EEStor Ultracapacitor and Ultrabattery

There have been so many breakthrough battery claims, but here’s one that might deserve a careful look. The specs are impressive, and the entire manufacturing process has been thought through using processes and equipment already proven in a large-scale commercial operations. The founders bring a wealth of experience as senior technology managers in large companies and startups. The company has maintained a very low profile for several years, and I first talked to them in early 2003.

The claim is for systems at 1/2 the cost of lead-acid (per kwh), and 1/10 the weight. Specifically, they quote a product which at 400 pounds will deliver 52 kwh. Discharge (and charge) rates are at "electronic" speed, and would be limited only by the sizing of the drive circuits and external systems. Thus power ratings can be as high as needed. Selling price would be $3200 at modest production rates, and eventually down to $2100 in high volume.

Here are some specs the company is claiming:

                                          present   longterm
   Energy density, Wh/L        606        1513
   Specific energy, Wh/kg      273         682
   Price, $/kWh                        61           40

The company intends to pursue a licensing model, after building their own assembly line to prove out the technology and seed the market.

The technology is basically a parallel plate capacitor with barium titanate as the dielectric. With it’s extremely high permittivity, barium titanate has a long history in capacitors, but one known for high leakage, voltage breakdown and temperature sensitivity. EEStor has confronted these drawbacks head on, and has measurements on prototypes to support their claims.

The product is a ceramic-based unit fabricated with integrated-circuit techniques. The design is based on proprietary technology and there is a patent pending for the production process. There are no corrosive, hazardous, or explosive materials used in manufacturing this product, making this a totally green technology. Also, since it is ceramic, it can be fully charged and discharged using ultrahigh currents and at electronic speeds repeatedly with no degradation to the original specifications. Samples have been rapid-cycled over 1 million times, with no change of any kind. Operating temperature is -40 to +85 deg C.

Until now, electrostatic capacitors have not been considered for energy storage applications because of their low energy density characteristics. Capacitors applied to storage are based upon electrochemical and electrolytic capacitor technologies, which possess higher energy densities. EEStor’s development proposition changes that premise by eliminating the inherent weaknesses of electrostatic technology for storage applications.

A number of major companies have said they would issue a purchase order quickly if specs are met.

The company is currently seeking equity investment of $3.5 million. A business plan is available.

Contact Richard D. Weir, President and CEO
    EEStor, Inc. Cedar Park, TX

DG Update

Has DG (distributed generation) gone quiet, or mainstream, or both?  Meanwhile, the DOE program has not done well in the proposed budget.  Congressional earmarks are taking up so much money that DOE is forced to cancel some ongoing DG applications projects.

 Here are some developments and updates.

 – DUIT Facility Up and Running 
 – CADER Meeting  Jan. 2004
 – IEEE 1547 Interconnection Standards
 – PG&E DG Interconnection program


Distributed Utility Integration Test Facility

The Distributed Utility Integration Test (DUIT) is the first full-scale, integration test of commercial-grade, utility grid interactive Distributed Energy Resources (DER) in the U.S.  DUIT addresses a key technical issue: electrical implications of operating multiple, diverse DERs at high penetration levels within a utility distribution system.  DUIT’s test plan is intended to focus on grid interaction, integration and aggregation issues, not on DER technology itself. 

After an exhaustive study of program goals and alternative sites, DOE selected the facilities at PG&E’s Modular Generation Test Facility in San Ramon, CA as the home of the new DUIT Facility.  Pre existing buildings, labs and professional staff helped make the choice, along with the adjacent test substation and high-current yard.  The site held an official opening ceremony in August 2003.

The facility offers a realistic yet controlled laboratory environment, enabling  testing of normal and abnormal operational conditions without interfering with a customer’s electric service. DG equipment at the site is commercially available and all on loan to the project from the vendors:  Inverters, rotating machinery, and generation and storage devices. DUIT provides a full-scale multi-megawatt implementation, testing and demonstration of distributed generation technologies in a realistic utility installation.

Utilities may want to take note that DUIT will be confirming and testing to the newly passed IEEE 1547 Interconnection standard, which is expected to be adopted by a large number of state regulators and legislators. Similarly, for California, DUIT will  be testing to the Rule 21 document.

To inquire about prospective DUIT project participation, technical specifications, test plans, project plans or the DUIT white paper, contact the DUIT Project Team.  Reports will be issued by CEC and other sponsors beginning this Summer, and information will be available on the DUIT website:

Susan Horgan, DUIT Project Leader
    Distributed Utility Associates

For the complete history:
"DUIT: Distributed Utility Integration Test", NREL/SR-560-34389, August 2003 (250 pages)


CADER (California Alliance for Distributed Energy Resources)

The 2004 DG conference in San Diego on January 26-28, 2004 had 202 attendees.

Presentations are posted on CADER’s website at or go directly to:

The draft DG-DER Cost and Benefit Primer was developed as a first step to support the discussions at the "Costs and Benefits of DER" session at the Conference on January 26-28, 2004. Comments about the document can be provided via the CADER member list-server to reach all members.


IEEE 1547 Update

As you know, "IEEE 1547 Standard for Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems" was approved by the IEEE Standards Board in June 2003. It was approved as an American National Standard in October 2003. (available for purchase from IEEE:

SCC21 develops and coordinates new IEEE standards and maintains existing standards developed under past SCC21 projects. These include the original 1547, along with the four spinoff efforts.

> P1547.1 Conformance Test Procedures for Equipment Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems (EPS)  (draft standard)

> P1547.2 Draft Application Guide for the IEEE 1547 Standard

> P1547.3 Monitoring, Information Exchange, and Control of Distributed Resources Interconnected with EPS (draft guide)

> P1547.4 Design, Operation, and Integration of Distributed Resource Island Systems with EPS  (draft guide)

#1 and 2 have drafts out to their working groups for review.  #1 expects to be ready for ballot early in 2005.
#3 has just completed a draft.
#4 has just been approved as a new initiative, and will be organized over the coming summer.

Complete information is available at:

The next meeting of the IEEE 1547 series working groups will be April 20-22, 2004 in San Francisco. The P1547.1, P1547.2, and P1547.3 working groups will meet concurrently 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Working groups will be meeting separately – no plenary session is planned.  Details at:


PG&E DG Interconnection program

PG&E held a Distributed Generation (DG) Workshop last December 10. The free event provided PG&E customers and the DG community with practical information on how to navigate the various Electric Rule 21 application and interconnection review processes – from initial application through to permission to parallel with PG&E’s electric distribution system. The focus of the workshop was to communicate PG&E’s internal DG processes and interconnection technical requirements to the DG community. (For details on California’s Rule 21, see:

PG&E has set up an entire cross-company team to deal with all aspects of DG interconnection in a coordinated way.  They appear to be very committed to low hassle, low cost, minimum time for DG projects. A great deal of information about PG&E’s program, (including the 117 page powerpoint from the workshop) is available at:

Jerry Jackson, Team Leader

PS- Jerry’s office generously offers to send a hard copy on request of the nearly 2 inch thick binder that was handed out at the workshop.

       ———CALIFORNIA RULE 21 ——-

After passing Rule 21 in Dec 2000, California PUC established, and the CEC coordinated, a working group of all DG stakeholders. Electric Rule 21 Working Group meetings have been held about once a month since mid 2001.  The purpose is to establish procedures and work through issues to simplify and expedite interconnection projects.  (Agenda and minutes are at:

  California Interconnection Guidebook
  Publication # 500-03-083F
  PDF file, 94 pages, 1.1 megabytes) online November 13, 2003.

The Guidebook is intended to help a person or project team interconnect one or more electricity generators to the local electric utility grid in California under California Rule 21. Rule 21 applies only to the three electric utilities in California that are under jurisdiction of the California PUC: PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E. The Guidebook is written as an aid to interconnection in these utility areas. It may also be useful for interconnection in some municipal utility areas with interconnection rules resembling Rule 21, principally Riverside, SMUD, and the LADWP.


Recommended:   DG Monitor, a free email newsletter from Resource Dynamics Corp. Archive and subscription at:

Calif Treasurer Proposes Green Wave to Invest $1.5B in Cleantech

For over a year, California Treasurer Phil Angelides has been meeting with bankers, VCs, and environmental, business and labor leaders, and now he’s announced a major proposition to California’s two giant pension funds, CALPERS and CALSTRS, which have $163 B and $113 B respectively (#1 and #3 in the nation).

Flanked by several key players in energy and clean tech, he held a press conference at NanoSolar here in Palo Alto Tuesday morning, which it was my privilege to attend.

The “Green Wave Initiative” includes among other provisions the commitment by the pension funds of $1.5 billion to be invested in new clean technologies and environmentally responsible companies. The goal is to gain long term financial returns while reducing risks — risks to pensioners’ financial security posed by corporate environmental liabilities, and risks of environmental damage, energy security, and climate change. Equally, the opportunities in clean tech are expanding rapidly and represent one of the next big growth arenas.

There are four main parts to the proposal:

1. Investor Activism
California has been a leader in investor activism, demanding transparency, disclosure and accountability from the management and boards of the hundreds of major companies that pension funds are invested in. With recent corporate scandals, this has become all the more significant. Companies that cut corners are careless with environmental responsibilities are just as likely to disappoint investors as those who cook their books, and companies that don’t plan ahead could get hit with future compliance costs big enough to hurt their share prices. CalPERS and CalSTRS will now demand that corporations also provide meaningful and robust reporting of their environmental practices, risks and potential liabilities.

2. Private Equity Investments
The funds already have sizable venture capital and private equity investments (though a small percentage of the total portfolio). This would be extended by investing $500 million into investments that nurture “clean” technologies. A similar initiative in biotech was begun 2 years ago, and now cleantech is a new growth industry offering returns along with jobs and economic growth, while addressing critical environmental issues.

3. Public Equity Investments
The funds would invest $1 B of their stock portfolios with environmentally screened funds, particularly those whose managers have outperformed non-screened counterparts. This should not only reduce risk and increase returns, but also help send the message to corporations.

4. Real Estate Audit
The two funds together own nearly 160 million square feet of office and industrial space, part of a $16 B invested in real estate across the US and in 22 countries. The proposal is that a comprehensive audit be done of the energy efficiency and green practices in these buildings, towards the goal of using “best practices” that reduce long term costs and boost property values.

Angelides has asked CalPERS and CalSTRS to put these initiatives on their agendas for this Spring and Summer.

In supporting remarks, Bob Epstein of Environmental Entrepreneurs ( observed that the next big growth area isn’t always clear to everyone. In 1984, when he was raising money to start Sybase, there was a lot of doubt that enterprise software would be big. He and many others are convinced that cleantech is now clearly on the launch pad.

The Treasurer’s website has additional information on today’s announcement, including the full press release, fact sheets on the four facets of the Green Wave initiative, and the Treasurer’s Nov’03 U.N. speech at CERES’ Institutional Investor Summit on Climate Risk.

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,

Gas-to-Liquid: Its Time Has Come

As outlined in an UFTO Note last year (17 May), Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) technology has been around for nearly a century. Known as the Fischer-Tropsch process (FT), it converts gas into a liquid fuel in the form of a refined crude or even a final product such as (clean) diesel. Until recently, conventional wisdom has been correct: use of GTL has been limited by high capital and operating costs.

[In the FT process, synthesis gas (or syngas, H+CO) is reacted in the presence of an iron or cobalt catalyst. End products are determined by the length of the hydrocarbon chain which, in turn, is determined by catalyst selectivity and reaction conditions. Possible end products include kerosene, naphtha, methanol, dimethyl ether, alcohols, waxes, synthetic diesel and gasoline, with water or carbon dioxide produced as a byproduct. Natural gas or coal can be the raw feedstock. ]

Several drivers, however, have combined to change that situation entirely:

– Dwindling world oil reserves and high exploration costs
– Impending limits worldwide on sulfur content in diesel fuel
– Vast quantities of “stranded gas” identified
– Technology advances, thanks to substantial programs by the oil majors

Very recently, these same oil companies have announced multibillion dollar GTL projects. Last October, Shell announced a $5 billion plant in Qatar, and estimated production costs at less than $4 per barrel. As the NY Times reported (Oct 16), Exxon Mobil is also building a plant in Qatar, at a cost of $10 billion, and the South African company Sasol is constructing a 34,000-barrel-a-day GTL plant in Qatar that is expected to come online in 2005. Together with ChevronTexaco, Sasol is negotiating with the government to build another 120,000-barrel-a-day GTL plant. Conocophillips announced its own $5B plant to be built in Qatar. (Seems Qatar is the place to be!) BP’s commercial pilot plant in Alaska is operational.

The petroleum industry has found more than 5,000 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas in remote locations, an energy equivalent of 500 billion barrels of crude oil. Most of this resource is abandoned in place because of the prohibitive cost of transportation infrastructure.

A new company, World GTL, Inc. was founded in 2000 by industry veterans. Their plan is to acquire ownership rights (in some cases production rights) to certain stranded gas fields at deeply discounted prices, and capitalize on opportunities that now exist to convert these “stranded” natural gas fields into synthetic petroleum products.

Why don’t the majors do this themselves? They do hold on to larger fields and may eventually develop them as LNG sources (or increasingly, with GTL), but they have no interest in smaller fields, e.g. under 3 tcf. This leaves a huge opportunity for players like World GTL. In fact, majors have already said they’d license their GTL technology and help with plant financing. (There is an analogy to the independent oil company movement over the last 20 years in the US. The majors decided that shallow water drilling in the Gulf was not going to work with their overhead costs and targeted IRRs, so they left the area to small independents who have done very well indeed.)

Turning Stranded Gas into Proven Oil Reserves

World GTL has come up with an interesting strategy. Once the development is done on a project (i.e. secure gas rights, do site plan, license technology, do preliminary engineering, arrange financing, sales agreements, etc.) previously stranded gas reserves with little to no value will essentially have been converted to “in the ground” gasoline and diesel inventories which can be easily monetized in the international oil market.

World oil companies are struggling to rebuild and expand their proven reserves which have dropped to dangerously low levels. Reserves can be borrowed against, and this critically important for these companies, not only to be able to invest in the development of those resources, but as a contribution to their balance sheet. The majors are spending an average of more than $5 per BOE (barrel of oil equivalent) just to find bookable reserves today (and that’s not even counting the “fully developed” cost to produce). Every dry hole drilled adds to the problem.

World GTL estimates that ten cents will cover development costs needed to get a BOE to “bookability”, and there is a long list of buyers who will jump at the chance to buy these BOE’s for $1. (Actually better than BOE, because it’s zero sulfur fuel.)

Thus venture returns are possible even before the plant is built. Once it is built, the fully developed cost of production is less than $5 per barrel of finished product, and refinery demand for sulfur free blending stock is already booming. New EPA regulations drastically limit sulfur content of diesel fuel beginning in 2006. Other regions are doing likewise, and refiners have very limited means to comply, especially in light of the lessening supply of lighter crude oil.

The company is currently raising $40 M to take their program to the next level and build two small commercial GTL plants. A great deal of information is available, including a collection of recent articles in the business press.


Contact: David Loring,
President, World GTL Inc., New York, NY

[Where the majors have all gone into Qatar with projects that won’t produce anything until at least 2006, World GTL has projects ready to go to relocate and retrofit existing (idle) methanol plants using a unique process with a World GTL patent application filed. This unique process can put these facilities into GTL production with positive cash flows within 12-18 months. The engineering study for the relocation and retrofitting has been completed and there are guarantees involved. Significant project finance assistance is available from certain US government agencies for these specific projects.]


05 Nov 2003 UFTO Note — Cost-Effective Dimmable Fluorescent Ballast
19 Oct 2003 UFTO Note – Short Subjects
17 Sep 2003 UFTO Note – DOE Office of Electric Transmission & Distribution (OETD)
01 Sep 2003 UFTO Note – Humid Air Injection Boosts CT Output
16 Jul 2003 UFTO Note – Update on Alchemix HydroMax
06 Jul 2003 UFTO Note – Bicarb Cleans Up Stack Gas Emissions
26 Jun 2003 UFTO Note – Non-Thermal Plasma H2, no CO2
23 Jun 2003 UFTO Note – Firefly Re-invents the Lead Acid Battery
11 Jun 2003 UFTO Note – Energy Efficiency as a Resource
30 May 2003 UFTO Note – DOE H2&FC Reviews’03
19 May 2003 UFTO Note – Cleantech Venture Forum II
12 May 2003 UFTO Note – New New Solar PV
02 Apr 2003 UFTO Note – Photolytic Hydrogen from Sunlight
21 Mar 2003 UFTO Note – T&D R&D Gaining Attention
18 Mar 2003 UFTO Note – Preheat Standby Diesels with Heat Pump
28 Feb 2003 UFTO Note – Bipolar NiMHydride Battery
13 Feb 2003 UFTO Note – Virtual Utility Technology License Available
04 Feb 2003 UFTO Note – Leveraging the Feds
08 Jan 2003 UFTO Note – Sugar to Hydrogen by Aqueous Catalysis

Cost-Effective Dimmable Fluorescent Ballast

Fluorescent lights need a special kind of power–high voltage AC, and preferably high frequency. Standard 50-60 Hz AC power is converted by a device called the ballast which is usually installed in or near the fixture. There are several types available today:

– Magnetic or core/coil ballasts (CESB) ­ least energy efficient, but lowest initial cost (they are being phased-out)

– Electronic ballasts (EB) ­ the traditional electronic ballast is much more energy efficient than the CESB, but is also more expensive than the CESB

– Dimming electronic ballasts (DEB) ­ are substantially more energy efficient than the CESB and the EB due to their ability to match the correct amount of light required for the job while using the minimum amount of energy necessary to generate that light. Control strategies such as task tuning, daylighting and other well recognized schemes can provide significant energy savings.

The DEB is currently much more expensive in terms of initial cost, but less expensive in terms of life cycle cost. Even though they are much more energy efficient, DEB adoption in this country has been severely limited by these high first costs, in spite of the fact that specifiers, government policy officials and users desire the benefits associated with these products. Use of DEB’s has been chiefly in specialized niche applications, like boardrooms and high end retail.

There have been many attempts over the past several decades to break into this market with lower cost products. Some have had technical problems, and others have run into obstacles in the marketplace.

Luminoptics is a company that actually developed dimmable ballast technology in the 70’s, and installed them in a showcase project at Citibank headquarters in 1980. They got a 70% reduction in energy consumption for lighting and more than tripled the longevity of conventional ballasts. Luminoptics products were installed in over two million square feet of lighting systems at Citibank, Bankers Trust and other building in the New York metropolitan area. (See cover story in the 1983 Electrical Construction & Maintenance Journal

Owing to this great success and promise, in 1981 Luminoptics technology was licensed exclusively to a major ballast manufacturer who proceeded to sit on it instead of bringing it to market. A long and fascinating saga followed, with two major trials culminating in a $102 Million settlement in 1997 in favor of the original Luminoptics team. (For details see the Luminoptics website, including NY Times and Wall Street Journal accounts.)

That team is back, with a significantly enhanced and updated suite of technology and products to carry on their original mission. Luminoptics’ new DEB’s are substantially less expensive to produce than what is available today, and will trigger a dramatic increase in DEB sales growth at the expense not only of other DEBs, but more importantly of regular electronic ballasts (EB). Thus the market becomes not just the DEB market, but the entire ballast market.

For the first time, DEBs can be widely deployed, greatly increasing opportunities for total building energy management, and creating meaningful quantities of dispatchable “Negawatts”. Building owners will see large savings in operating costs, which in turn create increases in the book value of the property. Tenants will see improved comfort and productivity.

Today the market in the United States for ballasts exceed $1 billion annually, and electronic units account for over half of all ballasts sold. Worldwide approximately $2.5 billion (USD) worth of ballasts are sold every year.

Luminoptics is presently in the final engineering and pre-production manufacturing stage to produce a low cost (nineteen dollar target) full performance dimming ballast called the “ST-100” which will automatically interface with most lighting control systems. Production is now scheduled to commence in early 2004.

The Technology

Drawing from industry knowledge and experience at Motorola, EBT, Philips, and ESI (now Universal), Luminoptics has updated the technology to 2003 standards and components, and added a significant new feature. Most important, the new Luminoptics ballast is designed to sell for much less than the competition or what the competition would likely do over the coming years in terms of cost reduction to meet the Luminoptics challenge.

The new Luminoptics ST-100 DEB uses a microprocessor for supervisory and control functions of the ballast. In addition, and, perhaps more important, this capability makes it possible to monitor and to interpret controls signals from a variety of competitive control sources to dim the lights accordingly. As it is now, every controller is designed to talk to a narrow range of ballasts. Not so with the ST-100; one ballast can interface with all currently available lighting controllers. Because the control functions are in software, Luminoptics has the capability to rapidly respond to new developments and changes in the marketplace without significant costs.

The ST-100 coupled with the Light Monitoring and Control System (LMCS) provides an integrated solution. The system is designed to reduce electrical energy consumption and demand by controlling the light output of fluorescent lamps (fixtures) in a building. The LMCS consists of one or more SBC (up to 12 special Single Board Computers) and a Master Computer (MC) to supervise, monitor and control all of the SBCs used to run a building. The SBC is a highly reliable stand-alone system which can function independently of any other SBC and the MC. The MC is a standard PC system used to monitor and supervise the SBCs connected to the LMCS system as well as to collect data on the operation of the entire system and to automatically program the SBCs for special events such as unanticipated holiday schedules, demand response (load shedding), fire and emergency use. No operator intervention is required for normal operation. Each SBC usually controls up to 50,000 square feet of space although the system is capable controlling more space depending on the zoning and each MC can supervise at least 12 SBCs.

In addition to the original IP, the company has 5 new patents and 4 more pending.

Full technical specs and additional background are available on the website:

The company is now looking for $1.5 Million in bridge financing (a memorandum is available, along with a full business plan), and will raise another $15 Million in equity and debt over the next 18 months. They are also looking for strategic marketing partners, particularly utilities and other 3rd party energy service providers.

William (Bill) Alling, (775) 356-3600,
John Domingos, (415) 394-7000,

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??