First it was the Motor Challenge, then the Compressed Air Challenge, and now comes the Steam Challenge. Like its predecessors, the Steam Challenge is an initiative by the Department of Energy (DOE) to promote efficiency in industrial power systems. This one aims to help industry adopt system approaches to designing, purchasing, installing, and managing boilers, distribution systems, and steam applications. The Alliance to Save Energy and DOE's Office of Industrial Technologies are working with more than 50 steam-related organizations on the venture. Included are the American Boiler Manufacturers Association, the Association of Energy Engineers, Babcock Wilcox, DuPont, and the Energy Center of Wisconsin. Among plans are information campaigns, establishment of a network for training and certifying those who operate steam systems, and expansion of the market for steam efficiency equipment and services. Officials hope for an overall improvement of 20% in steam efficiency by 2010.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.