Bulletin #22 – Tampa/Savannah Site

UFTO Bulletin #22

May 17, 1996

To: UFTO Members:

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

Tampa Meeting Savannah River Site EdF

1. Proceedings from the UFTO MEMBERS MEETING are attached. My thanks to everyone who attended for the lively and very helpful discussions. Key points to review: Increased use of email; clarifying expectations of UFTO; idea of an UFTO Web site.

Please send a copy to whoever attended the meeting. Let me know if the notes correctly represent the discussions, and if you have any further thoughts and reactions to anything that was or was not covered at the meeting.

As planned, after our meeting we all went to the Breakthrough Conference, and got to hear about some very remarkable electrotechnology — a few examples are given the attached “UFTO Tech Nuggets”.

2. Enclosed–the UFTO report for the Savannah River Site. Another “best-kept secret” in the DOE universe. Some remarkable and very relevant products and capabilities. Note Robotics, Sensors, Waste Management, and Permitting Compliance. Look over the report, and get copies to appropriate people in your company. Be sure to mention how motivated this lab is to work with them.

3. Just a quick note about my meetings at Electricite de France, which as you know has its own huge R&D operation with an annual budget of $600 million/year. The idea was for me to look over their programs, results and communications from same the point of view UFTO takes with the national labs, and to suggest ways they might increase contacts here. I spent 4 long days interviewing over 25 people in their Electrical Equipment Division, and as expected found a wealth of technology that you’re going to want to hear about, once I get it written up and cleared by them for release.

One example–a French company has commercialized a wood pole tester that measures electrical resistance and compressive strength, which when taken together give an accurate assessment of pole condition. Well have more information on this soon.

4. Au Revoir! Daniel Madet leaves the U.S. at the end of June to go back to France and take on a new assignment at EdF. I know everyone joins me in wishing him well in his new endeavors. We’re really going to miss his enthusiastic approach and inquiring mind. Be sure to make contact before he leaves. His replacement, Gerard Gombier, has been on assignment here before (at EPRI), and we look forward to working with him.

5. I will visit Ames Lab, a DOE lab at the University of Iowa, the first week of June. They’ve got a major Fossil Energy Program, important work in magnetic refrigeration, and a new concept for transformers, just for starters.

6. Hard to believe it’s almost June already. Just to give you advance warning, I’ll be out of the country and completely out of touch with the office from June 13 to July 13 (approx.). We’ll be on vacation in Brazil visiting family and friends and taking a weeklong eco-tour on the Amazon, celebrating my wife Aino’s big 5-0. (She said it was ok to tell you.)

• Photovoltaic Services Network (PSN) is an independent not-for-profit organization of electric utilities that provides assistance, education and in effect a “buyer’s club” focused on off-grid PV applications. It was started by several rural electric cooperatives in the West, primarily concerned with serving isolated loads (e.g. livestock watering). There are now 44 members, including about 9 investor owned utilities.

Recently they solicited bids for systems, for both residential and water pumping, and have assembled a catalog of 10 “prequalified” suppliers. The emphasis is on complete manufactured systems rather than components. The have several kinds of subscription and membership options ranging from a $150/year information service to $500/year utility membership to a $5,000/year Sponsorship.

Contact Kirk Stokes or Pat Saito at the NEOS Corp, Lakewood CO. Tel 303-980-1969.

• DC to DC Conversion A Boston-based startup company, DC Transformations, has developed and patented a new class of low cost and high performance DC conversion devices. Without transformers, they can do harmonic-free inversion, rectification and DC to DC step-up/down, using standard available components — thyristers (not the more sophisticated devices like GTO’s now coming onto the market). The systems can regulate and protect (fault interrupt in 0.3 msec.), are self-commutating, and are easy to understand, build and scale.

The range of applications is extensive. Test data already exist for:

– DC/DC step up 1 kV to 6 kV at 100 kW
– DC/DC step down 12 kV to 2 kV at 100kW
– Harmonic-free (<1%) rectification at 140 kW, with power factor control

Tests are in progress for:

– DC to AC at 440 V and 140 kW (for the DARPA Hybrid vehicle program)

This can supply variable speed drives at any voltage and frequency

– Static VAR generator, 440 V, 500kVAR, lead and lag (1 MVAR swing).

For the first time, it may be feasible (cost-effective!) to use DC in the distribution system, with converters at each end of a feeder (or to supply DC loads directly?). This could more than double the capacity of a feeder. (storage, batteries, T&D, transmission, ASD)

Contact: Robert Eccles, President, DC Transformations, Beverly MA, 508-921-5505

• Intelligent Induction Heating and Hardening Sandia Labs has developed a process control technique for induction hardening, which is widely used in the manufacture of industrial and automotive parts like shafts, gears, bearings, etc. The new technique permits for the first time neural net closed-loop real-time control of the process, with huge implications for energy savings (40%), inspection and waste reduction (built-in Q/A for each part, eliminating destructive testing), and even more optimally designed (lighter) parts. This is an inexpensive electronic circuit and analysis software that can be easily installed on any existing induction heating equipment. GM is already using it in production, less than two years after the start of the development.

Commercialization is being done through industry-led consortia. (industrial, electrotechnology, manufacturing)

Contact: Russ Skcypec, Sandial National Labs, 505-845-8838

• “Where Did the Money Go? The Cost and Performance of the Largest Commercial Sector DSM Programs” LBL-38201, Eto, Kito, and Sonnenblick, 1995

A new report published by staff scientists with Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory looks calculated the performance of 40 of the nation’s largest utility-sponsored demand-side management programs and found that they saved energy at an average cost of $0.032 per KWh. This is almost 20 percent lower than had been reported in previous research, and as the study’s authors put it, means funds allocated for energy efficiency by utilities have been “money well spent.” The results are especially noteworthy given recent concerns that DSM programs cost more than anticipated while utility avoided costs have dropped.

Most surprisingly, given a recent tendency among utilities to increase customer contributions for DSM programs, is a finding that several of the least-expensive programs rely on significant customer cost contributions. Increasing the customer cost contribution in utility rebate programs has been embraced by many utilities lately as a way to reduce rate impacts.

The report concludes, however, that there is no reason to believe future programs that rely on these contributions will be more costly or less cost- effective. “We find that the decision to increase required customer contributions to the cost of energy saving measures has had little or no effect on the total cost of energy saved by the programs,” the report said

The study also found high costs associated with direct installation programs and that comparatively lower costs were associated with larger programs as measured by energy savings. The study also established that direct installation programs cost about $0.02/KWh more than rebate programs, and that program costs go down about $0.01/KWh for every 100 GWh in annual energy savings. The bigger the program, the more cost-effective it is. Utilities spent about $380 million on the 40 programs in the sample, which represented about one-third of the $1.2 billion spent by US utilities on DSM in 1992. Acceding to concerns about confidentiality, no programs or utilities were identified by name. Researchers added that data collection for the study was made especially difficult because many utilities adopted a “defensive position” about sharing information, citing impending “competition” .

For a copy, call Pat Juergens, 510-486-4266, pajuergens@lbl.gov

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