Waste Heat to Power

There is a lot of interest in recovering waste heat. Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is at the heart of a large part of the distributed generation business. The heat can be used to heat water, provide process heat, and even cooling. Converting waste heat to electric power is getting attention as well.

Modeling the Grid -- Breakthrough

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DOE, EPRI and the entire power industry is abuzz with talk about how the grid can be operated better. The grand vision comes up hard against the incredibly difficult problem of modeling. For many decades, the best mathematicians, operations researchers, utility engineers and others have struggled to come up with (computerized) representations of the grid that can guide planners and operators.

Superconducting Fault Current Limiter

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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.

Ultrapurification of Oil

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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.

True Plug and Play for Energy Advances

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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.

Sag Line Mitigator is Ready

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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).

Openshark Coordinates Digging Streets

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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.

EEStor Ultracapacitor and Ultrabattery

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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.

DG Update

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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.

Plug Pulled on Regenesys

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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.

Gas-to-Liquid: Its Time Has Come

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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.

Cost-Effective Dimmable Fluorescent Ballast

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Fluorescent lights need a special kind of power--high voltage AC, and preferably high frequency. Standard 50-60 Hz AC power is converted by a device called the ballast which is usually installed in or near the fixture. There are several types available today.