ERG Biofuels Analysis Meta-Model (EBAMM)

The ERG Biofuel Analysis Meta-Model (EBAMM) was developed by students and faculty of the Energy and Resources Group and Richard & Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley to review the current state of ethanol energy analyses. This project has resulted a publication and a freely-downloadable spreadsheet model that are available on the project's web page.

We are currently extending this work to model a variety of biofuel pathways, including Braziian sugarcane ethanol, "advanced" corn, and an array of biorefinery alternatives. We are also preparing a comparison of biodiesel life-cycle analyses.

See the project webpage

Island Microgrid Design

RAEL is designing and implementing low-carbon energy microgrids for Necker and Moskito Islands in the BVI. The natural resources available at Necker and Moskito present an excellent opportunity to move towards renewable electric power generation. In addition to the immediate local environmental benefits, powering these islands from renewable sources could meet many social goals. Most importantly, Necker and Moskito Island can serve as a case study to show the BVI government and local population that these technologies are reliable, cost effective and can be implemented thoughtfully to preserve the beautiful BVI landscape. The microgrid design on each island will involve a mix of wind and solar power, alternative energy storage and power factor correction devices. Look for more news on this high-profile project soon!
Contact: Dan Prull

Wind Energy Blueprints

We offer our consulting services as a research lab by creating renewable energy resource maps. We are using ESRI’s GIS visualization software, ArcMap to create maps of the energy resources in a given location along with geographic and political land exclusions. Work is currently underway on creating a regional wind energy blueprint for Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands area. This blueprint consists of both a comprehensive assessment of the potential for wind power in the region and also a rigorous discussion of how to best promote this resource's utilization. The gross and technical potential as well as top wind farm sites are being quantified using a wind mapping tool developed in RAEL. Future plans to create a similar blueprint for Alameda and Marin Counties are being discussed.

Image: Clip of Wind Resource Map in Santa Barbara County, CA

Contact: Dan Prull

Small Wind Turbine Testing Lab

Small-scale wind turbines help address a global need for cheap, reliable distributed energy. The market for these small (0.1 -10 kW) turbines ranges from remote off-grid locations to residential systems and grid-tied commercial applications. In recent years, the wind market has seen a rapid increase with a 28% annual growth rate and over 60 GW of installed capacity worldwide. However, small wind turbines only account for an estimated 30 MW or 0.05% of this capacity. There are several technological issues that small wind turbines face, attributing to this minute fraction of their potential installed capacity. These issues include: 1) inefficient designs compared with utility-scale counterparts, 2) consumer noise and reliability concerns, 3) non-standardized performance specifications, and 4) the lack of non-biased testing centers.
This summer, RAEL is starting a small wind test center at our new lab facility in the Richmond Field Station to address these research issues.
Each turbine tested will be evaluated based on IREC small wind performance specifications (IEC-64000) and their performance published in industry standard formatting. This evaluation will include a performance field-test, an acoustic noise field-test and a system safety and function test. In addition, for new turbine designs, our testing process will include fulfilling all requirements for addition to the Emerging Renewables Program list of small wind turbines eligible for rebates from the California Energy Commission.