R&D Quick Hits


Facts, Figures, and Findings from EPRI Research, Reports, and Other Sources

Precise measurements of combustion gases in power plants can potentially save operators hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, an EPRI study finds. To tune boilers and optimize combustion in coal-fired power plants, plant operators periodically extract combustion gases to measure oxygen distribution, which can then be adjusted to be more uniform. Plant operators today need even more precise combustion control as they face greater competitive pressures, flexible operations, more stringent nitrogen oxide emission mandates, and the potential for carbon dioxide emission limits. This can be achieved through real-time monitoring of oxygen and carbon monoxide levels in numerous ...
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Per square foot, convenience stores are among the biggest energy users in the commercial building sector because of considerable refrigeration, lighting, and space conditioning, coupled with long operating hours. According to the 2012 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey, the 131,000 convenience stores in the United States consumed 27 billion kilowatt-hours—roughly comparable to annual electricity sales in Connecticut. While many utility efficiency programs already include offerings for convenience stores, an EPRI assessment of equipment in 24 Tennessee stores revealed further opportunities for energy savings:
  • Heating and cooling: For space heating, replace with more efficient ...
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In the city of the future, could street lights help meteorologists forecast the weather? Could they identify open parking spaces for drivers circling the neighborhood? Quite possibly, according to an EPRI study on “” lighting. A growing number of commercially available technologies can be mounted on or in street poles and street lights to provide new city services, data streams, and revenue. Potential applications and opportunities include:
  • Environmental sensors: The data could potentially be sold to weather providers, emergency services, and other parties.
  • Communication networks: Antennas and routers could expand cellular and WiFi networks.
  • Grid services: These ...
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For utilities interested in operating drones along transmission and distribution rights-of-way, an EPRI study offers this insight: A full-fledged drone program can significantly bolster wildlife, vegetation management, resource mapping, and an ever-expanding list of other environmental programs, but success depends on careful planning and evaluation of costs, risks, and limitations. Drones can be used for numerous environmental applications along rights-of-way. Examples include marking power lines to reduce bird collisions, surveying bird nests prior to line work, counting wildlife, tracking marked animals, and documenting vegetation health and intrusions into rights-of-way. Small, high-resolution cameras, infrared cameras, software for generating three-dimensional ...
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A survey of recycling companies points to a critical trade-off in recycling of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules. On one hand, greater recovery of valuable trace constituents such as silver can reduce lifetime environmental impacts of solar generation and make module recycling more economically viable. On the other hand, it also requires more process steps and energy consumption. To be successful, the nascent PV recycling industry will need to strike a happy medium. That said, as processes and technologies for PV module recycling advance, it may be possible to increase recovery of materials while reducing energy use. While the ...
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