DOE Distributed Power Website

This new website just went live this morning. Looks like a good one. Happy reading!

This is the website of the DOE’s Distributed Power Program which is responsible for distributed resources’ system integration research and development. The site describes the Distributed Power Program and its activities, and provides information and current news about barriers to distributed power, policies and regulations, technical interconnection issues and upcoming events.

This unveiling was set to coincide with the long awaited release of the DOE “Barriers” study, by Brent Alderfer, Competitive Utility Strategies, which was discussed at the DOE DP Program meeting last October. (See UFTO Note – DOE Distrib Power Review & IEEE Interconnection Working Group; 12 Oct 1999.)

— Making Connections: Case Studies of Interconnection Barriers and their Impacts on Distributed Power Projects —

This study documents the difficulties faced by distributed generation projects seeking to connect with the electricity grid. The report examines the impact of interconnection issues on 65 distributed power projects. The case studies treated in the report clearly demonstrate that market barriers are real, and that they are, in part, an artifact of the present electricity industry institutional and regulatory structure designed for a vertically integrated utility industry relying on large central station generation. Given the findings, the report provides a ten-point action plan for reducing the technical, business practices, and regulatory barriers that may impede the deployment of distributed power technologies.

The full report is available for download as a pdf file:

DOE Hydrogen Program

Forwarding this announcement about the DOE Hydrogen Program website…it’s a quite comprehensive resource site on hydrogen. Note the complete proceedings from the ’98 and ’99 Program Reviews (under Information Resources).

Date: Sunday, May 21, 2000 8:46 AM
Subject: [h2view] Redesigned Hydrogen Information Network website is live!

From: “Gregoire, Cathy”

The DOE Hydrogen Program website has been completely redesigned. This site contains important information on R&D advances and technology validation efforts within the US Department of Energy’s Hydrogen Program.

The web address remains the same –

Please note that all future notices related to the DOE Hydrogen Program, including meeting notices and solicitation announcements, will only be sent to those persons signing up on the new mailing list – this current list will no longer be used.

Action is required on your part for you to continue to receive important information. You must sign up to receive news and information (

Thank you for your interest in hydrogen.

Catherine E. Grégoire Padró, P.E.
Technology Manager, Hydrogen Program
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
1617 Cole Blvd., MS 1613
Golden, Colorado USA 80401
Tel: +1-303-275-2919
Fax: +1-303-275-2905

Amorphous Metal Motors

Here is a very new and different approach to electric motors and generators. The following summary from the company’s business plan. I am working closely with them to help them develop contacts with potential strategic partners and investors. I can send on request the complete business plan, with figures, as a Word document.

The company believes that their motors will outperform by a wide margin any of the other “new” types of motors and generators, particularly in light of the ability to eliminate gears and drivetrains.

===== Executive Summary ========

Light Engineering is introducing a patented, new and revolutionary motor/generator technology using amorphous metal materials. The use of amorphous metal leads to dramatic improvements in the performance, operating efficiencies and cost effectiveness of Light Engineering’s motor/generator. Unlike anything else in the marketplace today, Light Engineering’s motors deliver high performance, maintaining high torque over an entire speed range thus opening the door to many new applications not achievable by traditional motor technology.

Today, Light Engineering is the only developer of electric motors and generators that incorporate amorphous metals as the magnetic core material. Light Engineering has built and tested several generations of prototypes in the 5hp+ range that have now demonstrated the following advantages over conventional motors:

Significantly expanded torque/speed range
High starting torque thresholds
3x torque to weight advantage of traditional motors
4x torque to volume advantage of traditional motors
Software “scalability” with expanded frequency
High “Output Density” Generators
Significantly reduced cost of materials
Manufacturability without major capital expense

The wide performance range of Light Engineering’s motors reduces the need for mechanical gears and transmissions. Instead, software algorithms programmed into a digital signal processor responds to internal sensors, this can be done either locally or remotely over telecommunication lines. They adjust motor performance dynamically to achieve optimum operating efficiency as load conditions and user preferences change. These motors and generators are thus transformed from mechanisms that are mechanically configured to perform a specific task into intelligent platforms that provide unprecedented adaptability to the demands of their operating environment.

These motors are modular and scalable and can be incorporated into a full range of applications. For instance, in the hybrid electrical vehicle market, these motors supply the high torque required to get the vehicle moving and the high efficiency needed at various operating speeds ? all without any gears or a transmission. Light Engineering expects its motors and generators will be the technology of choice for both hybrid and fuel cell powered vehicles.

With the exceptional performance range of Light Engineering’s motors it also enables whole new classes of other products that are not practical with today’s technology. These include turbo-compressors for refrigeration, turbo-generators for stand-alone power stations, a combination starter motor/alternator for vehicles or aircraft engines and variable speed applications enabling remote control of energy consuming equipment.

The design of these motors/generators eliminates the need for Light Engineering to invest in manufacturing plants and equipment. These products will be able to quickly enter the marketplace through a combination of contract manufacturing and licensing.

Light Engineering has in place a blocking intellectual property portfolio that includes 5 issued and 4 allowed patents and has entered into a Technology Development and Licensing Agreement with Honeywell (formerly AlliedSignal), the world’s largest manufacturer of amorphous metals, sold under the trademark “Metglas” .

Light Engineering has assembled a experienced team including some of the country’s top motor designers, consultants and advisers. It leases a 12,000 square foot facility in Campbell, CA divided into offices, development laboratories and a prototype fabrication area. This “Tech Center” is equipped to design, rapid prototype, program and test the motor / generator and controller systems.

Light Engineering seeks to raise $4-5 million from the sale of a Series B Preferred Stock with the net proceeds from this offering primarily used to fund prototype development costs, hire additional staff and transition the technology from research into the first phase of commercialization.