This is an update on a previous UFTO Note (see below).

Progress is good. The first machine is hooked to a 10 MW generator, and it’s doing better and better all the time. They’re also working hard on a 800 KW version, which will enable them to advance the technology faster, and which is size they believe the DG market wants. The disk on the new machine will be 32 inches, operating at 28,000 rpm. Efficiency is 40%, and they expect single-digit NOx.

The company was featured two weeks ago in an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal, available on the company’s website: http://www.ramgen.com/2000/news.htm

A core group of local investors has been more than willing to provide as much money as needed, so there hasn’t been other corporate or VC participation in the past. Now, however, the company has decided to engage CSFB to do a $30 Million formal private offering for them.

For information, contact:
Bill Craver, Credit Suisse First Boston, San Francisco
415-249-8919, william.craver@csfb.com

On request, he can send you “Prelim. Information Materials” (aka the “teaser”)


The RAMGEN Engine [UFTO Note – Ramgen Engine 03 Mar 1999]

The Ramgen engine is based on the ramjet, the earliest form of jet engine and one still used on missiles. A ram jet gets its thrust from burning fuel in air compressed by its forward motion, then expelling the exhaust to create a forward force.

In the Ramgen engine, two ramjet thrust modules are mounted opposite each other at the perimeter of a 6 foot diameter rotor, in a kind of pinwheel configuration. The rim speed exceeds Mach 2.5. The engine’s axle then drives a generator through a gearbox.

Ramgen Power Systems, Inc. (WA) has just begun full testing of a full scale prototype, following ten years of work by its inventor, and the infusion 2 years ago of over $6 million from private investors. On February 2, 1999, the engine was the successfully ignited for the first time. It is currently generating compression at or above projected values; it is starting reliably and is creating combustion and power as anticipated; it is maintaining combustion after ignition; and the air film and other cooling systems are functioning effectively at current fuel loads.

The magnitude of the centrifugal forces generated at these speeds requires advanced, high-performance materials, which have only recently become commercially available (i.e. declassified), as have the computer modeling and machining techniques to manufacture the rotor to required tolerances. While sophisticated in design and modeling, the Ramgen has only a single moving part, the rotor and axle. It is designed to be maintained and work reliably in developing countries and isolated areas.

The Ramgen engine is a Brayton cycle engine that uses compressible gas dynamic phenomena and replaces the mechanical compression and expansion systems of conventional combustion engines with oblique shock wave and supersonic processes. In the Ramgen engine, the fuel and air mixture is compressed as it enters the thrust module, thereby removing the need to mechanically compress either the fuel or the combustion air. The engine’s burner operates on lean premix combustion to minimize NOx formation.

US Patent No 5709076 was awarded on Jan 20, 1999, and others are pending.

The performance of the Ramgen engine results from its efficient compression and expansion of the air/fuel mix within the thrust modules. The Ramgen engine’s inherently simpler design makes it less expensive to construct, operate and maintain than competing systems for electric power generation. The company anticipates that Ramgen will have:
– $400-450/KW capital cost (excluding site/development costs)
– 40-50% simple cycle efficiency
– around 2% efficiency loss down to 20% part-load
– very low emissions (NOx below 5 ppm)
– ability to operate on a wide range of fuels
(including oilfield and platform flare gases,
or caustic gases as low as 4% fuel by volume)
– small footprint (8-10 MW engine fits on a standard truck trailer)

With cooling by water-jacket and supercooled air, parts experience temperatures around 300 deg F. The exhaust is at 1230 deg.F, enabling combined cycle or cogen applications.

The prototype currently operating at a test facility in Tacoma, WA, can be configured to produce up to 15 MW. The company believes that the Ramgen engine can be scaled to produce electrical output ranging from 1 to 40 MW. The first commercial units (in the 8-15 MW range) could be available by early 2001. The company is in the process of finalizing additional financing.
Doug Jewett, President and CEO djewett@ramgen.com
Glenn Smith, VP Sales & Marketing gsmith@ramgen.com
RAMGEN Power Systems, Bellevue, WA 425-828-4919
Company website: http://www.ramgen.com

Fluid Dialysis Makes Oils Cleaner Than New

I first became aware of this possibility a number of years ago, and was completely convinced of its dramatic potential then. Now, a company has emerged which is apparently demonstrated and proven the technology in a number of applications, and which has formulated a well considered business strategy to prioritize and pursue the incredible number of markets and applications that are available to them. The material below is taken directly from the company’s extensive website. I also have an executive summary of their business plan which I can provide on request.

MAG SYSTEMS, Inc. http:// www.magcleanoil.com
Cheshire, CT
Contact Bill Crossman, CEO bill@crossman.com Tel 203-272-5366

MAG Systems has developed and patented a unique technology known as Electronic Fluid Dialysis TM (EFD). This process is capable of purifying non-conducting fluids to a much higher level of purity than conventional methods of filtration and purification. It restores the properties of these fluids to a “better than new” condition, by removing particles down to the sub-micron level.

Non-conducting fluids include many different types of fluids that are used for a broad range of applications. – Lubricating Oil – Insulating Oil – Diesel Fuel – Heating Oil – Jet Fuel – Machining Oils – Refrigerants – Hydraulic Oil – Heat Transfer Glycol – EDM Oil – De-Ionized Water – EHC Fluid – De-Mineralized Water – CBN Oil – Cooking Oil – Transmission Oil – Petrochemicals – Brake Fluid – Resin – Coolants – Some low-conducting fluids – Castor Oil – All other non-conducting fluids – Cutting Oil

As these oils become dirty and contaminated, they cease to be effective and must be replaced. Even the most expensive filtration systems can only extend the usefulness of these fluids for a limited period of time. MAG Systems’ EFD technology is able to keep these fluids like new, year after year, without replacement. In addition, the EFD process actually “pulls” small particles of dirt and contamination from inside the machinery, enabling the equipment to operate more efficiently and reliably. This significantly reduces maintenance and repair costs and equipment downtime and extends the service life of the equipment.


MAG Applications for Electric Utilities

Lubricating Oil

PROBLEM: Lubricating oil must be kept as clean as possible to reduce equipment breakdown and extend the life of the equipment. The cleaner, the better! Particles in the oil can cause severe abrasion and damage to power generation equipment. Particles five microns and smaller have been conclusively shown to be the major cause of abrasive wear that leads to component failure, unscheduled downtime and costly repairs of mechanical components. Also, the environmental impact of disposal of waste oil is an increasing concern.

SOLUTION: MAG units purify dirty, contaminated lubricating oil to cleaner than new condition and then maintain that purity year after year without replacing the oil. The process removes particles down to one-tenth micron and smaller. Furthermore, it cleans the internals of the equipment by literally “pulling” microscopic particles out of crevices in the machinery. This dramatically reduces machine downtime and maintenance costs and extends equipment life. Unlike other filtration methods, MAG’s EFD process will remove sludge, varnish, gum, pollen, soot and bacteria from the fluid. It will operate in the presence of water and will not affect additives. Customers typically achieve investment payback in less than six months, and the environmental impact of waste oil disposal is virtually eliminated.

[Note- The plant manager of the major US pharmaceutical company that has 4 large GE turbines at one of their sites has stated the following: “For 15 years we averaged one oil-related outage every eighteen months on our steam turbines. Since the MAG purification systems were installed five years ago, we have had no oil-related issues whatsoever.” GE engineers can validate the effectiveness not only in purifying the oil, but also in cleaning turbine internals.]

[Note- Based on their engineering due diligence, Hartford Steam Boiler is not only satisfied that MAG units do in fact remove nearly all particles as claimed, but they have also agreed to extend required overhaul frequencies by 50% on turbines that use MAG fluid purification.]

Insulating Oil

PROBLEM: Insulating oil is used to create insulation between electrical components and remove heat in equipment such as transformers, switches, tap changers and circuit breakers. Degradation due to localized overheating produces products of oxidation and carbon. Coke, water and products of oxidation result in a loss of insulating properties and, if not detected, catastrophic failure will occur.

SOLUTION- MAG removes products of oxidation, carbon and water and maintains dielectric strength above new oil specifications. All components within the enclosure achieve a cleaner than new condition which minimizes deterioration and maintenance and leads to extended life of the equipment. Sampling and maintenance can routinely be extended by a factor of 4 to 8 times.

Diesel Fuel

PROBLEM: When diesel fuel is consumed, various pollutants are released. These include Nitrous Oxide (NOx), Sulfur Oxides (SOx), heavy metals and particulate matter (soot and ash). When diesel fuel is stored for long periods of time additional problems occur. The levels of particulate matter in the fuel can increase from corrosion of the storage tank, etc., and the water content can increase from condensation. When water is present, bacterial growth is enhanced which clogs filters, nozzles and other small openings.

SOLUTION: MAG units can substantially reduce the levels of particulate and heavy metals emissions. Tests are currently underway to evaluate the degree to which MAG purification of diesel fuel can reduce NOx and SOx emissions. MAG Systems can also remove water from the fuel, which minimizes the potential for bacterial growth, and existing bacteria is removed. This not only reduces air pollution but also assures that emergency fuel will be usable when it is needed.

Zero Emission Engine

At the risk of “excess exuberance” …this looks like something that could change everything — a zero emission, fuel flexible– *steam engine*.

I first heard of them from announcements back in May 2000, and have finally been able to make contact, just in time to learn about the new company they’ve set up. They’re showcasing at the SAE conf (Soc. of Auto Engineers) in Detroit this week. My contact is Oliver Mehler, who’s heading the operation in the US.

I have the executive summary of their business plan, which seeks to raise 22 million Euros over the next four years.. The full 60 pg plan is now only in German, and they are preparing an English version.

The management team is in Detroit this week (only Oliver is stationed in the US). If you have anyone attending the SAE conference, you may want to have them visit the booth.

I asked what was different about this steam engine, and Oliver described a visit to a major US engine manufacturer. It was scheduled for 1 person for 45 minutes, and wound up with 12 people for 3 hours. They said “we tried (and failed) –you solved all the problems which stopped us” (e.g. lubrication materials, isothermal expansion, quick load changes, good combustion system). The website has neat pictures of their 6 kw APU prototype, which they estimate will be made for a cost of $700, in volumes of 10,000/yr. They are talking to corporations, financiers and VCs to raise money. They want manufacturing partners.

http://www.enginion.com — go to “Press” for the complete press release (excerpts below) and a pdf download brochure about the APU. I’ve also got a 12 page technical article from a year ago that explains the thermodynamics.
Oliver C. Mehler, Ann Arbor, MI
734-971-1070 ext. 111 oliver.mehler@iavinc.com

Note- IAV is a major European automotive engineering company, 50% owned by VW. Enginion is spinning off with most of the development team that worked on the project. Since public (EU) funding was involved, it was deemed inappropriate for VW to have it to themselves.

Enginion AG Says New Engine is ‘Cleaner Than the Air we Breathe’
‘Zero Emission Engine’ Debuts at SAE World Congress In Detroit

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ — Enginion AG, a technology provider for the automotive and energy industry plans to demonstrate an ‘Equal Zero Emission Engine’ (Ezee) at next week’s SAE World Congress in Detroit. The new technology does not require any catalysts. The Ezee uses external combustion that is based on a patented ‘Caloric Porous Structure Cell’ (CPS Cell), utilizing a newly developed thermo-chemical combustion reaction, which drives an electronically controlled, oil free thermal engine.

The technology has been developed with funding by the European Union as well as various institutions of the German government. It took six years and nearly one million man-hours of basic research to reach the stage of development presented at SAE. “The new drive appears to have the potential of substituting conventional combustion engines,” said Michael Hoetger, President of Enginion. “Its emissions profile is among the lowest of any existing combustion technology. At the same time its production price is expected to be equal or lower than current powertrains.” The technology incorporates the following benefits:

– Lowest pollutant emissions (no HC; NOx and CO at the limit of
measurability) No exhaust after-treatment needed
– Very high torque (5 times higher than regular Otto-cycle engines);
power output and dynamics are equivalent to diesel engines
– Fuel flexibility (gasoline, diesel, natural gas,
biofuels, hydrogen, etc.)
– Thermal and kinetic energy (both variable)
– High efficiency (better than gasoline engines,
according to U.S. FTP75 test cycle)
– Almost silent and vibration free
– Compact size
– Oil free; operation in ecologically sensitive areas possible
– Lower cost than existing technologies

Based on the encouraging research results, Hoetger and his colleagues initially plan to develop small Auxiliary Power Units (APU), as the fuel flexible and compact technology can deliver variable heat and electricity over a broad power range. The areas of application stretch from mobile use in vehicles to stationary operation in residential and industrial environments.

Enginion’s Ezee technology is further suited to build up stationary distributed power systems. With its co-generation capabilities (heat and electricity) it could deliver clean energy for residential as well as commercial purposes. In one of the largest market segments with heat outputs of up to 30 kW and a maximum electricity of 10 kW, the Ezee APU might be up to 90% cheaper than other solutions, including fuel cells and gas turbines. The APU’s electronic control shall additionally be equipped with networking capabilities for the development of small-scale local grids.

Enginion plans to stay focused on research and development rather than becoming an engine producer themselves. Instead, they want to offer partnerships to professional manufacturers. “With our technology and product development skills we would develop the Ezee products ready for application” Hoetger summarized. “The production partners pay only a few dollars per unit for the production license. This way they can independently set their profit margins and use own distribution channels without our interference. But I think it might take quite a number of manufacturers in the long term. All studies we found indicated that the potential markets have a total business volume beyond US$200 billion,” Hoetger said.