- Former Shell Oil President, Top Gov. Snyder Staff Share Vision for American Energy Renaissance at Major Detroit-Area Forum
Hofmeister left Shell Oil Company to found Citizens for Affordable Energy, a nonprofit that educates people about how to go green at the local level. He says CFAE was founded on a non-partisan platform in 2011 to educate citizens and government officials about affordable energy solutions, environmental protection, energy alternatives, efficiency, infrastructure, public policy, competitiveness, social cohesion, and quality of life.
- Consumers Energy leads energy optimization in Michigan businesses and homes
The Renewable Portfolio Standard requires 10 percent of the state's energy portfolio be renewable by 2015, Malone says. In 2008, Consumers Energy was producing 4 percent renewable energy, he says, but opened its first wind farm in Mason County.
- Michigan Saves makes going green easy and affordable
More than 2,000 homes have been improved through Michigan Saves, she says, and each homeowner saves, on average, $450 each year on their utility bill. Using a network of local credit unions, Michigan Saves brings financing and contracting experts together to identify ways to lower homeowners' utility costs, Metty Bennett says.
- Valerie Brader: Working to ensure Michigan's energy and environmental future
The adaptability of future energy policies is incredibly important to Gov. Snyder, Brader says. Future energy and environmental policies will focus on affordable energy, reliable energy and protecting our environment, she says, which aim to suit a variety of futures.
- Hydraulic fracturing in Michigan lowers fuel costs and could create jobs, decreasing dependence on foreign energy
Because of the influx of media coverage of hydraulic fracturing, Cook says, people think the process is new and they are increasingly skeptical. "This is something we've been doing for 50 years," he says, "and we've had no problems of any contamination of water wells in northern Michigan."
Dick DeVos: Green Machine recylces waste heat into electricity
- Dick DeVos talks with Kirk Heinze on WJR
When an enormously successful entrepreneur like Dick DeVos publicly touts a new technology called “The Green Machine,” it underscores what we have been hearing from many of our guests on “Greening of the Great Lakes”: Doing business that improves the environment does not have to be just altruistic; it also can make very good economic sense.
The Windquest Group, an investment management firm DeVos heads, has joined forces with Pro Services, a specialized trade contractor, to establish a new, Michigan-based energy solutions company, Pro Renewables, which will sell, install and service the Green Machine in several states east of the Mississippi River.
And what is this Green Machine? According to DeVos, it uses thermoelectric principles and technology to convert waste heat into usable energy. Whether we are talking about automobiles or industrial processes, we essentially waste about two-thirds of the fuels we burn—in the form of lost heat. Consider, for example, the exhaust from your car or the heat generated by an industrial turbine. However, if we can capture that heat and transform it back into electricity, we are, in essence, capturing what we already have at our fingertips and repurposing it in a more efficient, eco-friendly fashion. Think about it. By creating electricity from waste heat, we can concomitantly reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and decrease hazardous air emissions. (Interestingly, there is a group of Michigan State University researchers—the thermoelectric team—looking at the same phenomena.)
Granted, we are still burning fossil fuels at the outset, and the longer-term goal must be, in my mind, to greatly reduce or even eliminate that dependency. But, if we can achieve some immediate efficiencies in energy use while wind, solar, battery and other renewable energy sources are being developed—then why not. And even with wind and solar technologies, we still have heat loss issues that may be mitigated by technologies like the Green Machine.
The Green Machine, which DeVos says “can fit into a small, industrial elevator,” has a payback period of two-four years, depending on electric rates and financial incentives. A demonstration unit has been installed at the Michigan Technical Education Center, Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Potential customers include manufacturers and hospitals/universities with on-site power generation capabilities. Check it out.
Click on the arrow above to hear my May 14 Greening of the Great Lakes conversation with DeVos. Greening of the Great Lakes airs Friday evenings at 7 on News/Talk 760 WJR.
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