Bulletin #16

UFTO Bulletin #16

December 18, 1995
To: UFTO Members:

. . in this issue: . . . . . . . . .

Happy Holidays

Just a few items for now, with much more to come early in the New Year:

1. I made visits to Brookhaven and Savannah River Site in early December. SRS was a surprise. Most people don’t know anything about the place (I sure didn’t). They’ve got some tremendous capabilities and facilities, and they’re motivated. They emphasize that they solve problems, and they’re “not a national lab” and they don’t do R&D. As a no longer secret (tritium production facility), they’ve come late to the tech transfer industrial/partnering game, and are making up for lost time.

2. We’re very close to announcing a new member utility in UFTO, and one or two others are strong possibilities. I’ll let you know as soon as it’s official.

3. Plans are proceeding nicely for the “Breakthrough Technologies Conference”, April 24-6, Tampa. Did you make any suggestions for moderators or technologies? We’ll plan for an UFTO group meeting, so please be sure it’s on your calender, and line up someone from your industrial marketing group to attend (and to be a moderator?).

4. Tech Nuggets — one update and one new item:

• Turbogenerator — I mentioned finding this at the NASA Tech 2005 conference, and have learned more about it (24 kw; 165 lb; $2000; natural gas, gasoline or diesel fuel). It appears to be as good as it sounds. — rugged and reliable, low emissions, excellent part load performance, and cogen ready. Well funded company poised for takeoff and looking for distributors. A number of utilities are already lining up. Southern Calif Edison has ordered a number of units for test. This may turn out to be the distributed generator of choice. I have a flyer I can send you, or call:

Capstone Turbine Corp., Tarzana CA, tel 818-774-9600, Mike Irvine, VP of marketing.

• Nickel Hydrogen Batteries have been used in space for decades ,and are known for extreme reliability. Ergenics Inc. has basic patents for a “segmented Ni H battery” concept that should make it practical for terrestial uses. They’re building a prototype for ARPA for a military hybrid vehicle, and can make them as small as a laptop computer battery.

– It uses metal hydride to store the hydrogen outside the battery cell, thus eliminating self-discharge, most if not all safety concerns, and heat transfer issues. Most important, it’s low pressure, unlike usual Ni H batteries, which require a high pressure tank. A key advantage over Ni metal-hydride batteries is long life because the hydride is isolated from corrosion producing chemicals of the battery cell. Also, the hydrides materials are cheaper. Overall, costs should be competitive, especially on a life-cycle basis.

– The company is also developing hydride-based heat pumps, auto air conditioners, and an instant heater for auto emissions catalyst. They need capital, and haven’t yet focused on applications in UPS and utility storage systems. This may turn out to be quite competitive with the other forms of storage that everyone is working so hard on, and it could be an opportunity for a strategic technology edge. Call me for more info.

Have a wonderful Holiday. See you next year, all fired up with New Year’s resolve to bridge the Action Gap and make great things happen at your company.


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