Thursday, May 20, 2021

Hydrogen from Nuclear Power Test Set at Idaho National Laboratory

Reprinted from Powermag.com

By Darrell Proctor

A California company that introduced a new electrolyzer technology last year has announced an agreement with Idaho National Laboratory to test how nuclear energy can create clean hydrogen using the product.

San Jose-based Bloom Energy on May 18 said INL will use the company’s solid oxide, high-temperature electrolyzer to produce carbon-free hydrogen through electrolysis, powered by nuclear generation. Bloom on Tuesday said the electricity generated by nuclear facilities could produce “cost-effective hydrogen,” including during periods when the power grid has an ample supply of electricity. Rather than ramping down to prevent an oversupply of power, the plant can use its electricity to produce hydrogen.

INL, based in Idaho Falls, Idaho, is a nuclear science and technology lab. The facility’s team leads research, development, and demonstration projects to support and expand the use of nuclear energy. The group, like those in other countries, is involved with supporting the growth of a hydrogen economy, a sector with a rapidly growing market as governments and industries worldwide seek to decarbonize their operations.

‘Thermal and Electrical Power’

“The high-temperature electrolyzers take advantage of both the thermal and the electrical power that are available at nuclear power plants,” said Tyler Westover, the Hydrogen and Thermal Systems Group lead at INL. “This expands the markets for nuclear power plants by allowing them to switch between sending power to the electrical grid and producing clean hydrogen for transportation and industry energy sectors.” 

Bloom Energy’s electrolyzer, which the company announced in July 2020, converts water (or steam) into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can then be injected into the natural gas pipeline, or put into storage for future use in a fuel cell. The hydrogen also could be used by fuel cell-powered vehicles, or in industrial processes that consume large amounts of hydrogen.

The company on Tuesday said its electrolyzer “has a higher efficiency than low-temperature electrolyzer technologies, thereby reducing the amount of electricity needed to produce hydrogen. The steam supplied to the electrolyzers can also be generated by the thermal energy produced by the nuclear power plant, bolstering the overall efficiency of hydrogen production further.”

“There’s a heavy focus on carbon-free hydrogen production in establishing the hydrogen economy. As clean hydrogen innovation continues, the emphasis needs to be on efficiency to ensure that electricity from nuclear and renewable sources are used wisely,” Deia Bayoumi, vice president of product management at Bloom Energy, told POWER. Bayoumi said his group expects “to begin the electrolyzer demonstration with Idaho National Laboratory this year.”

Simulate Conditions

The Idaho lab plans to test Bloom Energy’s technology at its Dynamic Energy Testing and Integration Laboratory, a facility where researchers can simulate steam and load-following conditions as if it were already integrated with a nuclear power station. The simulations can provide the opportunity to model operations in a controlled environment.

Venkat Venkataraman, executive vice president and chief technology officer for Bloom, in comments shared with POWER said, “We must think creatively and seek all possible low, zero, and negative carbon solutions to benefit our planet. Harnessing excess energy to produce hydrogen is a solution with a positive impact on global decarbonization efforts and we look forward to working with the team at Idaho National Laboratory to make this a reality. As a result of this pilot, we expect to establish carbon-free hydrogen generation with the highest efficiency of any electrolyzer in the market today.”

An article in the April 2021 issue of POWER outlined the use of fuel cells to produce clean energy, including with the use of hydrogen. Several groups have begun participating in the market, including oil and gas majors such as BP, which recently announced details of what it called the largest hydrogen production project in the UK.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Island Park Realtor Karen Cameron earns national honors

Karen Cameron

C21 High Desert Realtors agent Karen Cameron, crushed it last year and she has the hardware to prove it, after being presented the Century 21 Grand Centurion Producer Award for 2020. This is the most prestigious award presented to Century 21 real estate professionals based on sales production within a calendar year. She earned the national distinction by selling a record number of properties in the Island Park area. She ranks number three in Idaho’s Century 21 offices and No. 31 nationally in 2020 Adjusted Gross Commission. Cameron is also listed seventh in the state for the number of properties sold within Century 21 offices.
“Karen is the only recipient in our C21 High Desert Realtors history, and one of only a few in the nation to be honored with the Grand Centurion award”, said company partner Kerry Howell. “Needless to say, we are ecstatic for Karen and also for everyone in the C21 Island Park office who helped handle this incredible amount of work.”
Cameron became a licensed realtor in Idaho and started her career at Coldwell Banker Eagle Rock in 1986. After getting a taste of the mountain-property life at Rainbow Realty in 1994, It was in 1996, when she became the designated broker for Henry’s Fork Realtors of Island Park, that the depth of her knowledge and expertise really began to grow, making her the go-to-agent for all matters Island Park. Cameron joined C21 High Desert Realtors in 2005 and has been building to Grand Centurion status since.
 “I love Island Park and the people I’ve come to know that have chosen the Island Park area to create their family memories. I really enjoy helping people, so this award is truly icing on the top of the cake for me, and thanks to my C21 High Desert team for the assist!” Cameron said. “It goes to show what a truly desirable area we all live in. Maybe we take it for granted being so close, but everyone wants a part of our gorgeous mountain life.”
Based in Idaho Falls, C21 High Desert Realtors was formed in 1996 and currently led by broker Patrick Malone and operating partners Kerry Howell, Randy Waters and Kevin Cutler.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Nick Terry joins TOK Commercial team in Idaho Falls

Nick Terry
TOK Commercial has added Nick Terry to its eastern Idaho brokerage services team.  Terry will specialize in selling commercial real estate investment properties.

A native of Idaho Falls, Terry brings 14 years of experience as a commercial lender at both Wells Fargo and Zions Bank. His skills in financial analysis, evaluation and deal-making strategies will benefit clients that he represents in buying and selling commercial real estate, particularly multi-family properties. His deep community involvement, professional accomplishments, and exceptional customer service will make him a valuable asset to TOK Commercial’s brokerage clients across Idaho.

From tenant and landlord representation to acquisitions, property management, and advisory services, TOK Commercial is Idaho’s largest full service commercial real estate company. The firm’s Brokerage and Property Management teams operate out of Idaho Falls, Boise and Twin Falls and serve clients in several western states, including Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Nevada and Utah.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Event center project applies for building permit from city

An artist's rendering of what the event center might look like

Things are moving with the Mountain America Center, which applied Monday for a building permit from the city of Idaho Falls.

The application, from the Salt Lake firm of CRSA, is for a 123,697-square-foot structure at 1690 Event Center Drive, with a job valuation of $51 million. The owner is Pioneer Front Properties LLC of Idaho Falls.

Here is a breakdown of fees to be paid:

  • COMMERCIAL PERMIT: $138,472.73
  • FIRE REVIEW: $22,225.63
  • PLAN CHECK: $90,007.27
  • EROSION CONTROL: $100.00
  • WATER SERVICES: $111,132.00
  • SEWER CONNECTION: $21,917.00
  • TOTAL FEES CHARGED: $383,854.63

"The project is as shovel ready as any project in the country," said Rob Spear, executive director of the Idaho Falls Auditorium District. Speaking at a mid-April Idaho Falls Online Lunch-In, Spears said they are looking at having the project finished in October 2022.

In the past year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the district spent $21 million. This was on the construction pad, parking lot, Event Center Drive (in partnership with Ball Ventures, owners of Snake River Landing and donors of the land for the center), and improvements to Pioneer Road.

A bond underwriter has been hired, he said, and they are negotiating with an investor. Bateman Hall/Hogan is the general contractor, and the operating agreement with Centennial Management has been finalized.

After bids went out earlier this year, a final guaranteed maximum price of $56.5 million was settled on March 31. This is the actual construction cost, Spears said.

With donations they've received rom Admiral Beverage, Teton Auto Group, Cooper Norman and MDU Foundation, the district faces a financing gap of $2.21 million. While Spear said he is confident they can close it, "The faster we can close it the sooner we can convince the investor that we're a good bet on moving forward." Naming rights and endorsements are still available.

To view the video, visit www.facebook.com/IFlunchin/videos/869618347219671

Friday, April 23, 2021

Duck Donuts schedules May 1 grand opening for Ammon store

Duck Donuts has scheduled a May 1 grand opening for its first shop in the Idaho Falls area and second franchise location in Idaho. The store is owned by Bonnie and Wyatt Wetsel and located at 2675 Sunnyside Road in Ammon, in the Hillcrest Plaza next to Hillcrest High School.

The first guest in line will receive a free Duck Donuts gift basket and a free dozen donuts every month for a year. To win monthly donuts there will be a drawing for a second customer, as well as more door prizes and merchandise giveaways.

The Wetsels have lived in the Idaho Falls area for nearly 15 years and own the 5 Star Truck and Auto car dealership. They have five children and recently became grandparents.

The 1,200 square-foot retail store reflects the franchise’s iconic beach theme and family-friendly atmosphere. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pa., Duck Donuts opened its first locations in 2007 in the beach resort towns of Duck and Kitty Hawk, N.C. It began franchising in 2013, and now has more than 100 locally owned and operated shops across 21 states and one international location in Dubai.

In addition to donuts, the Ammon location serves Duck Donuts’ signature coffee blends — Riptide Roast, Light House Blend, and Sunset Pier Decaf-espresso -- donut breakfast sandwiches, donut sundaes, new menu items including frozen beverages and milkshakes, select retail items and more.

The store will offer indoor seating and, coming soon, outdoor seating as the weather allows. Curbside pickup is available by calling the store.

Duck Donuts and this store’s owners are committed to customer and employee safety as Idaho recovers from COVID-19. Employees will wear face masks. High-touch surfaces will be frequently sanitized and the store will remain in compliance with all state and federal guidelines. Plexiglass shields have been installed. Customers will be asked to maintain a six-foot distance from each other.

Hours are Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 8 a.m. to noon. Opening weekend hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. No seating will be available on opening weekend.

For more information, specials and donut topping updates, visit the Duck Donuts Ammon Facebook page or connect on the web at DuckDonuts.com. For more information about the company, visit www.duckdonuts.com.