Cleantech Venture Forum II

Cleantech Venture Network’s second venture forum in San Franciso, Apr 30- May1 was a great success. Over 260 people in attendance included mostly investors, along with representatives of the 23 companies selected to present (from over 200 companies that applied).

You may recall reading about Cleantech Venture Network in UFTO Notes 26 July, 1 October ’02.

The surge of interest in cleantech was noteworthy. Many new faces were there, some of them very prominent VC firms whose usual sectors of IT and telecom have lost their lustre. These investors seem to be checking out energy tech and cleantech to see what the opportunities are, and whether it might represent a “next big thing”. Some of them are actually doing deals, too. Panels sessions discussed this very trend, while others went into water, Asia, and the overall outlook for investing in cleantech. The new issue of the Venture Monitor, due in a couple of weeks (for members only!) will have details from the panel discussions.

The presenting companies ranged from a successful biopesticide company (better, cheaper, safer than chemicals…really), to several hydrogen, fuel cell, and solar PV companies, and some water and waste management. (The PV companies were described in another UFTO Note just recently). Here’s the list. (If you want additional information, please contact me. I’m not including details here in the interests of brevity, but I can send you a version with longer descriptions, as well as individual company’s own writeups. Some may appear in future notes.)

AgraQuest, Inc. – Natural pesticides
aqWise – Wastewater treatment retrofit increases throughput
CellTech Power – Fundamentally new solid oxide fuel cell acts like a refuelable battery.
FiveStar Technologies – Advanced materials via cavitation technology
Global Solar – thin film PV in production
H2Gen – On-site hydrogen generation via small scale steam methane reforming
Hoku Scientific, Inc – PEM fuel cell membrane to replace Nafion
HyRadix Inc. ? Small scale hydrogen generators via thermal reforming
Integrated Env. Technologies – Waste Treatment via Plasma
iPower – Distributed Generation ? New genset
Mach Energy ? Energy management services to commercial buildings
PolyFuel Inc – Direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) systems
PowerTube – Geothermal powerplant downhole
Powerzyme – Enzymatic fuel cell
PrecisionH2 – Hydrogen, power and carbon from methane, via cold plasma (no CO2!)
Primotive – unique electric motor/generator
QuestAir – Gas purification via pressure swing absorption
Raycom Technologies – Thin film solar cells via high volume sputter coating
Sensicore – Sensors monitor water quality cheaply
Solaicx – Polycrystalline silicon PV
Solicore – Thin film lithium batteries
Verdant – Wave power via underwater windmills

Here’s a definition of “Cleantech”, from the website:
**The concept of “clean” technologies embraces a diverse range of products, services, and processes that are inherently designed to provide superior performance at lower costs, greatly reduce or eliminate environmental impacts and, in doing so, improve the quality of life. Clean technologies span many industries, from alternative forms of energy generation to water purification to materials-efficient production techniques.**

I strongly suggest you consider an investor membership, for dealflow, Venture Monitor, networking and other benefits. ( The next Forum will be held this Fall in New York.

Las Vegas Energex2000

Las Vegas Lemonade

ENERGEX’2000 GlobeEx’2000 35th IECEC
Riviera Hotel Convention Center, LAS VEGAS, USA
JULY 23-28, 2000

If ever there was a time to make lemonade (i.e. when the world gives you lemons), this conference was it. One of the worst organized, most jumbled, and light on content imaginable. A great many speakers simply didn’t show up. Attendance was mostly by DOE, 3rd world energy officials, academics, and a few vendors and entrepreneurs. It was also very heavy on Nevada as a great place to do business, most notably development of the Nevada Test Site. (Also, I would not recommend the Riviera Hotel.)


So, for some lemonade. Plenary speeches, which mostly consisted of high level pep talks and very general overviews of the energy situation around the world, did offer a few good points.

– Dan Reicher (DOE Assist. Secty for Energy Effic) gave an optimistic and aggressive account of DOE’s commitments to renewables and efficiency, with emphasis on cost-effectiveness. He noted that in 1999, for the first time, more new windpower came on line than new nuclear.

– Nevada State Senator Randolph Townsend, who spearheaded deregulation in Nevada, actually said–if your legislators ever tell you they think they know what’s best, they’re dead wrong. The whole business of deregulation is one of surprises and unintended consequences.

– Admiral Truly, Director of NREL, suggested that the growth of the petroleum industry in the first half of the 20th century is going to prove to be an excellent analogy for what is starting to happen with biomass refining in the 21st century.

– Richard Sonstelie, recently retired CEO of Puget Sound Power, explained that the utility industry has always known that generation, transmission and distribution are entirely different businesses, and that generation has never been a natural monopoly. He went on to develop the idea that distribution isn’t either, and that it’s been terribly oversimplified. Distribution actually consists of a long list of distinct businesses (e.g., network planning, construction, outage response, call centers, customer research, energy procurement, meter reading, billing and collections, etc.). The only aspect of the pipes and wires business that can even begin to be viewed as a natural monopoly is the ownership of pipes and wires–in that it doesn’t make sense to have more than one set in any given location (there are exceptions to this, as we know, and some would argue the point.). Therefore, it isn’t necessary to treat the entire Disco as a regulated monopoly. Most of its activities can be handled on a competitive business model, with incentives and penalties to assure that service/reliability standards are met. After all, pipes and wires are “transportation” businesses, and their metrics should more like those applied to Federal Express. Utilities are already outsourcing what they’re not best at, and some are doing for other utilities–as new lines of business–what they’re good at themselves.

– Jan Pepper, renewables expert and until recently with APX, in charge of setting up their green power market, outlined the growing scale of green power programs. Eight states have already adopted renewable portfolio standards, and 13 have systems benefit charge used to support green power. Truth in labeling/certification agencies are emerging. An intriguing new trend–the “green” attribute of green power can be traded separately from the actual KWH’s themselves. This enhances the marketability of power from intermittent generators.


Two topics that got a lot of attention: Building Heating, Cooling and Power (BCHP is the new acronym) and geothermal, particularly the local heating and cooling variety. (If there is interest, I can provide more information on these items.)

Building Heating, Cooling and Power (BCHP)

The DOE has gotten very interested in on-site generation which maximizes the use of the waste heat for heating and cooling. The BCHP Initiative has over 70 participants, including government, utilities, ESCOs, manufacturers, vendors, etc.

The gas industry continues to push hard on gas cooling. The GAX heat pump technology promises 30% higher efficiency than the best gas furnace, and 100 beta units will go into the field next year. There is increasing emphasis on humidity control through the use of dessicants.
Rocky Research is a technology development company in Las Vegas that has a impressive array of work going on in heating, cooling and refrigeration, and is looking for commercialization partners for several of its technologies.

Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium is a non-profit organization advancing the use of “GeoExchange” heating and cooling systems, notably in commercial and industrial applications, in addition to residential. (GeoExchange Systems work by moving heat, rather than by converting chemical energy to heat like in a furnace. Every GeoExchange System has three major subsystems or parts: a geothermal heat pump to move heat between the building and the fluid in the earth connection, an earth connection for transferring heat between its fluid and the earth, and a distribution subsystem for delivering heating or cooling to the building.)

One supplier, ClimateMaster, offers a range of advanced products geared to commerical and residential, including a split system that can be used in combination with a traditional furnace.


The most unusual find–I met a German project developer with a story about a “solar chimney”. They actually built a demo in Spain (with Finosa), with at 200 meter chimney that ran for 7 years. The fullscale design calls for a 950 meter chimney, 135 meters in diameter, surrounded by 4 mile diameter circular heat absorber structure (like a greenhouse roof). Heat rising through the chimney will generate 100 MW by turning a fan blade in the base. Crops can be grown in the covered area, and black tubing filled with water can provide storage to make power 24 hours a day. They already have permitted projects and are raising money. The company also has a number of solar trough programs in Spain, Crete and Jordan.

Renewable Energy Technology Characterizations

In 1996, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Utility Technologies (OUT) and the Electric Power Research Institute began preparing a document characterizing the current status and projected performance and cost improvements of several emerging renewable energy technologies. This detailed document was recently completed and can now be downloaded as a collection of files on the OUT Web site organized under the following major headings: Biomass, Geothermal, Photovoltaic (PV) Technologies, Solar Thermal Technologies, Wind Technologies, Project Financial Evaluation, and Energy Storage Technologies. (DOE April 3, 1998)


U.S. Department of Energy Office of Utility Technologies

Renewable Energy Technology Characterizations

A joint project of the Office of Utility Technologies, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy and the Electric Power Research Institute

The Renewable Energy Technology Characterizations describe the technical and economic status of the major emerging renewable energy options for electricity supply. These technology characterizations represent the best estimates of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) regarding the future performance and cost improvements expected for these technologies as a result of continuing research and development (R&D) and development of markets for renewable energy through the year 2030.

These technology characterizations, which have existed as working drafts primarily for internal use at DOE, were originated in 1989 to support analyses in the development of the first National Energy Strategy. Because of growing interest in renewable energy technologies, an increasing number of researchers and energy policy analysts have expressed interest in having access to these technology characterizations. In response to requests to make these data more widely available, the current updates can now be downloaded from this Web site and are also available in paper form (EPRI Topical Report No. TR-109496, December 1997).

Copying and Distribution
The Renewable Energy Technology Characterizations are copyrighted, but permission is granted for unlimited copying for noncommercial use.

Ordering Information for Paper Version
The paper version of the report is available from EPRI, at $50.00/copy for domestic U.S. customers. Requests for paper copies of this report, as well as pricing for non-U.S. customers, should be directed to: EPRI Distribution Center, 207 Coggins Drive, P.O. Box 23205, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523; (510) 934-4212.

Technology Characterizations

The technology characterizations can be downloaded by selecting the PDF files below. (You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader 3.0 to view these files error free.) Learn about PDFs.

Front Matter (PDF 98KB)
Title page
Disclaimer and Copyright Notice
Report Summary and Abstract
Contents, Figures, and Tables

Introduction and Overview (PDF 279KB)

Overview of Biomass Technologies (PDF 38KB)
Gasification-Based Biomass (PDF 337KB)
Direct-Fired Biomass (PDF 84KB)
Biomass Co-Firing (PDF 229KB)

Overview of Geothermal Technologies (PDF 64KB)
Geothermal Hydrothermal (PDF 178KB)
Geothermal Hot Dry Rock (PDF 179KB)

Photovoltaic (PV) Technologies
Overview of PV Technologies (PDF 368KB)
Residential PV (PDF 808KB)
Utility-Scale Flat-Plate Thin Film PV (PDF 349KB)
Utility-Scale PV Concentrators (PDF 119KB)

Solar Thermal Technologies
Overview of Solar Thermal Technologies (PDF 304KB)
Solar Power Tower (PDF 311KB)
Solar Parabolic Trough (PDF 380KB)
Solar Dish Engine (PDF 910KB)

Wind Technologies
Overview of Wind Technologies (PDF 227KB)
Advanced Horizontal-Axis Wind Turbines in Wind Farms (PDF 353KB)

Project Financial Evaluation (PDF 343KB)
Introduction to Figures of Merit
Financial Structures
Techniques for Calculating Levelized COE
Financial Model and Results
Payback Period

Appendix: Energy Storage Technologies
Overview of Energy Storage Technologies (PDF 36KB)
Battery Storage for Renewable Energy Systems (PDF 112KB)


NACE – Int’l Corrosion Society

NACE Annual Conference and Exposition — CORROSION/98
March 22 – 27, 1998 San Diego, CA

See website at

A brochure for this conference came in the mail recently.


In the unlikely event that there could be people in your company who ought to be involved with NACE and aren’t, some background information is included below. (I checked with the NACE membership office, and several UFTO companies do have individuals who are members, though some have only one or two, and some have none.)

NACE is to corrosion what IEEE is to electrical engineering, and is one of those exceptional independent resources in a particular technical area of importance to the industry.

UFTO is developing information on other such resources as well.

(excerpts from the NACE website)

NACE International – The International Corrosion Society
1440 South Creek Drive
Houston, Texas 77084
281-228-6200 fax 281-228-6300

Mission ——–
NACE International is a professional technical society dedicated to reducing the economic impact of corrosion, promoting public safety, and protecting the environment by advancing the knowledge of corrosion engineering and science. With more than fifty years of experience in developing corrosion prevention and control standards, NACE International has become the largest organization in the world committed to the study of corrosion.

Membership ——–
NACE’s membership has grown to more than 15,000 professionals from eighty nations representing virtually every major industry. NACE’s membership is comprised of: engineers, inspectors, and technicians; presidents, business owners, and consultants; managers, supervisors, and sales representatives; scientists, chemists, and researchers; and educators and students.

Organizational Structure ——–
NACE is organized into four Areas in North America and four Regions outside the continent. More than eighty sections within these Areas and Regions sponsor local programs to promote the exchange of corrosion information throughout the world.

Conferences ——–
Each year, NACE sponsors a number of conferences, regional symposia, and expositions. NACE’s annual conference is the world’s largest gathering dedicated to the control and prevention of corrosion. This event attracts more than 5,000 attendees each year and is comprised of technical symposia, research sessions, technical committee meetings, current issue presentations, informative lectures, and a comprehensive four-day exhibition.

Education Courses ——–
NACE offers education programs for both members and nonmembers in the US, Canada, and a variety of international locations. Intensive week-long courses are developed and taught by corrosion professionals with years of practical experience in the field. A variety of other corrosion topics are covered in short courses, TechEdge programs, in-house training programs, and video courses.

Coating Inspector Training and Certification Program ——–
NACE’s Coating Inspector Training and Certification Program was developed to meet the coatings industry need for recognized professional training standards and application guidelines.

Professional Recognition Program ——–
More than 4,500 individuals worldwide have been certified in corrosion science and technology

Public Affairs ——–
NACE raises the awareness of corrosion control and prevention technology among government agencies and legislators, businesses, professional societies, and the general public.

Standards ——–
NACE’s Technical Practices Committee oversees more than 300 technical committees that research, study, and recommend state-of-the-art corrosion technologies to both the public and private sectors. These committees produce consensus industry standards in the form of test methods, recommended practices, and material requirements. Industries and governments across the globe rely on NACE standards for materials preservation and corrosion control information.

Publications ——–
– Materials Performance, a monthly journal that publishes practical corrosion control applications and case histories for solving corrosion-related problems affecting all industries.

– Corrosion Journal, a monthly technical research journal devoted to taking a critical look at the causes and effects of corrosion processes and the protection of materials in corrosive environments.

– Corrosion Abstracts, a bimonthly reference periodical providing more than 500 abstracts of corrosion-related publications per issue from the world’s leading technical journals and book publishers.

Software ——–
NACE packages the latest in corrosion technology in easy-to-use desktop software programs. Data selection and reference software programs assist engineers with researching, analyzing, and developing advanced corrosion control systems.


Energy Technology Committees

Corrosion and materials degradation control in the generation, conversion, and utilization of energy.

— T-2-4 Material Performance in Power T&D Systems
To facilitate identification and resolution of corrosion-related problems with components of power transmission and distribution systems. The components to be considered are: hardware, conductors, insulators, structures, stations, and other aboveground equipment.

— T-2A Nuclear Systems
To provide scientific and engineering information concerning the performance of materials exposed to environments related to any phase of the generation of energy originating from a nuclear source, and of materials used for disposal of spent nuclear fuels and radioactive wastes.

— T-2A-2 Interim Storage of Radioactive Liquid Waste
To examine corrosion of radioactive liquid waste storage and transfer systems. This assignment includes material selection, corrosion monitoring, control, and research activities associated with the interim storage of radioactive liquid wastes and their impact on safety and the environment. Specific areas of interest include: life prediction, corrosion surveillance, corrosion control, degradation mechanisms, and tank structural integrity.

— T-2E Geothermal Systems
To identify methods and materials for the control of degradation proceses in the extraction, conversion, and utilization of geothermal resources.

— T-2F Fossil Fuel Combustion and Conversion
Materials performance in the generation and utilization of energy derived from combustion of fossil fuels and in systems converting fossil fuels into gaseous and liquid products. Areas of coverage are fireside combustion systems, including waste incineration. In the synfuels sector, areas covered are coal conversion (gasification; liquefaction) and extraction of oil from tar sands (bitumens) and shale.

T-2F-1/T-5-1 Materials Problems in Waste Incinerator Fireside and Air Pollution Control Equipment
To provide a forum for exchange of information on the performance of materials in incineration facilities for chemical, municipal, and toxic wastes, and combustion facilities for low-grade and biomass fuels. Scope encompasses associated energy recovery and emission control systems.

Dual Source Heat Pumps

Subject: UFTO Note – Dual Source Heat Pumps
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 1997 16:59:16 -0800
From: Ed Beardsworth

| ** UFTO ** Edward Beardsworth ** Consultant
| 951 Lincoln Ave. tel 415-328-5670
| Palo Alto CA 94301-3041 fax 415-328-5675

Dual Source Heat Pumps

New types of heat pumps are coming on the market. Dual Source heat pumps combine both ground-source (geothermal) and air-source, and promise significant cost and performance improvements over existing systems. (E-Source will issue a major report in the very near future entitled “Dual Source Heat Pumps, The Sleeping Giant”.) Note that is not the same thing as “dual-fuel”, which usually refers to gas/electric systems.

Compared with ground source, the dual source uses a smaller ground loop, which is easier and cheaper to install, especially in retrofit situations. It’s cold weather performance and overall efficiency is better than air source systems.

There are two basic types. One is “direct expansion”, where the refrigerant itself is circulated in the ground loop. The other uses a glycol solution in the ground loop.

Geothermal Technologies, Inc. (GeoTech) offers the direct expansion type of system that circulates refrigerant through both ground loop and air coil. In the milder portion of the heating and cooling seasons when conventional heat pumps are still very efficient, the heat pump provides heating or cooling via the air coil. During extreme temperatures, the system relies entirely on the ground coil for heat exchange. According to the manufacturer, this configuration allows their dual-source system to operate most efficiently in middle latitude states.

Currently, GeoTech dual-source heat pumps operate in 12 test homes. According to preliminary findings, GeoTech expects its energy-efficiency to be within 5% of geothermal heat pumps but with a total installed cost of $1,000 to $2,500 less. Although payback periods for most geothermal systems are said to range from 3 to 7 years depending on climate, GeoTech expects its system to have a payback of 1-1/2 to 4 years.

GeoTech also offers an improved lower cost ground source heat pump system, based on design inprovements over poorly performing units sold by U.S. Power which went out of business.

Contact: Mike Housh, (513)423-1923.
Geothermal Technologies, Inc. , Middletown OH 45042