Final Report
Technology Transfer Opportunities in the Federal Laboratories
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
 June 1998
 Prepared for:
Utility Federal Technology Opportunities (UFTO)
Edward Beardsworth

This report is part of a series examining technology opportunities at National Laboratories of possible interest to electric utilities 

     Overview & Organization
     Technologies & Programs

This report is proprietary and confidential.  It is for internal use by personnel of companies that are subscribers in the UFTO multi-client program.  It is not to be otherwise copied or distributed except as authorized in writing.


This report details findings about technology and technology transfer opportunities at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory that might be of strategic interest to electric utilities.  It is a major update and revision materials developed previously, and is based on a visit to the lab in April 1998, and also draws from various publications, collateral information and website content.

A special note of thanks to Marilyn Brown for arranging the agenda and her gracious and tireless support, and to all the ORNL staff who gave generously of their time and attention.
Also to Mr. Scott Penfield of Technology Insights, who accompanied the visits (as a representative of one of the UFTO utilities) and kindly provided his written account of the meetings for use in the preparation this report.

ORNL -- Overview & Organization

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a "GOCO" lab (government-owned, contractor operated).  Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corp. is the contractor that manages ORNL. (Lockheed Martin also manages the Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge, Idaho National Engineering Lab and Sandia National Lab.)

ORNL has a matrix organizational structure, where "divisions" aligned primarily by discipline have the people, and "programs" have the projects and budgets.  On some occasions, divisions do get funds and projects of their own.  ORNL finds that matrix management can work well if there is a balance of power and the right incentives.

Both divisions and programs live in research "ALD's" or Associate Laboratory Directorates, headed by Associate Lab Directors who along with other administrative and support groups report to the Laboratory Director (Alvin Trivelpiece).

ORNL's four research ALD's are:
=> Energy and Engineering Sciences -- Gil Gilliland 423-574-9920
   (Div:  Engineering Technology,  Fusion.,  Instrum & Control)
   (Prog:  Energy Effic/Renew Energy, Energy Technology, Fossil Energy, Nuc Technol)
=> Life Sciences and Environmental Technologies
   (Div:  Chemical Technol, Energy, Environmental Sci,  Life Sciences)
=> Adv. Materials, Physical and Neutron Sciences
   (Div:  Metals & Ceramics, Physics, Solid State, Chemical/Analytical Sci  ...)
=> Computing, Robotics, and Education
    (Div:  Computer Science and Mathematics, Robotics and Process Systems ..)

There is work in all four ALDs of potential interest to utilities.  The point of contact for this study was established through the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program, which oversees activities involving 11 different research divisions.  Contact was also made with the Fossil Energy Program, with a similarly broad scope.  Divisions encountered include Engineering Technology, Instrumentation & Control, Metals & Ceramics, and others.

Staffing level is now at approximately 5000, of which 1500 are scientists, of which about 1/2 are PhDs.  ORNL’s 1997 budget was about $550 million.  Of this amount, the largest program areas were Energy Research (28%), Environmental Management (25%) and Energy Efficiency (16%).  Nuclear programs, which were once the principal focus of the Laboratory, are identified at a level of 4% in the overall budget; however, when supporting research topics (e.g., High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), materials, NRC Programs, etc.) are included, some $100 million can still be identified as nuclear related.

A major new initiative at ORNL is the Spallation Neutron Source facility.  The 1999 budget year will constitute a major test for this project, as it will include a construction line item for the first time.  If approved, construction is expected to take 6-7 years.  A new ORNL directorate has been established to oversee the Spallation Neutron Source project.

Key Contacts:

Website:  http://www.ornl.gov

Primary UFTO contact:

  Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program:
     A.C.(Tony) Schaffhauser, Director, 423-574-4826,  schaffhausac@ornl.gov
     Marilyn Brown, Deputy Director, 423-576-8152,   brownma@ornl.gov

Working with ORNL:

  Technology Transfer: (Licensing and CRADAs)
      Dean Waters, Acting Director, Office of Technology Transfer,
                 423-576-8368,  watersda@ornl.gov
      Sylvester Scott, Director, Licensing,  423-576-9673,  scotts@ornl.gov

  Partnerships: (CRADAs, User Program, Personnel Exchanges, Guest Research Assignments)
      Louise B. Dunlap, Director, Office of Science and Technology Partnerships,
                 423-576-4221, dunlaplb@ornl.gov

Public Relations:  Joe Culver, Director, Public Affairs,
           423-576-0235,   culverjw@ornl.gov

Partnership Mechanisms
ORNL makes use of an increasingly broad array of contracting mechanisms, including CRADAs, Work for others, User Facility Agreements, etc.  Greater use of simpler standard formats makes the process much quicker than in the past.

They are seeing an increasing number of "100% funds-in CRADAs"  (i.e. no cost sharing by the lab) from industry, as a cheaper alternative to work-for-others with essentially equivalent intellectual property rights.  The Lab also will have as many as 4000 guest assignments per year, 1/4 of which are from industry, where visitors use the facilities or work with staff on CRADAs, etc.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program

Tony Schaffhauser, Director   423-574-4826     schaffhausac@ornl.gov
Marilyn Brown, Deputy Director   423-576-8152      brownma@ornl.gov

The EE/RE Program is a matrix organization that draws on several line divisions at ORNL for the majority of its personnel and technical facility resources, to set up multi disciplinary teams.  DOE is the sponsor for most of the work, but they see industry and the public as the real customer.

ORNL budget expenditures controlled through the EE/RE Program office amount to some $80 million.  The ORNL Energy Efficiency/Renewable Energy (EE/RE) budget was lower in 1996, but the level now appears to be stable.

Major Research and Development Areas

=> Transportation systems, including advanced automotive technologies, advanced materials, utilization of alternative fuels including biofuels, and transportation data.
=> Efficient building systems and for state and community programs, including heating, cooling, and refrigerating equipment; roofs, walls, and foundations; insulating materials; technology transfer; and retrofit of existing residential and commercial structures.
=> Industrial processes, such as bioprocessing, electric motor systems, advanced turbine systems, advanced materials, industrial heat pumps, and evaluations of energy-related inventions.
=> Utilities, including high-temperature superconductors (for transformers and transmission cables), power transmission and distribution systems, electric and magnetic field effects, biomass for power generation, and international programs (including IEA and APEC programs).


Technologies & Programs

Superconducting Technology Program for Electric Energy Systems

Fossil Energy Technologies
   Real-Time Corrosion Monitoring
   Hot Gas Filters

Materials R&D
   Furnace Wall Corrosion with retrofit low-NOx burners
   Effects of Coal impurities on fireside corrosion
   Improved Stainless Steels
   "Perfect Microstructures"
   Nickel-Aluminide Alloys
   Sulfidation Resistant Alloys

Building Technology Center
   Frostless Heat Pump
   High Efficiency Refrigerator (1 kwh/day)

Power Systems Technology Program
   Energy Conservation Standards for Distribution Transformers
   Flywheels and Energy Storage Technologies
   Utility Restructuring and Electric Power Ancillary Services
   Grid Reliability-Control Center Survey
   Electric and Magnetic Fields Bioeffects
      Research and Public Information Dissemination (RAPID) Program

Advanced Turbine Systems

Bioenergy Program

Motor, Steam, and Compressed Air Challenge Programs

Oak Ridge Centers for Manufacturing Technology (ORCMT)

Electric Machinery Center

Power Electronics Technology Center  and Inverter Technology

Instrumentation & Controls
   Machine Condition Monitoring and Diagnostics
   Electrical Signature Analysis (ESA) for Utility Applications

Nonlinear data analysis--Component Failure Prediction
NRC/INPO plant database

Photonics and Hybrid Lighting


Superconducting Technology Program for Electric Energy Systems
    Bob Hawsey 423-574-8057   hawseyra@ornl.gov
    Web sites:  http://www.ornl.gov/HTSC/htsc.html

(See special report and series of articles on "Superconductivity in Electric Power,"
              pp 18-49,  IEEE Spectrum, July 1997)

The discovery of high-temperature (i.e., above the boiling temperature of liquid nitrogen) superconductor materials dates to 1986.  Since that time, the challenge has been to develop these brittle, ceramic-based materials into a form that can be produced and practically used.  DOE research in this area has taken a major step increase, from $19 million in 1997 to $32 million in 1998.  (By comparison, Japan is investing $100 million/year in superconductor research.)

DOE HTS Program
 Jim Daley, Team Leader,  202-586-1165,  james.daley@ee.doe.gov
or  Joe Mulholland, Utility Liaison
             202-586-1491,   joseph.mullholland@hq.doe.gov

The DOE HTS program supports a balanced technology development effort. Wire and device technologies are developed through a large number of collaborative projects between U.S. national laboratories and industry, and systems technologies are supported through the SPI and other vertically integrated project teams.

DOE's Superconducting Partnership Initiative (SPI) is a systems technology program designed to accelerate the development of HTS electric power systems.  Begun in the fall of 1993, the SPI encourages the formation of vertically integrated teams comprised of partners who usually do not interact in the development cycle, involving close collaboration among system integrators, wire and device manufacturers, end-users (typically electric utilities)

Major projects include

  - 5,000 hp high-temperature superconducting (HTS) motor
  - 100 MVA HTS generator,
  - 115 kV and 12.5 kV HTS transmission cable (2 projects)
  - 5/10 MVA HTS transformers (2 projects)
  - 15 kV HTS fault current limiter (2.4 kV successfully tested in 9/95 at a utility host site)

Fault Current Limiter
Later this year, pre-commercial (alpha) prototype will be tested by So Cal Edison and Lockheed Martin.  Rating is 15-kV, normal 2 kA, intercepts/reduces by 80% a 20-kA peak symmetric or 45 kA peak assymmetric fault.  Also functions as a 1/2 cycle circuit breaker.  If demo successful, Edison will install it at a substation, and anticipates $1million in savings from avoiding need for a second bus.  Next stage will be beta units.
Contact:   Eddie Leung, Lockheed Martin program manager
                619-874-7945, ext. 4636,     eddie.leung@lmco.com

ORNL is participating in two of these partnerships.

Transformers -- There is a strong need for medium power transformers (10-150 MVA) that are smaller, more efficient and free of fire hazard, to meet the growth in urban power density.  These transformers will go inside building and in multistory substations, and provide higher ratings from existing substations.

-- Waukesha Electric Systems (WES), Waukesha, WI
For the Waukesha program, ORNL is responsible for the engineering, design and science of the cooling system, while Intermagnetic General is producing the HTSC coil.  WES did the core, instrumentation tank, pumps and test rig. An initial 1 MVA prototype has been constructed and entered testing at WES in February 1998.  Initial results are good--the first operational US HTSC transformer easily sustains 2X overloads.  Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) participated in this initial demonstration.

The next step will be a 5 MVA system, which will provide power to the WES plant beginning in 1999.  A larger utility advisory group is participating in this second step (includes several UFTO members).  The initial commercial target is a transformer in the range of 10-30 MVA.
     Contact:  Pat Sullivan, VP Marketing, Waukesha, 414-547-0121, x 1531.

There is a separate transformer development effort that involves ABB, EdF, Los Alamos National Lab (LANL) and American Superconductor.

Cable -- HTSC Cables hold the promise of far greater capacity-- 5X the power in the same 8" diameter pipe of conventional buried cable, and without the losses, heat, oil and range limitations.

-- Southwire,Carrolton, GA
The Southwire HTSC cable project is expected to culminate in an initial demonstration at Southwire in 1999.  The planned 100 ft, 3-phase, 12.4 kV, 1250 Amp cable will provide power (30 MVA) to Southwire facilities.  Southern Co, Georgia Transmission Co, and So Cal Edison are partners.  DOE is providing half of the $14 million.  Southwire has built a 200 ft clean room manufacturing facility, and recently delivered a 5 meter test cable to ORNL for testing.

Pirelli and Los Alamos are pursuing a parallel HTSC cable initiative, with participation by Detroit Edison.  The initial objective is a 25 kV line.

Other HTSC development initiatives mentioned include motors/generators (including flywheel motors/generators under development at Boeing) and kaolin magnetic separation equipment being developed by Dupont for the paper industry.

NOTE- More uility participation is needed--to provide advice, and as partners, cofunders and beta test hosts.  Any kind of innovative proposal is more than welcome.

RABiTS (TM) Process for Coated High-Temperature Superconductors

Oak Ridge researchers have produced a roll-textured, buffered metal, superconducting tape with a critical current density of 300,000 amperes per square centimeter in liquid nitrogen, which  may pave the way for the future manufacture of practical yttrium- or thallium-based conductors for electric power applications.

To produce a superconducting wire sample, the ORNL researchers first developed a process called rolling-assisted biaxial textured substrates, or RABiTS(TM), which enables the superconducting materials to have a high degree of grain alignment in all directions, a necessary condition for more efficient current flow through the superconductor.

MicroCoating Technologies (MCT) in Atlanta and ORNL announced on April 16 that MCT has licensed key patents.  "MCT scientists within a six-month period have successfully deposited both HTS coatings and oxide "buffer layers" on several single crystal oxide substrates. MCT also successfully deposited buffer layer on textured nickel. The epitaxy of some buffer layers is as good or better than with any other deposition technique to date. In addition, MCT’s open atmosphere process can meet or exceed industry-wide cost targets to enable commercial-scale production of superconductor technology."

Other licensees include Midwest Superconductivity and Oxford Superconducting Technology, with two more pending.


Fossil Energy Technologies
 Rod Judkins 423-574-4572  judkinsrr@ornl.gov

ORNL described some additional advancements in materials and technology for fossil and related applications that were not addressed in the ORNL survey of utilities (developed by Technology Insights and sent to UFTO members in mid 1997).  Some examples are:

Real-Time Corrosion Monitoring:  A flash of laser light is impinged on a fossil boiler wall.  By observing the infrared response of the area, corrosion related effects, such as thinning, debonding and delamination can be inferred.

Hot Gas Filters:  In partnership with manufacturers, ORNL has developed two distinct classes of hot gas clean up filters.
 - A ceramic composite (SiC-based) filter developed with 3-M is primarily targeted to fluidized bed combustion applications.  The filter has been tested in AEP’s Tidd Plant and a Studvik incinerator in S. Carolina.  It is available through 3-M.  Contact Ed Fisher, 612-736-1005
 - A lower temperature (700 - 1000 deg C)  iron-aluminide filter, with high resistance to sulfidation, has been developed in partnership with Pall Corp. (Portland NY) and is nearing commercial introduction. An alternative to ceramics, it can be made with standard manufacturing equipment.  Tests at the University of Cinncinnati show excellent corrosion resistance. Coal gasification is the target application.

Materials R&D
     Ron Bradley 423-574-6095    bradleyra@ornl.gov
      Ian Wright,  423-574-4451    wrightig@ornl.gov

Furnace Wall Corrosion with retrofit low-NOx burners -- root cause is flame licking walls, so that control of flame characteristics using sensor-feedback arrangements should be the best solution. Hence, there is a need to develop sensors to monitor flame condition as input to control mechanism. ORNL has approaches for this, using chaos theory to analyse the flame signatures, for instance (Stuart Daw, David Schoenwald). There will also be a continuing practical need for diagnostics, coatings, repair techniques, etc., since not all boilers will be amenable to combustion control, and the use of multiple and varying coal sources will lead to continuing corrosion problems in some parts of the furnace wall. Sulfidation-resistant ferritic alloys (ORNL's iron aluminides) promising as overlay/cladding, but difficult to apply reproducibly. Development program with Lehigh Univ-utility boiler consortium (Prof. Arnie Marder) is showing good promise.

Effects of Coal impurities on fireside corrosion -- Chlorine limits based on fundamental misunderstanding--only a problem when other combustion problems (flame impingement) present.  Developing in situ probes to measure short-term corrosion.  Quantifying effects and definition of regimes where accelerated corrosion can occur.      (Ian Wright)

Improved Stainless Steels:  (Robert Swindeman) ORNL is developing improved austenitic and ferritic stainless steels for boiler and pressure vessel applications by fine-tuning microstructures.  Filler metals for joining are also being developed.  Some of these materials have been newly Code approved (e.g., 347FG, 347AP, 310HCbN), and others are nearing approval.  Properties include improved strength and resistance to creep, embrittlement and cracking under high-temperature steam and coal ash environmental conditions.  ORNL has extensive an extensive database on alloy performance, and long experience developing and commercializing new alloys.

"Perfect Microstructures" dramatically improve long term creep strength of stainless steels.  In a CRADA to improve heat exchanger efficiency in gas-turbines (with Solar Turbines and Allegheny-Teledyne), ORNL is fine tuning the use of ultrafine dispersions of MC carbide precipitates.  HT-UPS (high temperature, ultrafine precipitation strengthen) alloys are based on concepts developed years ago for radiation resistant steel (in fusion and fast breeder programs).

Nickel-Aluminide Alloys:  ORNL developed nickel-aluminide materials are providing unprecedented strength and oxidation resistance at high temperature.  The usually brittle material is made more ductile by alloying. They are initially being used for trays in a heat treatment furnace (for GM) and for high-temperature rollers in a pre-heat furnace (Bethlehem Steel).  Component lifetimes are far exceeding current technology, resulting in significant productivity improvements (reduced downtime, fewer rejects).

Sulfidation Resistant Alloys:  Iron-aluminides developed by ORNL may provide the basis for resolving corrosion problems.

Note:  ORNL is a center of excellence for materials related issues in fossil power plants.  The 12th Annual Conference on Fossil Energy Materials was held in Knoxville, TN on May 12-14.


Building Technology Center
Jeff Christian, Director        423-574-5207, jef@ornl.gov

The Buildings Technology Center (BTC) is a designated "National User Facility," which means that its facilities are available to manufacturers, universities, and other organizations for proprietary and nonproprietary research and development.  To date, nearly 300 organizations have used the facility under 36 separate agreements.

The BTC is housed in a cluster of six buildings offering 20,000 square feet of space and state-of-the-art experimental facilities valued at over $6 million. A permanent staff of 50, continually supplemented by 10 to 20 guest researchers, operate the BTC. Annual program expenditures are about $18 million.

 - Heating and Cooling Equipment
        (Vapor compression, absorption, desiccants)
This area focuses on laboratory and field research, design, and testing of heating and cooling systems, refrigeration systems, components, and replacement refrigerants. Areas of expertise include high-efficiency electric and gas heat pumps, refrigerator/freezer modifications to increase efficiency and eliminate CFC and HCFC refrigerants, cogeneration and central heating and cooling plants, thermally activated gas heat pumps, assessments of global warming impacts of alternative refrigerants, and increased efficiency and environmental compatibility of automobile air-conditioning systems.

Facilities include a large two room (indoor/outdoor) environmental chamber used to simulate temperatures and humidity conditions. Advanced air-conditioning, refrigeration, and heat pump systems and technologies are developed and tested in this facility. Two smaller chambers are used to research and test appliance and compressor technologies.

Calorimeters and specialized test apparatus are used to evaluate CFC and HCFC replacement refrigerants. Heat-exchanger test devices calibrated for refrigerant mixtures are used to test and validate thermal performance benefits of refrigerant-side- and air-side-enhanced heat exchanger surfaces.

 - Thermal Environmental Engineering
Current activities include frostless heat pump development, advanced environmental control devices for buildings and space applications, energy-efficient appliances, automotive air conditioner, HX component technologies, thermophysical aspects of hydrogen storage, and intelligent machine learning for fuel cell operations.

 - Envelope Systems
     (Roofs, walls, foundations, fenestrations)
There are four large experimental apparatuses at BTC: the Large Scale Climate Simulator, the Rotatable Guarded Hot Box, the Roof Thermal Research Apparatus, and the Envelope Systems Research Apparatus.  Also, several computer programs are used to model the performance of building envelopes and to analyze data from experiments.

Roofs and walls are systems, and exhibit different behavior from their constituent materials, so it's important to test full scale sections.  The BTC has studied over 50 different walls, including new auto-cellular concretes, pumice-cretes, clay tiles, etc.  Tests show that replacing wood studs with metal will create load peaks.  Also, moisture is a big issue in connection with cold spots.  The BTC provides a thermal wall calculator on the web.

One important role of the BTC is to test and validate performance of products on the market, particularly where claims are made of big improvements.  One example is in reflective coatings.  While traditional aluminum based coatings work well, recently introduced white coatings appear to do better.  Recent tests at BTC have found that the performance degrades more quickly over time, so such claims can be misleading.

Frostless Heat Pump:  ORNL researchers have developed a simple approach for reducing the tendency of heat pump heat exchangers to accumulate frost during reduced temperature operations.  The trick is to supply auxiliary heat to the accumulator.  This avoids using resistance heating make-up, and maintains warm air blow during defrost.  The overall COP is unchanged, and the result is a steady electric load rather than the severe peaking.  This work is continuing, and manufacturers haven't yet been brought into the picture

High Efficiency Refrigerator:  ORNL has partnered with refrigerator manufacturers to develop a 20 cu-ft refrigerator that uses less than 1 kWh/day of energy input.  The refrigerator incorporates a high efficiency motor, plus advanced powder panel insulation (can use flyash!) and an extended surface heat exchanger.  A follow-on partnership with Frigidaire is intended to result in a production unit by 2000.


Power Systems Technology Program
 Jim Van Coevering 423-574-4829   v25@ornl.gov

DOE is no longer funding the work in T&D that ORNL had been leading.  This included high capacity transmission, real time control, power electronics, etc.  The program at ORNL is trying to hold onto the capabilities as the staff moves on to other areas, and is looking for opportunities in transmission technology development, systems analysis, policy support, and experimental data analysis (e.g. evaluating equipment performance).

"Determination Analysis of Energy Conservation Standards for Distribution Transformers," ORNL-6847, May 1996,  and  ORNL-6925  "Supplement"
Study showed that significant energy could be saved if energy conservation standards were available for distribution transformers, mostly through the use of more energy efficient cost-effective dry-type transformers by industrial and commercial customers.

Flywheels and Energy Storage Technologies
   Dave O’Kain 423-576-0268   okaindu@ornl.gov

ORNL played a major role in flywheel energy storage development, representing DOE’s interest in the safety testing program led by the University of Texas.  Staff has particular expertise on the important subject of containment, as the one serious remaining technical challenge for flywheels.  This work was terminated in December 1997, when the Partnership for New Generation Vehicles (PNGV) program decided not to pursue them in the near-term.

ORNL hopes to play a role in the yet to be defined DOE/DOT initiative that will replace the DARPA electric vehicle program, beginning in 1999.  Also, NASA (Lewis) and the U.S. Air Force are initiating a new flywheel development effort for spacecraft, including the International Space Station.  The intent is to replace batteries in such applications.  David Christopher (NASA) will be the program manager.

Utility Restructuring and Electric Power Ancillary Services
 Brendan Kirby 423-576-1768     kirbybj@ornl.gov

ORNL (Brendan Kirby and Eric Hirst) previously performed a thorough analysis of the nature and range of ancillary services costs that has become a well-known benchmark.  They have more recently been looking at some of the more subtle implications of utility restructuring.  Examples include the response of industrial load centers to real-time pricing and competitive games that might evolve.  A particularly interesting example of the latter is a scenario in which a competitor “steals” customers with desirable load profiles (e.g., an aluminum smelter, which has a relatively constant electrical demand) and leaves the host utility with less desirable customers (e.g., a steel mill with batch electric furnace operations).  The host utility must absorb the burden of ancillary services (e.g., load following/regulation) associated with the customer operations.

Electric-Industry Policy Studies -- Recent ORNL Publications
     Copies of these reports and papers can be obtained from Ethel Schorn,
        Schornem@ornl.gov, or     FAX: (423) 576-8745.
- Ancillary-Service Details: Operating Reserves, ORNL/CON-452, Nov '97
- Creating Competitive Markets for Ancillary Services, ORNL/CON-448, Oct '97
- Transition-Cost Issues for a Restructuring U.S. Electricity Industry, ORNL/CON-440, Mar'97
- Ancillary-Service Details: Dynamic Scheduling, ORNL/CON-438, Jan '97

Grid Reliability-Control Center Survey
 Bruce Poole    423-574-0734    pooleab@ornl.gov
 Brendan Kirby, 423-576-1768     kirbybj@ornl.gov

ORNL performed an extensive survey for the NRC on the potential impacts of deregulation on the reliability of the grid, in particular how it may effect the safety of nuclear power plants.  In nine NERC regions they visited the control centers representing 15 different plants.  They found considerable variability in the quality of operations, most likely attributable to management culture of the companies (not unlike the situation for nuclear plants themselves).  A report is due to the NRC in June.  One can surmise that some nuclear plants may have to establish protocols for the way that plants interact with system operators and local grid support plants, to ensure that requirements for off-site power are met.

While the survey was focused on the grid at nuclear plants, ORNL now has developed a detailed methodology and approach which may be useful for gathering such information in the future.

Electric and Magnetic Fields Bioeffects
 Paul Gailey 423-574-0419   pg7@ornl.gov

 To date, research has not identified adverse biological effects attributable to EMF, though new findings continue to appear.

DOE support for EMF research was scheduled for completion in FY1998.  Whether a new budget request will be made to extend it is not at all clear at present.

A symposium on the “Status and Summary of EMF Engineering Research was held in Charleston, SC on April 28-29, 1998.  The agenda and some of the papers can be found at  http://www.emf-data.org     (the home of the RAPID Measurements Data).

The EMF program conducts research to determine whether the extremely low-frequency (50- to 60-Hz) EMFs associated with transmission lines, distribution lines, and support equipment cause adverse human health effects. Public perception of potential adverse effects is currently limiting, resulting in opposition to the siting and operation of new power lines, as well as causing concern for homeowners living near electric power facilities. In FYs 1994 and 1995, ORNL continued to provide program management support to DOE and quality assurance for the EMF Biological Effects research program.

One of the challenges faced by investigators in the EMF area is the difficulty of replicating reported field effects in laboratories other than the one in which the effects were originally observed. Repeatability is the key to acceptance of any research, and ORNL, in partnership with three other laboratories, has moved to address this deficiency. Identical EMF exposure systems have been installed at each laboratory to replicate key experiments.

Research and Public Information Dissemination (RAPID) Program
The 5-year EMF Research and Public Information Dissemination program, authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 1992, includes biological and engineering research as well as federal coordination and dissemination of research findings to the public. The biological research portion of this work is being conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and DOE conducts the engineering research and the communications program. ORNL supports DOE by developing engineering studies examining EMF exposures in commercial and industrial settings. ORNL also develops public communication materials, including an EMF information brochure that has been widely distributed. (B. A. Beuscher et al., "Questions & Answers About Electric and Magnetic Fields Associated with the Use of Electric Power," ORNL/M-4283, May 1995.)  As a result of international interest in this brochure, ORNL staffers translated it into Spanish.

The major scientific analysis of the RAPID program will conclude with the Working Group meeting to be held in Minneapolis in June. Then NIEHS will use those findings to produce a report to Donna Shalala which will then go to Congress. Other major pieces of the puzzle include a report by the National Academy of Sciences on the quality of research conducted in the EMF RAPID Program and a report to Congress by the EMF Interagency Committee also mandated by EPAct.

For information about RAPID,   http://www.niehs.nih.gov/emfrapid/

The RAPID program is drawing to a close, but more critically, if DOE does not continue with its own core EMF program, one implication is that there will be a major void in the U.S. when and if standards are set internationally!

Advanced Turbine Systems
 Mike Karnitz 423-574-5150      karnitzma@ornl.gov

DOE Fossil and Energy Effic. jointly manage the Advanced Turbine Systems (ATS) program as a cooperative effort with manufacturers, universities, natural gas companies and power producers.  The goal is to develop and demonstrate ultra-high efficiency systems--specifically 60% for power generation, and a 15% improvement in industrial systems, with NOx emission below 8 ppm and CO and HC below 20 ppm without post emission controls.  The program areas are development and demonstration for utility systems, industrial systems, base technology development, and innovative cycles.

Utility Systems:  GE  and Westinghouse are each doing a combined cycle styesm with 2600 deg F turbine inlet temperature--the innovation is closed loop steam cooling of vanes/blades.  ABB has a two-stage combustion combined cycle system.

Industrial Systems:  Allison is trying hybrid cast cool blades (an advanced cooling technique) on a simple cycle 13 MW engine, and Solar Turbines is doing both a small and a large simple cycle engine.  The small engine, which uses a recuperator, has been announced as the Mercury 50.  Solar Turbines also has a ceramic retrofit program, using silicon carbide ceramics blades, vanes and composite combustor liners.  The Centaur 50 is getting low NOx performance in field tests.

Base Technology:  Emphasis is on materials and manufacturing.  Ceramics as a thermal barrier coating (TBC) should reduce metal temperatures by 200 deg. F.  Westinghouse heads a consortium for one TBC project, and Pratt & Whitney have another.  Single crystal blades are used for the first row in aircraft engines, but land machines need much larger blades.  Work is underway by Howmet to make them from a Ni-based super alloy and deal with scale-up and manufacturing issues, especially yields, which started at 12% and are now at %50.  Another project by PCC and GE is working on alloy melt practices and improvement of the casting process.  Materials Characterization is underway at ORNL and the Univ. of Dayton Research Institute to develop a detailed understanding of long term performance of ceramics in stationary turbines, and to extend existing stress-rupture data for advanced ceramics to longer lifetimes.

DOE is now getting interested in microturbines, based on concerns with low efficiency and NOx.  DOE is putting together a market assessment and an efficiency target of 40% has been discussed as a potential objective of the new DOE initiative.  The DOE contact is Debbie Haught (DOE-OIT, 202-586-2211)


Bioenergy Program
   Janet Cushman,  423-574-7818,  cushmanjh@ornl.gov
   Lynn Wright,  423-574-7378    wrightll@ornl.gov

     http://www.esd.ornl.gov/bfdp (Home of the Bioenergy Information Network)

ORNL has been a leader in research to develop new plant materials (via genetic engineering techniques) that are optimized from a bioenergy perspective. Some success has been achieved with variations of willow trees, poplars, and switch grass, and that work is continuing. Breeding is linked with the planting of test plots, >research on management effects on yields, drought resistance, etc. Turning to other feedstocks, such as agricultural and forestry residues, it will be important to take into account how much residue can be removed and still have a viable agriculture process.

Given current energy prices, bioenergy is competitive only as a co-product of other industrial uses (e.g., paper).  Extensive economic data has been developed--supply curves for biomass feedstocks.  USDA models are being used to determine the locations where it would be profitable to grow energy crops--these areas diminish rapidly as the price drops.

BIOCOST is a PC program that lets a user estimate energy crop costs, with inputs for region, yields, land rents, labor cost, etc.    Contact Marie Walsh, 423-576-5607, walshme@ornl.gov

ORNL is working with several entrepreneurs (Bioengineering Resources, Inc., and PRM Energy) on a two-step process of biomass gasification (wood waste, ag residues, or energy crops) followed microbial fermentation of the syngas.  By tailoring conditions, the resulting products can be modified (e.g., ethanol, acetic acid, etc.).  Brian Davison is the ORNL contact.  423-576-8522,  davisonbh@ornl.gov

Motor, Steam, and Compressed Air Challenge Programs
 Mitch Olszewski  423-576-0493    zmo@ornl.gov

Several years ago, DOE established the Motor Challenge Program to assist industry in improving efficiency in their use of motors, and it has grown substantially. ORNL provides much of the technical expertise and resources for the program.

Over 2500 firms are signed on as Motor Challenge partners, including numerous utilities, and gain access to information and software  (e.g., Motor Master Plus is a database software program for firms to inventory their motors and perform analysis of replacement options.)  "Allied Partners" are vendors and consultants who go a step further and become entitled to supply Motor Challenge services, and "Excellence Partners" are end users (at the plant level, not  corporate) who agree to continually upgrade their motor systems and get training and support from Motor Challenge.

Motor Challenge will be releasing a report soon on a major market assessment of motor use in U.S. industry. The assessment uses existing market data and is augmented with motor survey data taken at over 280 plants, including name plates, use, duty cycle, etc. A database will also be available.

Motor Challenge also offers a "Motors 101" course, given about 6 times/year, and another course is coming soon for Excellence Partners on measurements and software.

In addition to anecdotal "success stories", the program is doing a series of "Showcase Demonstration Case Studies" about projects done by industry to implement solutions that could be replicated elsewhere.  Examples range from discovering a failed check valve on a water tower, to shutting off one blower to stop blowouts in a baghouse, to putting a variable speed drive on exhaust fans (saving on hvac too).

Much more information, and membership application forms, are available on line:
    Contact:  Motor Challenge Information Clearinghouse
                 motorline@energy.wsu.edu         1-800-862-2086

Additional new programs are in the formative stage for steam and compressed air systems.   Compressed air was kicked off in January and Steam in April.  The opportunities for savings are immense.  For additional information, contact DOE Office of Industrial Technology.  (http://www.oit.doe.gov)

Oak Ridge Centers for Manufacturing Technology (ORCMT)
 Jack Cook 423-574-9421  jou@ornl.gov

The ORCMT is a multidisciplinary flexible organization that grew out of 50 years of experience of the Oak Ridge Y-12 nuclear weapons manufacturing facility, to help industry solve manufacturing problems.  As a partnership across the Oak Ridge Complex, it draws on the capabilities of both ORNL and the Y-12 Complex.

Mechanisms are in place to provide short-term (24-48 hours) problem-solving assistance to industry without charge.  Additional assistance can be negotiated.  ORCMT is organized to use all the talents from across the entire lab in such endeavors.

Designated a "National Prototype Center", the lab makes first/one of a kind items, notably for the DOD, when there isn't anyone else who can do it.  (The Seawolf submarine impeller was one case where the Navy couldn't get anyone to bid.)  Projects range from defense, to electronics, transportation, chemical-related, and medical devices (one recent example--a "hospital in a box" for the Army).  They've worked on maskless stereo lithography that is like a phase array radar, and diagnostics for semiconductor fabrication.  Customers besides DOD include many industrial companies, with project ranging as high as $15 million.  In effect, this group can supply the technical expertise and special equipment to do specialized development -- a "skunkworks for hire".

The Center also does skills training in precision component fabrication, and offers 44 different courses.  They've developed real and virtual simulators, e.g. for training and prototyping on major machine tools.

The website has information on all these programs and services:

Electric Machinery Center
 John Kueck 423-576-4454    ku5@ornl.gov

The Electric Machinery Center provides motor testing and analysis, with an extensive data acquisition system. It is a NIST/NVLAP certified test lab for 480 volt motors to 500 hp, and has developed performance analysis methods for motor driven processes that allow monitoring with minimal intrusive measurements.

The facility has recently been expanded and now has the capability to test motors up to 700 hp. The new dynamometer has an ultimate capability of 2000 hp. (The current 700 hp limitation is set by the load center.) Any combination of voltage and load can be simulated, recreating industry conditions. In addition, there is a pump flow loop to provide a range of fluid flow conditions for motor driven pumps up to 100 hp.

The Center is available for both government and industry use, but doesn't compete with commercial test labs. Diagnostic equipment makers put new devices through testing here, and the center itself has over 20 patents on motor analysis, including much of the pioneering work in current signature analysis (see discussion below on Electrical Signature Analysis).

Field services include failure analysis, component evaluation, and a one-day course on motor diagnostic basics.

Power Electronics Technology Center  and Inverter Technology
 Don Adams   423-576-0260       adamsdj@ornl.gov
 Bob Schilling    423-576-7859     schillingrm@ornl.gov
 John McKeever   423-576-1862    mckeeverjw@ornl.gov

The Power Electronics Center (PEC) is a broad-based power electronics and electric machinery research center with a staff of 18, advancing the technology of soft-switched and multilevel inverters and efficient compact electric machines.

Areas of expertise include:

-Transportation applications such as electric and/or hybrid vehicle traction drives, motor assisted turbocharger, electric air conditioning, and other auxiliary drives.  (DOE Office of Transportation Technology is major sponsor.  Work with automakers.  RFP for Intergrated Auto Power Module is in preparation.)

-Radial and axial air-gap permanent magnet machines
  Dr. J. M. Bailey is working to apply field weakening to permanent magnet motors for possible use in HEVs.

 -Switched reluctance and synchronous reluctance machines
   Dr. Hsu built a working switched reluctance motor using fiber optics to determine the position of the rotor.  This is a lab demo.  They are working to obtain a commercial switched reluctance motor that can be tested in the lab for suitability as a traction motor for HEVs.  Switch reluctance motors are very simple, cheap, and rugged, however they are noisy and have torque ripple.  Dealing with these problems could broaden their applicability.

-DC homopolar and soft-commutated machines

-Superconducting motors, generators, and transformers

-Finite element analysis of electromagnetics, mechanical stresses, and thermal analysis

-Advanced motor and generator field efficiency measurement methods

-Passive, active, and hybrid power filters for utility and end-user applications

-Novel techniques to calculate active and reactive power under unbalanced or nonlinear conditions

Inverter Technology

For an excellent overview of this topic, see the June '98 issue of Energy User News, for an article by John McKeever, entitled "Adjustable Speed Drives for Controlling Electric Motors".  While focused mainly on ASD, the article explains the history of solid-state inverter technology and the basic principles and recent developments in soft switching and multilevel approaches.

ART Inverter:  ORNL recently unveiled its new auxiliary resonant tank (ART) soft-switching inverter technology.  Key advantages relate to the achievement of soft-switching (switching at zero current or zero voltage) with fewer and smaller additional components than has been the case with previous approaches--including ORNL's own previously announced soft inverter.  At least two (unnamed) manufacturers of utility class products are talking with ORNL about participating in further development and applications.

DC-DC Converter:  ORNL has developed an isolated, bi-directional, broad-band DC-DC converter that produces constant 300Vdc output with inputs ranging from 12-300Vdc.  The principal application is fuel cells for mobile applications.

Multi-level inverters
Multilevel inverters for high voltage and/or high power motor drives -- better way to get high DC voltage than series connecting batteries.
Multilevel converters for utility applications such as static var generation, voltage regulation, harmonic compensation, and solar cell power generation/utility interface.
Multilevel converters for back-to-back intertie of two asynchronous systems and HVDC applications.

"A Power Line Conditioner Using Cascade Multilevel Inverters for Distribution Systems," Peng, F.Z, et.al.; pp. 1316-1321; Proc. Meet. of IEEE/ Ind. Appl. Soc. 32nd Annual Meeting, IEEE Power Electron. Soc., 1997.

"A Multilevel Voltage-Source Inverter with Separate DC Sources for Static Var Generation,";Peng, F.Z. et.al., pp.2541-47; Proc. Meet. of IEEE/ Ind. Appl. Soc., Orlando, FL, IEEE Power Electron. Soc., Oct.8-12,1995

Southern States, Inc., a leading supplier of high voltage switching products since 1916, located in Georgia, has a CRADA with ORNL to develop a multilevel cascade power line conditioner (5-15 kV) using ORNL's technology.  The modular design will have no transformers, and will provide active harmonic suppression and voltage support at a customer's site.

Instrumentation & Controls
    Roger Kisner 423-574-5567   kisnerra@ornl.gov

The Instrumentation and Controls (I&C) Division was established at ORNL to consolidate measurement and controls-related R&D into a single functional unit.The I&C Division has capabilities that range from basic and applied R&D through design, fabrication, installation, and maintenance of one-of-a-kind devices and systems. Areas of application include energy systems, chemical processes (including hazardous substances), physical phenomenon, medicine, biotechnology, ecology and environmental monitoring and control.  At ORNL, an estimated $80 million per year is being applied to instrumentation and controls in solving measurement problems of national importance. Much of this expertise is directly adaptable to the commercial sector of the U.S. economy.

I&C Division's core capabilities are Systems Integration, Photonics, Custom Electronics, Signal Processing, Sensors, and Controls and Simulation.

Some new things mentioned:

Drill Bit Monitor:  Super-rugged instrumentation mounted within a drill bit to monitor down-hole conditions.

Wireless Sensors:  Spread-spectrum technology is being used in conjunction with sensors-on-a-chip to eliminate instrumentation-related wiring in a plant.  Sensors can be added or moved as needed.  There is a potential for coupling with global positioning system (GPS) technology, so that the sensor can report its exact location, in addition to other measured data.
    Contact Wayne Manges,  423-574-8529

Wavelet Analyzer -- an R&D 100 winner.  From outside a truck with its motor running, it was able to detect the heartbeat of a person hiding inside.

Microcantilever Sensors:  Based on Si technology, microscopic “diving boards” are coated with various substances and changes in their amplitude, frequency and phase shift are monitored.  For example, a gold-plated microcantilever can be used to detect mercury in the ppb range.

Holographics:  ORNL is developing a new type of microscope that uses holographic techniques to project 3D images.  A potential application is evaluation of materials structure.

Machine Condition Monitoring and Diagnostics
  Harry Meyer 423-576-3866   meyerhmiii@ornl.gov

Estimates are that 1/3 of the $200-500 billion US industry spends each year on maintenance is wasted on work that is unnecessary, too early or ineffective.  Maintenance, reliability and efficiency are closely linked and rely on good monitoring and diagnostics.  Industry maintenance practices are transitioning from corrective(reactive), to preventive, to periodic, to real-time condition-based monitoring using on-line monitors. The highest form is "proactive", with appropriate use of all of these strategies to determine a system's ability to function.

Oak Ridge hosted the Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) Technology Workshop sponsored by the Best Manufacturing Practices Center of Excellence (BMPCOE) and The Oak Ridge Centers for Manufacturing Technology (ORCMT) in July 1997.  The purpose was to attract the leading CBM experts in the United States to create a definitive CBM guidelines document outlining the state-of-the-art in CBM technology. The proceedings is available via the internet. A final guidelines and application strategies document are complete and can also be viewed at the web site.  Contact at BMP is Chip Turner, 301-403-8180, chip@bmpcoe.org (See UFTO Note, June 30, 1997)

The ORCMT is committed to provide industrial and federal partners with advanced diagnostic technologies as well as integrated programs for facilities monitoring and management.

The work in machine monitoring and diagnostics technology is supported by a matrix of technical staff from across the Oak Ridge Complex. The disciplines represented include mechanical and electrical engineering, physics, chemistry, photonics, optics, thermal engineering, and materials science.  Areas include advanced diagnostic technology development; algorithm develpment for signal processing; specialized measurements and data collection; and sensor and materials development.  The goal is to establish predictive maintenance, condition based monitoring, and machine health monitoring.  New materials and sensors are developed as needed.

Core Capabilities include:
- Facilities managment using predictive maintenance techniques
- Application of electrical signature analysis to mechanical phenomena
- Application of vibrational signature analysis to mechanical phenomena
- Application of acoustical signature analysis to mechanical phenomena
- Nonlinear analysis of complex signals (e.g., wavelet, chaos, fuzzy sets, artificial intelligence)
- Photonics-based diagnostic techniques
- Application of fiber optics
- Weight measurements and weigh-in-motion technology
- Development and application of new sensors
- Development of new materials for specialized sensors


Electrical Signature Analysis (ESA) for Utility Applications
      Harry Meyer, 423-576-3866,   meyerhmiii@ornl.gov

Data characterizing electrical currents and voltage waveforms to/from motors, generators and similar devices are obtained and recorded, using non-invasive probes. ORNL-developed analysis techniques are applied to the resulting data, leading to powerful insights into the health and performance of the electrical machine and the system and/or facility in which it is installed. A typical utility application involved the evaluation of transient loads in motor operated valves at a CP&L nuclear plant. More recent developments include improved data analysis techniques and methods for the integrated monitoring of complete systems.

Status: Early forms of ESA are being used in a range of industrial applications, including utility power plants. Licensees include B&W/Framatome and ITT Movats/Westinghouse and PSE&G. More recent developments are available for licensing and/or joint development.

NOTE:  "Productization" isn't moving as fast as it could--for one thing, it's not what people are used to.  Several motor diagnostic equipment makers are offering expensive and overly complex versions of this type of technology.  There's a real opportunity to develop this into a really cheap and powerful commercial success.

Additional Background

ORNL developed and patented several signal-conditioning and signature analysis methods that exploit the intrinsic abilities of conventional electric motors and generators to function as transducers. By using simple nonintrusive current and voltage probes, these novel electrical signature analysis (ESA) techniques provide an improved means of detecting small time-dependent load and speed variations generated anywhere within an electro-mechanical system. The detected signals are converted into revealing "signatures" that can be used to monitor motor-driven equipment, indicating degradation and incipient failures. Typical diagnostic information obtained from ESA is comparable to that provided by conventional vibration analysis and is normally obtained with only one nonintrusive sensor.

Whether alone or in conjunction with other diagnostic technologies (e.g., vibration monitoring), ESA provides the user with unmatched sensitivity and selectivity covering a wide variety of equipment disorders and undesirable operating modes. Because it is highly sensitive, easy to use, and nonintrusive, ESA offers a cost-effective alternative to conventional diagnostic systems for monitoring the performance and health of a wide variety of industrial machinery.

In one demonstration, ESA techniques successfully diagnosed the wear condition of gears in airliner auxiliary power units, much to the surprise of airline maintenance personnel.

Equipment that has already been monitored using ESA includes:
  - motor-operated valves,
  - compressors and pumps (i.e., axial-flow, reciprocating, centrifugal, scroll, vacuum, peristaltic),
  - HVAC systems (i.e., residential heat pumps and a/c units, large chillers),
  - fans (i.e., various types and designs),
  - alternators and generators (i.e., helicopter and automotive),
  - home appliance and tools (i.e., washing machines, blenders, mixers, sewing machines, drills, circular saws), and
  - industrial machinery (i.e., coal pulverizers and laboratory centrifuges).

(one of the first applications:)

Noninvasive Testing of Solenoid Valves Using Transient Current Signal Analysis
       Edward D. Blakeman  423-574-4670        edb@ornl.gov

A methodology has been developed for in situ diagnostic testing of dc-actuated solenoid-operated valves (SOVs) by analysis of the characteristics of the transient current waveform accompanying valve actuation. This waveform, which is used to identify abnormal operation, is obtained inductively by a small split-core current transformer clamped around one of the valve's solenoid leads. The digitized waveforms are subsequently compared with similar waveforms obtained when the valve was known to be operating normally, and the results used to detect faulty valve operation. This methodology is noninvasive because direct access to the SOV is not required; also, the current transformer has negligible effect on the solenoid current and does not require the lifting of any electrical leads.

Analysis is performed by first extracting various waveform "features". A subset of these features is examined by diagnostic algorithms, tuned to identify faults for that valve type, that compare the features with those obtained from a previously acquired waveform for the particular valve under examination. Two methods of analysis have been examined. One utilizes fuzzy logic in an expert system diagnostic. The other performs pattern recognition using an artificial neural network approach. The overall analysis is robust in that it can deal with minor deviations of the waveform shape experienced during repeated operation of a normal valve while successfully identifying abnormal valve operation.

In the present application, analysis has been specialized to SOVs used on space-based systems; however, the methodology has sufficient flexibility to be applicable to a wide variety of valves and other industrial electrically controlled components.

Nonlinear data analysis--Component Failure Prediction
 Bruce Poole   423-574-0734  pooleab@ornl.gov

ORNL has developed significant capabilities in the areas of machine condition monitoring and diagnostics.  A particular strong point is their ability to extract more useful information from a given data set.

ORNL has recently demonstrated the application of non-linear analysis techniques in the evaluation of stress-strain data related to equipment whose lifetime is limited by crack-dominated failure mechanisms.  Through the application of these techniques, the operational lifetime of many affected structures may be significantly extended with confidence.  The approach begins with identification of failure modes and mechanisms, and a determination of a source of time-series data that indicates the progress of the damage mechanism (e.g. stress and displacement).  Nonlinear analysis of this data yields predictive indicators which can forewarn of apporaching crack-growth dominated failure.

The techniques have been successfully applied in other areas--one involved brain wave data to predict epileptic seizures. Another used spindle motor current data to distinguish different drill bit contitions.  A third example predicted failure of a bellows in a rotating drive train.  Finally, examination of motor current data was able to discern mechanical balance states of a centrifugal pump.  There is confidence the techniques will work for any non-linear system, and patents have been granted or are pending.

NRC/INPO plant database - Other applications of the nonlinear analysis has been on fatigue in steam generators, and circuit breaker failure (key to nuclear plant safety).  As a result of work for the NRC, ORNL has established ready access to the entire NRC plant equipment study database, which details every piece of equipment and failure history.  There are a great many possibilities for analysis that could lead, for example, to more confident decisions about repairs or replacement of plant components.

Photonics and Hybrid Lighting
 Jeff Muhs 423-574-9328   muhsjd@ornl.gov

The Hybrid Lighting concept involves combining artificial and natural light and the efficient distribution inside a building of sunlight as light (rather than as electricity).  The idea is to use old and new technology for integrated "smart" lighting systems.  ORNL is promoting the idea of the Hybrid Lighting Partnership to make this happen.  Members include manufacturers, utilities, universities, engineering architects/lighting designers, and laboratories.

Components would include sunlight collection systems, fiber optic light distribution, windows and skylights, electric lights, and adaptive smart controls, that can implement daylight harvesting or shed load by dimming.

To distribute light from remote locations such as a roof-mounted sunlight collection system or centralized high efficiency electric lamp located in the attic, large hollow light-pipes about a foot in diameter and solid-core optical fibers about the size of electrical cable are emerging as the preferred approaches.  Over the past decade, transmission losses due to scattering and absorption have been dramatically reduced in these products making the passive distribution of light more than just a scientific curiousity.

Another key development is the concentrated high power, high efficiency light sources.  These can deliver light at115 lumens/watt, in quite large amounts, however, so distribution is a must.

Membership is in the Hybrid Lighting Partnership doesn't cost anything directly but requires commitments to provide input to the program agenda and technology roadmap , to conduct relevant in-kind RD&D, and share nonproprietary aspects with others.