Short Subjects

– Cleantech Forum NY Oct 21
– EESAT SF Oct 27
– WSJ on Cold Fusion, Gasification
– Transmission Line Sag Mitigator
– Mechanical De-Icer
– UFTO comments
– Reinventing Corporate R&D


Cleantech Venture Forum III

Next week, New York City. The Cleantech Venture Forum III starts on Tuesday afternoon Oct 21 with some pre-conference workshops. I’ll be presenting information about Federal technology resources. The conference gets into full swing on Wed.

The Forum program will have nearly thirty investor presentations and refinements based on participant feedback from previous events. The quality of presenting companies is excellent with the 21 private companies on show collectively having revenue of over $100 million, thereby demonstrating “market traction” for cleantech products and services, from alternative energy to water purification.

The Forum will take place in a positive climate for cleantech venturing. The $641 million invested in clean technology ventures during the first two quarters of 2003 is 22% higher than the $524 million invested over the same period last year, according to the most recent issue of the Cleantech Venture Monitor released this week. “Cleantech” doubled its venture capital market share to 8% during Q1-Q2 2003 from 4% in 2002. Nearly 100 cleantech companies were funded in the first half of 2003.

An executive summary of the most recent Cleantech Venture Monitor downloaded from

The Cleantech III program agenda can be found at:


Electric Energy Storage Applications & Technology
The EESAT 2003 meeting is in San Francisco, Oct 27-29. I plan to attend on the 28-29th. Hope to see you there. Complete information at


The Wall Street Journal seems to be taking an increasing interest in energy technology.

A. There was a good report Sept. 5 on Cold Fusion, describing a conference the previous week with 150 scientists who continue to make progress, despite the inability to publish, get funding, or avoid risks to careers. The article concludes that whether or not the science is “pathological” (as the establishment holds), the failure to permit or provide honest scrutiny of the evidence certainly is a worse refutation of the scientific method.,,SB106270936017252700,00.html

— Check out UFTO.COM’s “recommended reading” item on Cold Fusion”Excess%20Heat:%20Why%20Cold%20Fusion%20Research%20Prevailed”

B. Gasification, the basis of the Billion $ DOE plan for “FutureGen”, i.e. zero- emission coal power plant of the future, and CO2 capture/sequestration, are both actually being profitably performed at a decades-old powerplant that was nearly scrapped long ago.
“From Obsolete to Cutting Edge” October 15. In 1988, Basin Electric Power Cooperative took over an experimental facility known as the Weyburn Project, begun in the 70’s. They make methane from lignite, and also sell CO2 via pipeline to oil well operators, who inject it into wells to increase recovery, while possibly sequestering the CO2.,,SB106618439869515100,00.html


Transmission Line Sag Mitigator
Remember this. The program has made steady progress with CEC (Calif Energy Commission) funding, and it became the subject of an EPRI TC project, following full scale tests at PG&E in the summer of 2002. Developers are in negotiations with manufacturers, so they’re on their way to commercialization, and are looking for partners for business development.

Contact: Manuchehr Shir 510-594-0300 x202

CEC issued a newsrelease recently:

Get the full story by downloading:

UFTO Note 29 Jun 1999 – T Line Sag Mitigator Gets Funding; Partner Wanted

UFTO Note 01 Oct 2002 – Short Subjects (previous update)


Passive Mechanical De-Icer
MIS has come up with another innovation for transmission lines — to mechanically prevent ice buildup on bundled conductor by delivering lateral vibration to the line. MIS has shown the initial feasibility of this approach by both dynamic simulations (using finite element methods) and by small scale testing. The central concept of this device, called the De-Icer Device (pat. pending), is that it will prevent, as opposed to remove, ice buildup. It is a passive mechanical device (no electronics) that will function on de-energized lines. It is designed to be installed between existing spacers or, in some cases, replace spacers.

Contact: Manuchehr Shir 510-594-0300 x202
or Dr. Ram Adapa, EPRI, regarding the TC 650-855-8988


A Note to UFTO Clients:

UFTO needs feedback. Please let me know any comments or suggestions of ways I can make UFTO more valuable to you. What recent UFTO Notes have you found especially interesting? Also, visit the website and tell me how it could be enhanced. (Have you seen the new features on both the public and clients-only areas?)

Coming Soon, to an UFTO Note near you…
*** Let me know which ones you think I should do first.**

– Distributed Utility Integration Test (DUIT) Facility Opens
– Enzyme, microbial fuel cells and hydrogen
– Thermal water splitting
– More New New Solar
– Wave, tidal, ocean power
– New progress in Li polymer batteries
– Powerplant exhaust to solar biomass
– Gas-to-Liquids (GTL)..old old technology taking off


Reinventing Corporate R&D
“Now even companies with big research budgets don’t try to invent everything in-house”

It was great to see this article in Business Week recently (September 22, 2003). It says that ” a new R&D model is emerging, dubbed open innovation. Companies of all sizes are rounding up more partners, big and small, than ever before, and they’re casting wide research nets, snapping up work at diverse corporate, government, and academic labs.” It also mentions that “P&G has 53 “technology scouts” who search beyond company walls for promising innovations.”

So! What does that remind you of??

EESAT’02 Electricity Storage Conference

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.

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.

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. [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.