08 Dec 2002 UFTO Note - 2002 Fuel Cell Seminar
05 Dec 2002 UFTO Note - H2 from Multiple Fuels & Polymeric Membrane Separation
15 Nov 2002 UFTO Note - H2 Production Adapts Smelting Technology
03 Nov 2002 UFTO Note - Optic Fiber Inside Transm Cable Measures Temperature
29 Oct 2002 UFTO Note - Solid State Power Breakthrough
14 Oct 2002 UFTO Note - Thermoelectrics Revisited
01 Oct 2002 UFTO Note - Short Subjects
06 Sep 2002  UFTO Note - Ice Mitigation
19 Aug 2002 UFTO Note - Staged Combustion with Nitrogen-Enriched Air (SCNEA)
05 Aug 2002 UFTO Note - Utility Telecom Has a Future-PurOptix
01 Aug 2002  UFTO Note- E-lecTrade Enables Trading of Structured Products
12 Jul 2002  UFTO Note - EESAT'02 Electricity Storage Conference
08 Jul 2002  UFTO Note - Digital Hubbub-IEEE Spectrum
10 Jun 2002  UFTO Note-DOE H2&FC Reviews
24 May 2002 UFTO Note - NREL VISIT
20 May 2002 UFTO Forward- NRECA DG tools
17 May 2002 UFTO Note - Small scale Gas to Liquids (GTL)
25 Apr 2002  UFTO Note - PowerWAN PLC to Solve Last-Mile
22 Mar 2002 UFTO Note - New Small Turbines, 600 Watts to 2 MW
16 Feb 2002 UFTO Note - IEEE 1547 Interconnection Working Group
15 Feb 2002 UFTO Note - DOE Distributed Power Review
26 Jan 2002 UFTO Note - Fluid Mechanical Energy Recovery
23 Jan 2002 UFTO Note - 2001 IEEE T&D Expo
17 Jan 2002  UFTO Note - NEETRAC R&D Focused on Power Delivery

Subject:  UFTO Note - 2002 Fuel Cell Seminar
    Date:  Sun, 08 Dec 2002

Fuel Cell Seminar       http://www.gofuelcell.com
Nov 18-21, Palm Springs, CA

The Fuel Cell Seminar has been held every two years* since 1978. Until recently, it's been essentially a scientific forum.  The 2000 event (in Portland OR) saw a major change into a full blown trade show. That trend continued this time, with 50% larger attendance (3000) and many more than twice the number of exhibitors (125). The event is very international, with huge contingents from Europe and Asia.  For the first time, simultaneous translation in Japanese was provided. (*From now on, they're going annual--the next one will be in Miami, Nov '03.)

The mood this time, however, was distinctly different.  Recall that January 2000 started with a runaway boom in stock prices and excitement over fuel cells.  By November, that surge was still strong, and the event had the feel of a celebration.  In contrast, this year the mood was almost grim, or at least very subdued.  Beyond the effects of the wider economic doldrums, the reality has set in that cost and performance of fuel cell technology just aren't there yet. Fuel cells are still years from being ready for a meaningful ramp-up in commercial market penetration.  Investment bankers and venture capitalists, who were very much a presence in 2000, were few and far between this time.

A great many of the exhibitors were suppliers to the industry, offering membranes, catalysts, pumps and valves, test equipment, etc.  Thus the comment that people were there to sell to each other, not to sell fuel cells to real customers.  (The only customers appear to be governments--see below.)  It is possible to spin this positively--companies like 3-M and Agilent wouldn't be bothered if they didn't see a big opportunity down the road.  The large attendance could be viewed in the same light.  The saying goes that it's a matter of when, not if [that fuel cells will be a practical reality on a large commercial scale].

Keynote Address
S. David Freeman was blunt (as usual) in his keynote address--fuel cells have not achieved financial viability; the fuel cell car is a huge publicity stunt--not yet a practical reality; and distributed generation (via fuel cells) doesn't have the political appeal that renewable energy enjoys.  He urged the industry to pay more attention to the question of fuels for fuel cells, and suggested that it's in everyone's interest to deploy hydrogen burning IC engines, to build up the hydrogen infrastructure independent of and in parallel with fuel cell development.

Four keynote lectures followed:
- DOE Fossil Energy Fuel Cell Program (Victor Der for George Rudins)
FE spends $250 million/year for stationary fuel cell RD&D, mostly on SECA and FC-Hybrids.  SECA is the initiative whose goal is $400/kw planar solid oxide fuel cell. Contracts have been awarded to four industry teams to pursue various technical strategies.

- Stationary Perspective (Jerry Leitman, Fuel Cell Energy)
Stationary plants are commercially available today, and offer dramatic efficiency and emissions improvements over engines and combined cycle plants.

- Transportation Perspective (Andrew Schell, for Ferdinand Panik, DaimlerChrysler)
Fuel cells in transportation are a necessity to gain the "freedoms" (i.e. of choice, from emissions, from oil dependence, etc).  Applications will ramp up over the next 7 years to become truly commercial.  New fuel insfrastructures must be deployed. (In January, DOE replaced the PNGV with FreedomCAR, concentrating on hydrogen and fuel cells http://www.ott.doe.gov/freedom_car.shtml).

- Portable Perspective (Laryy DuBois, SRI)
There is no Moore's Law for batteries.  The price paid per kw is high compared with large scale power, creating an opportunity for fuel cells.  Drivers include longer runtime, fast recharge, unlimited recharge, etc.  A dozen companies at least plan to be selling products sometime in the next 3 years. Concentration is on direct methanol or PEM, with at least one SOFC to run on butane.  The competition isn't standing still, with advances in batteries and ultracaps, as well as work on nano-heat engines and RF scavenging. (I have a pdf of this presentation-2MB)

- Fuel Perspective (Don Huberts, Shell Hydrogen)
Stationary, Transportation and Portable each have different requirements for refueling infrastructure, and no single answer will suffice.  There needs to be a mix of technologies, primary energy sources, and delivery means.

Program Overviews
A series of presentations outlined programs and budgets deveoted to fuel cell developments funded by the European Commission, Germany, Japan, and the US (DOE).  Strong long term commitments were evident, with expressed goals of meeting Kyoto requirements and reducing oil dependence through hydrogen and fuel cells. $100s of millions are budgeted. Notably, they all talk in terms of gradual progress up the adoption curve, with the bulk of activity over the next 6-10 years in demos and projects.

In addition to over 230 poster papers, parallel sessions included presentations on PEM R&D, SOFC, Commercialization and Demonstrations, Fuel Processing and DMFC/Portable.  Many of the papers were highly technical and specialized, while others were little more than general overviews for companies and programs (some bordering on infommercials).

Reflecting on the general state of the industry, governments appear to be the main customers for fuel cell companies, along with the big carmakers who are doing demos, partnerships, and their own development programs  (GM was curiously quiet at this event).  Otherwise, it just seems to be a swarm of similar sounding programs, and it's nearly impossible to see any real differentiation that would indicate a possible eventual winner.

This is especially true in PEM, and also to some extent in SOFC.  Fuel Cell Energy, of course, is the only US molten carbonate company, and they are just introducing a new and improved series of models into their 12 MW order backlog. They are "commercial", but price remains an issue, as well as perceived technical risk on the part of buyers (the US Navy does seem to be keen on them for shipboard use).  Meanwhile, companies like Plug and Nuvera have quietly stopped talking about residential.

As the long slow march of this technology continues, maybe the traditional approaches are just too difficult.  Almost everyone seems to be pursuing the same old stacks with bolts around the edge, and the same handful of reformer technologies.  Meanwhile, a number of "stealth" developments are underway, out of the spotlight, by people who are thinking different.  They may just come along with novel new approaches that break through the age-old dilemmas of cost, manufacturability, and performance.  One is almost tempted to think that if something is being presented at conferences, it's not cutting edge, and it's not the answer.  (And it's a safe bet that companies that do make presentations are probably not telling us about their really good stuff.)

Here is an example of such a possible "end-run":  Microcell Corp had a booth showing a very different configuration for a fuel cell system.  Very few details were given, but they did tell me their cost goal is less than $100/kw.  The cells are long thin hollow tubes (less than 1 mm in diameter) whose wall consists of the anode, electrolyte, and cathode, and which can be made by extrusion.  The cells can be arrayed in bundles in a tube and header configuration, and high power densities are predicted.  The company is in the 2nd year of a 3 year ATP grant, with cofunding investment by Pepco.  www.microcellcorp.com

Ceramic Fuel Cell Ltd, of Australia, presented its new all ceramic SOFC stack technology which looks very promising.  Temperature cycling is the big issue for SOFC's and their latest set of innovations have resulted in a simple rugged design.

References and Publications:

Abstracts of the 2002 Fuel Cell Seminar--the book is 2 " thick; also on a CD, available for purchase ($55 and $30, respectively).  Contact:
         Catherine Porterfield <cporterf@courtesyassoc.com>

European Integrated Hydrogen Project
White paper: "European Transport Policy for 2010 : time to decide "

New releases (at the seminar):
2002 Annual Progress Report, H2, FC and Infrastructure Technologies Programs, 400 page book, or CD.  Also online at http://www.eren.doe.gov/hydrogen/publications.html

The new 6th edition of the DOE  Fuel Cell Handbook  (Oct 2002) was handed out at the Seminar. This comprehensive textbook (450 pages) can be ordered on CD at

Overview of Portable Power
The German company Smart Fuel Cell is among the many contenders in portable power, and appear to be making good progress towards commercialization.  They were listed among Scientific American's 50 Business Leaders (Dec issue)

They cite this helpful overview of the market on their website:

[web tips]
 -- The NETL website has its fuel cell materials under the Strategic Center for Natural Gas.  Look under "End-Use" to find fuel cells.

 -- The DOD has a website http://www.dodfuelcell.com/ which details a major residential PEM demo program, as well as the Army's Fuel Cell Test & Evaluation Center (FCTEC), operated by Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) in Johnstown, PA

By coincidence, this article appeared right after the Seminar

More Rationalization Of Fuel-Cell Companies Expected
By Lynne Olver,   Dow Jones Newswires -- Nov 25, 2002

VANCOUVER -- The fuel-cell industry is entering an "important phase" in which more corporate consolidation can be expected, according to Pierre Rivard, president and chief executive of Hydrogenics Corp. (HYGS). Rivard said the PC and telecom industries tend to have a few dominant players, and he expects a similar pattern in the fuel-cell business over the next three years.

"It's typical that, post-consolidation, you might see two, three, perhaps four emerging, larger-sized companies and to me that's very healthy," Rivard told Dow Jones.

 . . . . The article goes on to describe Plug Power's acquisition of H Power, and Global Thermoelectric's interest in finding a buyer or major partner for its SOFC business.


Subject:  UFTO Note - H2 from Multiple Fuels & Polymeric Membrane Separation
    Date:  Thu, 05 Dec 2002

So much is going on in hydrogen these days, but one still wonders whether truly novel developments will ultimately be the key to making H2 an economic and practical part of the energy system. H2fuel, a small technology development company in Chicago, has two important innovations that may be examples the kinds of breakthroughs that are needed.

1. Fuel Processor -- Simpler cheaper integrated autothermal reformer system--sulfur tolerant

2. Polymeric Membrane -- A unique new membrane that removes CO2 and H2S, by a chemical mass transport, not physical separation, while reducing CO.

H2fuel is  jointly owned by Avista Labs(70%) and Unitel Fuel Technologies (30%).  H2fuel is looking for investors.  A business plan is available.

Lee Camara, Unitel,  ehc.unitel@usa.net   847-297-2265
Mike Davis, Avista Labs,  mdavis@avistalabs.com    509-228-6685

Here are some technical details, adapted from a 4-page summary the company has prepared, complete with color graphics. (download - password required):

Fuel Processor

A couple of years ago, H2fuel took over funding of work at Argonne on an autothermal reformer (ATR), and introduced new sulfur-tolerant catalysts.  A key goal was to process any number of standard (sulfur bearing) fuels in the same device.  The system now promises low cost, simple operation, ease of manufacture, rapid cycling (load following), and ease of manufacture.

Sulfur-tolerant water gas shift (WGS) catalysts have been qualified for both medium temperature and low temperature applications.  One of the most significant breakthroughs is the elimination of the zinc oxide bed, thus allowing the H2S produced in this processor to go right through the reactor without any deleterious effects.  The H2S is continuously removed by a new subsystem downstream (see below).

The CO produced in the fuel processor, ~1%, depending on the fuel, acts as a PEM fuel cell poison because it affects the anode electrocatalyst.  H2fuel has developed a unique method for reducing the CO level to below 10 ppm, thus eliminating this problem.

H2fuel’s new hydrogen processor, with its sulfur-tolerant autothermal and water gas shift catalysts, and without the need for a zinc oxide bed, has been tested continuously for over 2500 hours with natural gas containing ~20 ppm sulfur compounds.  During this period, it has successfully completed several load-following tests and maintained an output gas composition (dry basis) of 45% H2, 15% CO2, 1% CO, 0.4% CH4, balance N2.  This reactor continues to be tested; however, the fuel is being changed to regular gasoline, and later to fuel grade ethanol.

Polymeric Membrane

On a separate front, under the auspices of a R&D program originally started at the University of Kentucky, and now being continued at Ohio State University, H2fuel has a controlling position in the IP  developing polymeric membrane products and support devices to facilitate the removal of H2S and CO2 from the reformate product streams.  The key component of this membrane separator is a surface layer that reacts with H2S and CO2, but not with H2 and CO. The membrane transports the reaction products from one side of the membrane to the other by mass transport.  The H2S and CO2 desorb on the other side and are swept away.  The H2 and CO don't react with the membrane and are retained on the reformate side. A second membrane stage incorporates a catalyst to deplete the remaining CO in the reformate to less than 10 ppm.

This membrane technology can be used as well to clean up H2 from other production processes. Some major fuelcell companies have made clear their interest once higher temperature operation of the membrane is accomplished.


Subject: UFTO Note - H2 Production Adapts Smelting Technology
    Date: 15 Nov 2002

In iron making, carbon (coke) is mixed into molten iron oxide, and the result is elemental iron (Fe) and CO2.   Alchemix's new process, HydroMax,then introduces steam, which makes H2  while converting the Fe back to iron oxide. These two steps are done one after the other, and the fixed inventory of iron/iron oxide remains in place.  (To produce a steady output stream, two reactors alternate, one in each mode.)

        FeO + C      -->    Fe +  CO2
        Fe + H2O   -->    FeO  +  H2

By adding some tin to the melt, sulfur that comes in with the carbon is readily dealt with.  Tin and sulfur form tin sulfide (SnS).  TheSnS is combusted to form tin oxide(SnO2) and SO2.  The SnO2 goes back into the melt to be reduced back to tin along with the iron oxide, and the SO2 is scrubbed from the exhaust (and used to make fertilizer).

Note that the H2 comes from the water, not from a hydrocarbon.  The carbon merely provides process heat, and the reforming of the iron oxide.At the very high temperature (1300 deg C), any carbon compound will be quickly reduced to elemental carbon, opening the way to use low value or waste material feedstocks.

Alchemix has adapted widely used metal smelting reactors to both produce hydrogen and reduce iron oxide back into iron.  The specific technology is the top-submerged lance furnace which is currently operating in more than thirty commercial installations worldwide. These furnaces routinely convert ores of tin, lead, copper, zinc and iron into metal. The principal function of these reactors is to obtain efficient contact between gases and molten liquids so that the oxygen in the liquid metal oxides can react quickly with the input carbon leaving only metal. The natural ores processed in these furnaces frequently contain more than 50% gangue (rock or other materials associated with the metal oxides).  The absence of gangue substantially simplifies the HydroMax process relative to existing smelter operations.

To date, Alchemix has demonstrated its ability to produce hydrogen and reform metal oxide efficiently at both laboratory (kilogram) and demonstration plant scale (0.3 meter reactor diameter).  Currently, engineering development work is being conducted at CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) in Melbourne, Australia. These plants were chosen and adapted to the HydroMax technology since they are the same plants used to demonstrate the top-submerged lance technology as it was developed for use with a variety of metals.  These demonstrations have validated the science which is the underpinning of the HydroMax technology.  The next step is to attract partners for a larger commercial demonstration plant (2 meter) in the US.

Plants producing 50-150 million scf H2 per day can drastically beat the standard steam methane reforming in terms of cost (by as much as a factor of 10), in part because of the much cheaper feedstock (low value coal, sludge, etc., vs. natural gas) and the value of co-products  (electricity and ammonium-sulfate fertilizer).  The engineering firm Kvaerner has recently done a capital and operating cost analysis (summary available on the company website).

The chicken and egg nature of the "hydrogen economy" might suggest that large scale production won't have a place until end uses and the delivery infrastructure are in place.  The multipurpose nature of a Hydromax plant, however, makes it possible for a plant built today to supply an oil refinery, or produce ammonia or syngas, while awaiting the development of the H2 transportation market.  HydroMax can also be used to gasify hydrocarbons, with the unique ability to control the ratio of H2 and CO in the resulting syngas (the steam and C are introduced together), which in turn can be made into the various liquid fuels.

The H2 (or syngas) and excess steam can be used directly to generate power, making an overall system that is far more efficient and cleaner than any solid fuel boiler.  Imagine a mine mouth power plant using low value high sulfur coal. The overall efficiency would be close to 50% with a major reduction in CO2, and no emissions of sulfur, mercury or NOx.

Key implications -- the flexibility provides immediate clean power and fuels from low grade carbon resources while we await the decades-long transition to a hydrogen economy;  -- the opportunity to dramatically reduce the US dependence on oil imports; -- environmentally benign way for China, for instance, to use their resources which otherwise threaten the entire globe.

The company website has white papers, the cost analysis, and even a dramatic animated graphic of the process: http://www.alchemix.us

The company has attracted significant investment participation. As mentioned earlier, the goal now is to bring in partners to participate in the US commercial demonstration plant, e.g. four partners at $10M each, whose investment would gain them a preferred position and a credit towards the royalties of a full size plant.

Contact Robert Horton, President
480-488-3388   rhorton@alchemix.net


Subject:  UFTO Note - Optic Fiber Inside Transm Cable Measures Temperature
    Date:  Sun, 03 Nov 2002

Here is most of the text of a summary prepared by the developers, Com Ed and Southwire.  The complete Word document with graphics can be downloaded at:
    http://www.ufto.com/clients-only/fotc.doc  (password needed)

**ComEd - Southwire Alliance Develops Novel Fiber Optic Transmission Conductor (FOTC)

In 1999, ComEd began work with Southwire to investigate a new concept to accurately determine the thermal behavior of overhead transmission lines during operation.  It is the conductor temperature that dictates the thermal rating and available clearance under a line.  However, as of yet no satisfactory method has been developed that measures conductor temperature axially throughout its length as well as radially.

A novel overhead transmission conductor system that uses optical fibers as an integral part of the phase conductor has been developed by ComEd and Southwire (Patent Pending) and placed in service on the ComEd system.

Operational since February 21, 2002, the 138 kV FOTC system uses distributed temperature sensing (DTS) to measure the temperature of the optical fibers that are embedded in the conductor.  DTS allows accurate temperature measurement along the entire length of the FOTC line at different locations within the conductor.

Prior to the field demo, the FOTC system was tested and characterized by the NEETRAC {see UFTO Note, 17Jan02}   and Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL).  Significant discoveries on the temperature behavior of the transmission conductor under various test conditions were found.  For example, the impact of wind on radial temperature drop across a conductor and the impact of solar radiation on a conductor varied significantly from IEEE Std 738 during extreme weather conditions.

Field Trial Installation: The Fiber Optic Transmission Conductor (FOTC) was installed using a special dead-end assembly and an optical insulator.  The installation method was the same as a conventional one, except that special care was taken to separate and protect the optical fibers from the conductor at the dead-end location.

The graph shows an example of the temperature data that is available in real-time from the FOTC system. With the FOTC system it is a simple matter to show the temperature of any desired interval lengths of the FOTC line.   [graphic:  Temperature versus Time Profile of 138 kV FOTC Line]

Utilities have a need to maximize the use of their assets.  FOTC provides the medium for utilities to determine the real-time thermal operating limit of a transmission conductor in the most accurate way possible.  It also provides the means to transmit data or voice communications.  As the utility industry continues to evolve through transmission open access, new innovations such as FOTC will help pave the way to competitive advantage.


Southwire will pursue the development and commercialization of FOTC under a license from ComEd.  A market study is underway, and in particular the partners want to learn more about how much FOTC can increase transmission capacity, and how utilities will judge the merits and value for use on their own systems.

Contacts for Additional Information
Jim Crane, ComEd,  630-576-7034,   james.crane@exeloncorp.com
Gene Sanders, Southwire, 770-832-4988,   gene_sanders@southwire.com

Subject: UFTO Note - Solid State Power Breakthrough
    Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002

      Thermoelectrics Revisited -- Again

The bytes were barely dry on the 14 Oct UFTO Note about thermoelectrics ("There is a tantalizing hope that someday someone will come up with a real breakthrough in direct heat-to-electricity conversion."), and the following day, just such a possible breakthrough came to my attention in an item in EV Progress. (www.EVProgress.com)

The article talked about dramatic claims made at the September Global Powertrain Congress in Ann Arbor, Michigan for a "Power Chip" that would recover from 10-70 KW of the waste heat of a car's engine as electric power.  The technology is a new variant on direct thermal conversion.

Here is a portion the Power Chip's own press release:
        "Power Chips are discs comprising two electrodes separated by a gap of less than 20 nanometers, through which the hottest (most energetic) electrons tunnel to create an electrical current. Power Chips are silent, nonpolluting, solid-state devices that are scalable as arrays to meet any size power load. They can generate electricity from heat produced by any primary energy source......

They are projected to operate at 70% of the maximum theoretical [Carnot] efficiency for energy conversion, even when converting low-grade waste heat. The only other technology capable of converting such heat directly to electrical output is thermoelectric (Peltier) devices, but the efficiency of production thermoelectric systems is only 5-8%.

Power Chips™ are protected by an extensive patent portfolio covering general theory and specific techniques for quantum thermotunneling and thermal energy conversion. More details are available on the Power Chips plc Website http://www.powerchips.gi, including the full text of issued patents and photographs of prototype Power Chips.

Power Chips™ were invented and are being developed and licensed by Power Chips plc, a majority-owned subsidiary of Borealis Exploration Limited (BOREF). Both companies are incorporated in Gibraltar. Borealis' business is reinventing the core technologies used by basic industries, including electrical power generation, cooling and thermal management, electric motors, and steel production."

Not mentioned was the obvious point that if you could do that, you wouldn't bother with the IC engine in the first place. The company is in discussions with GM, who invited them to participate in the Powertrain conference.

I contacted the company, executed an NDA, and learned a great deal more about it through extensive conversations with management.  Actually, the first product is going to be for cooling.  (As with thermoelectrics, this process can be used either as a heat pump or a power generator.) It has attracted serious attention of major defense contractors for cooling of critical electronic components.
(See: http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2001/q4/nr_011130a.html)

The parent company is Borealis, an unusual company with a colorful history dating back to an oil company founded in 1924.. There are over 100 employees scattered all over the world, and they draw on many additional institutions and people.  The CoolChips subsidiary is already public (COLCF), and PowerChips and other subsidiaries are poised to go public as well.  The long technology development has mostly been funded privately by private/family money of the principals, however they now recognize the need to broaden the base of support and involvement.  A private offering memorandum is available from the company.

A great deal of technical and business information is available in various areas of the companies' interlinked websites, powerchips.gi, coolchips.gi, and borealis.gi. The cooling technology was presented at the recent Long Beach 21st International Conference on Thermoelectrics, and another paper is being given today at the "Thermal Management" conference in Dallas.  (Both events were cited in the 14 Oct UFTO Note).

Note in particular a new version of their technical overview dated Oct-28 (this is what is being presented in Dallas). Two nanotechnology milestones were reached recently: the fabrication of large conformal pairs of electrodes, and electrodes with excellent local smoothness. The document includes new detailed electron microscope data of the surfaces.

The quantum tunneling theory is described in a paper by a group of Stanford materials researchers (I have the pdf if anyone would like to see it--it's not easy reading unless you're a quantum physicist--and even then it's no walk in the park):

"Refrigeration by Combined Tunneling and Thermionic Emission in Vacuum: Use of Nanometer Scale Design",  Y. Hishinuma, T. H. Geballe, and B. Y. Moyzhes, Applied Physics Letters, Vol 78, No. 17, 23 April 2001.

According to their calculations, the basic tunneling process is ideally capable of delivering 95% of Carnot efficiency. The technical overview then goes through detailed analysis of losses, and comes up with a final figure of 70-80% of Carnot overall.

The physics theory is one thing; making a device is another.  The company says it has developed reliable means to build such devices -- with the unheard-of narrow gaps.  Two small production lines are being debugged and ramped up currently.

First deliveries of the initial product are anticipated in a matter of months.  It will be a several watt cooling chip, which will be offered for sale at a very high price.  The device is said to be capable of delivering temperature differences of over 400 deg K, cooling down to 150 deg K with a hot side of 250 deg C.

If these claims bear out, even partially, it would truly be a game changer.  If the devices can be made reliably and cheaply, then little would stand in the path, in every arena of refrigeration, power production and transportation, not to mention electronics.  Time will tell.

Subject:   UFTO Note - Thermoelectrics Revisited
    Date:  Mon, 14 Oct 2002

There is a tantalizing hope that someday someone will come up with a real breakthrough in direct heat-to-electricity conversion.  No moving parts, "solid-state", self-contained, scalable, and so on.  Such miracles do exist, but they are costly and inefficient, and can find use only in specialized niche applications like satellite power, IC chip cooling, novelty items like picnic coolers, and most recently as comfort conditioning in automobiles.

The sought-after breakthrough would be in performance and cost, for example, to "make the internal combustion engine obsolete" and do many other marvelous things. As one example, cold climate utilities have attempted unsuccessfully to use thermoelectic generation to develop self-powered home heating systems which could continue to operate during power outages.

The fundamental underlying processes have been known for a long time, e.g., Thermoelectric (TE) (Seebeck, Peltier), Thermionic, ThermoPhotoVoltaic, etc.  NASA, for one, has spent decades fine tuning these for use in space, and a hardy band of scientific, engineering and business people continue the quest.  Some companies actually earn a decent living at making and selling such devices, but it is strictly a matter of small niches. Note that TE can be used reversibly to either provide cooling (heat pump) or generate electricity (heat engine).

There are some interesting stirrings of late.  For a number of years, researchers at MIT and elsewhere have focused on nanostructures which create one and two dimensional worlds for electrons (known as "quantum wells"), which theoretically should yield higher efficiencies.  Experimental results are slow in coming.  Last October, the Research Triangle Institute published a major paper in Nature claiming dramatic improvements (in the lab) in TE performance, based on nanolayers of traditional TE materials.  Most research in the field has focused on trying to find new bulk materials that have better properties, so this layering approach caught people by surprise. Prior claims to boost "ZT" (the figure of merit for TE) much above 0.7 - 1 haven't held up, but RTI seems really to have a ZT of 2.4.  Such a doubling or tripling of "ZT"  could hugely expand the range of applications for both cooling and power -- assuming of course that the cost is low enough.

  RTI is putting on a conference Oct 28-30 in Dallas:
  "Next Generation Thermal Management Materials and Systems - for Cooling and Power Conversion"
     Full agenda at:  http://techventure.rti.org/fall2002/

* The latest advances in thermal management materials and systems, and how recent developments can spur commercialization.
* Market trends and opportunities for new thermal management technologies in cooling and power conversion - in wide ranging applications - from micro electronics to refrigeration.
* The status of commercial applications - impact on enabling new markets and displacing current markets.

One of the speakers has recently given a paper at a recent TE conference*. (I have the papers if anyone is interested.) A clever way** of arranging an array of TE modules more than doubles the overall system efficiency for cooling.  A commercial product using this technique already is in use, cooling seats of luxury cars. (http://www.amerigon.com/)

(The TE conference* was the ICT2002, held August 26-29, Long Beach, CA. This is an annual meeting of the worldwide thermoelectric R&D community.  For a brief account of the conference, see the Sept 30 "ZTSpam" at Cronin Vining's website:
Cronin is a renowned expert in TE, and a good friend and colleague of UFTO.)

Besides TE, thermionic and TPV continue to get attention.  (In thermionic conversion, electrons boil off a heated surface and are collected on another electrode.  In TPV, the heated surface sends out photons of a particular variety which go to a specialized PV cell.  It's PV with its own built-in custom light source, which is heat-driven.) Some of the most promising new developments use nanoscale approaches to overcome traditional obstacles to cost and performance.  The "Nano-TPV" work is being done at Draper Laboratory, and involves reducing the spacing between the heated emitter and PV receiver to nanoscale dimensions.  Experiments confirm a dramatic increase in the photo current.  In another development, Eneco in Salt Lake City continues to make progress on its nanoscale method which they say combines thermionic and TE effects. (See UFTO Note 28 Nov 2001.)

 ** As explained in the papers, the configuration involves (as I describe it) a counterflow heat exchanger where a number of parallel heat pumps push heat from the cold side to the hot side.  Each heat pump sees a temperature difference that is only half of the "delta-T" that the overall system provides, leading to higher overall efficiency.  Whether this would be practical in a larger system using compressors is hard to say.


Subject:  UFTO Note - Short Subjects
    Date:   01 Oct 2002


       New Features on  http://www.UFTO.COM

*Scroll to the bottom of the home page, and click on
       "Recommended Reading  &  UFTO EXTRAS"
*Note the link at the top:
  "For a list of newsletters and publications regularly scanned by UFTO, click here."
  Any new ones to suggest?


See below for these items:

*Cleantech Venture Network Issues First Report
*EEEI 1547  Interconnection Standard Passes Ballot
*Army Venture Capital Fund
*New Report on Energy Storage
*New Model to Analyze Distributed Power Projects
*Sag Line Mitigator -- EPRI TC proposal


Cleantech Venture Network Issues First Report   (See UFTO Note, 26 Jul 2002)

The first Cleantech Investment Monitor was released last week. It reports that investments in "clean" technology companies  - ranging from fuel cells to water purification systems ? exceeded US$500 million in the first half of 2002, more than doubling from Q1 to Q2..  It also lists company investments made during the quarter, and profiles selected companies and investors.  Download (27 pages) at:

Also the website has much more to offer now, including investor membership sign-up (options include Forum, Deal Flow, and Investment Monitor).  Plans for the first venture forum (Toronto, Nov 13-14) are proceeding well. Over 40 companies have applied, and 15-20  will be selected to present.


EEEI 1547  Interconnection Standard Passes Ballot

The IEEE P1547/D10 Draft Standard for Interconnecting Distributed Resources(DR) With Electric Power Systems(EPS) received 90% affirmatives in the ballot that closed September 26, 2002.

Separately, the Standards Board approved new numbers for the three new working groups.  Next meeting are in San Francisco October 8-10:  (see UFTO Note 09 Sep 2002)

--P1547.1 (formerly P1589) - Draft Standard for Conformance Test Procedures for Equipment Interconnecting DR with EPS
--P1547.2 (formerly P1608) - Draft Application Guide for IEEE Standard 1547 for Interconnecting DR with EPS
--P1547.3 (formerly P1614) - Draft Guide for Monitoring, Information Exchange and Control of DR Interconnected with EPS.


Army Venture Capital Fund

Clearly modeled after the CIA's In-Q-Tel fund (http://www.in-q-tel.com/), the U.S. Army issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) to solicit proposals for the operation and management of a not-for-profit, Venture Capital Corporation (VCC). The objective is to improve the business relationships between the entrepreneurial community of high technology innovators and the U.S. Army. This is expected to accelerate the transition of innovative technology into the Army by creating greater awareness on the Army's part concerning commercial technology development and in the entrepreneurial community concerning the Army's potential as a technology customer willing to accept innovative solutions to its requirements. The focus initially will be on companies and programs developing power and energy technology applicable to the requirements of the individual soldier.

The BAA was issued Aug 29, and the deadline for proposals was just extended from Sept  30 to Oct 15. UFTO will follow this story with great interest.  (I am advising a local VC firm who plans to submit a proposal.)


New Report on Energy Storage

"Energy Storage: The Sixth Dimension of the Electricity Value Chain", by Richard Baxter and Jason Makansi, of PearlStreet, Inc.

The report focuses on understanding potential business opportunities and developing long-term market strategies, describing the leading storage technologies (including pumped-hydro, compressed air energy storage, regenerative fuel cells/flow batteries, sodium/sulphur and lead acid batteries, superconducting magnetic energy storage, flywheels, thermal, and hydrogen systems), existing installations, and current market leaders. The 230-page report also includes 87 tables, market insights from leading industry thinkers, outlines of market applications including ancillary services and their impact on existing industry participants, a review of state and regional business opportunities, and forecasts of the impact on the US economy.  (20% discount til 30 Nov).  For details:

Contact: Richard Baxter,  rbaxter@pearlstreetinc.com,   617.320.0598

In 2002, Pearl Street founded the Energy Storage Council, a non-profit organization formed to support the energy storage community in its effort to accelerate the introduction of energy storage systems and technologies into the marketplace.  http://www.energystoragecouncil.org

[Note that the Electricity Storage Association's next meeting starts this Thursday Oct 10 in Milwaukee.  http://www.electricitystorage.org]


New Model to Analyze Distributed Generation Power Projects

Competitive Energy Insight (CEI) in San Diego is offering a new tool for the evaluation of DG projects, based on a model they developed for utility and other large scale power plants. EconExpert-DG is a financial model for the complete before and after tax financial analysis of DG and "Inside-the-Fence" cogen projects. The model can be used to evaluate and make decisions on virtually any DG Project or Technology, allowing owners, investors, developers and equipment suppliers to better understand the economic benefits and risks of self-generation. A suite of automated sensitivity functions make it easy to evaluate how changes in current project costs or future market conditions will impact their investment decision. The model also includes many automated analysis functions and on-line help features. The User's Manual can be downloaded from CEI's website.

CEI's EconExpert-LP (for Large Power) is a similar tool for Central Power Station and Merchant Power Projects.

A 30 day free trial is offered to qualified parties. CEI's website provides additional details and can be reached at:
        http://www.CEIInc.NET   or   www.EconExpert.NET

or contact :
 Steve Provol, Competitive Energy Insight, Inc.
 858-566-0221,  CEIInc@san.rr.com


Sag Line Mitigator -- EPRI TC proposal

UFTO has been following this story for a long time, and they've made tremendous progress.  [Summary: SLiM reacts to increasing conductor temperature by decreasing the effective length of conductor in the span. This mitigates the natural thermal expansion experienced by the conductor during high temperature operation. The impact is to decrease line sag during such operations.]  For a good overview, download this pdf file:

The initial test program went very well, and now plans are underway for utility demonstrations, under an EPRI tailored collaboration project (open to members and nonmembers of EPRI). The project will evaluate the performance of SLiM on three operating transmission lines, and will provide participating utilities with first-hand information on the operational performance of this new kind of line hardware device.  For a description of the proposed TC, download:
Manuchehr Shirmohamadi, 510-594-0300 x202,  MShir@MISolution.com
or Ram Adapa, EPRI project manager, 650.855.8988, radapa@epri.com

Subject:   UFTO Note - Ice Mitigation
    Date:   Fri, 06 Sep 2002

-- New NASA-developed Anti-Icing Fluids
-- Ice-Storm Mitigation Workshop

As we cool down from one of the hottest summers in several years, utilities in the north must look forward to another winter. Back in January, a note appeared in a NASA publication about a new anti-icing fluid that was developed at the NASA Ames Research Center. Midwest Industrial Supply was named as the licensee, so I contacted the company.

Midwest markets a series of glycol-based products which adhere to vertical surfaces and are more resistant to wind, snow and rain dissipation. Less of it falls on the ground and fewer reapplications are needed, so smaller quantities suffice. They call their latest formulation "zero gravity".

(Note: "anti-ice" isn't the same as "de-ice". Anti-ice sets up a barrier to prevent ice formation in the first place, whereas de-ice attempts to remove ice that's already formed, and usually requires a lot more material be used.)

Midwest's extensive product line is getting a good reception in mass-transit (especially 3rd rails). The company also markets anti-freezing and dust control products used widely in managing coal piles and conveyors (including at least 3 UFTO utilities)-- "Ice Free Conveyor" & "Freeze Free".  (These sales are generally at the plant level- -it isn't clear if utilities are taking a corporate approach to these purchases.)

Railroads use Midwest's "Ice Free Switch" product, which could apply just as well to utility switches. Likewise, public transit railroads need help keeping ice off overhead lines, and Midwest is working to add a product for powerlines and towers.

Contact  Mr. Shannon Noble, 800-321-0699   shannon@midwestind.com

Midwest will be participating in the upcoming "Workshop on Ice Storm Mitigation", sponsored by the Canadian Electrical Assocation Technologies (CEATI), Oct 6,7, Monteal
    Contact Ms. Laurie Lang, 514 866-5377,  lang@ceatech.ca

The workshop will cover the following topics:
- Preparation for Extraordinary Climatic Events
- Lessons to be drawn from recent major system outages
    around the world due to catastrophic ice storms;
- De-icing techniques before, during and following ice storms;
- Curent Developments in de-icing techniques;
- Cost effectiveness of load control devices;
- Improvements in design approaches and comparison of
    international standards;
- Ice modelling: comparison between the Canadian and
    American approaches;
- Ice storm crisis management: Emergency restoration plan
    and mutual assistance agreement.

The workshop is part of an ongoing program at CEATI called the Ice Storm Mitigation Interest Group.   http://www.ceatech.ca/sites2/tm.html#t2
Contact:   Ray Del Bianco,   514-866-5355,    delbianco@ceatech.ca

Subject:  UFTO Note - Staged Combustion with Nitrogen-Enriched Air (SCNEA)
    Date:  Mon, 19 Aug 2002

Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) recently announced they're developing a unique combustion method that results in lower power plant pollutant emissions, without efficiency penalties, by combining staged-combustion with nitrogen-enriched air.

The SCNEA combustion method burns fuels in two or more stages, where the fuel is combusted fuel-rich with nitrogen-enriched air in the first stage, and the fuel remaining after the first stage is combusted in the remaining stage(s) with air or nitrogen-enriched air.  This method substantially reduces the oxidant and pollutant loading in the effluent gas and is applicable to many types of combustion equipment including: boilers, burners, turbines, internal combustion engines and many types of fuel including coal, oil and natural gas.

Results to date are from computer models. The next stage (Phase 1), to be completed in October '02, is to do a small scale-pilot program involving experimental measurements at a bench scale (10-50 kw) to confirm predictions.  Thereafter, Phase 2 will be conducted using commercial boilers and burners with an industry partner.

Provisional patents have been filed for the coal applications, and are in the process of filing on others.

To date, the work has been funded internally by the lab, and they are seeking additional funds (e.g. DOE, industry matching, etc.) to continue. LLNL is in the process of forming a consortium that includes the EPA, DOE, utilities, suppliers to the industry (e.g. boiler and burner manufacturers), engineering design firms, and suppliers of nitrogen enriched air. They are actively encouraging participation from industry.

Here is the abstract of a recent 8-page unpublished white paper prepared by LLNL.  (I can send the pdf on request).

"A new primary control process for stationary combustion processes is predicted to significantly reduce NOx emissions, reduce corrosion in equipment, and enhance energy efficiency. This combustion method combines the technologies of stage-combustion with nitrogen-enriched air for the oxidant stream in one or more of the combustion stages, and is termed Staged Combustion with Nitrogen-Enriched Air (SCNEA). … SCNEA can replace or enhance currently employed NOx control technologies, such as low-NOx burners, overfire, reburning, and advanced flue gas treatment. SCNEA offers the ability to achieve NOx emission levels lower than levels attained using secondary control methods (e.g. SCR and SNCR) without the use of a catalyst."

[another excerpt]
"SCNEA utilizes two stages. The first combustion stage is operated fuel-rich so that enough fuel remains for a second combustion stage. Nitrogen-enriched air is used as the oxidant stream in the first combustion stage, which allows precise control of the combustion temperature while producing effluent gases that have a very low oxidant and pollutant loading. The fuel remaining after the first combustion stage (along with the other effluent gases) is mixed with a stoichiometric amount of air and burned in the second stage. The temperature of the second combustion stage is maintained at or below the temperature of the first combustion stage by: (1) controlling the amount of fuel remaining after the first combustion stage (the equivalence ratio of the first combustion stage), (2) using nitrogen-enriched air as the oxidant stream for the second stage, and/or (3) controlling the minimum temperature between the two combustion stages.
NOx levels are significantly lower (1.40x10-2 lb NOx/MBTU) than either of the other single stage methods. Oxidant levels are also significantly reduced (3.30x10-2 lb O2/MBTU, and 6.45x10-6 lb O/MBTU). These advantages are coupled with an improvement in the amount of heat released per scf, i.e. 75.2 BTU/scf. "

For more information, contact:
  Kevin O'Brien, New Business Development
  LLNL, Livermore, CA
  925-422-7782      obrien14@llnl.gov

Subject: UFTO Note - Utility Telecom Has a Future-PurOptix
    Date:   Mon, 05 Aug 2002

If you are a subscriber to the free daily email from Scientech, you saw this on July 30:
  "Telecom: Utilities Remain In the Loop" - By Ken Silverstein

It begins:  "...When some utilities entered the communications loop and began offering fiber-optic services, success was supposed to be a slam-dunk. But the market became saturated with bandwidth capacity and prospects for such achievement became more elusive. In some cases, companies have entirely written off their losses or ceased operations.

But contrary to conventional wisdom, utilities that made cautious investments in fiber optics could turn out to be winners. And while they won't get satisfactory returns in the short run, the endeavors could pay off over time as the economy rebounds and as consumers demand sophisticated communications offerings that require more bandwidth."


This recalled to mind a company I've been acquainted with for some time that may hold interest for those utilities that stand to benefit from the rebound Ken talks about.

PurOptix, Inc.  has developed a unique and proprietary network system they call AON (Advanced Optical Network), that allows utilities, telephone and cable companies to offer a variety of services and content on an all fiber-optic based network. They've been making steady progress right through the telecom bust, and are set to install their first trial system later this year.  They have just completed the first close of an "A" round, and are currently seeking additional investors.

    ---- Company Overview  (adapted from company materials)

Seeing "Fiber-to-the-Home" as the ultimate network platform, and observing that Telco and CATV networks cannot be adapted support the demand for Internet and other services, PurOptix developed a cost effective all fiber-optic system which surpasses PONs (passive optical) networks based on HFC and "shared" architecture.

The PurOptix AON system provides a platform to deliver traditional telephone, television, and Internet services, and new advanced services like interactive and HDTV, Ultra high-speed Internet, true Video-on-Demand, and highly secure VPNs (Virtual Private Network connections). Applications for PurOptix' Optical Concentrators and Gateways range from enterprise to residential service delivery. PurOptix is initially targeting leading network operators with existing fiber optic infrastructure in the Utility, Telco, and CATV segments that have aggressive plans to advance their telecommunications business.

The AON System delivers bi-directional information at 155 Mbps and provides extremely secure dedicated connections through its Private Virtual Circuit technology. PurOptix has developed strategic relationships with leading hardware and software vendors including Marconi, SGI, and Sun.

The company has secured a Pilot Network Deployment contract with Batelco, the Bahrain Telecommunications Company and is projecting initial follow-on revenues from this engagement of approximately $2 million this year for engineering services, software licenses, and hardware for initial network installations. The Company is in discussions for a contract for production network deployments with Batelco in later this year with rollouts beginning in the first half of 2003. The last-mile optical market is expected to exceed $2.5 billion over the next three years ? a market that is on the verge of a revolutionary change. PurOptix is projecting revenues of $30 million by 2003 and over $150 million by 2005.

With billions of dollars spent laying fiber optic cable, network operators have a dire need to leverage this infrastructure by offering revenue generating telecommunications and media-rich services to businesses and consumers. PurOptix's end-to-end optical solution enables network operators to support a broader offering of voice, audio, video, high-speed Internet, and data communications services in a secure, full duplex environment.

The PurOptix AON System family of products provides a scalable community and metropolitan network platform for fiber-optic infrastructures. The proprietary design delivers maximum bandwidth to each subscriber and maximum return for the network operator's capital investment. The PurOptix system can be implemented as an open network, an exclusive closed network, or any variation therein for delivery of Internet, telephone, television, video and data services.

The first product set, the AON System (Advanced Optical Network), consists of four proprietary technologies ?

1. Network Operating System software running on carrier grade OEM network servers and switches;
2. Low cost ATM concentrator;
3. Optical gateways for commercial and residential applications; and
4. High speed internet enabled-digital settop box.

The ATM concentrator and Optical gateways devices can also be sold and deployed in existing telco and CATV optical network applications serving business customers enabling network operators to seamlessly integrate ISPs, broadband content providers, phone, TV, and other digital service providers via fiber to the home or enterprise.

PurOptix is first targeting utilities moving to generate additional revenues over existing fiber infrastructure. Then, PurOptix will be the system provider of choice for incumbent telcos and CATV companies to migrate from copper/cable to all fiber optic plant. Internationally, PurOptix is targeting major network operators who are rapidly deploying new optical infrastructure due in part to a global environment of privatization and deregulation. Similar to Batelco, these companies are building only fiber networks in new developments and are aggressively replacing copper infrastructure.

Manufacturers of PON (Passive Optical Network) technologies have begun to announce field trials and some slightly different Ethernet-based solutions are moving forward as well. Hybrid Fiber/Coax (HFC) and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) systems manufacturers are focused on non-optical plays and are not considered to be direct competitors.

PurOptix' Competitive Advantage
- PONs face a shortage of upstream bandwidth for delivery of advanced two-way services--they are bandwidth constrained. PON’s additionally are difficult to deploy and have proven to be too expensive (both opex and capex) to be a viable solution on a large scale. The AON System delivers 155 Mbps to and from the subscriber today.  HFC and competing fiber solutions are flawed by following a "broadcast" architecture which consumes the majority of the bandwidth available. These systems also restrict network operator's business options due to the legacy architectures and restricted access models. The AON System manages bandwidth efficiently, is infinitely scalable, and offers numerous flexible business implementations. The flexibility in business modeling stems from the open architecture design which allows for variations from full wholesale implementation to the traditional retail provider deployment.

- Unlike competing solutions, PurOptix AON System is completely secure from the subscriber to any point on the network or any external network node connected via PVCs (Private Virtual Circuit). In addition, the PurOptix devices cannot be cloned or pirated, absolutely barring theft of service on the network.

- Using ATM as the core transport we provide proven reliability and allow for easy integration into most networks today. Equipment can be implemented in standard ATM and SONET networks leveraging the installed base of equipment.

- Upgrades in the future to competitor platforms will be costly due to architecture limitations and limited service capability. The AON System can be upgraded easily as bandwidth needs grow.

The website has detailed technical information:

Stan Gafner President & CEO
Puroptix Inc.,  Carlsbad CA
stan@puroptix.com      760.804.7890  x5101

Subject:  UFTO Note- E-lecTrade Enables Trading of Structured Products
    Date:  Thu, 01 Aug 2002

E-lecTrade has developed a sophisticated solution for buyers and sellers of power to manage and procure complex structured power contracts that cost-effectively and with a proper risk profile meet their needs for the supply and demand of electricity.

Most power contracts are for "standard products", fixed large blocks of power at constant MWs for many hours(think baseload).  Everything else under the load curve (think intermediate and peak) needs to be filled in--with "structured products".  Despite the fact that these needs represent 50% of all transacted power, no efficient process for executing structured power transactions exists.  RFPs are messy and time consuming, and most of the need is met on the spot market.

E-lecTrade's sophisticated technology manages the assembly, evaluation, and buying and selling of  "structured products" -- contracts to purchase or sell power in which either the volume and price of power or duration of a contract varies over time.

E-lecTrade’s products include ShapedPowerTM, %PoolTM, Swing Options, Generation Tolling, Ancillary Services, Transmission, Real Time Power and Standard Power.  In addition, the platform provides real-time risk measurement and portfolio management capabilities including MTM, VaR and Scenario analysis seamlessly integrated with the marketplace. The technology can be used both as principal-driven private marketplace serving its own customers and as an independent exchange. Energy and Power Risk Magazine recently named E-lecTrade the Energy Innovation of the Year.
            ------       ------
Very recently however, electronic trading has all but collapsed in the US, due to credit risk (and career risk aversion on the part of utility personnel) in the entire power industry, and with it the E-lecTrade's "runway" to grow the business.  As a result, the company is now for sale. Discussions are already underway with several potential buyers.

The original business model was to operate an exchange; 24 companies have already signed up as participants. Now, a new owner of the company would have exclusive control of the software and IP assets, with the option to leave the exchange in operation or not.

For a utility with many large commercial and industrial customers, a private exchange based on E-lecTrade’s unique platform could be a powerful tool to serve customers better in managing their forward structured needs.  Large C&I customers could manage their portfolios, get offers from the utility, and even bid to sell power back (i.e. DSM).

I have a six page technical overview document from the company, which I can supply on request.  The company website is http://www.e-lectrade.com

For more information, contact:
Anil Suri, President and CEO
E-lecTrade, Inc.  Tarrytown, NY

914- 524-7390     aksuri@e-lectrade.com

Subject:  UFTO Note - EESAT'02 Electricity Storage Conference
    Date:  Fri, 12 Jul 2002

The Electric Energy Storage Applications and Technologies Conference (EESAT 2002) was held in San Francisco April 15-17, 2002.  Ever hopeful for the promise of storage, sponsors point to growth in markets, increased focus on reliability (supply crises and terrorism), and advances in technology.  Evidence includes the increasing number of demonstration projects, and estimates that more than 100MW of advanced, distributed energy storage is being installed in North America this year, and another 100MW in Europe and Japan.

Session titles were:
 - Overview of Electrical Energy Storage Applications & Technologies
 - Multi-megawatt Applications
 - Advanced Battery Applications
 - Power Electronics and Conversion Systems
 - Design and System Studies
 - Flywheel Applications
 - Capacitor and Super Capacitor Development and Applications
 - High Speed Flywheel Development
 - Battery Development and Applications

The website has the agenda with the complete list of papers.
It also provides the agenda from EESAT 2000*.  I have the CD of the papers, if you want any of them.  The 2002 papers should be available shortly to attendees, and I will supply them as well.
 *(29 Oct 2000 UFTO Note - Travel Reports)

The ESA newsletter provides a helpful summary of the conference:

And while we're on the subject, have a look at this comprehensive technology overview:

Not on the agenda, but noteworthy:  A new lobbying and educational group has formed; the Energy Storage Council promotes public policy that supports energy storage as a key dimension of the electricity value chain. This is the brainstorm of Jason Makansi, former editor-in-chief of McGraw-Hill's Power magazine.  Membership information and a white paper can be found on the website:

Flow Batteries
Perhaps the biggest news is the progess that large scale "flow" batteries are making, both technically and commercially, for large scale systems (100 kw and up).  Recall that there are several competing electrochemical schemes.  A comparative assessment of flow batteries was provided in a paper by C. Lotspeich based on work done for an E-Source report.

- Regenesys-  sodium bromide and sodium polysulphide (ufto note Sep'99)
- ZBB & Powercell - zinc bromine
- Vanteck & Sumitomo/Reliable Power - vanadium redox
- Plurion - cerium vanadium MSA

Except for the zinc bromine, they offer freedom to size a system's power (kw) and capacity (kwh) separately (either aspect can be added to over time), by adding either cells or electrolyte storage.

Regensys is building their first N American installation at TVA. It will be 12 MW/120 MWH.

ZBB's demonstrations of a transportable system are proceeding well, in collaboration with Detroit Edison. This is 200kW/400kWh battery system, on a 40 ft trailer.  The application is grid support.   http://www.zbbenergy.com/

Powercell may be revived from bankruptcy.  Too soon to tell.  Word is that some of the former management team is trying to put it back together.

Vanteck has resolved its corporate problems and has a field trial underway in S Africa for a 250 kw/520kWh system.  The vanadium technology boasts very high power delivered over milliseconds or slower discharge over days.  They've also announced a commercial order from Pacificorp.  http://www.vanteckvrb.com/

Reliable Power is Sumitomo Electric Intl (SEI)'s presence in N America for SEI's vanadium battery systems. (SEI is one of the original licensees of the patents.) Size range is 100kw-3MW. UPS *and* peakshaving. Peakshaving earns$ day in and day out, while the UPS sits and waits to deal with a power glitch. Very high power for 3 sec... 3 MW, or 1.5MW for an hour.  Meanwhile, Sumitomo has a number of fully commercial systems in operation in Japan.

Plurion, a brand new arrival on the scene, made its public debut at the conference.  Its chemistry is based on cerium and vanadium in a "mixed electrolyte" with methanesulfonic acid (MSA).  They claim cheaper longer lasting electrodes and membranes, greater simplicity, and lower cost.  The system requires neither nafion or precious metal catalysts.  Electrolyte management is said to be simpler than in other systems, requiring no ongoing cleanup treatment. Remarkable in the current investment climate, the company raised $14 Million recently, and is on schedule with  an ambitious development plan.  The technology was developed by Electrochemical Design Associates, Inc (Berkeley CA), and EDA is doing most of the ongoing technical work.  http://www.e-d-a.com/  [I have press releases and their powerpoint presentation that I can provide on request.]

Flywheels, Capacitors, Other Batteries

Progress continues on many fronts, with commercial or near commercial applications taking hold.  Systems studies examined grid support and ancillary services, microgrids, and identifying best applications and key variables to cost effectiveness.

Subject:  UFTO Note - Digital Hubbub-IEEE Spectrum
    Date: Mon, 08 Jul 2002

Here's an article that may be useful. It's in current issue of IEEE Spectrum, and it appears to be available to nonmembers. The accompanying article on the major players is interesting also. (Don't miss the chart.)

Note this paragraph, buried near the end of the article:
"As cable TV companies, burglar-alarm suppliers, and even power companies negotiate for space inside digital hubs, Whatley foresees a sort of free-for-all to control a raft of functions also tied into the hub. An electric utility could, for example, manage loads more effectively, even turning off an air conditioner during peak periods. The system would also know when homeowners returned from work, so it could bring the house back to a comfortable temperature by the time they walked in the door."

Are energy industry companies just naive bit players with their attempts to do "gateways" and smart homes? (Note their complete absence from the chart.) Or are utilities in a unique position to pull it off while media and IT giants do battle with each other?


Digital Hubbub

Companies vie to create a single device, or hub, to handle all your home entertainment needs

By Paul Wallich, Contributing Editor

It's a set-top! It's a home server! It's a digital hub! Whatever you call it—a souped-up cable box or a hard-disk recorder with wings—companies know that whoever gets it right will rule the entertainment gateway to the home.

More than a half-dozen companies so far are scrambling for the billions of dollars they hope to reap by offering consumers a single machine to handle their home entertainment needs. The companies agree on what the machine should do: record, archive, and play back video and music, organize digital photo albums, and distribute digital media around the home. Where they disagree is on what shape that machine should take.

For a view of how media companies are organizing to reach the hub in your home,

The Largest Players Rule the Media Playground
By Steven M. Cherry, Senior Associate Editor

The top media companies increasingly do a lot more than create content. The 12 companies shown here deliver content via cable systems and the Internet. They also have investments in makers of personal video recorders (PVRs) and set-top boxes and suppliers of video on demand.

Consider the former Moxi Digital, builder of a personal entertainment hub that can play DVDs and CDs and can function as a PVR and a set-top box. Moxi's investors, before Vulcan purchased it, included AOL Time Warner, Vulcan, and Scientific-Atlanta. Vulcan also owns Digeo, another hub maker, with which Moxi was merged.
see CHART:

Eight of the companies listed—AOL Time Warner, Comcast, Disney, GE, Liberty Media, Sony, Viacom, and Vulcan— were investors in ReplayTV before it was bought by SonicBlue. TiVo, an up-and-coming PVR maker, has attracted hefty investments from almost all major media companies.

Subject:   UFTO Note-DOE H2&FC Reviews
    Date:   Mon, 10 Jun 2002

Hydrogen - Fuel Cells for Transportation - Fuels for Fuel Cells
    -- 2002 Annual Program/Lab R&D Review   --

These three US DOE programs held their combined review meetings, May 6-10, 2002 in Golden CO. Proceedings are available on the Hydrogen Information Network:

……..[addendum July 17]………
The proceedings of the 2002 US DOE Hydrogen Program Annual Review are available on-line.

The 70 technical reports, each available as a separate downloadable file, represent the efforts of researchers and engineers at National Labs, universities, and in industry from across the US. They cover hydrogen production, storage, and use, with excellent papers on analysis and the Program's technology validation projects. The CD-ROM will be available for purchase soon.

As you know, UFTO made its group visit to NREL on the Wednesday. I was there all week and caught four days of the review meetings.

The first big news was that all three programs are now combined into one, under the major reorganization of Energy Efficiency and Renewables (aka EE or EREN).  (See UFTO News March 26--if you missed it let me know. Also http://www.eren.doe.gov/ee.html.)  These programs had been under separate offices (Power, Industrial, and Transportation).

HYDROGEN:  May 6-8

Technical abstracts appear in two documents, each of which contain 2-3 pages on each of 38 presentations. Technical Papers from the meeting will be posted by mid-July 2002.

 Session A - Production and Technology Validation
  - Biological Hydrogen Production
  - Fossil ? Base Production
  - Renewable Production/Electrolytic Processes
  - Technology Validation
  - Separation And Purification

 Session B - Storage, Utilization, Analysis
  - Analysis Projects
  - Hydrogen Utilization Research
  - Technology Transfer
  - Storage

  - Fuel Cell Modeling/Analysis
  - Fuel Cell Stack Components
  - Membranes/MEAs
  - Electrodes/Electrocatalysts
  - Direct-Methanol Fuel Cells
  - Fuel Cell Materials

FUELS FOR FUEL CELLS (13 papers):  May 10
  - Fuel Processing
  - Water-Gas Shift Catalysts
  - Fuels Effects

Complete papers for fuel cells are already posted, along with 20 poster papers.

------      ---------        ------------
DOE is required by law to do these reviews, and they are quite scripted and formalized.  A panel of grey-beard expert reviewers sit in the front and ask probing questions and give sage advice to each of the researchers who present an update of their progress since last year.  Meanwhile several hundred observers fill the rest of the room, and can ask questions if there's time after the reviewers are finished.  The format of the presentations were very tightly prescribed, with a number of required points to cover (e.g. 'collaborations and outreach').  The Hydrogen program even banned fancy graphics and powerpoint, insisting on plain vu-graphs (bad experiences in the past with computer glitches).

Presentations covered projects funded by the three DOE programs. Most were from national lab researchers, with only a handful of industrials.  As such the emphasis seemed to be heavily in favor of basic research/long-term R&D, and "analysis" projects, e.g. to estimate the costs and benefits of various infrastructure schemes.  As such, it was a long five days, and only moderately rewarding at best (especially if one considers that developments with real commercial potential are not going to be talked about in public).  As usual, the informal networking during breaks and receptions were at least as worthwhile.  One can only hope that the reorganization will bring greater clarity to all of this work, along with a rethinking of the review process.

        ------      ---------        ------------
DOE staff gave overviews of the issues, programs, and progress--these are also on the website above.

- Storage is progressing well, notably pressurized tanks, but  a breakthrough would be welcome
- Production is from natural gas in the nearterm, capitalizing on existing infrastructure, though not sustainable for the long term.
- Long term (20+ years) the goal is hydrogen from biomass, coal, nuclear* and waste.
  (*by electrolysis, or better, direct thermal decomposition of water at high temperature)
- The essential end-use device- the fuel cell- continues to need huge cost reductions
- Safety, codes, standards, and fair trade issues are a major piece of the puzzle
- On-board vehicle reformers are only a transition strategy.  Startup time and efficiency are key.
- Vehicle Insfrastructure Demonstration partnerships, involving the deployment of progressively larger fleets and charging station

DOE initiated a National Hydrogen Vision and Roadmap process in response to recommendations made in President Bush's National Energy Policy. The Vision Meeting took place Nov 2001 and the Roadmap Workshop took place Apr 2002 in Washington, D.C. The summaries, the proceedings, and the individual presentations are available at:

This presentation contains a lot of information about the perceptions, priorities and programs:   -- Review of the Hydrogen Program (N. Rossmeissl, DOE)

National policy is indeed driving things. There is a draft report to Congress, following a workshop held in February, available now at:
"…an assessment of the technical, economic, and infrastructure barriers to commercialization of fuel cells for transportation, portable power, stationary and distributed generation applications.  This full report is due November 5, 2002.  In addition, the Department is to provide an interim assessment that describes the need for public and private cooperative programs to demonstrate commercial use of fuel cells by 2012."

The FreedomCAR Partnership is the successor to PNGV, whose goal had been a very high mileage auto. Go to:  http://www.cartech.doe.gov/
The new emphasis is on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Scroll down this long list of publications (probably a lot more than you wanted to know):
Note in particular, the 2001 Annual Progress Report for Fuel Cells for Transportation

The name "Freedom" is meant to represent freedom from foreign oil and emissions and freedom of choice, with myriad technologies and products. These programs address technical challenges such as cost (platinum), durability, fuel processing, air-thermal-water management, and higher temperature (=new membranes).  Specific stretch goals: 60% efficiency;  325 W/kg; $45/kw (including storage!).  For storage, 2 kwh/kg, 1 kwh/L.

Subject:  UFTO Note - NREL VISIT
    Date:   Fri, 24 May 2002
Six stalwart UFTO company representatives and yours truly spent the entire day on May 8 at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), in Golden CO.

NREL is the smallest of the DOE national labs, with just over 1000 staff, and an annual budget of $187 million (FY00)..  It is also the only lab with a specifically defined mission to advance renewable energy technology.  NREL has a number of special purpose facilities and programs in wind, solar (PV and thermal), biomass/bioenergy, hydrogen and advanced transportation vehicles.

One impression that struck us was the strong sense of purpose and commitment that the NREL staff bring to their work. They really seem motivated by a desire to make the world a better place.

In terms of technical content, it was a bit of a drink from a firehose. Each presenter managed in under an hour to encapsulate the state of the art, explain the context and importance, and indicate what NREL's particular role is.

(Presentations are available for download from the UFTO website--client password required. To access the directory of all presentation files, go to:
Or click on the links below to download individual documents directly.)

Obviously, in this amount of time we were only beginning to scratch the surface--myriad information resources abound on the DOE, NREL and other websites and publications.  Best of all, perhaps, was the opportunity to meet the people doing the work, and to be able to recontact them to dig deeper.

Discussions of context and importance reflected a familiar list of driving forces (climate, resources, population, poverty, etc.). Energy demand will grow substantially; oil and gas won't last forever. Renewables are on a decades-long development cycle that most new technologies (e.g. oil) have experienced in the past.  Their cost and performance characteristics are now beginning to reach a point where their use is increasingly entering the mainstream in a major way.

One idea that NREL has been talking about for a couple of years -- if the 20th century was the fossil energy century, then perhaps the 21st will be the biological energy century, with "biorefineries" gradually taking the place of oil refineries to provide fuels, chemicals, and myriad other material feedstocks of the economy. It's definitely a long-term vision, but one can cite several examples where this already happens, e.g. in a paper mill, trees become paper, energy and other products.  Another is corn, which becomes ethanol, corn, and livestock feed.

NREL Overview
 http://www.ufto.com/clients-only/nreldocs/Overview.pdf   (1.2 mb)
David Warner,   david_warner@nrel.gov
Lee Boughey,   lee_boughey@nrel.gov
Industry Liaison

Distributed Energy Resources and Hydrogen
   http://www.ufto.com/clients-only/nreldocs/Der.pdf   (820kb)
Tony Schaffhauser,   AC_Schaffhauser@nrel.gov
Director , Distributed Energy Resources Center

This group pursues the linkages of renewables and natural gas with national energy needs through distributed generation.  They provide analysis tools, test facilities, resource assessment, and work on standards, codes, and regulatory/institutional issues.

Renewable Resource Data Center (RReDC) provides information on several types of renewable energy resources in the United States, in the form of publications, data, and maps.  GIS integration enables overlay of related infrastructures, e.g. pipelines, roads, and transmission lines.

Solar Programs Overview
  http://www.ufto.com/clients-only/nreldocs/PV.ppt   (7mb)
John Benner,  john_benner@nrel.gov

PV Roadmap: http://www.nrel.gov/ncpv/pvplans.html

Some key take-aways:
- "Breakthroughs" are not necessary. PV is on track to become a major energy supply via gradual improvement.  The range of cost-effective applications is rapidly expanding, with PV energy costing from 10-50¢/kwh.  Over the last 20 years, prices have fallen 25% with each doubling of cumulative shipments.
- Silicon PV rides on the shoulders of the semiconductor industry, with all its materials, equipment and manufacturing technology (e.g. the progress from 6" to 8" to 12" wafers).  (NREL's PV lab does research funded by IC companies!) Even amorphous silicon can draw from the flat panels industry.  The various thin-film technologies have no such opportunity to leverage better established industry capabilities.
- Thin film, though less efficient, is cheaper, and can fill important niches such as building-integrated PV.
- US market share is dropping. Elsewhere in the world, interest, and government support is leading to faster growth.  World wide production is over 400 MW/year.
- There are lots of myths to dispel.  For example, some say that huge land areas are required.  Answer: existing roofs are more than enough.

  http://www.ufto.com/clients-only/nreldocs/Superconduct.pdf     (2.8mb)
Richard Blaugher,  richard_blaugher@nrel.gov
Technology Manager,  Superconductivity Program

NREL is one six DOE labs that work in superconductivity (SC).  The DOE website has a lot of information about the overall effort:
     (note in particular "Library" and "Technology Status")

There are two main thrusts: basic research into new materials and wire or ribbon fabrication methods, and develop superconducting electronic power devices, in collaboration with industry.  Devices include transformers, cables, a motor, current limiter and a magnetic separator. (Fact sheets on each one are available under "The Partnership".)  Utilities are involved with several of these projects.

NREL's own internal R&D includes development of new coating techniques to make HTSC ribbon. One method uses electrodeposition, and recently a dip-coating technique has set new records for current density.

See Blaugher's excellent review article from 2000 Global Energy
   http://www.ufto.com/clients-only/nreldocs/HTSC Prospects.doc  (52kb)

Energy Analysis Overview
  http://www.ufto.com/clients-only/nreldocs/Analysis.pdf  (3.1mb)
Walter Short,  walter_short@nrel.gov

This group, along with counterparts throughout the lab, studies technology, policy and market issues to support decision making at the program level, lab management, and DOE headquarters.  They develop models and tools and perform analyses such as life-cycle cost, technology choice, R&D program prioritization and review, etc.
The website has a lot of good material, including publications and even an online software tool for renewable energy cost estimation.

Enterprise Development Program
  http://www.ufto.com/clients-only/nreldocs/Enterprisdevelp.pdf  (1.2mb)
  http://www.ufto.com/clients-only/nreldocs/entrep.prog.doc   (word 300kb)

Marty Murphy,  lawrence_murphy@nrel.gov

This unique program supports innovators, recognizing the need for viable small companies as one of the principal mechanisms to carry new technologies forward to commercialization.  The website offers an broad array of reference and other materials to help them with all aspects of their business, especially fundraising.  Venture investment forums are held around the company. Over 200 companies have presented in past events.  NREL has also been instrumental in establishing a new national alliance of incubators around the country which focus on clean energy.

Next event: The 15th NREL Industry Growth Forum
        Oct. 29- 30, 2002 in Albany, NY.

Biofuels Overview
   http://www.ufto.com/clients-only/nreldocs/Biofuels.pdf  (1.9mb)
Cindy Riley,  cynthia_riley@nrel.gov
Process Development Leader
Biotechnology Division for Fuels and Chemicals

Ethanol from cellulosic biomass is a key goal of NREL's.  For thousands of years, ethanol has been made by fermentation of sugars and starches; most of today's US ethanol is made from corn. Most biomass, however, consists of lignin and cellulosic material which has to be broken down first. Various combinations of acids and enzymes are used to convert the cellulose to sugars which then can be fermented. (Lignin remains, and once separated has uses of its own.)

The DOE website gives a good overview of the process:

NREL's program includes engineering new enzymes and yeasts, process technology, a major test facility, resource analysis, and systems economics studies, with a goal to bring the production cost of bioethanol down to $1/gallon by 2010.  Bioethanol, and many various potential coproducts, could be a major realization of the "biorefinery" vision.

Bioenergy Overview
  http://www.ufto.com/clients-only/nreldocs/Bioenergy.pdf (5.3mb)
Rich Bain, Group Manager,   richard_bain@nrel.gov
Chemistry for Bioenergy Systems

Following the ethanol story, bioenergy is a far broader topic.  Noting there are hundreds of bio-based production facilities in the US already (which already produce over 6000 MW of power), this presentation reviewed many of the huge variety of opportunities within the biorefinery concept, from biodiesel to biopower and gasification at scales ranging from 15 kw to the 200 tons/day Battelle Gasifier.

Tour of the National Wind Test Center
  http://www.ufto.com/clients-only/nreldocs/Wind.nrel.ppt  (2.4 mb)
Brian Smith,  Turbine Program Development,  brian_smith@nrel.gov,
Jim Johnson,  Site Operations,   james_a_johnson@nrel.gov,

As with solar, Europe leads the US by a wide margin in deployment of windpower, with a total installed capacity nearly four times ours.  The economics of wind are steadily improving, and some very large companies are heavily committed.  As DOE's lead laboratory in wind technology development, NREL operates the National Wind Technology Center and manages turbine research programs and applied research activities.

We visited the Center, 30 minutes from NREL, and toured the facilities, which are available to wind turbine manufacturers for equipment test and evaluation.

NREL operates the only full-scale blade testing facility in the U.S. for MW-scale wind turbines.  35 meter length blades are pushed and pulled a million times to find their weak points. The full-system wind turbine drive train testing accommodates up to 2.5 MW turbines.  A huge electric motor drive simulates the wind, pushing systems to their limit.  This facility in the only one of its kind in the world.  In addition, there is a strong gusty wind that comes through a notch in the mountains.  This would make a poor production resource, but is an excellent testing environment, as it subjects systems to highly variable and difficult conditions.  Full scale turbines of all sizes are installed at the site and monitored in detail. Our group actually got to up inside a 600 kw wind turbine-- impressive to say the least, at 120 feet above the ground.

Distributed Energy Resources/Hybrid Test Facility
  http://www.ufto.com/clients-only/nreldocs/DERtestfacility.pdf (256kb)
Ben Kroposki,   benjamin_kroposki@nrel.gov

This facility has a variety of distributed generation technologies, a grid simulator and load banks. It is used to test inverters and interconnection power electronic systems, especially those developed under the DOE Distributed Power Program.  Recently, the mission has been expanded to do testing of standards, "testing the test" to see if proposed standards can be used in practice.

Subject:  UFTO Forward- NRECA DG tools
    Date:  Mon, 20 May 2002

Follow-up to this item from earlier UFTO Note:
  UFTO Note - DOE Distributed Power Review   15 Feb 2002

-- NRECA has an aggressive program to support its members to do fuel cell demonstrations, with training, handbooks, databases, and a users group. Coops view DG as "a solution, not as a problem". Together coops represent the largest "single" utility in the country, with 34 million customers in 46 states. The handbook will be available on the DOE website in the near future, and many more resources are available only to members of NRECA.
  Contact Ed Torrero, 703-907-5518, ed.torrero@nreca.org


From the DOE DER Update Newsletter for 10 May 02

Co-Ops Unveil Tool Kit For Interconnection

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has developed a collection of new business templates that will help local utilities harness the power of distributed generation. The NRECA tool kit will help utilities establish policies for the interconnection of DG units and assure the safe and reliable operation of the distribution system. "As interest in distributed generation grows, cop-ops must anticipate the effects that its application will have on their systems and the DG tool kit will help them prepare," said NRECA CEO Glenn English. The project was co-funded by National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. and Energy Co-Opportunity. The interconnection tool contains the following resources:

o A Business and Contract Guide for Interconnection to help cooperatives and their employees move smoothly through the interconnection process

o A DG Rates Manual to help each cooperative think through the issues required to design a rate that meets that cooperative's specific goals; and Consumer Guidelines for Interconnection to educate consumers about the interconnection process

o A Technical Application Guide that provides rules of thumb that engineers at each cooperative can apply to develop detailed technical interconnection requirements that work for their system

o A Model Interconnection Application to be filled out by consumers interested in installing their own generation

o A Model Short Form Interconnection Contract for consumers installing small DG units with a capacity of 3 kW or less

The document "tool kit" is offered at no charge to interested parties and can be found at:

DER Update: Summary of DER-related news and events is published by DOE's Office of Distributed Energy Resources every two weeks. - email subscription available.

Quite a few documents and online tools for DG are available here (but not sign yet of the NRECA materials):

Subject:  UFTO Note - Small scale Gas to Liquids (GTL)
    Date:  Fri, 17 May 2002

First demonstrated over 80 years ago, GTL has a long and colorful history. It was a mainstay of the German and Japanese fuel supply in WW2.  Governments, major oil companies, and new entrants have made substantial investments over the years.  While limited commercial operations are in place, the technology hasn't progressed enough to enable widespread economic use.

Blue Star Sustainable Technologies Corp. has developed a set of new catalytic processes to convert natural gas into clean liquid fuels, as a new variant on Fischer-Tropsch.  Based on a number of innovations (pat. or pat pend.), Blue Star reduces costs by simplifying the GTL process and by making small-scale units that can be standardized and mass produced for use in gas fields throughout the world, rather than seeking economies through very large units.

A pilot unit (six barrels per day) has successfully demonstrated all of the process steps.  The Company is now building a 10-barrel per day demonstration unit (Blue Star 10) to prove integrated system performance.  Designed to operate in remote oil and gas field operations and other applications, the Blue Star 10-demonstration unit is to be located in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin gas field, where very large potential unit sales exist.

BlueStar's approach is unlike any other player in the GTL industry, with their focus on volume sales of small-scale (10 to 500 BPD) plants. All the others do large scale facilities (10,000 to 100,000 barrels per day), and can produce only a synthetic crude oil which requires further refining.

Remarkably, the liquid fuel produced by Blue Star --in the field-- will be suitable for immediate use in diesel engines.  (Lab analyses show good properties, and the fuel is EPA registered; engine testing has yet to be done.) The company calls this "Direct Diesel". Their units could serve numerous potential applications worldwide for small stranded gas fields, as just one example.  Coal bed methane also looks like an attractive market possibility, not to mention the 3.7 TCF of gas that is flared around the world each year.

The Blue Star 10 is to be the Company’s first commercial product.  It is skid mounted and designed to be transported to remote locations by truck.  The Blue Star 10 converts approximately 200 MCFD of natural gas into 10 BPD (420 gallons per day) of a clean synthetic diesel.  It also generates 300 kW of excess electricity (6,807 kWh per day).  Industrial grade potable water and low temperature heat are the other byproducts of the process.  The Blue Star 10 produces minimal toxic or noxious emissions.

These attributes are intended to open markets for applications where either: 1) electrical and fuel delivery infrastructures are not readily accessible; 2) power and fuel are expensive; or 3) there may be on-site uses for heat or water.  Broader mandates for clean fuel emission standards are supportive of market development.  In particular, the fuel produced by the Blue Star process contains essentially no sulfur, surpassing diesel fuel standards to take effect in 2006.  The fuel also has improved combustion characteristics.

Blue Star will capitalize on proprietary catalyst, hardware and system concepts that provide competitive advantages for the development of small-scale GTL facilities. Interestingly, some of Blue Star's key innovations do not lend themselves to application at large scale, with the important exception of the "direct diesel" capability. Licensing of technology is a distinct part of the company's future plans.

The Company is also developing a mid-scale unit capable of producing 500 BPD of high-grade synthetic fuel from 5,000 MCFD of natural gas.  At this size, the Blue Star 500 can deliver twice the liquid conversion efficiency of the Blue Star 10.  The Blue Star 500 would be useful for converting stranded gas fields in the 50 to 100 BCF range in North America and other parts of the world to a high quality, clean and transportable fuel.  Many fields with these characteristics are believed to exist worldwide.  There are also numerous locations with fields of similar size where gas is currently flared or vented that provide market opportunities for both the Blue Star 10 and Blue Star 500 plants.  While significantly larger, the Blue Star 500 is still substantially below the commercial scale targeted by competing companies in the GTL industry.

In Phase I, a prototype of the Blue Star 10 will be completed in 2002 and tested at an application site in 2003.  Manufacturing engineering, marketing and business development activities to prepare the Company for commercial introduction of the Blue Star 10 will also be completed during Phase I of the business plan.

Following Phase I, the Company expects to proceed to commercial sales and distribution in Phase II.  Manufacturing will be outsourced, possibly offshore and adjacent to international markets as sales volumes grow.  A business scenario projecting Phase II performance has been developed.  In this scenario, sales of the Blue Star 10 unit are projected to reach 200 units per year in 2008.  The first Blue Star 500 unit is constructed in 2007.

The Company seeks a participant to fund a significant share of the next phase of its program (Phase I) covering a two year time period.  The total cost of the Phase I program is $12 million. The size of the ownership share available and the structure of such participation are negotiable.  Emex Corporation (EMEX-nasdaq) currently owns the Company, and is committed to continuing as an active investor.  A business plan is available.

Contact:  Nicholas Vanderborgh, President
Blue Star Sustainable Technologies Corp.,  Arvada, CO
303-432-8630     nvanderborgh@bluestarstc.com

[Text adapted from company materials with  further discussions with management.]


Subject:  UFTO Note - PowerWAN PLC to Solve Last-Mile
    Date:  Thu, 25 Apr 2002

A new Power Line Carrier (PLC) / Power Line Telecommunications (PLT) network technology is under development by a startup company called PowerWAN, which plans a complete solution to the last mile problem.

PowerWAN's coding and modulation technology is their own proprietary approach to OFDM, especially suited to the reflective and noisy power line environment, and the particular characteristics are designed to minimize the effects of narrow band interference, impulse noise and multipath reflections. Company personnel have deep experience in OFDM, having successfully developed an OFDM based system for cable television voice applications. They are very aware of the whole landscape of past and present contenders to make PLC a reality, and are confident in their approach.

PowerWAN is a member of the HomePlug Alliance. They are already routinely seeing data rates over 6 MB, and are confident of reaching 10, at distances up to 0.5 miles. Product plans include increasing the data rates to 30 MB in the near term.

In tests at the distribution training yard at Sierra Pacific Power, they recently proved their capability to pass data through two low voltage (LV) distribution transformers without the use of any bypass technology. This is important to the network provider since it greatly reduces the cost of labor and maintains safety and simplicity. To date PowerWAN has exhaustively tested and verified the technical viability of both the Medium Voltage and Low Voltage areas of the power grid to support high bandwidth transmission of data.

Five patent applications have been submitted for both the technology and architectures used within PLC., with several more to follow for PLC technology. Also in the process are several other patents relating to proprietary uses of the technology and the controlling of Ethernet network elements.

Financial models indicate that with all network elements, including the cost to build a fiber backbone, the system will be competitive with DSL and Cable at less than $200 per home passed, and will meet or exceed the features and functionality they currently provide. Additionally, regulated applications such as AMR and distribution automation can also be facilitated within the PowerWAN solution since the installed network is a broadband two-way communications network reaching every facility within the service area.

The Hybrid Fiber Power Line Carrier (HFPLC) architecture includes four main elements:

1.  The Power Line Modem Termination System (PMTS) provides the platform for system management and control for high-speed optical streams.  It is a redundant Carrier Class product architecture, which provides the connection and control to the backbone network.  It is  located at the substation or Headend and interfaces the network with optical interfaces. A Mini PMTS will also allow the network provider to connect business users directly with Ethernet based services that can be scaled from small (1Mb ) to large (100 Mb).

2. The Mini-PMTS is an environmentally hardened, line mounted layer 2 switch with Layer 3 functionality and protocol support. The Mini-PMTS is provides traffic policy control of the data streams for each of the power Line Nodes and customer premise units controlled by each individual Mini-PMTS. Through the use of proprietary software control and monitoring developed by PowerWAN, the Mini-PMTS will allow the network provider to offer various levels of service and data rates to each individual customer premise device. Additionally, the Mini-PMTS will ensure a high degree of security is maintained for all users of the network. A proprietary use of VLAN (Virtual LAN) tags will ensure any and all services can be delivered

3. The PLC Node converts the optical signals from the network to the PLC/PLT signals needed for transmission over the power line for both high and low speed applications. The PLC Node would physically reside at the best strategic location for insertion of the signal to the power network and may be added as needed to segment the system. Possible locations are: the substation end of the distribution feeders; downstream of the local transformer; or any split point of the electrical feeder distribution network

4. The Customer Premises Device can be either an externally mounted "gateway" or a modem that plugs into any wall outlet. This is a key differentiator--PowerWAN sees no need to separate "to" the house from "in" the house. Both can be done in the same system.

Contact Al Johnson, COO
     ajohnson@powerwan.com      650-833-5790  x145

Subject:  UFTO Note - New Small Turbines, 600 Watts to 2 MW
    Date:  Fri, 22 Mar 2002

UFTO Note - New Small Turbines, 600 Watts to 2 MW

As distributed generation continues to evolve (technically and politically), microturbines continue to be one of the main technologies in the mix.  Capstone, of course, is the only one with a truly commercial product and sizeable installed base. The collapse of the Honeywell Parallon program is well known. (Less well known--or so the story goes-- to avoid any future liability for performance or maintenance, the company bought back and destroyed every unit they'd sold.) Meanwhile, other companies entering or about ready to enter the field with commercial units, such as Turbec, Ingersoll, Elliott, etc.

This note reviews a number of other contenders. Some are startup companies at various stages, actively engaged in fundraising.  Others, less visible, have been built for defense applications with no active effort to pursue commercial uses.  Two of these companies have aggressive near term plans to sell components for turbines, either replacement parts or OEM.

*available information at:
http://www.ufto.com/clients-only/turbines/   [password required]


M-DOT Aerospace        http://www.m-dot.com

M-DOT is an engineering and manufacturing company in Phoenix, specializing in turbine technology, primarily for military/aerospace. With funding from DARPA, they have demonstrated the world's smallest operating gas turbine and are developing a soda-pop can size gas-turbine driven 600-watt alternator intended to be a compact, carry-able power source for the soldier. They're about to launch a development program for a 6 KW turbine with the requisite light weight and performance characteristics for commercial applications, particularly in portable power.

Bryan Seegers, CEO, 408-752-1911 x13,  bseegers@m-dot.com


IHI Aerospace

Originally built for military and civilian use, IHI's Dynajet 2.6 KW microturbine genset is selling commercially in Japan is 1.2 million Yen (about $9000) "for use in Japan only" (kerosene fuel).  There are no plans for export.  They don't have a natural gas version.  Very little information is available, though I do have a 2-page product description and spec sheet (*available).  The unit measures 30"x10"x11" and weighs 140 lb.
[The contact at IHI prefers not to be listed.]


ALM Turbine   http://www.almturbine.com/

The Company is developing a new "Dual Stream Engine" (DSE) mini-turbine for small-to-medium size power generation and automotive applications. The DSE can be scaled to generate power between 25kW and 300kW, with efficiencies of 37 - 40%.  The engine recirculates the exhaust--the intake is 5/6 exhaust and 1/6 makeup air.

Certain parts and components will upgrade existing installed turbines to make them cleaner and more and efficient.  One of these replacement parts is a revolutionary combustion system for large, medium and small turbines (5kW ? 250MW) with NOx levels of 3ppm or less, without the use or need of a catalyst. ALM’s combustion system prevents the creation of emissions as opposed to after treatment or clean-up technologies such as SCR.

ALM is working with a number of companies to develop aftermarket combustors for the existing installed base of large heavy-duty turbines (i.e. GE Frame 7EA) and for other size turbines. (Utilities want an alternative to the GE monopoly on replacement parts.) ALM is seeking partners to develop combustors to retrofit Solar, Rolls Royce and GE LM series turbines. The combustor uses external premix with no dilution zone, and has no pilot nozzle. ALM has developed technology to run significantly leaner than conventional DLN combustors.

ALM, then, is addressing two goals; 1. to make and sell their small engines (preferably with a strategic partner), and 2. to sell parts for existing large turbines, which should begin to generate significant revenues in the near term.

ALM recently signed a $3 million contract with the California Energy Commission to deploy a number of miniturbine beta units in the field. They've presented at several venture conferences, and are actively seeking additional funding.  An executive summary is available.*

Contact MartyKalin, CEO  202-778-8538, x134  mkalin@almturbine.com


OPRA        http://www.opra.nl/

The 1.6 MW all radial OPRA OP16 is a new engine evolved from operational and design experience of an earlier engine developed in Norway more than thirty years ago by a team led by Jan Mowill, the CEO of OPRA.

The old Kongsberg engine demonstrated high reliability and endurance in applications ranging from backup power for hospitals and banks to auxiliary power supply for merchant ships, off shore platforms and combined heat and power (CHP) applications for process industries. More than a thousand generating packages were delivered worldwide and some eleven million operating hours amassed.

Key features of the new engine include single stage highly efficient rotor components, and a unique burner design using a lower temperature lean burning flame.

Most of the combustion development on the engine was made with diesel fuel, significant for customers without access to natural gas infrastructure, for marine installations, and for dual fuel applications. Achieving low emissions on liquid fuels is also considered the most difficult by the turbine industry. Recent engine testing on natural gas demonstrated NOx levels as low as 5 ppm. Emission levels with diesel fuel #2 of 20 ppm NOx, 5 ppm UHC and 2 ppm CO is now well established. Even the typical "diesel smell" has disappeared from the exhaust of the OP16 engine.

Simple cycle shaft efficiency is 26%. A recuperated OP16R is under design and will yield an efficiency of 38%. Utilization of the exhaust heat will provide hot water and/or air conditioning, boosting the overall fuel utilization efficiency to nearly 90%.

The company, now in the Netherlands, is expanding to the US. There are currently investment opportunities in OPRA.

Contact Jan Mowill,   rjm@opra.nl
tel +31 (011) 74 245 2125      fax +31 (011)74 245 2139


Wilson TurboPower

Wilson TurboPower's first product, a rotary regenerator, is based on MIT-patented technology (US Pat RE37,134).  It raises the efficiency of microturbines from 30% to 35%.

Turbines typically use recuperators, or "air-to-air" heat exchangers, that recover heat from the exhaust to preheat incoming air.  Because of the extremes of temperature and temperature cycling which are a challenge to materials, recuperators are high in cost if they are to be reliable. Effectiveness (efficiency) is typically 88-91%. (Heat must travel through the barrier separating the hot and cold sides.)

Another approach is a "regenerator", where a material is heated directly, and then the same material surface is exposed to the cold side.  Effectiveness can reach 95-97%.  A typical system (e.g. an air heater) has a ceramic honeycomb of porous disk which rotates slowly  between openings to the hot and cold sides.  In a high performance application, sealing against leakage is a problem that hasn't been solved before. Wilson's innovation consists of "stepping" the disk's rotation.  Seals are released momentarily when the disk moves, and clamped again when it stops.

Microturbine companies that represent Wilson’s customer base include GE, Ingersoll-Rand, Pratt & Whitney, Turbec (a Volvo/ABB joint venture), Elliott, and Capstone.  The regenerator will be prototyped and tested in 2002 and field tested by prospective customers in 2003.  Wilson will ship in 2004 and/or license manufacturing rights to one or more of its customers.

Wilson’s next product will be a microturbine (MIT patent applied for) that will be the first distributed power generation product with efficiencies at about 50% and costs at about $500/KW.  This performance is possible with the regenerator, which in turn permits a lower pressure ratio and lower rpm, so cheaper ceramics can be used compared with "high-performance" turbines.  The ceramic regenerator also operates at higher temperatures than turbines using stainless steel recuperators.

The company believes it can reach profitability in 2 years with a total investment of under $3 million, which they are now raising.

Contact Bruce Anderson,  617-290-9913, brucenanderson@alum.mit.edu


Candent Technologies

"Turbine in a turbine" --The engines being developed by Candent Technologies do not require a recuperator, but will use instead a high pressure ratio (> 16 atm), simple cycle turbine to achieve the desired performance.

The engine has two spools, low pressure and high pressure; one sits "inside" the other one.
-- LP Spool:  centrifugal compressor (single stage) and axial turbine (2-stage), with the shaft directly coupled to an alternator
-- HP Spool:  centrifugal compressor (single stage), combustor (Catalytic), and turbine (radial inflow)

The LP compressor supplies pressurized inlet air to the HP spool, whose output is directed back to the LP turbine and then exhausted.  The HP spool thus acts as a kind of supercharged combustor for the LP spool.

Based on detailed design modeling, this simple cycle system is expected to have lower production costs than an equivalent recuperated system, as well as lower operating cost and higher reliability (lowest reliability component is typically the recuperator itself).  The cost of the additional spool will be less than the cost of the recuperator (in a 750 kW system, $25K for the additional  turbomachinery versus $75K for a recuperator).  Operating life will increase to around 30,000 operating hours, versus less than 10,000 hours.

The engine configuration, while unique, does not push performance, cost, or design envelopes.  The company's plan relies on simplicity and proven technology imported from the aero engines, which routinely run at pressure ratios much higher than current power generation turbines.  The operating temperatures have been kept low in order to prolong component life and allow utilization of common and less expensive materials, while the choice of higher pressure maintains quite competitive thermal efficiencies for the system.  They expect their "alpha" will essentially be the "beta", since the modules and subsystems used are substantially similar to thousands already in service in many engines.

The team has deep experience in all aspects of the turbine industry, and has designed dozens of aircraft and land-based turbines using proven design codes and components.

The company needs partners and capital.
Contact: Hernando Munevar, 317-442-0624,  hmunevar@comcast.net
        Mark Bobbi,    203-758-7702,   WaldoBobbi@aol.com


Rolls Royce

Rolls is developing a 1 MW hybrid SOFC-Turbine system.  The company is now satisfied that its IP-SOFC possesses the necessary performance characteristics for commercialisation, and is starting to bring the technology out of the lab. Rolls is beginning to develop a low cost production process, and has designed a hybrid 1MW power plant, which combines an 800kW SOFC with a 200kW turbine, which will be developed very specifically for this application. Rolls expects to have prototype systems in place in 2004-5, and to begin selling units in 2005-6. Initially, it plans to target US power generation markets, and with this in mind it is not at present developing a CHP system. Rolls-Royce says that its stack cost target of US$300 per kW is already achievable. It is aiming for a maximum system efficiency of 65%.
 [source: Fuel Cell Today, http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/

A detailed presentation on the program  (found it with google)

Colin Berns,  011-44-1332-248382,  colin.berns@rolls-royce.com

Subject:  UFTO Note - IEEE 1547 Interconnection Working Group
    Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2002

IEEE SCC21 Working Group
      (P1547 Draft Standard For Interconnection)
       31 Jan -1 Feb 2002,  Arlington, VA.

Held in conjunction with the DOE Distributed Power Program Review [covered in a separate UFTO Note]

Officially established by IEEE Standards and integrated into SCC21, the P1547 project was launched 4/99, and the Working Group (WG) has been on a fast track ever since to get a standard written and accepted by stakeholders in a wide-open consensus process.  Relentlessly, meetings have been held 4-6 times a year, around the country.

  Complete documentation of 1547 activities can be found at:

  An excellent overview and current status as of last Oct can be found in a paper by Dick DeBlasio in the proceedings of the IEEE T&D Expo 2001 (Atlanta).  [I have the pdf.]

In the last year, Draft #7 was voted on in March, and #8 by a 'recirculation' ballot in October.  The voting showed interesting patterns; in  particular utilities were divided right down the middle.  Other constituencies are clearly in favor. There were two huge flurries of email among WG members debating various points, one just before the Oct ballot, and again just before this meeting.  The goal now is to complete Draft #9 and to have a successful ballot on it.

Chairman Dick DeBlasio's introductory remarks* and charge to the group outlined a key source of the problem--a long list of issues which are most likely not appropriate to deal with in a Technical Standard are nonetheless being brought up repeatedly.  People with reservations about impacts on the grid, penetration levels, contractual issues, etc etc. continue, sincerely or otherwise, to raise and debate these issues in the WG.  There was also a red herring over a minimum vs. maximum standard -- opponents claimed that once enacted 1547 could only be made less restrictive and not more -- the truth is that IEEE standards invariably undergo revision time and again, before the ink is dry.  A cynic might wonder how much of this concern is sincere, how much is due to misinformation, and how much is simply raw tactics to block DG.

Another complicating factor for the 1547 effort--it is the very first case under IEEE's newly introduced "open balloting".  This means that any IEEE member can jump in fresh to the process and cast a vote without having been involved in previous discussions.  Standards committees have long endured repeat dialogues covering ground that's been dealt with before, but  ballots with anyone able to vote is much more problemmatic.

* This agenda document has the remarks which explain the approach:
* Also see the middle section of Dick's presentation to the DPP meeting:

New Working Groups

IEEE Standard making recognizes the difference between "shall" and "should" and "may", and produces three types of documents: Standards, Recommended Practices, and Guides, which reflect these different levels of influence.  As many of the issues being piled on to 1547 are more appropriately dealt with the second or third type rather than the first, two new working groups have been established and a third has been proposed. The idea is to strip out of 1547 anything that belongs in a different document, e.g. procedures, applications guidance, safety, etc. (In sheer size, 1547 drafts began at over 500 pages; it's been shrinking but it's still far above a length appropriate to a IEEE Technical Standard.)

- IEEE SCC21 P1589 -- Draft Standard for Conformance Tests Procedures For Equipment Interconnecting Distributed Resources With Electric Power Systems
- IEEE SCC21 P1608 -- Draft Application Guide For "IEEE Draft Standard 1547 Interconnecting Distributed Resources With Electric Power Systems"
- Potential new SCC21 PAR for DR communication/control

(P1589 is also a Standard, but it separates issues of testing from the Standard itself. The numbering may be changed to 1547.1, 1547.2 and 1547.3, to reinforce the association among them.)

After DeBlasio's opening remarks, the opening session of the WG meeting continued with presentations on the new initiatives.  Each of these new working groups are recruiting members at the present time.

P1589 (1547.2) Standard on conformance testing will specify the types of tests to be done to demonstrate compliance with 1547.1, in particular at the factory producing equipment and at commissioning.  (It would not deal with post-installation testing, which is a matter between business parties involved in a particular setting.) Contact Jim Daley, 973-966-2474, jdaley@asco.com

P1608 (1547.3) Guide is to facilitate use of 1547, by providing characterizations of DG technologies.  The development of this document will draw on dozens of existing resources, including 1547 resource materials, the 1001 IEEE standard for storage technology done in the 80's (and withdrawn in '98), various state procedures, utility handbooks, and other materials from EEI and EPRI. Contact Dick Friedman, 703-356-1300, nrf@rdcnet.com

New Comm/Control (1547.3) Guide will cover equipment and systems for both remote on onsite monitoring and control of DG, supporting a wide variety of transactions among any DG stakeholders.  It will include CHP and coordination with building or enterprise energy management systems.  Contact Frank Goodman, 650-855-2872, fgoodman@epri.com

Back to Draft-Writing

The rest of the first session saw the start of a difficult process of reviewing Draft #8, section by section, going over suggested changes, and deciding which materials could be moved into one or the other of the new documents.  It recalled the old saying about laws and sausages, with the added fun of wordsmithing by (very large) committee.

Over the next day and 1/2, significant progress was made, with lots of material removed from the Technical and Test sections and the appendices, for inclusion in 1589 and 1608.  A "strawman" for Draft #9 is set for the writing committee to tackle in the next two months.  (It was also announced that there will be some adds and drops to the writing committee roster.) A full WG meeting in June will, it is hoped be followed soon with the ballot.
Contact: Dick DeBlasio, 303-384-6452,  dick_deblasio@nrel.gov
                Tom Basso,  303-384-6765,  thomas_basso@nrel.gov

(For background about the start of this effort, see:
   UFTO Note - IEEE Stds for DR Interconnection, 09 Jul 1999)

Subject:  UFTO Note - DOE Distributed Power Review
    Date:  Fri, 15 Feb 2002

DOE Distributed Power Program
     & IEEE Interconnection Working Group

29 Jan ?1 Feb 2002,  Arlington, VA.

-Tue/Wed = DOE Distributed Power Program
-Thur/Fri  =  IEEE SCC21 Working Group  [Covered in a separate UFTO Note]
           (P1547 Draft Standard For Interconnection)

Distributed Power Program Review

The DPP website has the proceedings (and pdf downloads) for this meeting, and also for the last review meeting held in Golden CO, Oct'01.
    http://www.eren.doe.gov/distributedpower/   (box in upper right corner.)

There is a requirement at DOE for "peer review", so we're seeing many of these meetings throughout the year.  Last fall there was one for Distributed Energy Resources Program (DER), which includes the Distributed Power Progam. (This confusing bit of terminology will be cleared up soon with a name change of the latter to something more accurately reflecting the focus on integration of DR in power systems, not DR itself.) OPT is the new entity formed last year to pull together a number of activities from across EREN.

Here is the line-up of these groups on the org chart:
    - DOE
    - EREN -- Efficiency and Renewable Energy
    - OPT  -- Office of Power Technologies
    - DER  -- Distributed Energy Resources Program
    - DPP  -- Distributed Power Program [name to change]

^^The DER Review was held in DC,  28-30 Nov 2001

^^Proceedings of the 2001 Hydrogen Program Review are posted at:

Other upcoming review meetings:
^^Hydrogen and Fuel Cells -- Denver, 6-10 May
      (We may try to combine this with an UFTO visit to NREL)
^^Microturbine and Industrial Gas Turbines -- Fairfax VA, 12-14 March


Presentations- Introductions and Overviews

Bob Dixon, head of OPT, opened the conference, commenting that September 11 is the main driving force in Washington.  Energy security is a high profile part of it, which translates into redoubled interest in DG.

Bill Williams, IEEE-USA government liaison, outlined the many bills in Congress that deal with interconnection at both the bulk and DG level.  He also noted that FERC has opened a rule-making for interconnection under 20 MW. (see below).

Richard Brent, Solar Turbines, pleaded the manufacturers' concerns about there being different policies at every utility, in every state--sometimes different within the same utility.  Many of these practices are still based on utility systems and technology of long ago.

Patricia Hoffman, head of DER, commented that just as with any infrastructure, the energy system needs to advance and evolve.  One of the roles of DOE is to help bring consistency.

Joe Galdo, who leads the DPP Program, explained DPP's mission to remove barriers to DG that arise from technology and regulation.  The goal is to reduce installation cost, delay and hassle.  The strategy is reflected in the array of projects supported, from the IEEE 1547, to system integration, interconnection and control, to institutional and regulatory barriers.  A list of subcontracts awarded to date appears at:
See also "Research Activities" for a good overview:

Presentations - Technical Interconnection Standards and Testing

-- First up, Dick DeBlasio gave an update on IEEE 1547.  See separate UFTO Note on the Working Group meeting.

-- Murray Davis of Detroit Edison reported on a study of penetration limits for DG on a distribution feeder. This ranks very high on the list of concerns about widespread deployment of DG.   (Davis started with a quick aside that there would be no limit if grids were isolated--he's submitted a paper to IEEE about this.)  They did detailed modeling of two actual feeders using ASPEN and the Distribution WorkStation, and then modeled the impact of various amounts of DG placed at various locations. The striking conclusion, at least for these two particular feeders and for the two variables considered, is that DG penetration (or stiffness ratio, i.e. the amount of the DG compared to the size of the feeder) had no predictive value for when problems (e.g. over/under voltage) would arise.  The line length, circuit particulars, and DG device sizes were far more significant.  A feeder could accommodate as much as 10 times more total DG if it comes as many small units instead of 1 big one.

-- NRECA has an aggressive program to support its members to do fuel cell demonstrations, with training, handbooks, databases, and a users group.  Coops view DG as "a solution, not as a problem". Together coops represent the largest "single" utility in the country, with 34 million customers in 46 states.  The handbook will be available on the DOE website in the near future, and many more resources are available only to members of NRECA.
  Contact Ed Torrero, 703-907-5518, ed.torrero@nreca.org

-- DUIT -- Distributed Utility Integration Test - This project is to come up with a plan, including a facility, to do testing of the interaction of DG with the electric system. A key element is the selection of a site or sites for the facility. To that end, a number of sites around the country at utilities and universities were evaluated as candidates.  In addition, the Nevada Test Site received particular attention, in view of the extensive inventory of pre-existing buildings and equipment. (The NTS study came up with a conceptual design of a large "pole field" to be used to simulate actual distribution feeders.  Rows and rows of utility poles could be patched together to provide everything from a single 30 mile feeder to countless different configurations.)  (The DER Test Facility at NREL, which evaluates performance of DG interconnection systems, became operational Dec'01)
Contact Joe Iannucci, Distributed Utility Associates, joe@dua1.com, 925-447-0604.

-- Certification Lab Pilot -- EPRI-PEAC's project is to define a path to "certified grid-compatible DER".  They're writing an accreditation plan and an interconnection handbook. The effort includes actual testing of interconnection standards.  For details, see the pdf download^^^, and:
Contact: Tom Key,  865-218-8082,  tkey@epri-peac.com

-- UL Standard for DG - Underwriters Lab is developing a standard for testing DG equipment, combining appropriate safety requirements with interconnection requirements from IEEE 1547, to produce a DG ANSI Standard that can be used to evaluate utility interconnected DG products for both electrical safety and utility interconnection to address the needs of Electrical AHJs and Utility Interconnection Engineers. This document will be UL 1741, The Standard for Inverters, Converters and Controllers for Use In Independent Power.  Contact Tim Zgonena, UL, 847-272-8800 ext. 43051,  timothy.p.zgonena@us.ul.com

Presentations - Codes and Regulations

-- Regulatory Policy Options for DG -- The Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) is a non profit that educates and helps state regulators with electric utility regulation.  With DOE funding they're developing a series of issue papers and prototype standards documents for states to use as templates or starting points for DG interconnection, emissions, etc.  One interesting observation: RAP suggests that restructuring can actually works against DG, when wholesale markets (ISOs) don't offer payment for demand reduction, and distribution-only companies become more susceptible to revenue loss. The website has a wealth of material. Of particular interest, policy papers on DG and Electric System reliability, cost methodologies, customer value, and "Accomodating DG in Wholesale Markets".  Particularly note the Draft of a "Model DG Emissions Rule" which is getting a lot of comment. DOE is looking for more input from industry.
Contact: Cheryl Harrington, 207-582-1135, rapmaine@aol.com

-- DG and FERC - Dan Adamson has done a detailed report on FERC's role in DG, including policy directions and numerous cases that have come up over the last 10 years or more.  Expect increasing complexity and litigation.  Adamson believes that FERC has the authority to assert jurisdiction over interconnection of DG no matter how small, if it involves wholesale transactions, but not retail or self-generation.  Last October, FERC announced an ANOPR on generation interconnection.  On 11 January, consensus drafting groups submitted a lengthy filing, with big disagreements between transmission owners and small generators.  A new strawman proposal was due Feb 1.  Expect a NOPR for comment soon; FERC hopes to issue a final rule later this year.  Even if FERC does get jurisdiction, they don't have the staff expertise or resources to regulate at the distribution level, and will likely look to the new RTOs do handle the details. States will still have a big role in any case.  And, many bills are before Congress; how they'd interact with FERC's efforts needs to be watched closely. (There is a case before the Supreme Court that may decide much of this issue.

A detailed report will be made available soon on the DOE/DPP website. See more information at:
   Contact: Dan Adamson, 202-508-6600,  danadamson@dwt.com
Also, go to the source: http://www.ferc.fed.us/Electric/gen_inter.htm
  [Sign up for FERC's "intranet" to see more details.  Of note--most utilities' participants seem to be in transmission or regulatory affairs… is your DG effort in the loop?]

-- Local Permitting - This presentation gives a sobering picture of the situation at the local level. There are over 44,000 independent building inspection jursidictions.  It can take 10 years or more to get a new technology mentioned in codes, and even then it is up to states which vintage of a code it wants to use.  (For example, Nevada still uses the 1978 Electrical Code!?)  Most Fire and Building inspectors have little or no experience or understanding of hydrogen, methanol, fuel cells, etc. so developers can have a tough time. DOE is sponsoring an Education and Outreach effort, doing workshops around the country for local inspectors and state officials.  Contact Ann Marie Borbely-Bartis, 202-586-5196,  anne-marie.borbely-bartis@ee.doe.gov

******** Late Breaking News ******
NARUC passed a resolution this week (13 Feb) to support development of a Model DG Rule -- See below for particulars. -- I can also send the actual text of the resolution on request.

Presentations - System Integration and Control

A series of ongoing projects address implementation and hardware, including demonstrations of whole building systems, enterprise-wide generation management, and aggregation of DG.  Others are developing new hardware to increase capabilities, reliablity and cost-effectiveness of interconnection systems. [As this note is getting a bit too long--please see proceedings for the individual presentations, or contact me to discuss.]

Presentations -  Industrial DG

This series of projects involve actual installations or market studies of individual industry sectors. Others addressed market potential in NY, CA and Chicago.

- Increasing the Use of DG in the Semiconductor Industry
   Barry Cummings, Salt River Project
- Highly Varying Industrial Load
   Dr. Robert Kramer, NiSource
- DG Integration with Telecommunications Facility
   Doug Peck, Syska & Hennessy
- CHP Integration with Fluid Heating Processes in the Chemical and Refining Sectors
- CHP Installation at 29 Palms Marine Air Ground Combat
   Henry Mak, So Cal Gas
- DG Improvements in Industrial Applications
   Rich Biljetina, Industrial Center
- Chicago Industrial Energy Plan
   John Kelly, Gas Technology Institute
- New York State Industrial DG
   Nag Patibandla, NYSERDA
- Industrial DG Market Transformation Tools
   Paul Bautista, Onsite Sycom

Naruc Adopts Resolution Endorsing Development of Model Interconnection Agreements and Procedures

Washington,  February 13, 2002
The Board of Directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), this week at the NARUC 2002 Winter Meetings in Washington, D.C., endorsed the development of model interconnection agreement and procedures under the direction of its Committees on Electricity, Energy Resources and the Environment and Finance and Technology. Reiterating its support for open access to the nation's electricity grid, and the importance of distributed energy resources to our energy future, NARUC noted in is resolution (attached) that:

 - Coordination among the States could improve the consistency of treatment so important to the efficient integration of distributed energy resources; and

 - Increased national consistency would lower entry barriers and enhance business economic efficiency, and,

 - The ready availability of NARUC developed model agreements and procedures will aid in balancing those concerns; and the preparation of model interconnection agreement and procedures by NARUC could provide significant support and

 - Efficiencies to those States which have yet to address the challenges of distributed energy resources, and the consideration, adaptation or adoption of such models could provide material assistance in achieving the coordination among the states called for by previous resolutions.

The DOE DPP program has previously support state commissions in their efforts to address the new challenges presented by integrating distributed generation into their energy system, and has been supporting this new initiative. The issue was timely at NARUC because of the FERC's ongoing inquiry into developing a national rule setting forth interconnection procedures and a standard agreement for FERC jurisdictional interconnections, typically at the transmission level. Some controversy may develop where both state commissions and FERC assert jurisdiction of interconnection issues at the distribution level. For additional information contact Gary Nakarado, DP Program NREL, 303-275-3719 or Gary_Nakarado@NREL.Gov

Subject:  UFTO Note - Fluid Mechanical Energy Recovery
   Date:    Sat, 26 Jan 2002

A massive amount of energy is wasted in water distribution systems, and HydroLinq, a new company, has come along to make recovery of that energy a reality.  It looks like a big opportunity.

The idea is similar to a common practice in the gas pipeline industry, where turbines or expanders are used to reduce pressure from long haul pipelines as the gas enters distribution systems.  This not only solves a problem of severe cooling of the gas in expansion valves, it also generates a considerable amount of electricity in the process.

As one water company person said, "we've been burning head here forever."  But power generation isn't usually on the minds of water companies (except at the dams that hold their reservoirs, or when they build their own fossil plants), even though they're big power users themselves.  As far as we can find, the opportunity has never been exploited to any significant degree.

Major hydro-engineering firms have looked at this before, but have chosen not to pursue it, preferring their traditional large-scale projects over lots of little ones.  They've even expressed interest in supporting HydroLinq in their endeavors. HydroLinq is focusing on units ranging from 100KW to 2 MW.

In most water systems, water arrives in large pipes and at high pressure.  This pressure is let down through a pressure release valve, or simply dropped into a regulating basin (reservoir).  The idea is to install a mini-hydro turbine and power plant in parallel with the valve or at the end of the pipe to the reservoir, and generate power.

- Huge quantities, sites widely distributed in 1000's of cities, towns and facilities. A feasibility study for the water district in San Jose CA identified 6 cost-effective sites, totaling 1.6 MW.  There are over 2500 water utilities in the US.

- Truly "renewable" (at a time when suppliers are unable to find enough renewable power at any price to meet mandates, e.g. portfolio standards)

- A truly renewable distributed generation technology that can be deployed in urban and industrial settings

- High availability (80-100%)

- Very cost-effective (4-6 ¢/kWh - easily competitive with the grid)

- Rapid payback (18 - 36 months)

- Short leadtime (8-12 months max.  Simple infrastructure, and no "earth moving")

- No environmental or siting issues (except perhaps utility interconnection)

- Built-in likely customer for power (the water company itself)

HydroLinq is rapidly establishing itself as the creator and leader of this new industry, with a complete solution approach which provides feasibility analysis, planning, engineering, installation, and operation.  While the idea is simple, implementation is not--no two sites will be exactly alike. HydroLinq has the first-mover advantage, having assembled the key partnerships, know-how, and technology packages (some of it patented) that will enable them to deliver systems faster and cheaper than any new entrant could hope for.

Going further, HydroLinq sees more big opportunities in wastewater systems and many process industries--wherever large quantities of liquids --not just water -- undergo pressure drops.

The scope is huge--nationally and internationally.  Preliminary estimates put the total available resource just for municipal water systems in the US alone at over 12 GW. HydroLinq recognizes the need to license, partner and joint-venture to establish a presence quickly in as many markets as possible, and is actively seeking both partners and equity investors.  One joint venture is already poised to begin the installation this summer of two systems in Australia.  Several other projects are in the formative stages, and require working capital.  This is not "just" project development; it is the start of an entirely new industry.

A business plan and other materials are available under an NDA.

Contact: Thomas Cripe, President
HydroLinq Energy Corp., Issaquah, WA
425-557-7921,   thomas.cripe@hydrolinq.com

Subject: UFTO Note - 2001 IEEE T&D Expo
    Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2002

2001 IEEE T&D Expo
Atlanta,  30 Oct- 2Nov 2001

This was a large event, with over 9,000 attendees, 500 exhibitors, and 150 technical papers. Sponsored by the IEEE Power Engineering Society, it focuses strictly on T&D technology, though a number of special panel sessions dealt with big picture questions.

A great deal of information is still available online at:
Using the buttons on the left side, "Conference" goes to a complete program listing, and "Exposition" to the exhibitor list, complete with urls for most companies. The technical papers were published on a CD.

--Opening Session
Teddy Püttgen, PES President Elect, opened the conference with the comment that electric utilities continue to be "technology enabled" rather than "technology driven", but that is changing. Allen Franklin, CEO of the Southern Co, explained that the spinoff of Mirant enables SoCo to focus specifically on the southeast. with its vertically integrated companies, competitive generation, and new services.  He sees transmission as the hottest issue, e.g. in Congress.  John Rice of GE Power sees big promise in digital networking of generation and T&D.  David Stump of ABB expressed a similar vision, applying ABB's corporate-wide "Industrial IT" strategy to the utility industry.  Based on the experience in the UK, Ian Davis of National Grid talked about the need for incentives for T&D investment, efficiency and performance, leading to an emphasis on asset management. Franklin came across as a very traditional utility executive, when he dismissed fuel cells, quoting "30 years ago fuel cells were almost ready. They still are."

--SuperSession- Deregulation
The presentions were far ranging and exhaustive, and it would take many pages to give the full flavor. Charles Stalone (former FERC commissioner) took a long time to explain the issues before Congress, to strike the right balance between free markets and protections against market power abuse.  David Jermain, Anderson Consulting, gave an entertaining review of the history of California's debacle-- based on a very faulty design, state officials made it much worse once things began to unravel. (I have his powerpoint presentation which he kindly sent, along with an ok to share it selectively.)  Mark Rossi (Barker, Dunn & Rossi) reviewed utility deregulation around the world. Many countries are doing it, some quite successfully, though no-one gets it right at first.  Richard Tabors (Tabors, Caramanis & Assoc) discussed regulation of generators, and pointed out that price volatility is intrinsic to any commodity market--it's the journalists who renamed it "spikes" in the case of electricity.  Finally Paul Addison (SolomonSmith Barney) said that customers really care about total price, not the profits of individual players.  Service penalties and bonuses are needed if there is to be any incentive for investment in T&D.

--"How to Become a 3rd World Utility"
In a panel session on T&D Reliability, Jim Burke of ABB outlined 10 steps to reducing reliability.
1. Eliminate experienced engineers; replace with young ones who won't stay.
2. Don't participate in standards setting.
3. Lose control over generation and transmission
4. Replace things only when they fail; keep for 50 years or more til there are no spare parts.
5. Buy on price (first cost). Don't pay for quality.
6. Eliminate R&D
7. Reduce manpower and budgets
8. Overload equipment thus increasing failure rates.
9. Lose control over daily activities--overdo outsourcing.
10. NIMBY - no new T&D but not no growth
      [ I can supply a pdf of this paper, from the conference CD]


I visited a number of exhibitors. Here are some highlights.

 - Arbiter Systems Inc.   http://www.arbiter.com
   High precision meters, traceable to NIST.
   Can error-correct any meter to be much more accurate.
   GPS clocks.  Other interesting innovations..used by NxtPhase

 - Cannon Technologies    http://www.cannontech.com
   Monitoring and control of loads and devices
   Yukon modular software for distrib autom and demand mgt
   eSubstation...low cost  ($25K per substn)
   Impressive customer list Sell only to utilities.
   Started in '87 w/ purch of a wireless subsidiary of ABB.
   Announcing marketing deal with Honeywell soon. (load control thermostats)

 - DTE Energy Technologies--"CableWise"
    The "only" insitu inservice live cable test capability--uses partial discharge
        [[ Is it really true?  Has this "holy grail" finally been found?]]

 - IFD Corporation   http://www.ifdcorporation.com
  Clever little mechanical popout device the goes inside distribution transformer to indicate an overpressure has occurred- which means that a fault has occurred inside.  Visible from the street.  [Sort of like the gadget that tells you your turkey is cooked.]

 - IMCORP       http://imcorp.uconn.edu
  Cable testing products and services.  Experts in partial discharge. Company is on campus at Univ Connecticut, led by prominent professor.  Took back license from UltraPower (Minn, MN) which closed.

 - NxtPhase      http://www.nxtphase.com
    Optical PT/CT.  Looking very strong.  {See UFTO Note 22 Jun 2000}

 - Power Line Systems     http://www.powline.com
    T-Line design/management software to 500 utilities worldwide.

 - Power Measurement Ltd.        http://www.pml.com/
    Hi end meters for revenue and PQ monitoring. for large customers.  OEM to ABB and Siemens.  Sev. new simpler cheaper products.

 - Serveron Corp.     http://www.serveron.com
    Monitoring transformer gas in oil, and battery systems.  Received a lot of attention at their booth, and appear to be progressing rapidly.  [See UFTO Note 14 May 2001}

  =====Substation monitoring=====
(Besides  GE, Serveron, Cannon, etc.)

 - DoubleTree Systems http://www.dsius.com
    comprehensive solution..have installations in China.  Systems Control Inc. alumni

- Doble    http://www.doble.com/
     Has abandoned development of "InSite".  Doing individual modules instead, for later "integration" at IP level.  First is for bushings.  Will announce a transformer pkg very soon

  =====Power Switching=====

ABB -  AX1 Air insulated Medium Voltage Switchgear.
 1/2 the footprint, cheaper, arcing eliminated, simple installation, low/no maintenance.
       http//:www.abb.com -- search for AX1


Pole Plus   http://www.poleplus.com
N Amer lic for EdF developed wood pole testing technology and management system. Acceptance is growing.  [See UFTO Note 11 Jun 1999]

MiniMax Software Corp.    http://www.minimax.net
Video surveillance specifically for substation monitoring,  Also a distribution system "stakeout" pen-based computing solution.

The Valley Group.     http://www.cat-1.com
Device measures trans. line cable tension directly; Plus nearby measurement of temperature the cable would be if unloaded -- gives direct realtime reading of maximum possible loading.

Subject: UFTO Note -- NEETRAC R&D Focused on Power Delivery
    Date: 17 Jan 2002

While at the IEEE T&D Expo last November, I had the opportunity to meet folks from the National Electric Energy Testing, Research and Applications Center, a not-for-profit at Georgia Tech which focuses exclusively on power delivery technology, including (the integration of) storage and distributed generation. (See below* for a list of services provided--clearly a very practical "nuts and bolts" approach.)

NEETRAC grew out of the R&D Center that Georgia Power transferred to Georgia Tech in 1996, with all its staff and large facilities. Since then, the program scope and constituency have been broadened. The fulltime staff now exceeds 30, in addition to faculty and students who work with them.  NEETRAC has access to all kinds of expertise and facilities across the entire school.  They are ISO-9001 certified.

Sometimes it's easier to start with an explanation of what something is not.  NEETRAC is not a research management organization. Work is done in-house, and almost nothing is subcontracted out.  They are not a funding agency.  There is no technology watch function, except as part of scoping studies at the front end of projects.  As the name says, they do testing, research, and applications.

Membership includes 23 major utilities (including 3 current UFTO participants, TXU, Xcel, and Exelon) and manufacturers.  This number is expected to rise to 25 this year; they will stop at 30.  Most pay $105K/year (much larger companies pay more).

Half of this money goes into "baseline projects", which are selected and overseen by the Management Board.  Forty-seven such projects have already been done, for a total cost of $4.2 million -- on or below budget.  Each project has a technical advisory committee, which usually meets by teleconference.  There is a total commitment to the idea that members are to determine project content and program direction.

The other half of the money is placed directly into individual proprietary projects for the individual members (IP is very carefully protected).  There is also about $1 million/year in contract research performed for other (nonmember) clients.

A new program of "Focused Initiatives" will offer non-members the chance to participate, though at 2.5 times the member cost.  The proposal for the first such Initiative will appear in July, for Cable Diagnostics.  NEETRAC already is doing a lot of work (for its members only) on Cables, including a test facility with cables with known defects. Vendors are invited to test and demonstrate their equipment.  There are similar programs for other components.

Hans (Teddy) Püttgen, Director*
   404-894-2927      hans.puttgen@ee.gatech.edu


(*Dr. Püttgen is also the new President-Elect of the IEEE Power Engineering Society.)


*Services provided by NEETRAC:

-Transmission and Distribution Component Failure Investigation
-Incoming Material Inspection for Quality Control Program
-High Voltager Testing of Transmission and Distribution Components
-Connector Evaluation
-Insulator Testing
-Testing of Aerial Personnel Devices
-Soil Thermal Property Measurements
-Lighting Fixture Evaluation
-Testing of Routine Utility Devices
-Frequency Characterization
-Transfer Functions
-Line Hardware Evaluation
-Thermal Evaluation
-Electric/Hybrid vehicle testing & research
-Mechanical Testing
-Underground Cable Pulling
-Fault Current Testing
-Performance Evaluation of Overhead Conductor and Accessories
-Vibration-damper Testing HV 60Hz Watts Loss
-Measurements Power Cable and Accessory Evaluation
-Weathering and Corrosion Evaluation