Heat Pumps, Ethanol in Buses and Energy Savings in Buildings

In June, the Nebraska Energy Office received three new competitively awarded grants totaling $157,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy.  The grants will help the agency promote geothermal heat pumps for schools, test a blend of ethanol and diesel in Omaha buses and help reduce the state's Army National Guard' s energy costs in its facilities.  In-kind contributions and cost sharing by the agency's partners will add $134,000 to the projects.

Specific details about the projects:

  • The Geothermal Heat Pump Training Program will team three electric utilities . Nebraska Public Power District, Omaha Public Power District and Lincoln Electric System . along with Central Community College and Energy Office staff to provide information to school officials, architects and engineers and provide training for well drillers and installers of geothermal heat pump installations.  The one-year grant is for $50,000.  Nebraska, a national leader in geothermal heat pumps, has an estimated 30 systems currently installed in schools.  For example, one district, Lincoln Public Schools, expects to save $1.75 million in 20 years from the heat pump systems installed in four new elementary schools.
  • Clean CitiesThe Omaha Clean Cites Coalition Oxy-Diesel Project will fuel 10 Metro Area Transit Authority buses with a 15 percent ethanol/80 percent diesel blend for one year to test the ability of the fuel blend to reduce pollution.   A special fuel blending agent makes the diesel/ethanol fuel usable without engine modifications.  Other partners on this $42,800 grant include the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board and the Nebraska Corn Marketing and Development Board.
  • The Federal Energy Management Program/Nebraska Army National Guard effort will allow the hiring of a resource efficiency manager by the Guard so that energy saving improvements identified earlier can be made in the 1.3 million square feet of federal and state military buildings under the Guard's jurisdiction.  This $64,500 grant is for one year.

 Since 1996, the state's Energy Office has won 11 competitive federal grants totaling $1.432 million.  Six of the grants, totaling $1.15 million, were for housing-related activities that expanded the agency's services to the state's builders, realtors and local housing officials.

Return to the Summer 1999 Newsletter