Plug Pulled on Regenesys

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. 011-44-1666-840-041

Other contacts:
Mark Kuntz, Regenesys Ltd, Chicago (thru June) 630-562-1271
Joe Hoagland, TVA, 256-386-2108,

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??

DOE Office of Electric Transmission & Distribution (OETD)

Back in March, we thought announcements were imminent. (See UFTO Note ? T&D R&D Gaining Attention, 21 Mar 2003.) Little did we realize the kinds of struggles that would ensue internally in DOE over which people, programs and budgets would be won or lost by which office. The new office started its work nonetheless, judging from numerous appearances by its chief, Jimmy Glotfelty, and several planning and roadmapping meetings over the spring and summer. And the dust has settled internally.

OETD officially “stood up” on August 10, but the big August 14th blackout made for awkward timing for a press release–none has been issued. (In fact, until an appropriations bill passes, I’m told they aren’t actually officially “up”.)

A new website quietly appeared on August 21. If offers a first cut at describing the Office and its scope of responsibilities and giving links to planning documents:

[This site has a good compendium of information on the blackout, however for the 12 Sept announcement of the release of a report on the events sequence, go to the DOE home page,]

**National Electric Delivery Technologies Vision and Roadmap**
There’ve been two major meetings this year, one in April and one in July. In chronological order:

April 2003 Vision Meeting Proceedings (PDF 1.1 MB)
[65 people attended, of whom only 8 represented utilities]

Results of the April meeting are given in this vision document**. [The results of the July meeting will be reported in a few more weeks.]:

“Grid 2030” — “A National Vision for Electricity’s Second 100 Years,

**DOE’s National Electric Vision Document
(Final version, July 31, 2003) (PDF 1.2 MB)

Proceedings for National Electric Delivery Technologies Roadmap,
July 8-9, 2003 (PDF 1.0 MB)
[About 20 utilities were represented, with less than 40 people out of 200 participants.]

Glotfelty’s kickoff presentation July 8:
“Transforming the Grid to Revolutionize Electric Power in North America” roadmap opening 07 08 03.pdf


No personnel are identified on the new website (other than Gotfelty and Bill Parks, Assistant Director), and no org charts shown. The most complete descriptions of the programs appear in a series of factsheets:

The work of OETD follows these earlier developments: (see reliability program materials at

— The National Energy Policy (May 2001) calls for the Department of Energy to address constraints in electric transmission and relieve bottlenecks.

— The National Transmission Grid Study (May 2002) contains 51 recommendations for accomplishing the President’s National Energy Policy and speeding the pace of the transition to competitive regional electricity markets.

— The Transmission Grid Solutions Report (September 2002) provides guidance for priority actions to address congestion on “national interest” transmission corridors.

OETD conducts research in several areas:
–High-Temperature Superconductivity
–Electric Distribution Transformation
–Energy Storage
–Transmission Reliability

One participant at the July meeting told me he thought that DOE seems to be in the thrall of superconductors and other mega-technology solutions, and giving short shrift to distributed generation, microgrids, and other common sense approaches.

As for budget, through the end of Sept (FY03), OETD is operating on funds already committed to the programs that were brought in. Of roughly $85 Million in FY’03, high temperature superconductors have $40 M, and $27M was subject to Congressional earmarks. The FY04 budget request has a new line item for electric power infrastructure, and hopefully will provide more resources in FY05) explicitly for transmission reliability. Another observer said that the future program will be more balanced as a result.

The R&D plan is based on a 3-level architecture:
1. “Supergrid”, or coast to coast backbone for power exchange. (superconducting)
2. RegionGrid
3. CityGrid, ultimately involving fully integrated 2-way power flow, microgrids, etc.

Planning and analysis tools are needed at all 3 levels. The Supergrid is a longer term goal, operational perhaps in 10-15 years. Other near term elements include sensors, storage, and DC systems.

Humid Air Injection Boosts CT Output

Additional megawatt-hours (MWH) can be obtained at low cost during peak demand periods from gas turbines and combined cycle power plants by injecting externally compressed, humidified, and heated air into a combustion turbine (CT) up-stream of combustors. This novel approach is denoted as CT-HAI, (HAI is an acronym for Humidified Air Injection) for simple cycles and CC-HAI for combined cycles. It results in a significant power augmentation over the whole range of ambient temperatures, but it is the most effective at high ambient temperature conditions when reduction in power output is most severe.

The simplified explanation for reduced power production by CT and CC plants is that lower inlet air density, a result of the high ambient temperature, reduces mass flow through a CT with a corresponding reduction in power.

With HAI, power output can be maintained essentially constant over the range of 0 F to 95 F at about 20 % above the nominal 59 F rating. The overall heat rate for the total output of the power augmented CT also drops by about 8%-12% over that temperature range, saving fuel as the temperature rises. The heat rate for the incremental power is approximately 6000-6400 Btu/kWh, i.e. in the range of CC plants. Engineering and mechanical aspects of the air injection for CT-HAI concept are similar to the steam injection for the power augmentation, which has accumulated significant commercial operating experience.

This system can be operated to produce additional MW for sale whenever market conditions are attractive. The value to individual utilities will vary according to the number of hours that the additional megawatts can be sold at attractive prices. Specific capital costs of additional kWs (i.e. for installing HAI) are less than $200/kW. With lower net heat rates, the cost of electricity obtained with this technology can provide power at lower production costs in peak power markets.

The process is an interesting coming together of two separate ideas for getting more out of CTs: (1) adding humidity, and (2) (externally) compressing the air:

Just Add Water —
The output of a CT can be increased by adding water in various ways, like evaporative cooling, wet compression, and inlet chilling. Unfortunately, these technologies that may have low initial capital costs introduce the water into compression process and can create significant operational problems. For example, GE has told users to cease inlet fogging and evaporative cooler operation until compressor blade erosion inspections can be performed. Technologies that introduce condensation or carryover of water into the compressor section can cause blade erosion and ductwork corrosion, pitting and thermal stress.

While steam injection technology also bypasses the compressor, with HAI, humidity is introduced in the form of humidified air that, as compared with the steam injection, provides for a safer and more stable combustion process, and allows for higher injection rates with associated greater power augmentation. Steam injection flow is limited by a number of combustion related and other considerations.

Compressed Air —
The other development behind HAI is compressed air energy storage (CAES), a diurnal peak shifting method where air is compressed off-peak and stored in underground formations or piping systems. On-peak, the compressed air is fed to the CT, relieving it of the need to do its own compression and thus increasing output. From there it was a short step to realizing that an external compressor could be beneficial under certain operating conditions. Adding humidity to this external air supply enhances the performance even more.

Dr. Michael Nakhamkin, President, Energy Storage and Power Consultants (ESPC), has fourteen patents; including five on CAES technology and another five on the power augmentation technologies with humid and dry air injection into CT.

– Combustion Turbine with Humid Air Injection (CTHAI) -pat. 6038849
– Combustion Turbine with [Dry]Air Injection (CTDAI) -pat. pending

Both methods can increase power output by 15%-25% or more; use proven equipment; and are simple to implement and operate. The humid version also reduces NOx by 15%. Developers have also come up with a clever means to avoid entraining impurities in the water, simplifying water treatment. A once-through boiler with partial steam generation requires only demineralized water.

Several HAI/DAI concepts as applied to simple-cycle (CT) and combined-cycle (CC) plants are available for commercial implementation. Successful validations have been done at Calpine on GE 7241 FA. HAI can be practical for any CT 5 MW and larger.

Hill Energy System, a subsidiary of Hill International, is a licensee of the HAI technology, and is actively marketing systems. The website has contact information and a number of helpful documents.

Also see a full discussion in the July 2003 issue of Power Engineering Magazine:
“Humid Air Injection Turns to Out-Of-Shelf Equipment to Enhance Viability for Combustion Turbine Power Augmentation”

“Air Injected Power Augmentation Validated by Fr7FA Peaker Tests”, Gas Turbine World, March/April 2002.


Ron Wolk, prominent power technology expert, has been involved in this program for years, and can provide additional insights. Contact him at:

DOE H2&FC Reviews’03

DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Merit Review Meeting
May 19-22, 2003, Berkeley, CA

(See UFTO Note 10 June 2002 for last year’s meeting.)

“Annual Review Proceedings” are (will be) available:

DOE’s new organization for hydrogen and fuel cells is in place. Steve Chalk heads the program, and has about 20 direct reports for the many sub-areas. The org chart and key contacts list are available here:

Of course, the program got a huge boost when the president announced the $1.2 billion Hydrogen Fuel Initiative and “FreedomCar” program in the state-of-the-union address this past January.

In a plenary opening session, Steve Chalk gave an overview of DOE’s response, based on a major planning effort involving many stakeholders. (This is all heavily documented on the website.) He showed budgets steadily growing over the next several years.
H2: $47, $55, $77 million (FY 02, 03, 04)
FC: $29, $40, $88 million

The Plan involves a decade of R&D, with commercialization decisions towards the end, and subsequent “transition” and “expansion” in the marketplace. Meanwhile, “technology validation” projects will attempt semi-real world demonstrations of complete integrated infrastructure elements, e.g. refueling stations (major RFP was announced May 6 for a 5 year “learning demo” of hydrogen vehicle infrastructure.)

The DOE Secretary will have a new Hydrogen Policy Group (heads of EE, FE, Nuclear, etc.) and the Hydrogen Technical Advisory Committee. Lower down, Steve Chalk will work with the Hydrogen Matrix Group and an Interagency Task Force. Of particular note, a new Systems Integration and Analysis office will be set up at NREL, and several “virtual centers” at national labs focused on specific technical areas.

In each area, goals have been established for the various cost and performance parameters. (e.g., by 2005 electrolytic hydrogen at 5000 psi should be produced at 65% efficiency, for under $3.75/kg. By 2010, moving hydrogen from central production sites to distribution facilities should be under $0.70/kg.) [One kg of H2 is about equivalent in energy content to one gallon of gasoline, making comparisons easier.]

When Chalk’s powerpoint becomes available, it will be worth reviewing if you’re interested in how all of this is going.

This year’s annual review meetings drew a large crowd again. A subset of projects were chosen from each technical area for 20-30 minute presentations, while other investigators were asked to do poster papers instead. Hydrogen and Fuel Cell sessions were held in parallel (last year they were on separate days), making it impossible to cover everything. A two inch thick binder had all the vugraphs, however, and all of it be posted on the website.

Here are the session headings:


– Production -Biological & Biomass Based
– Production -Fossil Based
– Production -Electrolytic
– Production -Photolytic and Photoelectro-chemical
– Storage – High Pressure Tanks
– Storage – Hydrides
– Storage – Carbon & Other Storage
– Infrastructure Development -H2 Fueling Systems & Infrastructure
– Codes & Standards

Fuel Cells

– High Temp Membranes/ Cathodes/ Manufacturing
– High Temp Membranes/ Cathodes/ Electrocatalysts
– Fuel Cell Power Systems Analysis
– Fuel Processing
– Direct Methanol Fuel Cells
– Fuel Cell Power System Development
– Fuels Effects
– Sensors for Safety & Performance
– Air Management Subsystems

A few highlights:

– Codes and standards were compared to the “iceberg below the surface” (i.e. that sunk the Titanic). The voluntary standards-making process in this country, along with the 40,000 independent local jurisdictions, represent a huge educational and process challenge to make society ready for hydrogen. The recently announced fueling station in Las Vegas needed 16 separate permits, and the local fire marshal was the toughest to deal with.

– Carbon nanotube storage is living on borrowed time. It has the distinction of a stern “Go-No go” decision that’s been put in its path (2005), and the science seems not to be making the greatest progress.

– Another Go-No Go decision is set for late 2004, for onboard fuel processing.

– Photolytic H2 production makes slow progress, but researchers close to it acknowledge it’s practical application can only happen if the right materials are found. The search continues using “combinatorial” methods. (see UFTO Note 2 April 2003).

– The fuel cell work seems mostly to do with the tough slugging it out with materials and costs, finding formulations and configurations that gradually improve the situation. A fair amount of attention is going towards higher temperature PEM cell membranes, where hydrogen purity is less of an issue, however no breakthroughs seem imminent.

– Quite a bit of attention is going to fueling systems. Several projects involve the building of equipment and actual demonstration fueling stations and “power parks”. DTE and Pinnacle West are the only utilities that seem to have really pursued this; each has a major demonstration project in development.

In view of the volume and technical nature of this material, let me suggest that I can dig deeper into any particular area of interest to you, but that otherwise the DOE website has all the documentation on the programs and specific projects.

Other Hydrogen news:

You may have seen Wired 11.4 (April). The cover story is by Peter Schwartz, the famous futurist, who proclaims that a full-blown hydrogen economy is urgent and inevitable. I saw him present the argument at a seminar at Stanford recently, and found it very short on practical specifics and less than compelling. For one thing, he asserts that nuclear will be the major source of energy to make hydrogen a decade or two from now.

Along the same lines, the June issue of Business 2.0 came last week, with a feature story about the head of Accenture’s Resource Group, Mary Tolan, and her blunt challenge to the energy industry to go invest like crazy to make the hydrogen economy happen quickly. She says it’s the only way the oil majors in particular will be able to continue to make big profits in the future. She apparently let loose with this at CERA Week, back in February. Business 2.0’s website ( won’t have it online for a few weeks, but I was able to locate a reference to an Accenture utility industry event that outlines the argument.

Curious to know what you think. In my own opinion, both sound over the top. We’ve got a ways to go before the technology, or the society, will be ready for hydrogen on a massive scale. I’ve written to Ms. Tolan to see if I can get more details as to their reasoning.

Short Subjects


New Features on http://www.UFTO.COM

*Scroll to the bottom of the home page, and click on
“Recommended Reading & UFTO EXTRAS”
*Note the link at the top:
“For a list of newsletters and publications regularly scanned by UFTO, click here.”
Any new ones to suggest?


See below for these items:

*Cleantech Venture Network Issues First Report
*IEEE 1547 Interconnection Standard Passes Ballot
*Army Venture Capital Fund
*New Report on Energy Storage
*New Model to Analyze Distributed Power Projects
*Sag Line Mitigator — EPRI TC proposal


Cleantech Venture Network Issues First Report (See UFTO Note, 26 Jul 2002)

The first Cleantech Investment Monitor was released last week. It reports that investments in “clean” technology companies – ranging from fuel cells to water purification systems exceeded US$500 million in the first half of 2002, more than doubling from Q1 to Q2.. It also lists company investments made during the quarter, and profiles selected companies and investors. Download (27 pages) at:

Also the website has much more to offer now, including investor membership sign-up (options include Forum, Deal Flow, and Investment Monitor). Plans for the first venture forum (Toronto, Nov 13-14) are proceeding well. Over 40 companies have applied, and 15-20 will be selected to present.


IEEE 1547 Interconnection Standard Passes Ballot

The IEEE P1547/D10 Draft Standard for Interconnecting Distributed Resources(DR) With Electric Power Systems(EPS) received 90% affirmatives in the ballot that closed September 26, 2002.

Separately, the Standards Board approved new numbers for the three new working groups. Next meeting are in San Francisco October 8-10: (see UFTO Note 09 Sep 2002)

–P1547.1 (formerly P1589) – Draft Standard for Conformance Test Procedures for Equipment Interconnecting DR with EPS
–P1547.2 (formerly P1608) – Draft Application Guide for IEEE Standard 1547 for Interconnecting DR with EPS
–P1547.3 (formerly P1614) – Draft Guide for Monitoring, Information Exchange and Control of DR Interconnected with EPS.


Army Venture Capital Fund

Clearly modeled after the CIA’s In-Q-Tel fund (, the U.S. Army issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) to solicit proposals for the operation and management of a not-for-profit, Venture Capital Corporation (VCC). The objective is to improve the business relationships between the entrepreneurial community of high technology innovators and the U.S. Army. This is expected to accelerate the transition of innovative technology into the Army by creating greater awareness on the Army’s part concerning commercial technology development and in the entrepreneurial community concerning the Army’s potential as a technology customer willing to accept innovative solutions to its requirements. The focus initially will be on companies and programs developing power and energy technology applicable to the requirements of the individual soldier.

The BAA was issued Aug 29, and the deadline for proposals was just extended from Sept 30 to Oct 15. UFTO will follow this story with great interest. (I am advising a local VC firm who plans to submit a proposal.)


New Report on Energy Storage

“Energy Storage: The Sixth Dimension of the Electricity Value Chain”, by Richard Baxter and Jason Makansi, of PearlStreet, Inc.

The report focuses on understanding potential business opportunities and developing long-term market strategies, describing the leading storage technologies (including pumped-hydro, compressed air energy storage, regenerative fuel cells/flow batteries, sodium/sulphur and lead acid batteries, superconducting magnetic energy storage, flywheels, thermal, and hydrogen systems), existing installations, and current market leaders. The 230-page report also includes 87 tables, market insights from leading industry thinkers, outlines of market applications including ancillary services and their impact on existing industry participants, a review of state and regional business opportunities, and forecasts of the impact on the US economy. (20% discount til 30 Nov). For details:

Contact: Richard Baxter,, 617.320.0598

In 2002, Pearl Street founded the Energy Storage Council, a non-profit organization formed to support the energy storage community in its effort to accelerate the introduction of energy storage systems and technologies into the marketplace.

[Note that the Electricity Storage Association’s next meeting starts this Thursday Oct 10 in Milwaukee.]


New Model to Analyze Distributed Generation Power Projects

Competitive Energy Insight (CEI) in San Diego is offering a new tool for the evaluation of DG projects, based on a model they developed for utility and other large scale power plants. EconExpert-DG is a financial model for the complete before and after tax financial analysis of DG and “Inside-the-Fence” cogen projects. The model can be used to evaluate and make decisions on virtually any DG Project or Technology, allowing owners, investors, developers and equipment suppliers to better understand the economic benefits and risks of self-generation. A suite of automated sensitivity functions make it easy to evaluate how changes in current project costs or future market conditions will impact their investment decision. The model also includes many automated analysis functions and on-line help features. The User’s Manual can be downloaded from CEI’s website.

CEI’s EconExpert-LP (for Large Power) is a similar tool for Central Power Station and Merchant Power Projects.

A 30 day free trial is offered to qualified parties. CEI’s website provides additional details and can be reached at:
http://www.CEIInc.NET or www.EconExpert.NET

or contact :
Steve Provol, Competitive Energy Insight, Inc.


Sag Line Mitigator — EPRI TC proposal

UFTO has been following this story for a long time, and they’ve made tremendous progress. [Summary: SLiM reacts to increasing conductor temperature by decreasing the effective length of conductor in the span. This mitigates the natural thermal expansion experienced by the conductor during high temperature operation. The impact is to decrease line sag during such operations.] For a good overview, download this pdf file:

The initial test program went very well, and now plans are underway for utility demonstrations, under an EPRI tailored collaboration project (open to members and nonmembers of EPRI). The project will evaluate the performance of SLiM on three operating transmission lines, and will provide participating utilities with first-hand information on the operational performance of this new kind of line hardware device. For a description of the proposed TC, download:
Manuchehr Shirmohamadi, 510-594-0300 x202,
or Ram Adapa, EPRI project manager, 650.855.8988,

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.

Nickel Hydrogen Battery Ready for Commercialization

UFTO first reported on this technology almost 6 years ago, and issued updates in Oct ’96 and Jan ’98.
UFTO Bulletin #16 December 18, 1995

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. …. The company … [hasn’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.

Now at long last, a new company, ElectraStor, has licensed the Ergenics technology, made substantial improvements, and is positioned to manufacture it, initially in their own pilot production facility. The plan is then expand manufacturing, and/or to sublicense the technology and manufacturing know-how worldwide. Originally focused on hybrid vehicle batteries, ElectraStor is also now addressing applications in stationary electric power storage, where a convincing case is made for major cost and performance advantages, particularly in applications requiring high power and quick response.

Here is a portion of ElectraStor’s Executive Summary:

ElectraStor LLC owns a breakthough rechargable low pressure Nickel-Hydrogen “fuel cell battery” technology. This technology has been extensively validated and is ready for commercial production. Serious discussions are ongoing with substantial corporations and government agencies worldwide, including the FTA, Siemens, Fiat, MAN, the Italian government, DaimlerChrysler, Altra, Mercedes EvoBus and others. The Company is raising US$12M to fund a profitable pilot plant, bring the company to profitability, and perform R&D on new products.

Advantages of ElectraStor NiH Batteries: Phenomenal “life of the vehicle” cycle life, zero self-discharge, extraordinary tolerance to overcharge and over-discharge, 100% depth of discharge capability, low cost, low-pressure, high specific power, no maintenance, all-weather operation and a high degree of safety compared to competition. ElectraStor batteries have two to five times the specific power of NiMH and lead acid products and have specific energy comparable to Li-ion and Li-polymer products, while offering far greater tolerance to high mechanical, thermal and electrical stresses.

The Technology: ElectraStor NiH batteries combine a bipolar fuel cell stack with a closed loop supply of low pressure hydrogen stored in a segmented hydride with a limited supply of oxygen stored in a nickel hydroxide, which is regenerated using electricity during recharge. Because it separates hydrogen storage from the wet aspect of the battery, the chemical reaction is only a catalyst and no longer causes degradation of the battery parts, as remains the case in the NiMH design. This enables the ElectraStor battery to be cycled almost indefinitely without degradation or failure.

Intellectual Property: ElectraStor holds an exclusive, worldwide, sub-licensable license to technology developed by Ergenics, together with any and all improvements and extensions to this technology. The patent portfolio is extensive, broad and deep. R&D is ongoing, both by Ergenics and ElectraStor, and further patents are in the immediate pipeline.

Time to Market: The NiH battery is ready for production. ElectraStor has teamed with the FTA and the Belcan Corporation (the largest engineering and technology services organization in Ohio, with revenues over $400M) to construct the pilot plant. The plant will be up and running at full capacity within seven months of funding. The plant’s flexible manufacturing line will produce batteries both for electric and hybrid vehicles as well as a variety of further mobile and stationary applications.

Validation of ElectraStor Technology: Testing is ongoing, both by independent third parties and by our Corporate and Government partners, including the City of Pittsburgh, Mass., the Federal Transit Authority (FTA), the Italian Government, Siemens, Fiat, MAN, DaimlerChrysler and others.
(this website will be updated by mid December)

Please contact me for more information and appropriate introductions.