UFTO NOTES 2004
15 Oct 2004 UFTO Note - Superconducting Fault Current
07 Oct 2004 UFTO Update - Ultrapurification of Oil
13 Sep 2004 UFTO Note - True Plug&Play for Energy Advances
26 Aug 2004 UFTO Update - Sag Line Mitigator is Ready
01 Jun 2004 UFTO Note - Openshark Coordinates Digging Streets
05 May 2004 UFTO Note - EEStor Ultracapacitor and Ultrabattery
05 Mar 2004 UFTO Note - DG Update
03 Feb 2004 UFTO Note - Calif Treasurer Proposes Green Wave to Invest $1.5B in Cleantech
23 Jan 2004 UFTO Note - Plug Pulled on Regenesys
06 Jan 2004 UFTO Note - Gas-to-Liquid: Its Time Has Come
UFTO Note - Superconducting Fault Current Limiter
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2004
Australians quietly develop something completely different.
A "fault" in a transmission or distribution circuit is nasty business. Circuit breakers open up, and that not only interrupts service to a lot of customers, it can also put a surge on the system. Worse, most fault clear themselves almost immediately, and then a decision has to be made, either by a person or by the equipment, whether and when to reclose the breaker. This is rough on the system, and the breakers themselves are expensive and hard to maintain.
A Fault Current Limiter (FCL) is a subtler way of dealing with momentary faults. It recognizes a sudden high current that's not supposed to happen; it "inserts" a high impedance in the line momentarily to block that current, and returns to normal once the situation corrects itself. This is not an easy task, however. Currently (no pun), FCLs are far from ideal. Air core reactors using metallic copper conductors incur high operational losses, have limited response time, and wear out easily. What's more, the breakers usually trip anyhow.
It's long been recognized that FCLs are a great application for high temperature superconductors (HTSC). In fact, it's seen as the first and best application of HTSCs on the power system. The basic idea is to put a superconducting element in the circuit in such a way that if too high a current comes along, the element goes "normal" or momentarily stops being a superconductor. This supplies the temporary high impedance to limit the current, and once the current drops, the superconductor goes back to being a superconductor and lets the current can flow again. This happens almost instantaneously, faster than a mechanical switch, and with "softer" transitions.
A SC FCL could thus detect abnormally high current transients in the grid, e.g. from lightning strikes, in a fraction of a cycle, and control the fault current so that system equipment can absorb it safely, protecting valuable downstream infrastructure.
Superconductors go "normal" if the temperature gets too high, or if the magnetic field gets too high. A SC FCL relies on the latter type of "quenching". The base current passing through the device produces a magnetic field below the level that would turn off the SC -- a fault current will increase the magnetic field enough to do the trick.
SC FCLs are the subject of intense R&D efforts worldwide. ABB installed a prototype at a substation in Switzerland in 1997. The DOE is funding a new $12M program (http://www.engineeringtalk.com/news/nex/nex111.html), and EPRI is offering a major study (http://www.epri.com/destinations/product.aspx?id=439&area=10&type=2).
A conference earlier this month presented the very latest on SC, including power applications. Note the three FCL sessions. Applied Superconductivity Conf, ASC 2004, Jacksonville, FL, October 3-8, 2004
Essentially all these efforts to date are using the bulk property of SC, and involve putting the entire load current through the SC itself, as described above. This leads to designs that are highly complex and which require a lot of SC material (i.e. very expensive wire or tape - which is proving difficult to make in large quantities). Moreover, none have progressed beyond the R&D stage and or early field beta trials. (Note - in most designs, a shunt actually supplies the impedance, not the quenched SC element, -- even more complicated.)
Meanwhile, Down Under!
Meanwhile, a quiet development program in Australia has come up with a novel approach which has already been successfully demonstrated, and which is coming to North America. They developed their own SC tape and SC coils (and manufacturing method), and they invented and patented a 3-phase FCL that works in an entirely different way. It is actually more of a "controller" than a limiter of fault current.
It is a HTSC-enabled saturated magnetic core inductor. The load current passes through a copper coil on one side of a laminated-steel core. A DC coil on the other side maintains the core in a fully saturated state of magnetization. The number of copper turns are set so that a fault current in the AC coil will drive the iron core out of saturation (on the negative swing of the waveform). The coil then presents a large current controlled reactance, clipping the fault current at the design value.
All of this is explained in detail in a white paper presented in 2003, and which is available on request. Download 3.5 MB -- (password required)
The design uses only a small amount of superconductor, simply to maintain the core magnetization (the only reason you need SC for this is that ordinary coils would be too big and lossy). More important, it works; it's simple, robust, and versatile; and it will be available in a year at a reasonable price point. Key advantages include:
Superior Fault Condition Performance
- Very fast response time – protection functions activate in a fraction of a cycle.
- Large dynamic range – accommodates overloads without degradation and recovers instantly.
- Superior dynamic performance – suppresses initial transients more fully with much shorter decay times.
- Self-triggering/self-governing – operates instantly because of fundamental physical laws, no external sensing or controls required.
- Low operational cost – very little electrical losses in standby mode.
- High durability – very low cycle fatigue - operates through multiple operating cycles or fault events with little or no degradation.
- Expandable architecture – can be field or shop reconfigured to meet future requirements or changing grid characteristics.
- Small footprint and flexible form factor – compact to fit within space constraints and can be configured differently for local requirements.
Positive Grid Impact
- Improved grid reliability – clips fault currents completely without de-energizing the downstream grid.
- Transparency to the grid – no discernable impact during standby.
The technology has undergone substantial simulation, prototyping, and testing. The company sees no significant technical barriers and is on target to begin low-volume manufacturing and field installations of three-phase commercial units within 12 months.
The Australian company was recently acquired as a subsidiary of SC Power Systems, a US company, and operations have been moved to the US. They've already engaged in substantive dialogue with potential early customers and have validated the demand for its first three-phase units (15KV, nominally 10KAmps/phase).
They've contracted with NEETRAC (see UFTO Note 17Jan02) to prepare test procedures compatible with IEEE standards. NEETRAC member utilities are lining up to be the hosts for utility field tests scheduled for Q4, 2005. The company welcomes the opportunity to explore application needs, and will be taking orders as early as 2005.
Woody Gibson, 415-277-0179 firstname.lastname@example.org
SC Power Systems, Inc.
San Francisco, CA
The company is also raising equity funding. They presented at the NREL Industry Growth Forum, Oct. 18-20 in Orlando http://www.cleanenergyforum.com/. A business plan is available from the company.
Subject: UFTO Update - Ultrapurification of Oil
Date: Thu, 07 Oct 2004
You may recall seeing this before. UFTO has introduced it up a couple of times in the past, the last time in an UFTO Note, 5 Mar 2001. The company has a new name- ISOPur Fluid Technologies. It now has backing from major VCs, new top management, and it's proving itself in the marketplace. While a bit slower on the uptake compared with some other industries, utilities are increasingly interested in the dramatic O&M savings this technology can demonstrate, in a wide array of applications.
ISOPur Fluid Technologies has a unique patented technology, known as Balanced Charge Agglomeration (BCA) that filters oil and other non-conducting fluid to levels not achieved by conventional filtration. Most oil filters found in automobiles, power plants, and the like can remove particles as small as 3-10 microns. However, half of the mass of debris and other contamination in the oil is in particles of 1 micron or less. ISOPur splits the oil flow into two parallel paths, and uses high voltage electrodes to ionize the contamination particles, half positive and half negative, thus the "balanced charge." The two paths are combined and the oppositely charged particles are attracted to each other and "agglomerate" to form larger particles which can then be removed by conventional filtration.
Not only is the oil made "cleaner than new", but the process actually removes particles and varnish from the inner workings of machinery, dramatically extending service intervals and equipment life.
Customer benefits in actual applications:
-- Reduced equipment downtime - scheduled and unscheduled, e.g. reduced failures of hydraulic actuators in pulp and paper mills.
-- Reduced maintenance and repair costs, e.g. extended time between overhauls for gas turbines.
-- Improved recycling of used oil, e.g. reprocessing and reuse of waste vegetable oil in the production of bio-diesel fuel.
-- The cost of periodically replacing old fluids with new, e.g. reduced frequency of changing oil in the cabs of windmills, thus reducing transport of oil and waste oil to and from remote locations and in structures hundreds of feet in the air.
-- Extended equipment life, e.g. near elimination of coking and reduced wear in utility tap-changers.
The ISOPur technology can also reduce diesel fuel emissions such as heavy metals, ash and other harmful particulate by removing these elements at the fuel source before the fuel is combusted. The ISOPur units also will remove bacteria from fuels, thereby preserving the quality of fuels that are stored for extended periods.
Fortune 500 customers include Pfizer, Wheelabrator Corp., Eaton Corp, and alliances are underway with others spanning a wide range of market applications - from oil recycling to on-board vehicle systems to commercial cooking equipment.
Utility Experience The company is ready for a push with the utility industry. Initial experience is highly encouraging. A major southern US utility has tested the process on its Frame 7 turbines. Another Frame 7 owner in Asia is reporting that ISOPur does much better in a direct comparison with the nearest competitor (Kleen Tek). Several other utilities are placing orders for a variety of applications, and a major vendor of lube skids has entered into an OEM agreement. (Note that ISOPur can be used to enhance the performance of existing filtration systems.)
In Italy, ENEL ran tests in the lubricating oil treatment and control for a feed turbo-pump. They report, "we can state that the ISOPUR MAG 600CE oil treatment machine was shown to be effective and suitable for using in [this] machinery... Oil treatment ... was found to be more effective than with the presently used traditional systems. The solid particulate present in the oil was drastically reduced and constant viscosity was thus maintained. No deterioration in additives present in the oil was noted." (report is on the website).
The company website has a great deal of information about the technology, economics, and the many applications, and success stories.
ISOPur Fluid Technologies, Inc. Rocky Hill, CT
Chris Sakorafos, V.P. of Marketing and Sales
860-571-8590 x231 email@example.com
Robert P. Musselman, CEO
PS: The company is in the midst of a late-stage round of fundraising, and will be presenting at the Cleantech Venture Forum V in Toronto, October 25-27. (contact the CEO).
Subject: UFTO Note - True Plug&Play for Energy Advances
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2004
True Plug and Play for Energy Advances
We've been working with a startup company that's come up with plans for a box that will streamline the installation and use of new energy technology. They have designs, have applied for a patent, and are already getting strong interest from residential developers as their first market entry point. The company is seeking strategic partners and capital. Here, in their own words, is the basic idea.
PPSI's Modular Energy and Services Appliance (MESA) is a revolutionary device that finally launches the home or business into the modern power age. Imagine a cabinet installed at the home or business that replaces the electric meter and service entry panel with smart technology that immediately reduces energy costs and enables further savings opportunities, by providing for safe and easy operation and clean installation of one or more of emerging energy technologies: solar power, wind power, back-up battery, generator or fuel cell.
Many existing, new and emerging energy related technologies are available or soon will be available for home and small business users. All experts agree this already large market is going to experience significant growth in the coming decade. Yet, while many consumers desire these products for cost saving or other personal reasons, to date "something" has been holding them back. The missing "something" is a common integration platform to reduce the many risks faced by the consumer. To address this need, PPSI has created the Modular Energy and Services Appliance or MESA.
The MESA approach allows any desired energy related device to be installed simply and easily in its expansion cabinet via PPSI's proprietary interconnection and mounting technology.
Power conditioning (saves energy and money)
Peak Power usage monitoring
Batteries (Time Shifting of Power Usage)
The MESA significantly reduces consumer risks including:
Additionally the MESA provides a go-to-market platform for the makers of energy related devices, which allows them to focus on their core strengths and leave the marketing, sales, distribution and support issues to PPSI.
The current situation is reminiscent of the early days of the personal computer industry where the components existed but large numbers of usable systems did not ship until Apple and IBM took up the integration challenge to create a functional and easily accessible platform.
The initial MESA distributors are expected to be leading real estate developers. Why?
- faster time to market
- more desirable homes
- regulation/permitting process favors alternative energy technologies
- current, strong need
Follow-on markets potentially include solar/wind installations, utilities, home remodelers and business facility upgrades.
The PPSI MESA can accelerate the upcoming energy market growth and control a large portion of the market due to its unique integration capabilities and PPSI's focus on owning the space between the customers and component manufacturers.
Peninsula Power Systems
Subject: UFTO Update - Sag Line Mitigator is Ready
Date: Thurs, 26 Aug 2004
We've been following SLiM for a long time (see below), and it's a proud moment now to see this program come to the point of actual commercialization. Industry testing has been extensive and very successful.
They are ready to take orders. Delivery in small quantities can be fairly prompt, and they are in the process of raising funds to ramp up production (investor inquiries welcome).
Here's the text from the new brochure, from the newly incorporated company, Power Transmission Solutions, Inc. (PTS) (Until the website is up, let me know if you'd like me to send you the pdf of the brochure.)
The Sagging Line Mitigator (SLiM) is a new class of transmission line hardware that fixes the sagging problem of transmission lines at just the right time. By using state-of-the-art materials and a proven and patented concept, SLiM reacts to increasing conductor temperature by decreasing the effective length of conductor in the span. The impact is a decrease in line sag during the high temperature and/or high loading conditions.
-- SLiM solves sag problems rather than just monitoring them
-- SLiM allows for increased power flow and avoids clearance issues
-- SLiM is maintenance free
-- SLiM is fail-safe and practically indestructible
SLiM was originally developed by Material Integrity Solution, Inc. (MIS), of Berkeley, CA with funding from California Energy Commission. It has been extensively studied and tested by MIS, PG&E, Hydro Quebec (IREQ) and Kinectrics. SLiM has been installed at San Diego G&E since May of 2004 as part of a Tailored Collaboration demonstration project with the EPRI on behalf of SDGE, PG&E, SCE, PSNM, ConEd, BC Hydro, National Grid Transco (UK), Northeast Utilities, and the California Energy Commission.
SLiM is distributed by Maurice Pincoffs. To order the device, to determine how SLiM device can solve your specific sag problem, to design optimum SLiM location(s) for your specific situation, or , just for more information please contact:
Dariush Shirmohammadi (PTS) at 310.858.1174, d.shir@PTranSolutions.com
or George Rose (Pincoffs) at 713.681.5461, firstname.lastname@example.org
Power Transmission Solutions, Inc.
Berkeley, CA 510-594-0302
UFTO's long history with SLiM:
- Oct 2002: UFTO Note - Short Subjects
- Mar 2000: UFTO Note - Sag Line Mitigator -UPDATE
- Jun 1999: UFTO Note - T Line Sag Mitigator Gets Funding; Partner Wanted
- Mar 1999: UFTO Note - Sagging Line Mitigator
Subject: UFTO Note - Openshark Coordinates Digging Streets
Date: Tue, 01 Jun 2004
You may share my pet peeve -- the waste and inconvenience, not to mention bumpy roads, when a street is cut open within months after being freshly repaved, because municipalities and numerous utilities have no way to coordinate projects.
A new product offers to solve that problem which enables such coordination, and thus saves capital budgets, saves time, reduces costs, and improves relationships--especially with customers.
A pilot project is underway in southern California. It is currently up and running in one city and has plans to be expanded to two larger cities in California. A pilot is also planned for a larger suburban city in the eastern US, for later this year. All of the public and private utilities that serve these cities are involved in the respective pilots.
(The following is straight from the company's website and other materials--addressing "you" the utility):
Openshark LF provides a standardized information exchange platform for utilities and municipalities. LF prompts you to view below ground construction as a single process across utilities and municipalities rather than a series of separate processes conducted by a number of different organizations. LF is a collaborative solution and gives you the visibility, velocity and innovation you need to a foster interaction, communication, process alignment and cost savings. LF allows you to share your construction plans and planning documentation with your peers in a secure environment. You ‘upload’ your files in their native format. Openshark applications will seamlessly translate this information into a ‘platform independent’ format – or the original file can be shared with any authorized participant. LF provides you a cost efficient methodology to collaborate with other utility service providers and municipalities in your service territory.
Coordinating Construction Projects in the Public Right of Way
Openshark LF is a complete solution for managing the construction coordination interface between utilities and municipalities. It is a “Best-of-Class” solution that applies a consensus built, ANSI standard, project planning process to utility construction coordination. This internet-based tool provides a sophisticated document management system that enables you to securely share documents and allows your collaborators to view these documents in their internet browser (such as Explorer or Communicator) regardless of the original format of the file. Openshark LF automates the construction planning process, effortlessly interconnecting regional infrastructure management stakeholders. This new interconnectivity provides you advanced notice of ‘foreign’ construction, enabling you to either mitigate the impact of these activities on your infrastructure, or to relocate your infrastructure - often at a cost savings.
Right from the start, Openshark LF allows you to:
Identify construction partnership opportunities that can reduce belowground infrastructure construction costs by up to 50%;
Employ ANSI standard project management methodology to improve construction planning business processes – mitigating the risk inherent in interdependent projects;
Document compliance with the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 by adopting best practices in construction coordination;
Generate advanced notification of project opportunities to other regional infrastructure management stakeholders and, keep these subscribed stakeholders up -to-date with automated notification of changes in your current projects;
Dramatically reduce expenses associated with construction coordination – meeting attendance and travel. And, improve the content and operational benefits of the coordination meeting that your employees decide to attend.
Improve communication and increase security. Openshark LF’s access control and password protection ensures that documents will only be read by those that are intended to see them.
Enjoy greater efficiency. You will save time for every planning, engineering and construction team member in your organization, as well as leverage your team resources and put them to their best use.
Reduce delays and delay-related costs.
By streamlining and automating communications within and between organizations, Openshark LF reduces the delays normally associated with coordinating construction projects. From notification to engineering drawings, from proposed routes to project schedules, Openshark LF gets the right information to the right people at the right time. The result: more lead time, the ability to implement the most cost effective options, the ability to form cost-saving partnerships, concurrent engineering, faster project completion and reduced project costs.
An Ideal Document Management Solution
Openshark’s online document management features offer a fast and powerful way to mobilize cross-organizational project teams. Whether you're working in the same town or in different regions, with Openshark LF you can setup and begin collaborating and sharing documents on new projects within minutes.
Mitigate the risk of a networked project.
Openshark LF's built-in project management process, which is based on an ANSI standard, provide you with comprehensive set of communication features – overcoming the single largest threat to project success – poor communication. Project plans, documents, broadcasted or targeted communication can be routed to all team members, with automatic notification to those who need to respond quickly.
Establish best practices across the entire project team.
It's not easy to get team members, who may be distributed across different organizations and in different locations, to cooperate. But Openshark LF provides a ready-to-use solution for managing networked and collaborative planning processes that lets you standardize on industry best practices across your entire team. When everyone follows the same rules about the distribution of information, you increase productivity and reduce project management costs.
Get all users up and running fast
Openshark LF offers a comfortable and familiar interface through a web browser for easy access anywhere, anytime. The result: users can be up and running with a minimum amount of training. Implementation consulting ensures rapid adoption across the entire network of organizations and a rapid recovery of your investment in business process management. Openshark Software is deployed as fully a managed web service and has been designed from the ground up using industry standards, and incorporates robust technology from Microsoft.
Openshark LF was developed at a company doing email software, so the utility business will spin off at some point. They want to do more pilots, and eventually will be looking for capital and/or an appropriate firm to acquire them.
San Jose, CA
408-392-0979 x107 email@example.com
PS- Ever alert to new opportunities, I met Bob at my daughter's sailing club-- he is a fellow parent supporter. You never know where new things will turn up.
UFTO Note - EEStor Ultracapacitor and Ultrabattery
Subject: UFTO Note - EEStor Ultracapacitor and Ultrabattery
Date: Wed, 05 May 2004
There have been so many breakthrough battery claims, but here's one that might deserve a careful look. The specs are impressive, and the entire manufacturing process has been thought through using processes and equipment already proven in a large-scale commercial operations. The founders bring a wealth of experience as senior technology managers in large companies and startups. The company has maintained a very low profile for several years, and I first talked to them in early 2003.
The claim is for systems at 1/2 the cost of lead-acid (per kwh), and 1/10 the weight. Specifically, they quote a product which at 400 pounds will deliver 52 kwh. Discharge (and charge) rates are at "electronic" speed, and would be limited only by the sizing of the drive circuits and external systems. Thus power ratings can be as high as needed. Selling price would be $3200 at modest production rates, and eventually down to $2100 in high volume.
Here are some specs the company is claiming:
Energy density, Wh/L 606 1513
Specific energy, Wh/kg 273 682
Price, $/kWh 61 40
The company intends to pursue a licensing model, after building their own assembly line to prove out the technology and seed the market.
The technology is basically a parallel plate capacitor with barium titanate as the dielectric. With it's extremely high permittivity, barium titanate has a long history in capacitors, but one known for high leakage, voltage breakdown and temperature sensitivity. EEStor has confronted these drawbacks head on, and has measurements on prototypes to support their claims.
The product is a ceramic-based unit fabricated with integrated-circuit techniques. The design is based on proprietary technology and there is a patent pending for the production process. There are no corrosive, hazardous, or explosive materials used in manufacturing this product, making this a totally green technology. Also, since it is ceramic, it can be fully charged and discharged using ultrahigh currents and at electronic speeds repeatedly with no degradation to the original specifications. Samples have been rapid-cycled over 1 million times, with no change of any kind. Operating temperature is -40 to +85 deg C.
Until now, electrostatic capacitors have not been considered for energy storage applications because of their low energy density characteristics. Capacitors applied to storage are based upon electrochemical and electrolytic capacitor technologies, which possess higher energy densities. EEStor's development proposition changes that premise by eliminating the inherent weaknesses of electrostatic technology for storage applications.
A number of major companies have said they would issue a purchase order quickly if specs are met.
The company is currently seeking equity investment of $3.5 million. A business plan is available.
Contact Richard D. Weir, President and CEO
EEStor, Inc. Cedar Park, TX
Note - DG Update
Subject: UFTO Note - DG Update
Date: Fri, 05 Mar 2004
Has DG (distributed generation) gone quiet, or mainstream, or both? Meanwhile, the DOE program has not done well in the proposed budget. Congressional earmarks are taking up so much money that DOE is forced to cancel some ongoing DG applications projects.
Here are some developments and updates.
- DUIT Facility Up and Running
- CADER Meeting Jan. 2004
- IEEE 1547 Interconnection Standards
- PG&E DG Interconnection program
Distributed Utility Integration Test Facility
The Distributed Utility Integration Test (DUIT) is the first full-scale, integration test of commercial-grade, utility grid interactive Distributed Energy Resources (DER) in the U.S. DUIT addresses a key technical issue: electrical implications of operating multiple, diverse DERs at high penetration levels within a utility distribution system. DUIT’s test plan is intended to focus on grid interaction, integration and aggregation issues, not on DER technology itself.
After an exhaustive study of program goals and alternative sites, DOE selected the facilities at PG&E's Modular Generation Test Facility in San Ramon, CA as the home of the new DUIT Facility. Pre existing buildings, labs and professional staff helped make the choice, along with the adjacent test substation and high-current yard. The site held an official opening ceremony in August 2003.
The facility offers a realistic yet controlled laboratory environment, enabling testing of normal and abnormal operational conditions without interfering with a customer’s electric service. DG equipment at the site is commercially available and all on loan to the project from the vendors: Inverters, rotating machinery, and generation and storage devices. DUIT provides a full-scale multi-megawatt implementation, testing and demonstration of distributed generation technologies in a realistic utility installation.
Utilities may want to take note that DUIT will be confirming and testing to the newly passed IEEE 1547 Interconnection standard, which is expected to be adopted by a large number of state regulators and legislators. Similarly, for California, DUIT will be testing to the Rule 21 document.
To inquire about prospective DUIT project participation, technical specifications, test plans, project plans or the DUIT white paper, contact the DUIT Project Team. Reports will be issued by CEC and other sponsors beginning this Summer, and information will be available on the DUIT website:
Susan Horgan, DUIT Project Leader
Distributed Utility Associates
For the complete history:
"DUIT: Distributed Utility Integration Test", NREL/SR-560-34389, August 2003 (250 pages)
CADER (California Alliance for Distributed Energy Resources)
The 2004 DG conference in San Diego on January 26-28, 2004 had 202 attendees.
Presentations are posted on CADER’s website at www.cader.org or go directly to:
The draft DG-DER Cost and Benefit Primer was developed as a first step to support the discussions at the "Costs and Benefits of DER" session at the Conference on January 26-28, 2004. Comments about the document can be provided via the CADER member list-server to reach all members.
IEEE 1547 Update
As you know, "IEEE 1547 Standard for Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems" was approved by the IEEE Standards Board in June 2003. It was approved as an American National Standard in October 2003. (available for purchase from IEEE: http://standards.ieee.org
SCC21 develops and coordinates new IEEE standards and maintains existing standards developed under past SCC21 projects. These include the original 1547, along with the four spinoff efforts.
> P1547.1 Conformance Test Procedures for Equipment Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems (EPS) (draft standard)
> P1547.2 Draft Application Guide for the IEEE 1547 Standard
> P1547.3 Monitoring, Information Exchange, and Control of Distributed Resources Interconnected with EPS (draft guide)
> P1547.4 Design, Operation, and Integration of Distributed Resource Island Systems with EPS (draft guide)
#1 and 2 have drafts out to their working groups for review. #1 expects to be ready for ballot early in 2005.
#3 has just completed a draft.
#4 has just been approved as a new initiative, and will be organized over the coming summer.
Complete information is available at:
The next meeting of the IEEE 1547 series working groups will be April 20-22, 2004 in San Francisco. The P1547.1, P1547.2, and P1547.3 working groups will meet concurrently 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Working groups will be meeting separately - no plenary session is planned. Details at:
PG&E DG Interconnection program
PG&E held a Distributed Generation (DG) Workshop last December 10. The free event provided PG&E customers and the DG community with practical information on how to navigate the various Electric Rule 21 application and interconnection review processes - from initial application through to permission to parallel with PG&E's electric distribution system. The focus of the workshop was to communicate PG&E's internal DG processes and interconnection technical requirements to the DG community. (For details on California's Rule 21, see:
PG&E has set up an entire cross-company team to deal with all aspects of DG interconnection in a coordinated way. They appear to be very committed to low hassle, low cost, minimum time for DG projects. A great deal of information about PG&E's program, (including the 117 page powerpoint from the workshop) is available at: http://www.pge.com/gen
Jerry Jackson, Team Leader
PS- Jerry's office generously offers to send a hard copy on request of the nearly 2 inch thick binder that was handed out at the workshop.
---------CALIFORNIA RULE 21 -------
After passing Rule 21 in Dec 2000, California PUC established, and the CEC coordinated, a working group of all DG stakeholders. Electric Rule 21 Working Group meetings have been held about once a month since mid 2001. The purpose is to establish procedures and work through issues to simplify and expedite interconnection projects. (Agenda and minutes are at:
California Interconnection Guidebook
Publication # 500-03-083F
PDF file, 94 pages, 1.1 megabytes) online November 13, 2003.
The Guidebook is intended to help a person or project team interconnect one or more electricity generators to the local electric utility grid in California under California Rule 21. Rule 21 applies only to the three electric utilities in California that are under jurisdiction of the California PUC: PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E. The Guidebook is written as an aid to interconnection in these utility areas. It may also be useful for interconnection in some municipal utility areas with interconnection rules resembling Rule 21, principally Riverside, SMUD, and the LADWP.
Recommended: DG Monitor, a free email newsletter from Resource Dynamics Corp. Archive and subscription at:
Note - Calif Treasurer Proposes Green Wave to Invest $1.5B in Cleantech
Date: Tue, 03 Feb 2004
For over a year, California Treasurer Phil Angelides has been meeting with bankers, VCs, and environmental, business and labor leaders, and now he's announced a major proposition to California's two giant pension funds, CALPERS and CALSTRS, which have $163 B and $113 B respectively (#1 and #3 in the nation).
Flanked by several key players in energy and clean tech, he held a press conference at NanoSolar here in Palo Alto Tuesday morning, which it was my privilege to attend.
The "Green Wave Initiative" includes among other provisions the commitment by the pension funds of $1.5 billion to be invested in new clean technologies and environmentally responsible companies. The goal is to gain long term financial returns while reducing risks -- risks to pensioners' financial security posed by corporate environmental liabilities, and risks of environmental damage, energy security, and climate change. Equally, the opportunities in clean tech are expanding rapidly and represent one of the next big growth arenas.
There are four main parts to the proposal:
1. Investor Activism
California has been a leader in investor activism, demanding transparency, disclosure and accountability from the management and boards of the hundreds of major companies that pension funds are invested in. With recent corporate scandals, this has become all the more significant. Companies that cut corners are careless with environmental responsibilities are just as likely to disappoint investors as those who cook their books, and companies that don't plan ahead could get hit with future compliance costs big enough to hurt their share prices. CalPERS and CalSTRS will now demand that corporations also provide meaningful and robust reporting of their environmental practices, risks and potential liabilities.
2. Private Equity Investments
The funds already have sizable venture capital and private equity investments (though a small percentage of the total portfolio). This would be extended by investing $500 million into investments that nurture "clean" technologies. A similar initiative in biotech was begun 2 years ago, and now cleantech is a new growth industry offering returns along with jobs and economic growth, while addressing critical environmental issues.
3. Public Equity Investments
The funds would invest $1 B of their stock portfolios with environmentally screened funds, particularly those whose managers have outperformed non-screened counterparts. This should not only reduce risk and increase returns, but also help send the message to corporations.
4. Real Estate Audit
The two funds together own nearly 160 million square feet of office and industrial space, part of a $16 B invested in real estate across the US and in 22 countries. The proposal is that a comprehensive audit be done of the energy efficiency and green practices in these buildings, towards the goal of using "best practices" that reduce long term costs and boost property values.
Angelides has asked CalPERS and CalSTRS to put these initiatives on their agendas for this Spring and Summer.
In supporting remarks, Bob Epstein of Environmental Entrepreneurs (www.e2.org) observed that the next big growth area isn't always clear to everyone. In 1984, when he was raising money to start Sybase, there was a lot of doubt that enterprise software would be big. He and many others are convinced that cleantech is now clearly on the launch pad.
The Treasurer’s website has additional information on today’s announcement, including the full press release, fact sheets on the four facets of the Green Wave initiative, and the Treasurer’s Nov'03 U.N. speech at CERES’ Institutional Investor Summit on Climate Risk.
Subject: UFTO Note - Plug Pulled on Regenesys
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2004
Utilipoint's Issue Alert on Jan 22 did a nice job of reviewing several developments in energy storage (I highly recommend getting on the distribution list for these daily missives):
"Energy Storage Shows Promise"
There are nice plugs for Active Power and Beacon flywheels (though Pentadyne is really the one to watch, I think). Curiously, Beacon is focusing not on very short duration, but instead is going after the lead acid battery applications.
The big news was the stopping of all work on the big TVA Regenesys project, and the curtailment of the work on its sister project at Little Barford in the UK.
The Regenesys flow battery works by storing or releasing electrical energy by means of a reversible electrochemical reaction between two salt solutions—the electrolytes. The electrolytes are pumped through hundreds of individual cells, which are separated by a membrane. The electrolytes are stored in 700,000-gallon tanks; the concentrated solutions are sodium bromide and sodium polysulphide. (Many references are available on the technology.)
The history of the business is a bit complicated. Originally begun under National Power in the UK, the program was placed (in around 1999) into a subsidiary company, by the name of Innogy. Later, National Power was split up into International Power and a domestic utility business. The domestic utility portion took the name Innogy, meaning that the technology subsidiary had to be renamed Innogy Technology Ventures Limited before a further renaming as Regenesys. Recall that Regenesys was being prepared for an IPO, which was suspended when tech stocks dropped in 2001. It was the utility business, Innogy, which was subsequently acquired by the German giant, RWE in 2002. RWE was rounding out its British invasion, having previously bought Thames Water, a major water supply company, and some smaller energy services companies. The technology development subsidiary, Regenesys, was simply an incidental piece that came with the deal.
Note that Regenesys is the only flow battery technology effort that had decided to focus entirely on very large utility scale applications ("pumped hydro in a box"), e.g., at 10-20 MW. Actually, it only really makes sense at this kind of size. (The other flow battery developers have been targetting much smaller projects, in the 1 kW to 1 MW range). Prior to the RWE acquisition, Regenesys had acquired Electrosynthesis, a small electrochemical consulting company in Buffalo NY to boost its resources, and laid plans for a serious assault on the North American market. Meanwhile, work continued on the first commercial 120 Mwh demo at the Little Barford power plant in the UK.
At TVA, the $25 million facility was just about complete, but TVA needed the electrochemical modules, when RWE decided it wasn't prepared to continue funding development, leaving the program with nowhere to go. TVA made a very quiet announcement in December, but because of other news around the holiday season it wasn't picked up by the US press til mid January. (See for example,
TVA is exploring ways to move forward, including other possible uses of the site.
The general view is that the technology is viable but RWE estimates the technology has another 5 years of work ahead before it's truly commercial. Because the Barford project had slipped far behind as well, RWE simply doesn't want to continue putting cash in that long; there are other business priorities for RWE.
The future is up for grabs. Regenesys may just be put on the shelf, or be sold off. Meanwhile, a major report on flow batteries is in the works by Escovale, in the UK. “Flow Batteries: Technologies, Applications and Markets” is being prepared by a team that includes Anthony Price, who was marketing manager for the Regenesys program prior to becoming an industry consultant. I have more information on this report.
Anthony would be a good starting point to delve into the implications and opportunities represented by this latest development.
Mark Kuntz, Regenesys Ltd, Chicago (thru June) 630-562-1271
Joe Hoagland, TVA, 256-386-2108, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: UFTO Note - Gas-to-Liquid: Its Time Has Come
Date: Tue, 06 Jan 2004
As outlined in an UFTO Note last year (17 May), Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) technology has been around for nearly a century. Known as the Fischer-Tropsch process (FT), it converts gas into a liquid fuel in the form of a refined crude or even a final product such as (clean) diesel. Until recently, conventional wisdom has been correct: use of GTL has been limited by high capital and operating costs.
[ In the FT process, synthesis gas (or syngas, H+CO) is reacted in the presence of an iron or cobalt catalyst. End products are determined by the length of the hydrocarbon chain which, in turn, is determined by catalyst selectivity and reaction conditions. Possible end products include kerosene, naphtha, methanol, dimethyl ether, alcohols, waxes, synthetic diesel and gasoline, with water or carbon dioxide produced as a byproduct. Natural gas or coal can be the raw feedstock. ]
Several drivers, however, have combined to change that situation entirely:
- Dwindling world oil reserves and high exploration costs
- Impending limits worldwide on sulfur content in diesel fuel
- Vast quantities of "stranded gas" identified
- Technology advances, thanks to substantial programs by the oil majors
Very recently, these same oil companies have announced multibillion dollar GTL projects. Last October, Shell announced a $5 billion plant in Qatar, and estimated production costs at less than $4 per barrel. As the NY Times reported (Oct 16), Exxon Mobil is also building a plant in Qatar, at a cost of $10 billion, and the South African company Sasol is constructing a 34,000-barrel-a-day GTL plant in Qatar that is expected to come online in 2005. Together with ChevronTexaco, Sasol is negotiating with the government to build another 120,000-barrel-a-day GTL plant. Conocophillips announced its own $5B plant to be built in Qatar. (Seems Qatar is the place to be!) BP's commercial pilot plant in Alaska is operational.
The petroleum industry has found more than 5,000 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas in remote locations, an energy equivalent of 500 billion barrels of crude oil. Most of this resource is abandoned in place because of the prohibitive cost of transportation infrastructure.
A new company, World GTL, Inc. was founded in 2000 by industry veterans. Their plan is to acquire ownership rights (in some cases production rights) to certain stranded gas fields at deeply discounted prices, and capitalize on opportunities that now exist to convert these "stranded" natural gas fields into synthetic petroleum products.
Why don't the majors do this themselves? They do hold on to larger fields and may eventually develop them as LNG sources (or increasingly, with GTL), but they have no interest in smaller fields, e.g. under 3 tcf. This leaves a huge opportunity for players like World GTL. In fact, majors have already said they'd license their GTL technology and help with plant financing. (There is an analogy to the independent oil company movement over the last 20 years in the US. The majors decided that shallow water drilling in the Gulf was not going to work with their overhead costs and targeted IRRs, so they left the area to small independents who have done very well indeed.)
Turning Stranded Gas into Proven Oil Reserves
World GTL has come up with an interesting strategy. Once the development is done on a project (i.e. secure gas rights, do site plan, license technology, do preliminary engineering, arrange financing, sales agreements, etc.) previously stranded gas reserves with little to no value will essentially have been converted to "in the ground" gasoline and diesel inventories which can be easily monetized in the international oil market.
World oil companies are struggling to rebuild and expand their proven reserves which have dropped to dangerously low levels. Reserves can be borrowed against, and this critically important for these companies, not only to be able to invest in the development of those resources, but as a contribution to their balance sheet. The majors are spending an average of more than $5 per BOE (barrel of oil equivalent) just to find bookable reserves today (and that's not even counting the "fully developed" cost to produce). Every dry hole drilled adds to the problem.
World GTL estimates that ten cents will cover development costs needed to get a BOE to "bookability", and there is a long list of buyers who will jump at the chance to buy these BOE's for $1. (Actually better than BOE, because it's zero sulfur fuel.)
Thus venture returns are possible even before the plant is built. Once it is built, the fully developed cost of production is less than $5 per barrel of finished product, and refinery demand for sulfur free blending stock is already booming. New EPA regulations drastically limit sulfur content of diesel fuel beginning in 2006. Other regions are doing likewise, and refiners have very limited means to comply, especially in light of the lessening supply of lighter crude oil.
The company is currently raising $40 M to take their program to the next level and build two small commercial GTL plants. A great deal of information is available, including a collection of recent articles in the business press.
Contact: David Loring,
President, World GTL Inc., New York, NY
[Where the majors have all gone into Qatar with projects that won't produce anything until at least 2006, World GTL has projects ready to go to relocate and retrofit existing (idle) methanol plants using a unique process with a World GTL patent application filed. This unique process can put these facilities into GTL production with positive cash flows within 12-18 months. The engineering study for the relocation and retrofitting has been completed and there are guarantees involved. Significant project finance assistance is available from certain US government agencies for these specific projects.]