Technology Transfer Opportunities in the National Laboratories
Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
Utility Federal Technology Opportunities (UFTO)
This report is part of a series examining technology opportunities at National Laboratories of possible interest to electric utilities
2 LBL Organization
3. LBL Technologies & Programs
10. LBL Contacts
This report is proprietary and confidential. It is for internal use by personnel of companies that are subscribers in the UFTO multi-client program. It is not to be otherwise copied or distributed except as authorized in writing.
This report details findings about technology and technology transfer opportunities at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL)that might be of strategic interest to electric utilities. It is based on two visits to LBL in February and May 1995, as part of the UFTO multiclient project.
Noting the tremendous scope of research underway in the research facilities of the U.S. government, and a very strong impetus on the government’s part to foster commercial partnering with industry and applications of the technology it has developed, the UFTO program has been established as a multi-client study of the opportunities thus afforded electric utilities.
Unlike the matrix structure common at other DOE labs, LBL has a straight line management organizational structure, and they’ve mostly eliminated (except on the administration side) the layer of managment known as “ALD’s” or Associate Laboratory Directorates seen at many other labs.
Nine technical divisions report directly to the Laboratory Director, C. V. Shank, and several others report to the ALD for Operations. There are also a number of Research Centers and User Facilities within the various divisions.
LBL is a major multiprogram lab managed by the University of California (as are Livermore and Los Alamos), with more than 3000 employees, a third of which are scientists and engineers. The annual budget is over $250 million. LBL is situated adjacent to the Berkeley campus of the University of California, and there is a great deal of collaboration and overlap between the two organizations. Many of the staff hold dual appointments, and UC graduate students often work in LBL programs (notably reducing the cost of research!). No classified work is done at LBL, so security is light, contributing to a campus-like atmosphere.
Administrative relationships can become quite complex. Projects, programs or “centers” may be either university or lab-based. One particularly noteworthy instance is the California Institute for Energy Efficiency (CIEE), which is actually part of UC’s quasi-independent Energy Institute, and until recently was funded by California utilities and state agencies. It is set up as a CRADA between LBL and the California utilities. Its technical resources could become more broadly available as they seek new roles and sources of funding.
Virtually all of the programs in the Energy and Environment Division are relevant to the electric utility industry, as are portions of other divisions(e.g. Materials, Chemical and Earth Sciences, and Information and Computing Sciences). Though the organizational structure is not ideally suited to cross-cutting activities, collaboration and joint efforts are not uncommon.
Within Energy and Environment, areas of interest include building energy efficiency, energy analysis, lighting technology, combustion cleanup, and energy conversion and storage. LBL has very strong programs in these areas, however the dissemination of results and interaction with industry has been somewhat limited, suggesting a possible underutilization of these resources by utilities which UFTO can help to overcome.
Generally speaking, much of LBL’s work in these areas tends to be informational or precompetitive. However there are also a number of specific developments underway with industrial partners, and some that could represent important strategic technology opportunities for utilities.
One other general point: each of the labs annually publishes an “Institutional Plan”, which is organized according to which DOE Program Office supports the work, not the lab’s own organizational structure. Thus a “mapping” between the two structures is required to be able to see the work of the groups within a lab. In most instances, divisions and programs also publish annual reports, providing detailed though not always current accounts of the work
General Telephone # is (510) 486-4000
LBL Technologies & Programs
Topics Covered in this Report:
• Energy in Buildings
• Energy Analysis
• Environmental Research (Combustion and Air Quality)
• Information & Computer Sciences
• Materials Science
• Electrochemistry–Advanced Batteries and Fuel Cells
• Geothermal Energy
Energy in Buildings
LBL is particularly strong in work on Energy in Buildings from a number of points of view, in three distinct programs and a “Center”, plus the CIEE.
1. Indoor Environment Program, Joan Daisey, 510-486-7491
Ventilation, infiltration, ducts, efficiency in existing buildings, radon, indoor air pollutants, exposure and risk assessment, indoor air quality standards, etc.
• Duct Sealing Technology Mark Modera 510-486-4678, Max Sherman 510-486-4022
Energy losses from leaks in ducts are variously estimated to account for as much as 1/3 of the energy used in residential air-distribution heating and cooling. LBL has developed a technique for sealing leaks in existing systems. Analogous to “stopleak” used in automobile cooling systems, an aerosol is injected into the system which deposits itself at leaks, closing them off. Developed at LBL with support of CIEE, it is to be commercialized by EPRI, acting as a member of CIEE. (Agreements currently in negotiation.)
• Indoor Air Quality
Becoming more of an issue. Lawsuits more common. Standards being revised. Need better sensors for commercial use. Direct measurement more meaningful than specifying air change rates. LBL working on specific species, e.g. VOCs, CO, etc. Environmental Chambers allow detailed simulation and test of emissions from indoor sources.
2. Building Energy Analysis (in the Energy Analysis Program) Alan Meier, 510-486-4740
Data compilation, analysis of measured data (meta analysis across all available studies), assessment of efficiency impacts of technologies and programs, DEEP (Database on Energy Efficiency Programs), impact of high albedo surfaces, shade trees, etc., monitoring building performance, alternatives to compressive cooling, load shape estimation, urban climate, public housing.
3. Building Technologies Program , Stephen Selkowitz, 510-486-5064
Windows and daylighting, building energy simulation tools, lighting systems.
• Electrochromic Window Coatings (“smart windows”) can vary light transmission by from10-80% with the application of a low dc voltage; can be controlled to maintain constant light levels with dimmable electric lighting, control solar heat gain, and result in substantial overall energy savings and load control.
LBL is technical lead for DOE, and holds patents for two families of polymers for use in these coatings, and has CRADAs underway with Dow Chemical. Expect commercial prototypes in 2-3 years. Research field tests are already underway. There will be demos with utilities.
• Selective (“low-E”) Coatings pass visible light and block infrared. LBL doing research in the durability and performance of these coatings.
• Advanced Insulating Windows (“Superwindows”) include coatings and gas filled systems. LBL developed a concept which has been commercialized (with utility co-supported field tests
• Daylighting Design Tools
4. Center for Building Science , Evan Mills, 510-486-6784
A “home” for the three above programs, serving as a national and international source of information, technical support to policymakers, support to new institutions and demonstration programs, facilitate tech transfer.
“From the Lab to the MarketPlace–Making America’s Buildings More Efficient”, Jan, 1995
(40 page overview of building programs)
Center for Building Science News
(contact Ralph McLaughlin, 510-486-4508–also for list of the Center’s publications.)
5. California Institute for Energy Efficiency(CIEE),
Jim Cole, Director, or Carl Blumstein, Assoc. Director, 510-642-9588
This is a separate entity of the University of California — a collaborative of the California PUC and Energy Commission, the California electric and gas utilities, Universities, and LBL, focused directly at advancing technology for energy efficiency in California (all sectors) mid to long term.
CIEE may be an interesting target of opportunity to UFTO members. Its funding has been drastically cut — Calif. utilities are no longer paying dues. CIEE has funds to keep going for another 2 years, as it looks at alternatives for the future, one of which is to broaden its attention outside California.
CIEE may be a useful resource to utilities elsewhere, with its expertise and repository of technical information (available free). Also, there are ongoing projects which could be tuned or redirected to the interests of new players. As just one example, Building Performance Measurement, Operation & Control: Diagnostics for Commissioning and Operation has DOE support, and may be a “line of business” opportunity for utilities. An automated system is being developed that will help operators diagnose performance degradation, so that buildings can be operated “to spec”. There is also work in low NOx burners, alternatives to compressor cooling, HVAC distribution systems, and many other areas.
CIEE 1992 Annual Report
CIEE 1993 Annual Report
1994 Annual Conference Program
“Research News” (newsletter discontinued. back issues available)
Various technical reports
Lighting Systems, Francis Rubinstein, 510-486-4096
LBL is a lead player in lighting technology development, with its extensive R&D program in advanced lighting sources, fixture design, measurement, advanced controls, and education. (A detailed list of Publications of the Lighting Group is available. 510-486-5388)
For lighting, there are many different approaches appropriate in different applications and niches. There isn’t and won’t be a single “magic bullet” new technology. Utilities need to be informed about what is available on the market but is still underutilized (e.g. adv. controls, advanced compact flourescents, etc.) There are different solutions in different niches.
The state of the art in control systems doesn’t yet permit the specifying of useable systems that will achieve energy savings. This is a subject of particular interest at LBL, which is working with the NIST sponsored effort with ASHRAE standards committee to establish the “BACKNET” building automation energy managment protocol. LBL is also working with a utility and the GSA to propose a major advanced lighting control demonstration project in a Federal building. It is the area for utilities to get involved in, as relamping and reballasting become less interesting. Note that ESCOs can count on savings from relamping, but controls are unfamiliar, and can confuse their basic proposition of assured shared savings.
Utility Retrofit Energy Efficiency Program (UREEP): a new proposed program to support utility customer service programs with integrated training and education on advanced lighting retrofit. Will provide participating utilities with practical information and comprehensive guidelines and procedures to use with their customers. A number of utilities have already expressed interest in joining. Michael Siminovitch, 510-486-5863.
Sulfur Lamp: LBL is playing a major role in development and testing. The DOE press releases last year got a lot of attention, but this is still a long way from commercial availability. Generally, high efficiency comes with high intensity, so it means that a way to distribute the light from a single point (not just a fixture) is needed, thus the light pipe configuration. Demo applications/sites will be chosen soon. Interested utilities should contact LBL: Francis Rubinstein, 510-486-4096
Tests and Measurements: LBL has unique measurement programs and equipment, and can perform tests on prototype new lighting technologies. As one example, there is no data available on the angular sensitivity of photosensors, but LBL is performing these measurements. LBL won’t permit its name to be used for commercial testimonial purposes, nor will they compete with commercial test labs.
Advanced Lighting Guidelines: 1993 is a DOE report (DOE/EE-0008) provides an overview of specific lighting technologies and design applications for energy efficient lighting. The report assesses lighting strategies, discusses issues, and explains how to obtain quality lighting design and consulting services. Each of 10 sections provide a technology overview, discussing products on the market. For use by electric utility personnel involved in lighting programs, the report is also used at FEMP training sessions. (The work was cofunded by EPRI and the Calif. Energy Commission, each of whom also published the same document under their own respective covers.)
[Note: The Lighting Research Center at RPI in NY conducts the National Lighting Product Information Program (NLPIP), funded by a number of utilties, EPA, DOE, and others. NLPIP publishes “Specifier Reports” and “Lighting Answers”, providing detailed technical information on commercial products. tel 518-276-8716.]
Energy Analysis Program, Mark Levine, Program Leader, 510-486-5238
Steve Weil, Deputy ” ” , 510-486-5396
List of Publications; Current Projects — available from Karen Olson, 510-486-5974.
• Utility Planning and Policy, Ed Kahn, 510-486-6525
Nationally recognized experts in utility industry analysis, funded by DOE Office of Utility Technology (OUT), and no utility funding. The product is “analysis”. Studies have included competition and bulk power markets, the cost of electricity from IPPs, a comparative analysis of the impact of power purchases on utility cost of capital, transmission pricing, IRP methods and case studies, industry evolution, DSM resource characterization, gas DSM and fuel switching, DSM bidding experience, “The Cost & Performance of Utility Commercial Lghting Programs”, J. Eto, etal., LBL-34967, May 94
The group takes on potentially controversial industry wide issues, and has a reputation for objectivity. An annotated publications list, and copies of the publications, are available from
Patty Juergens, Fax # 510-486-6996 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
• International Energy & Environment Studies:
– OECD transportation analysis, energy efficiency; structure of demand in Europe and FSU; Lee Schipper
– Energy data, trends and scenarios for developing countries– Jayant Sathaye
– Global climate, developing country economics; training — Steve Weil, Mark Levine
– Energy Business Development–China, India, S. America – the politics, policies, local liaison, intelligence gathering, etc.; early stage plans to couple efficiency and power plant projects.
– Energy in China, e.g. report in preparation and workshop Fall ’95 on business opportunities for cogeneration in China; Mark Levine
• Energy Conservation Policy, Jim McMahon, Leader, 510-486-6049
Engineering economics of appliances. Analyze and develop appliance standards. Engineering assessments. Assess impact of standards on manufacturers; forecast sales/prices.
“Economic and Technical Analysis of US Appliance Efficiency Standards” — series of major technical support documents–DOE/EE-0009, Vol 1-3.
• Energy Efficiency Markets and Forecasts, Jon Koomey, 510-486-5974
National and regional level residential end-use forecasting model is fine-grained with respect to technologies and specific end uses. (LBL developed default data for REEPS and COMMEND). Conservation supply curves. Consumer behavior and market failures.
• Building Energy Analysis See description above (page 3).
Environmental Research, Nancy Brown, Program Leader, 510-486-4241
• Air Quality: Urban and Regional Air Pollution, Global Climate Change
(e.g. Reformulated Fuel effects study, Ammonia inventory, atmospheric aerosols, etc.)
• Combustion Research: Chemistry, mixing, diagnostics, …
Reactive Flow Modeling (reaction dynamics, rate coeff prediction, Nitrogen chemistry, reduced mechanisms, emissions inventories, turbulence chemistry interactions)
(e.g. Pollutant control, gas turbines, incineration, fire safety, health effects assessement)
• Low NOx Swirl Burner — ultra lean premix flame stabilized by weak swirl, 4-7 ppm NO, Applicable to wide range of applications, from home furnaces to large boilers and power systems. Robert Cheng, 510-486-5438
• PHOSNOX process, developed in 1990, removes NOx from Flue Gas simultaneously with SOx removal in existing wet FGD systems. NO is oxidized into more soluble NO2, by the addition of yellow phosphorus P4 to the scrubbing solution. Phosphoric acid is a recoverable byproduct. Process would be cheap and effective, but perceived safety issues have blocked further development. (Bechtel was actively promoting this for some time.) Ted Chang, 510-486-5125
• Iron Thiochelate is a more recent development addressing the same issue. The catalyst is added to the limestone in wet scrubbers to absorb NO. The catalyst is then regenerated as the bound NO is reduced to ammonia by electrochemical reduction [See Nature, v. 369, 12 May 94, p. 139.]. In mid May 95, a patent application was filed for a new simpler reduction technique, in which the liquor is passed through a column of Fe chips.
WANTED: a demo host, slip stream or pilot scale. Ted Chang, 510-486-5125
• Pozone uses yellow phosphorus in water to generate Ozone for bleaching paper pulp, and in other applications where the presence of phospate “contamination” isn’t an obstacle. International Paper is doing benchtests. Costs are estimated to be 1/2 to 1/3 (with credit for selling the phosphate byproduct) that of electrically produced ozone. Another possible application — regenerating active carbon that’s loaded with contaminants–could be done locally instead of at the very few licensed facilities. Ted Chang, 510-486-5125
• A novel catalyst offers a breakthrough in treating SO2 gas from coal-fired power plants, converting 98% of it to elemental sulfur. The Ralph M. Parsons Co. has just been granted an exclusive license. Ted Chang, 510-486-5125
Information & Computer Sciences, Stu Loken, Director 510-486-7474
This division includes both the operation of internal lab computer and information systems (technical and administrative information processing, and information services such as publications and the library) and research in information sciences, focusing primarily on network issues.
In this latter role, LBL has played a major part over the years in the formulation of the internet. In fact, TCP/IP traces back to LBL. The network research group deals with bandwidth allocation and scaling issues associated with the rapid growth in the size of the network.
The utility industry is expected to be a major player in the NII, because of the direct benefits to utilities and their customers. It’s already apparent that energy management programs and demonstrations will require such a large number of addresses on the network as to raise a problem that hasn’t really been addressed as yet.
In this light, LBL recognizes that its interactions with utilities have been too limited, and they are just beginning a process of self-education and outreach to the industry. They are looking for partners to work with them, particularly on integrating energy management equipment into network applications.
Materials Science, Joel Ager, 510-486-6715
High degree of involvement with industry, addressing fundamental materials development issues, e.g. high temperature superconductor sensors (squids), tough silicon carbide composites, ultra-hard coatings, crack-path prediction in layered structures, failure mechanism identification in nickel oxide scales (with EPRI), in-situ corrosion study of stainless steel (also EPRI).
The super-hard (diamond like) coatings can now be applied cost effectively on large objects (see UFTO Flash 3/21/95).
DOE Center of Excellence for the Synthesis and Processing of Advanced Materials (CSP), funded by the DOE Office of Basic Energy Science, is a network involving 12 of the major DOE labs, to support fundamental research and establish partnerships among the Labs, universities and Industry to shorten the time between development and applications. Steering Groups and a project plan exist for each of more than a 1/2 dozen topics, including Conventional and Superplastic Metal Forming, Materials Joining, Processing for Surface Hardness, and Mechanically Reliable Surface Oxides for High Temperature Corrosion Resistance, plus several dealing with microstructures. A 60 page description of the CSP is available from DOE. [I’ll obtain copies for anyone who wants one.]
Energy Conversion and Storage
LBL’s efforts in this arena are wide ranging, from advanced electrodes, to modeling, surface layer physics, and applied research in lithium and zinc based battery systems. There may be less of a place for direct interaction with utilities, as the work tends to emphasize research, not devices. LBL could be helpful, however, as an objective advisor to utilities about technology.
Advanced Batteries and Fuel Cells, Frank McLarnon, 510-486-4636
Berkeley Electrochemical Research Center is a world center for basic electrochemical engineering research, operated as a collaboration between LBL and UC Berkeley. It manages a substantial portion of DOE’s applied battery and EC research (the Exploratory Technology Research Program for Electrochemical Energy Storage), and provides technical guidance to research projects at other institutions around the country.
Geothermal Energy, Jane Long, Head, Energy and Resource Development, 510-486-6697
Geothermal reservoir analysis for specific sites–optimization, recharge, performance modeling, geochemistry, instrumentation, etc. Analysis tools applicable to radwaste and ground water issues.
Ground Source Heat Pumps: proposal for optimization of subsurface part of the system, effects of geology and hydrology on performance. Also, internal (“lab-directed research”) proposal to study ground-source “coolth”.
LBL Contacts (general phone # is 510-486-4000)
The primary contact for UFTO is:
Donald F. Grether, Deputy Division Director, Energy & Environment Division
Rod Fleischman, Assoc Lab Director, Industry & Government Partnerships
Cheryl Fragiadakis, Head, Tech Transfer Dept. 510-486-7020
Bruce Davies, Marketing Manager, 510-486-6461
Industry & Government Partnerships, (quarterly, beginning 1/95) is a new newsletter, listing new CRADAs and licenses issued. Contact Cathy Langridge, 510-486-5894
Information Source Contacts / Technical Information Services:
Public Information Department: 510-486-5771
5 Year Institutional Plan
LBL 1994 (annual) Report to the Regents, University of California
Energy & Environment Division (contact Lila Schwartz, 510-486-4098):
Program Annual Reports:
Energy Conversion and Storage
Indoor Environment Program
Buildings Technology Program
Energy & Environment Divison Newsletter, (monthly)
Energy & Environment Divison brochure (PUB-734 6/94)