuel cells.
Second, to further reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel
combustion, technologies are being developed to improve the efficiency with
which energy is consumed in various applications. Examples of these end-use
efficiency improvements include compact fluorescent lighting, adjustable-speed
electric motors and drives, pulse combustion boilers, and compressed natural
Technologies for reducing methane emissions are similarly diverse, reflecting the wide range of anthropogenic sources of emissions: natural gas systems, coal mining, waste disposal, wastewater treatment, and domesticated livestock. Examples of methane-reducing technologies include detection of leaks of methane from and repair of natural gas pipelines, improved oil and natural gas compressor operations, and installation of landfill gas recovery systems.
This new implementing agreement was created in response to IEA member nations' concerns about the global rise in temperature caused by manmade changes in the composition of the atmosphere and to their questions about appropriate remedial action. Currently, 19 member countries participate in this IEA implementing agreement: 13 are members of IEA/OECD and the remaining nations are developing countries. By extending membership to non-IEA countries, GREENTIE is acknowledging the fact that the developing world must be part of any internationally effective program to abate greenhouse gas emissions. The GREENTIE Center in the Netherlands acts as a focal point for information and technology sharing among these 19 countries.
Each of the 19 member countries participates in IEA GREENTIE on a cost- and
task-shared basis. Member countries are establishing GREENTIE Liaison Groups
(GLGs) of experts to collect information on organizations in their countries
that wish to promote their organizational capabilities free of charge
internationally. Each GLG also promotes GREENTIE within its country and
provides assistance to users. The U.S. GREENTIE Liaison Group was established
by DOE in 1995, with assistance from ORNL.
The GREENTIE directory facilitates the international exchange of information on greenhouse gas technology options. It also enables the GREENTIE Center and member countries to prepare customized "supplier information packages" in response to international inquiries on greenhouse gas technologies. Inquirers to the GREENTIE Center receive information about technology options and companies located in the United States and other member countries that can meet their specific needs. This information forges links between motivated potential buyers and prospective member country suppliers.
The capabilities of organizations listed in the IEA GREENTIE directory are categorized.
Under the GREENTIE concept, people needing information on suppliers of greenhouse gas technologies are connected to the information sources.
Included in the outlook for future GREENTIE products are (1) country-specific analyses of technology options prepared by member countries and (2) an electronic communications capability. It is anticipated that, by 1996, an Internet-based system will connect GREENTIE to existing on-line information sources such as DOE's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network. GREENTIE will then be able to offer a "smart window" to a wealth of information available globally. Potential users will be able to search the GREENTIE directory themselves, compare technologies, and contact suppliers.
Ultimately, the combination of a directory of information on suppliers, customized supplier information packages, country-specific technology analyses, and liaison group activities will expedite the worldwide dissemination of information on cost-effective technologies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
JULIA S. KELLEY is a project manager in the Integrated Project Management Section of Information Management Services in Lockheed Martin Energy Systems. She received her master's degree in library and information science from the University of Kentucky in 1987. Following a position as a research librarian at the Knoxville News-Sentinel, she joined ORNL in 1991. She is a member of the Amercian Society for Information Science.
MELISSA K. VOSS is a marketing analyst in the Efficiency and Renewables Research Section of ORNL's Energy Division. Her work includes creating outreach materials that promote energy-efficient technologies at ORNL's Buildings Technology Center and implementing marketing strategies for three International Energy Agency programs. In 1993, she received a master of business administration degree in marketing from Western Illinois University and began working at ORNL. She is a member of the American Marketing Association.
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