Fast Pyrolysis of Biomass

To convert residue fuels such as forest or agricultural feedstock, municipal solid wastes or tires into useful clean gas or liquid fuels, the main option today is gasification. Gasification systems – bubbling, circulating and entrained beds – produce low calorific value gases, are capital intensive, and require large plant sizes to be cost effective. They are therefore inappropriate for many residue fuels such as tires or agricultural wastes. Pyrolysis, and “rapid” pyrolysis in particular, offers a possible alternative with the following advantages:

-Lower vapor volumes which reduce emissions and capital cost.
-Elimination of the production of alkali vapors, simplifying clean-up.
-Reduced operating temperatures which minimizes the formation of poly-nuclear aromatics, in turn improving the efficacy of cracking or steam reformation prior to use in the fuel cell.
– Fast pyrolysis yields larger quantities of fuel vapor with simpler organic moieties.

[Pyrolysis involves heating in the absence of oxygen, resulting in gases, liquids and char (e.g. charcoal) in varying proportions. “Fast” heating, at lower temperature, is preferred, as it results in less char and fewer complex chemical products from subsequent reactions. Gasification, in fact, can be seen as a special case of pyrolysis, where admitting some air helps to maximize gas production over liquids and char.]

Capital and operating cost for a pyrolysis plant is directly related to heat transfer rate. Presently, most rapid pyrolysis processes use conventional entrained flow or fluidized beds which have good heat transfer rates but require small particle sizes, less than 0.08 inches, to achieve the desired residence times (less than 2 seconds) for rapid pyrolysis.

“Ablative” pyrolysis can increase heat transfer rates. The particle is abraded against the hot surface, removing reaction products and exposing fresh material for reaction.

The two ablative processes which are being developed utilize centrifugal force to achieve the required pressure on the particle to sustain ablative pyrolysis. From the operating characteristics of these processes, vortex reactor of NREL and centrifugal pipe design of Enervision Inc, it would appear that these systems cannot provide enough force on the particle to sustain ablative pyrolysis throughout the residence time of the particle. As a result large particles cannot be effectively converted.

Mechanical ablative reactors with low carrier gas requirements are under development in England and the Netherlands. From the data available, it is not obvious how easy it will be to scale these systems to commercial sizes and how effective they will be in handling a wide range of materials and particle sizes.

DynaMotive, a Canadian company which acquired rights to a fluid bed technology developed at Waterloo University, is making “BioFuel” with their BioTherm Fast Pyrolysis Technology.

——- references: ———
“Principles and Practice of Biomass Fast Pyrolysis Processes for Liquids”, A.V. Bridgewater, Journal of Analytical and Applied Physics 51 (1999). (20 pages) offers a thorough review of the subject. (If you have trouble getting it, I have a low quality fax copy.)

Bridgewater has also authored a couple of books on the subject.

Down Stream Systems, a small company in California in the waste conversion technology business, is proposing a ” mechanical ablative pyrolysis” (MAP) unit, currently patent pending in the USA, which offers the potential for the following:

– Simplicity of design with high rates of heat transfer.
– Ability to handle a wide range of particle sizes and residue materials.
– Moderate capital cost and, therefore, the ability to site close to local sources of residue fuel.
– Minimum carrier gas requirements and low vapor volumes with associated reduction in gas clean-up costs.
– System operating temperatures, which avoid the production of alkali vapors and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons. This simplifies gas treatment for use in fuel cells.

An earlier version of the process converted 50 tons per day at a high conversion efficiency. The feedstock however, had to be finely ground. The new MAP process is designed to overcome this critical limitation. It is projected that a 50 ton per day biomass system will produce 10,000 gallons of bio-oil similar to a #2 diesel, but having somewhat less than half the energy. An appropriate site and supply of 50 ton per day of biomass for a prototype system is available.

Before installing the prototype, a series of tests will be run in a 0.5 tpd pilot scale MAP reactor. The company is seeking funding to build and install the pilot scale reactor and to perform the tests.

The pilot reactor will operate under the same conversion conditions as earlier fast acting reactors except for its unique mechanical ablation feature. The test system will be tuned until it efficiently vaporizes coarse organics. A series of tests will then be run to optimize conversion parameters, followed by steady state runs at optimal conversion settings to establish mass/energy balances, characterize the products and provide design data for the commercial demonstration. An independent consulting firm will be retained to observe the control tests and confirm process viability.

The required funding is on the order of $300,000. The company has a proposal involving equity shares in a new holding company, however they are open to other arrangements. A detailed business plan and technical proposal can be provided on request.

Bob McChesney, Vice President
Down Stream Systems, Inc., Folsom, CA
323-249-5303 (at their recycling facility on Los Angeles)

Biomass Cofiring

A couple of UFTO utilities have expressed an interest in biomass cofiring, so I followed up with Sandia and also found some other resources also which you may find useful.


First, the new National Energy Technology Lab website for global climate change has a lot of information on the subject:


The 1995 UFTO report on Sandia had this brief summary on the Combustion Research Facility (CRF) that Sandia operates at its Livermore CA site…

“Over 1000 Sandia employees are located in facilities in Livermore California, and operate several special facilities, one of which is the Combustion Research Facility, the only one of its kind in DOE. Can handle industrial scale burners to 3 million BTU/hour. It is a “user facility” and outside visitors and users are encouraged. Partnerships with industry include GM, Cummins and Beckman Instruments and many others. Developed a number of specialized flame/combustion observational, measurement and diagnostic techniques. Provided fuel blending strategies to midwest utilities to meet SOx requirements. The Burner Engineering Research Laboratory is a user facility for industrial burner manufacturers.”


The CRF “Multifuel Combustor” website is currently under construction:


The CRF continues to be a significant contributor to combustion science, and in particular has amassed a major database of the combustion characteristics of over 50 different biomass fuels, most recently in the context of cofiring with coal. This work has been funded mostly by DOE, and includes information on emissions, carbon burnout, ash, and corrosion/deposition.

They’re also doing extensive computer modeling of coal, biomass and coal-biomass cofiring combustion. The coal modeling is under EPRI sponsorship, so that work is available to EPRI members. The dedicated biomass boiler modeling (stokers, etc.) is publicly available. The intellectual property issues associated with the coal-biomass cofiring are currently being sorted out, but it will be at least available to EPRI members and possibly to everyone.

For addition information, contact:

Larry Baxter 925-294-2862;
Sandia National Labs, Livermore, CA


Larry has generously supplied a copy of a brand new overview paper. Here are the first couple of pages. I have the complete 8 page overview as a (100k) Word document, which I can send on request. Larry has a more detailed article that he is willing to send to interested parties. Also, see below for some earlier reports, and a link to an upcoming American Chemical Society meeting session.



Larry Baxter, Allen Robinson, Steve Buckley and Marc Rumminger Sandia National Labs, Livermore CA

March 2000

This document presents guidelines for cofiring biomass with coal in coal-fired boilers. These guidelines are based on the results from pilot- and commercial-scale tests using a variety of biomass fuels and coals. Guidelines are offered in each of six general areas of major concern when cofiring biomass with coal: (1) fuel preparation and handling; (2) pollutant emissions; (3) ash deposition and deposit properties; (4) fuel burnout; (5) corrosion; and (6) fly ash utilization. For each of these areas, a brief statement of the issue and a brief guideline are summarized. More detailed information can be found at the cited website and in the references.

Summary of Cofiring Guidelines

We believe the following guidelines are generally valid, but there are specific instances where each of them is not valid. The discussions in the literature and web site provide the background to determine when such instances arise.

Fuel should generally be prepared and transported using equipment designed specifically for that purpose rather than mixed with coal and simultaneously processed.

Wood-coal blends generally reduce NOx emissions. This reduction is traced to lower fuel nitrogen content and higher volatile yields from biomass. SOx is nearly always reduced proportional to the reduction in total fuel sulfur associated with combining biomass with coal.

Deposition rates from blends of coal and biomass vary strongly with the type of biomass fired. Most wood-coal blends reduce both the rate of deposition and the difficulty managing the deposits. Some biomass-coal blends, in particular high alkali and high chlorine fuels, severely increase deposition problems.

Complete conversion of the carbon in biomass fuels requires that the fuel be processed to small particle sizes and be moderately dry. Particles generally need to be less than 3 mm (1/8 inch) to completely combust. Fuels that pass through a quarter-inch screen are generally dominated by particles less than 1/8 inch. High moisture contents (greater than 40%) and high particle density both significantly increase the time required to completely combust the particles.

Fuel chlorine and alkali concentrations should be limited to less than one fifth of the total fuel sulfur on a molar basis to avoid corrosion problems. This limit should be applied to the fuel composition as fired through any single burner except in the rare case of rapid and complete mixing of in the furnace.

Fly ash from wood-coal cofiring generally does not significantly degrade fly ash performance as a concrete additive. However, strict interpretation of current standards for inclusion of fly ash in concrete preclude mixed ashes, including biomass-coal ashes. Fly ash from many herbaceous fuels may negatively impact concrete properties.


Concerns regarding the potential global environmental impacts of fossil fuels used for power generation and other energy supplies are increasing in the U.S. and abroad. One means of mitigating these environmental impacts is increasing the fraction of renewable and sustainable energy in the national energy supply. Traditionally, renewable energy sources struggle to compete in open markets with fossil energy due to low efficiencies, high cost, and high technical risk.

Cofiring biomass with coal in traditional coal-fired boilers (subsequently referred to as cofiring) represents one combination of renewable and fossil energy utilization that derives the greatest benefit from both fuel types. Cofiring capitalizes on the large investment and infrastructure associated with the existing fossil-fuel-based power systems while requiring only a relatively modest investment to include a fraction of biomass in the fuel. When proper choices of biomass, coal, boiler design, and boiler operation are made, traditional pollutants (SOx, NOx, etc.) and net greenhouse gas (CO2, CH4, etc.) emissions decrease. Ancillary benefits include increased use of local resources for power, decreased demand for disposal of residues, and more effective use of resources. These advantages can be realized in the very near future with very low technical risk. However, improper choices of fuels, boiler design, or operating conditions could minimize or even negate many of the advantages of burning biomass with coal and may, in some cases, lead to significant damage to equipment. This document reviews the primary fireside issues and guidelines for implementing coal-biomass cofiring.

Fuel Characteristics

The biomass fuels considered here range from woody (ligneous) to grassy and straw-derived (herbaceous) materials and include both residues and energy crops. Woody residues are generally the fuels of choice for coal-fired boilers while energy crops and herbaceous residues represent future fuel resources and opportunity fuels, respectively. Biomass fuel properties differ significantly from than those of coal and also show significantly greater variation as a class of fuels than does coal. As examples (see Figure 1 and Figure 2), ash contents vary from less than 1% to over 20% and fuel nitrogen varies from around 0.1% to over 1%. Other notable properties of biomass relative to coal are a generally high moisture content (usually greater than 25% and sometimes greater than 50% as-fired, although there are exceptions), potentially high chlorine content (ranging from near 0 to 2.5 %), relatively low heating value (typically about half that of hv bituminous coal), and low bulk density (as low as one tenth that of coal per unit heating value). These properties each affect design, operation, and performance of cofiring systems.


Published papers available on cofiring:

Robinson, A., Baxter, L. L., Freeman, M., James, R. and Dayton, D. (1998) “Issues Associated with Coal-Biomass Cofiring,” In Bioenergy ’98Madison, Wisconsin.

Robinson, (1998) “Interactions between Coal and Biomass when Cofiring,” In Twenty-Seventh Symposium (International) on Combustion Combustion Institute, Boulder, CO, pp. 1351-1359.

Baxter and Robinson (1999) In Biomass: A Growth Opportunity for Green Energy and Value-added Products, Vol. 2 (Eds, Overend, R. P. and Chornet, E.) Elsevier Science, Ltd., Oxford, UK, pp. 1277-1284.

Baxter and Robinson (1999) “Key Issues When Cofiring Biomass with Coal in pc Boilers,” In Pittsburgh Coal Conference Pittsburgh, PA.

Baxter, Robinson, and Buckley (2000) “The Potential Role of Biomass in Power Generation,” In Biomass for Energy and Industry: 1st World Conference and Technology Exhibition Seville, Spain, to be presented.

Baxter, (1997) “Biomass-Coal Cofiring: Imperatives and Experimental Investigations,” In 3rd Biomass Conference of the Americas Montréal, Ontario, Canada.

Baxter, (2000) “Cofiring Biomass in Coal Boilers: Pilot- and Utility-scale Experiences,” In Biomass for Energy and Industry: 1st World Conference and Technology Exhibition Seville, Spain, to be presented.

Buckley, (1997) “Feasibility of Energetic Materials Combustion in Utility Boilers: Pilot-scale Study,” In 1997 Spring Meeting of the Western States Section of the Combustion Institute Sandia National Laboratories’ Combustion Research Facility, Livermore, CA.

Junker, (1997) “Cofiring Biomass and Coal: Plant Comparisons and Experimental Investigation of Deposit Formation,” In Engineering Foundation Conference on the Impact of Mineral Impurities on Solid Fuel Combustion Kona, HI. Robinson, A., Baxter, L. L., Freeman, M., James, R. and Dayton, D. (1998) “Issues Associated with Coal-Biomass Cofiring,” In Bioenergy ’98Madison, Wisconsin.

Robinson, (1997) “Fireside Considerations when Cofiring Biomass with Coal in PC Boilers,” In Engineering Foundation Conference on the Impact of Mineral Impurities on Solid Fuel Combustion Kona, HI.

Robinson, (1997) “Ash Deposition and Pollutant Formation when Cofiring Biomass with Coal in PC Boilers,” In EPRI Coal Quality Conference Kansas City, MO.

Robinson, (1997) “Pollutant Formation, Ash Deposition, and Fly Ash Properties When Cofiring Biomass and Coal,” In Engineering Foundation Conference on the Economic and Environmental Aspects of Coal Utilization Santa Barbara, CA.


1998 Tech Review — Sandia Combustion Research

-Coal and Biomass Combustion
-Cofiring Biomass and Coal to Reduce CO2 Emissions from
Coal-Fired Utility Boilers
-Thermal Conductivity of Ash Deposits Formed in Utility Boilers
-Mineral Matter Evolution during Coal Char Burnout


1997 Tech Review — Sandia Combustion Research

Scroll down to — “Coal and Biomass Combustion”

-Carbon Burnout Kinetic Model Developed for Pulverized Coal Combustion;
-Ash Deposit Property Analysis
-Pollutant Formation and Ash Deposition When Cofiring Biomass and Coal
-Formation of Ash Deposits in Biomass-Fired Boilers
-Combustion Properties of Biomass Pyrolysis Oils


AUGUST 20-24, 2000
Washington DC.

Division of Fuel Chemistry:

· 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments: A 10-Year Assessment
· Inorganics in Fossil Fuels, Waste Materials, and Biomass:
Characterization, Combustion
· Waste Material Recycling for Energy and Other Applications
· Fossil Fuels and Global Climate/CO2 Abatement
· Solid Fuel Chemistry
· Chemistry of Liquid and Gaseous Fuels

New Carbon Management Report

DOE has assessed fundamental research needs in carbon management through a series of workshops. A new report based on information from those workshops and other background materials is available on the Internet. The report identifies targets of opportunity for fundamental research likely to lead to the development of mid- to long-term solutions for reducing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.

It covers five topic areas:

1) capture of carbon dioxide, decarbonization strategies, and carbon dioxide sequestration and utilization;
2) hydrogen development and fuel cells;
3) enhancement of the natural carbon cycle;
4) biomass production and utilization; and
5) improvement of the efficiency of energy production, conversion, and utilization.

The report is down loadable in a .pdf format from the Office of Science (Energy Research) website under the link in the website entitled “Carbon Management Research Needs”.

Contact: John Houghton, (301) 903-8288,

Renewable Energy Technology Characterizations

In 1996, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Utility Technologies (OUT) and the Electric Power Research Institute began preparing a document characterizing the current status and projected performance and cost improvements of several emerging renewable energy technologies. This detailed document was recently completed and can now be downloaded as a collection of files on the OUT Web site organized under the following major headings: Biomass, Geothermal, Photovoltaic (PV) Technologies, Solar Thermal Technologies, Wind Technologies, Project Financial Evaluation, and Energy Storage Technologies. (DOE April 3, 1998)


U.S. Department of Energy Office of Utility Technologies

Renewable Energy Technology Characterizations

A joint project of the Office of Utility Technologies, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy and the Electric Power Research Institute

The Renewable Energy Technology Characterizations describe the technical and economic status of the major emerging renewable energy options for electricity supply. These technology characterizations represent the best estimates of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) regarding the future performance and cost improvements expected for these technologies as a result of continuing research and development (R&D) and development of markets for renewable energy through the year 2030.

These technology characterizations, which have existed as working drafts primarily for internal use at DOE, were originated in 1989 to support analyses in the development of the first National Energy Strategy. Because of growing interest in renewable energy technologies, an increasing number of researchers and energy policy analysts have expressed interest in having access to these technology characterizations. In response to requests to make these data more widely available, the current updates can now be downloaded from this Web site and are also available in paper form (EPRI Topical Report No. TR-109496, December 1997).

Copying and Distribution
The Renewable Energy Technology Characterizations are copyrighted, but permission is granted for unlimited copying for noncommercial use.

Ordering Information for Paper Version
The paper version of the report is available from EPRI, at $50.00/copy for domestic U.S. customers. Requests for paper copies of this report, as well as pricing for non-U.S. customers, should be directed to: EPRI Distribution Center, 207 Coggins Drive, P.O. Box 23205, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523; (510) 934-4212.

Technology Characterizations

The technology characterizations can be downloaded by selecting the PDF files below. (You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader 3.0 to view these files error free.) Learn about PDFs.

Front Matter (PDF 98KB)
Title page
Disclaimer and Copyright Notice
Report Summary and Abstract
Contents, Figures, and Tables

Introduction and Overview (PDF 279KB)

Overview of Biomass Technologies (PDF 38KB)
Gasification-Based Biomass (PDF 337KB)
Direct-Fired Biomass (PDF 84KB)
Biomass Co-Firing (PDF 229KB)

Overview of Geothermal Technologies (PDF 64KB)
Geothermal Hydrothermal (PDF 178KB)
Geothermal Hot Dry Rock (PDF 179KB)

Photovoltaic (PV) Technologies
Overview of PV Technologies (PDF 368KB)
Residential PV (PDF 808KB)
Utility-Scale Flat-Plate Thin Film PV (PDF 349KB)
Utility-Scale PV Concentrators (PDF 119KB)

Solar Thermal Technologies
Overview of Solar Thermal Technologies (PDF 304KB)
Solar Power Tower (PDF 311KB)
Solar Parabolic Trough (PDF 380KB)
Solar Dish Engine (PDF 910KB)

Wind Technologies
Overview of Wind Technologies (PDF 227KB)
Advanced Horizontal-Axis Wind Turbines in Wind Farms (PDF 353KB)

Project Financial Evaluation (PDF 343KB)
Introduction to Figures of Merit
Financial Structures
Techniques for Calculating Levelized COE
Financial Model and Results
Payback Period

Appendix: Energy Storage Technologies
Overview of Energy Storage Technologies (PDF 36KB)
Battery Storage for Renewable Energy Systems (PDF 112KB)


ESA Newsletter

(By special permission from ESA, here is their latest newsletter.)


The ESA has listened to its membership and is being responsive to what the membership says it wants from the ESA. In our survey of ESA members over the last few months, the number one thing you want from the ESA is promotion and a forum so that potential customers are aware of the value and opportunities for including energy storage in their business plans. Energy Storage: It’s About Time! Is the theme for our new brochure and our marketing campaign for the next several years? Our new brochure should be available at the Spring meeting and the ESA staff is hard at work to deliver this message throughout the industry.

Our upcoming meeting in Phoenix is also focusing on the customer. The meeting’s preliminary agenda (mailed last week) includes presentations by power quality customer’s that have incorporated energy storage, electric utility customer’s that are installing energy storage, and fuel cell developers incorporating energy storage into their designs. Along with the exceptional visits to Arizona Public Service Company and Salt River Project (not to mention the amenities available in the Phoenix area), we expect our meeting to have outstanding attendance.
I recently was invited to participate in a plenary session on Alternative Generation and Storage at IEEE’s Winter Power Meeting at Tampa, Florida. I used the opportunity to present our standard ESA electronic presentation (available to any ESA member) and the response was overwhelming. More than 30 participants immediately asked for more information and I suspect several will attend our upcoming meeting in Phoenix. I am more convinced than ever that the interest in energy storage is at an all time high. However, we must be more proactive in delivering our message.

Thus, the objective of our brochure and marketing campaign.

Our membership is reflecting the transition taking place in the electricity business. We are picking up several new members while others have merged, downsized, or gone out of business. We cannot improve without ideas, feedback and commitment from our membership. As always, contact us at any time by phone, fax, and email or via our website and stop in to pay us a visit the next time you are in Washington, DC. Register for the Spring meeting early and do not forget your dues with registration and encourage other business partners, customers, and colleagues to participate in the ESA.

Jon Hurwitch, ESA Executive Director



The Spring 1998 ESA meeting is fast approaching. The preliminary agenda and registration materials are in the mail. As always, we anticipate changes to the agenda, additions and deletions as well as details on the presentations. Updates to meeting program will be available via the ESA world wide web site.

This meeting is shaping up to be very exciting and we hope that you will find the new format refreshing. The Feature Forum is dedicated to presentations on how customers are using energy storage technologies. We have avoided over-booking this session so that the presenters can give longer, more detailed presentations and there is time for questions and answers.

The Fuel Cell Storage Session will both serve to introduce fuel cell technology, a close relative to energy storage, and the potentially interactive relationship between fuel cells and storage, particularly for grid-independent systems. The remaining sessions are broken into the three primary applications for storage, utility, power quality and renewables. In addition to a strong program, we have two tours planned at Salt River Project and Arizona Public Service Company.

ESA/SEIA to Host PV-Battery Storage Discussion at SOLTECH

The Energy Storage Association will be co-sponsoring a session at the SOLTECH meeting on Monday, April 27, 1998. The SOLTECH , Interstate Renewable Energy Council and Utility Photovoltaic Group annual meetings are being held in Orlando, Florida, April 25-30, 1998.

For more information on the panel discussion, please contact the ESA. For information on the SOLTECH meeting contact the Solar Energy Industries Association at 202/383-2670.

————————— EESAT ’98 Meeting

The ESA has received copies of the meeting program and registration and will be distributing them at the meeting in Phoenix. If you need copies ahead of time, please give us a call and we will put them in the mail to you.

Other Upcoming Meetings

Marriott Boca Center, Boca Raton, Florida
For information call, 561/997-2299, or

HydroVision98: Exploring Our New Frontiers
July 28-31, 1998
For information call, 816/931-1311, or. www.hydrovision98com

Powersystems World ’98: Managing your Facility in a New Energy Marketplace
November 7-13, 1998
Santa Clara Convention Center

ESA Participates at IEEE Winter Power Meeting Plenary Session

ESA Executive Director, Jon Hurwitch was one of five invited panelists for the Plenary Session on “Alternative Energy Generation and Storage: Concepts or Becoming Operational Reality?” The other panelists were, Gilbert Cohen, Kramer Junction Company; Douglas Hyde, Green Mountain Energy Resources; Ernesto Terrado, World Bank; and Richard Walker, Central and Southwest Services.

The Plenary Session attracted more than 1000 delegates primary from the U.S. electric utility industry. Jon delivered an abridged Energy Storage Overview presentation which was well received and generated a number of prospective ESA members.


1998 ESA Index

The Energy Storage Association is in the process of updating the ESA Index for 1998. If you have any changes or additions to your listing or that of your colleagues, please forward that information to the ESA as soon as possible. We hope to issue the 1998 Index at the Spring meeting in Phoenix.

1998 ESA Member Directory
This year the ESA will be preparing a directory of its membership that will include a discussion of the products and services offered by member companies. The directory will be available in electronic form via the ESA website.

We are asking members to please send us, preferably in electronic form, a brief write up about the company; information on your energy storage product and services; photos or other graphics, but in particular the company logo; contact name and information; and the URL address for a company website.

ESA Welcomes New Member, KEMA

The Energy Storage Association continues to stretch its membership boundary. In February 1998 KEMA Nederland B.V., a major Dutch utility became the second European ESA member. KEMA has been a participant in the International Energy Agency Annex IX and has its own storage research program. We will all have the opportunity to meet representatives from KEMA and hear more about their interest in energy storage at the ESA meeting in Phoenix.

Omnion and AC Battery Reunited

Delphi and Omnion believe the prospects for AC Battery” power quality products are substantial, particularly in light of the ever-increasing sophistication of manufacturing and data processing operations and the potential power supply problems that may occur as utility deregulation moves forward. AC Battery products offer unique technological advantages over competitive products in the field.

Trace Engineering and Statpower Technologies Announce Merger Plans

Trace Engineering Corporation of Arlington, Washington and Statpower Technologies Corporation of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada signed a Letter of Intent to merge the two businesses in November of 1997. The merger, expected to be completed in the first quarter of 1998, will result in the world’s leading manufacturer of small electronic power inverters.
According to Trace Engineering President Bill Roppenecker, “Trace and Statpower make an excellent strategic fit. We have complimentary technologies, products, and market strengths. By joining forces we get the critical mass necessary to effectively serve the rapidly growing market for mobile and renewable power sources.”

Trace Engineering and Statpower Technologies develop and manufacture electric power inverters, battery chargers, and other power conversion products for a variety of markets including the recreational vehicle, marine truck, mobile office, backup power, and renewable energy markets.

Department of Energy 1999 Budget Request
The Administration has submitted its fiscal year 1999 budget request to Congress. The House and Senate are expected to begin hearings on the budget this month.

The budget for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs has jumped from $908 million in 1998 to a proposed $1,198 million in 1999. This increase of 32% will help to support the President’s proposed Climate Change Technology Initiative for clean energy research and development.

The budget request breakdown by major program offices is:

$322M – Utility
$167M – Industrial
$293M – Transportation
$ 34M – Federal Energy Management
$317M – Buildings, States & Communities

The energy storage program request for 1999 stands at $6 M up from $3.9 M in 1998, and includes funding for the ESA-backed Storage 2000 initiative. The Energy Storage Association backed the recommendation of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) to increase the energy storage program budget to $20 M in 1999 to support renewable generation and storage programs. The ESA will work with the Sustainable Energy Coalition to continue to push for the PCAST budget recommendations during appropriations hearings in Congress.

Excerpts from the President’s State of The Union Address

In his State of the Union Address in January, President Clinton introduced his proposal for $3.6 billion in tax incentives over the next five years that will go directly to consumers in an effort to get advanced energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies into the marketplace.

Some specific tax credits include:

– 20% credit on purchase price for energy-efficient building equipment which includes: fuel cells, electric heat pump water heaters, advanced natural gas and residential size electric heat pumps, and advanced central air conditions;
– 15% credit for qualified investment up to a maximum of $1,000 for solar water heating systems and $2000 for rooftop photovoltaic systems;
– five year extension of 1.5 cent/kWh tax credit for electricity produced from wind or closed-loop biomass

A copy of the report containing the proposed tax incentives is available via the world wide web at:

The National Regulatory Research Institute Issues Unbundling Report

According to a recent report, Unbundling Generation and Transmission Services for Competitive Electricity Markets: Examining Ancillary Services, the nationwide cost of ancillary services is about $12 billion a year, roughly 10% of the cost of the energy commodity. The report sponsored by the National Regulatory Research Institute and prepared by Oak Ridge National Laboratory is available from NPRI for $29.95 by calling 614/292-9404 (report number NPRI 98-05.)

The report notes that although the utility industry has made substantial progress in identifying and defining the key ancillary services, much remains to be done. Developing metrics, determining costs, and setting pricing rules are important because most ancillary services are produced by the same pieces of equipment that produce the basic electricity commodity. Thus, production of energy and ancillary services is highly interactive, sometimes complementary and sometimes competing. In contrast to today’s typical time-invariant, embedded-cost prices, competitive prices for ancillary services would vary with system loads and spot prices for energy.

The individual ancillary services differ substantially in their features, competitiveness, provision, and pricing. Operating reserves, for example, can likely be provided by competitive markets. The primary supplier cost for this service is the opportunity cost associated with foregone energy sales; significant fuel costs are incurred only when these reserves are called upon to respond to the loss of a major generation or transmission outage.

The report provides an overview of the twelve ancillary services plus details on two of those services, operating reserves and voltage support.

Cara Molinari Joins ESA Staff

On February 17, Switch Technologies welcomed new staff member Cara Molinari. As Executive Assistant, Cara will be taking over the responsibilities of ESA Coordinator including handling communications with members, finance, office administration, meeting planning, library maintenance, and website updates.

Prior to joining Switch, Cara was a Work Assignment Manager and Communications Specialist for Technical Resources International, Inc. of Rockville, Maryland. Cara brings experience in the preparation of communications and marketing materials including newsletters, brochures, and educational materials; and meeting planning to Switch and the ESA. Cara received her BS in Sociology and Italian Studies from St. Joseph’s University. Cara is fluent in Italian and proficient in Spanish and French.

You will have an opportunity to meet Cara in person at the upcoming ESA meeting in Phoenix.

Premium Power RFP Issued

The Department of Commerce, Advanced Technology Program released a request for proposals for premium power technology research and development. The goal of the program is to promote U.S. economic growth by supporting sustained, High-Risk Research and Development to accelerate progress in power technologies critical to changes occurring in information systems, telecommunication, and distributed electric power. Technologies within the scope include advanced rechargeable batteries, photovoltaic arrays, fuel cells, ultracapacitors and flywheels. In FY98, $82 million is available for new projects.

Proposals for the first round are due April 8, 1998. Proposal kits can be obtained by calling the ATP hotline at 800-ATP-FUND or e-mail at: Information on the premium power program is also available via the ATP website at:

JON HURWITCH, Executive Director
LAURA WALTEMATH, Projects Director

Please contact ESA office at:

Renewable Energy Annual 1997, Volume I

Renewable Energy Annual 1997
Volume I DOE/EIA-0603(97/1)

October 1997
Energy Information Administration
Office of Coal, Nuclear, Electric and Alternate Fuels
U.S. Department of Energy
Washington, DC 20585


Questions regarding specific information in the report should be directed as follows:

Renewable Data Overview:
Fred Mayes (202/426-1166,

Biomass Energy:
Robert Lowe (202/426-1171,

Municipal Solid Waste:
John Carlin (202/426-1146,
Geothermal Energy:
Jim Disbrow (202/426-1185,

Wind Energy:
Louise Guey-Lee (202/426-1143,

Solar Thermal and Photovoltaic:
Peter Holihan (202/426-1147

This report, the Renewable Energy Annual 1997, Volume 1, is the third in a series of annual reports published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) to provide current information on renewable energy. In doing so, this report provides detailed explanations of summary renewable energy information originally published in EIA’s Annual Energy Review 1996, released in July 1997. It also constitutes an annual update of renewable energy data presented in the Renewable Energy Annual 1996.

The publication of this report marks a change in the publication format of the Renewable Energy Annual. The prior two issues contained both renewable data and analytical material. This year, EIA has split the Renewable Energy Annual into two volumes in order to make data available more quickly. Volume 1 includes renewable energy consumption, capacity, and generation data, along with brief descriptive text. It also includes a chapter on solar (thermal and photovoltaic) manufacturing activity, and an appendix on the direct uses of geothermal energy. It is expected that a later version of this report will include a feature article titled, “A View of the Forest Products Industry From a Wood Energy Perspective.” The Renewable Energy Annual 1997, Volume 2, a topical issues analysis report, is scheduled to be published in Spring 1998.

This report covers the following energy sources: biomass, geothermal, wind, and solar. While hydropower is a renewable energy resource, it is also regarded as a conventional energy source because it has furnished a significant amount of electricity for more than a century. Therefore, this report discusses hydropower as it contributes to total renewable energy consumption but does not address hydropower as an individual energy source. Also, EIA collects data only on terrestrial systems. Satellite and military applications are not included in this report. See Appendix A, “EIA Renewable Energy Data Sources,” and Appendix B, “Renewable Data Limitations,” for more detail.

Bulletin #18

UFTO Bulletin #18

February 2, 1996

To: UFTO Members:

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

Filemaker progress Cold Fusion Tech Nuggets

Where has January gone?

1. Enclosed is an updated UFTO roster. Note some new/changed email addresses. Also, a page from the current version of the new Subscriber Briefing, listing the key themes of UFTO in Year #2.

2. Update on the “By-Topic” mission:

– The Filemaker database is taking shape. We should have virtually all of our information to date loaded in an “alpha” version this month, which will enable me to do topical cut & pastes on request. Still a few bugs to work out, but it’s looking good. If anyone wants a copy of the database, we can do that, so long as it’s clearly understood that it won’t be “commercial grade” software.

– “Breakthrough Technology Conference” (Electrotechnology) in Tampa, April 24-6 —
See enclosed ad from Electrical World. I hope you and someone from your marketing group will attend. We’ll hold an UFTO group meeting in conjunction with this event. See attached questionnaire, and encourage your industrial technology/customer rep types to send someone.

— 2nd Topical Conference — PNL has offered to work with us on arranging some kind of a meeting–and even to host it. Please indicate any prefences about time, place and topic — see questionnaire. [How about Delivery — T&D? Or Environment?]

[PLEASE– fill out the attached questionnaire and fax it back to me, if you haven’t already. Thanks.]

3. I attended a one day conference in Cambridge MA in January, onCold Fusion and related developments, and am making a number of contacts as a result. This is in the category of “early warning radar”, though there are indications this whole business may be farther along than we think. See the enclosed “UFTO Comment.” (Also see UFTO Faxgram, March 25, 1995, for another discussion of “way out” technology.)

4. The Capstone turbogenerator story is moving very fast. They’re in contact with literally 100’s of utilities world wide, and signing up several a week as distributors. The usual utility industry time scales don’t apply. This situation will not wait for people watching from across the action gap who plan to look into it “soon”.

5. I have additional info on the PNL/Viatec waste acid detox and reclamation process, for metal-bearing spent acids in iron and steel, electroplating, galvanizing, and semiconductor industries. Any size of operation can be accommodated. They report paybacks of 6 months to 2 years. The company can be reached at 509-375-3268

6. I plan to attend the Technology Partnering workshop in Washington, February 26-27, sponsored by McGraw Hill, and featuring a number of high level government and industry speakers. Let me know if you or anyone from your company might be there.

7. You will get a copy of the Sandia U.S.-Russian Fuel Cell Conference proceedings sent directly to you in another month or two. I’ve given Sandia your name and address. Also, I’ve obtained some interesting material on fuel cell work in Europe. Let me know if you’d like copies.

Quote of the day: “To ask permission is to seek denial” Scott Neally, CEO, Sun Microsystems

UFTO Technology Nugget

February 2, 1996

• The International Utility Efficiency Partnerships (IUEP) is an industry wide initiative of the Climate Challenge, which is the partnership between utilities and the DOE to promote reductions in CO2 and greenhouse gases. The IUEP is overseen by EEI, and now has a WWW page at

Contact: Michael Rucker, 202-508-5510,

• The United BioEnergy Commercialization Association (UBECA) encourages the development of biomass resources. Membership includes electric utilities, power producers, EEI, APPA, NRECA, EPRI and DOE. They are currently developing a national and international initiative to be cofunded by federal and private money. (One UFTO member is already participating.)

Contact: Amy Van Horn, UBECA, 202-296-8663

• The Reliability Analysis Center (RAC) in Rome NY is sponsored by the DOD Defense Technical Information Center and is operated by the IIT Research Institute. They provide an extensive array of publications, training courses and technical support. RAC is a focal point for reliability, maintainability and quality of components and systems, serving both the the DOD and commercial industry. They collect, analyze and publish databases on quality and reliability and evaluates and publishes information on engineering techniques and methods.

Contact: Michael Rossi, RAC Deputy Director, 315-339-7087

WWW home page is at:

A Product Catalog available. Call Gina Nash at 800-526-4802. Also ask for their video, and get their free quarterly “RAC Journal” sent to the right people in your company.

• A partnership consisting of American Superconducting, Lockheed Martin, Southern California Edison, and Los Alamos National Laboratory have demonstrated a 2.4-kilovolt high-temperature superconducting (HTS) current limiter prototype. The demonstration was funded by DOE’s Superconductivity Partnership Initiative program (described in the 9/94 UFTO reports on Argonne and Oak Ridge National Lab). American Superconductor expects to commercialize HTS current limiters by the end of the decade.

Tests performed at SCE indicated that all performance goals for this device were met. In addition, tests of the prototype demonstrated two other attractive features for utilities — this new, fully automated device can be used as an extremely fast circuit breaker and can interrupt multiple faults. One of the unique components of this new fault current limiter is its high temperature superconducting coil that is connected into the electric power grid using a solid-state switch.

Contacts: Gary Dishaw, Southern California Edison
Eddie Leung, Project leader, Energy & Power Systems (E&PS),
Lockheed Martin, San Diego, CA

• The state of the art in home insulation has advanced considerably in recent years. A comprehensive overview appears in the current issue (Feb/March 1996) of Fine Homebuilding magazine. It was written by Alex Wilson, editor of Environmental Building News, a bimonthly newsletter, $127/year, on environmentally sustainable design and construction. May be a good complement to E-Source and materials from the National Labs. 802-257-7300.

Bulletin #3

December 1, 1994

From: Edward Beardsworth
To: UFTO Subscribers

Happy Holidays!–almost. Getting to be that time when you think of the year as already over, but UFTO has a very full month ahead.

1. On-site briefing and needs assessments are set at NYSEG, Boston Edison and NSP…risky places to travel to in December, but I plan to be lucky with the weather.

2. The last of the “previous reports”, Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) is enclosed. (You already have 3 reports, ORNL, NIST, and ANL.) Livermore was the first place we went. LLNL has just looked over a final draft, and helped update some of the organizational information, however the technical material is essentially as it was a year ago. LLNL will provide new information to us as it arises. Some new ideas in fuel cells and work in ground penetrating radar will be coming soon.

3 The trip to National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden CO, November 21 and 22, was quite successful. See the attached sheet of “hot” items. The detailed report is in preparation.

4. Labs to visit: I’m making arrangements to go to LBL and Sandia. You’ve heard from ETEC outside LA, and there’s one vote for going there. How do the rest of you feel?

5. I attended a DOE meeting in San Francisco mid November. It was one of 3 “stakeholder” meetings around the country for the DOE Fossil Energy International Progam to get input on how it could best help with the export of U.S. fuels, technology and know how. Several interesting items came to light–see attachment.

6. Another connection you may want to know about, if you don’t already: E Source, Inc. is a small company in Boulder CO that spun off from the Rocky Mountain Institute several years ago. They provide excellent detailed information about efficient end-use technology. It’s a subscription/membership service, and each of your companies already belong! The contact person in your utility is most likely in your marketing group. You may see different uses and value in this data resource, e.g. to help assessing technology and developing new business strategies. To find out who the subscriber is in your company, call E Source at 303-440-8500. (Tell them I sent you.)

7. Our contacts at NIST led to an open invitation for any of us to visit the Center for Environmental Engineering at the Univ. of Maryland at College Park MD. Dr. Reinhard Radermacher, Director, sent me some information about their capabilities and expertise in energy conversion cycles, heat transfer and thermophysical properties of materials. They have a membership program as well. Their phone # is 301-405-5286.

8. FEEDBACK–please! Reactions, suggestions, criticisms, requests! Any items pique your interest? Have you tried calling anyone at a lab yet? Let me know how it goes.

9. Save-the-best-for-last department: We have verbal commitments to join from two new subscribers, Texas Utilities and Electricité de France!

National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)

In the first official UFTO visit, I went to NREL in Golden CO on November 21 and 22, for two very full days of meetings. The full report is in preparation. Meanwhile, here are some “time-sensitive” or special items of interest:

• Distributed Utility Valuation: new two phase program in planning stage. Phase one will be a collaboration between NREL and 10-12 utilities to investigate the institutional (i.e. regulatory) issues. Funding would be 1/2 from NREL and the other half from the utilities (about $10K each). In Phase 2, contractors would work with individual utilities, so that competitive aspects can be handled separately from the (phase 1) aspects that can and should be in a more public forum. The feeling is that this cannot be an EPRI undertaking because of the regulatory aspects.
Contact Lynn Coles 303-275-4699

• Hybrid Solar Thermal — new concept to dramatically lower front end financial risk, by using solar heat as preheater for a gas turbine, instead of a dedicated steam plant. GT could be used stand-alone, and use of the solar would cut fuel consumption (reduce CO2). Looking for interested utilities or IPPs. Contact: Tom Williams 303-275-3602

• “Smartco” — brainstorming concept of the utility of the future that integrates generation, transmission with end use in a technology-based grand optimization, and combines talents in finance, marketing, and high technology. DOE seed program looking for 1-2 utilities to think it through and estimate benefits. Contact is Gary Nakarado, 303-275-3072

• Federal-Utility Partnership Program (FEMP) — Brings to a utility all the Federal government “customers” in the service territory, for concentrated effort to improve efficiency of government buildings by linking to utility DSM and energy savings programs. (Environment Act requires all Fed. buildings to increase effic. by 30% by 2005.) Utility Working Group is forming subcommittees and will hold its 3rd meeting December 6 in Atlanta (at AEE meeting). Contact is Bob Westby 303-275-6021 or Nancy Carlisle 303-275-6034. Program director in DOE is Mark Ginsberg — contact is Lou Harris at 202-586-9794.

• Biomass Power/Climate Change Action Program Item 26 — new RFP due in December for follow-ons to the 10 venture program site-specific feasibility studies done over past 2 years. New entrants welcome. Must involve a dedicated feedstock (i.e. closed loop for CO2) and generation. (Can include ethanol.) Contact is Rich Bain 303-275-2946

• Hydrogen — NREL provides technical oversight for the DOE national program. An RFP has been/will be issued for “any” H2 application. Contact Cathy Gregoire 303-275-2919

Here’s an unusual (non-NREL) item: Dr. Tom Marrero of the University of Missouri-Columbia heads a program to develop a way to transport coal in pipelines, not as a slurry, but in compressed “logs”. It’s been under development with DOE funding for several years, and is ready for a demo! He promised to send some information which hasn’t arrived as yet, but if anyone is interested, let me know and I’ll track it down.

DOE Fossil International Program Meeting
Nov. 1994
Items of Interest

Contact Miles Greenbaum, International Programs Manager, Office of Fossil Energy, for information on their “Regional Implemenation Plans” (Africa, E. Europe, Pacific Rim, Russia/NIS, S. Asia/N East, W. Europe, and W Hemisphere). Tel # 301-903-2796

1. The Office of Fossil Energy will issue a RFI soon for Clean Coal Projects in Foreign Countries, as a means to support the goals of reducing Greenhouse Gases. (Increased efficiency leading to lower CO2 emissions.) There will be a conference in Washington on or about Dec. 14. Copies will be sent to everyone on the clean coal mailing list, but to be sure, you can contact Jerry Pell at 301-903-9447. (Note how many birds you could kill with this one stone!)

AID is already funding projects in Poland, administered by DOE, to reduce pollution from low stacks in the city of Krakow, under the Clean Energy Fuels Efficiency Program. Howard Feibus is the DOE program manager 301-903-3348.

2. As you’ve seen in the press, Secretary O’Leary has led a couple of very successful trade missions, to China, India and Pakistan. U.S. business representatives go along at their own expense, after a thorough preparation on opportunities in the target country, and come back with signed contracts for big projects! The extensive briefing materials prepared for these trips, and summaries about the results, are available (but are not “published”) from DOE. You can also get information about future trips, and how to apply to go along.
Contact Dawn Schrepel, DOE Trade Mission Coordinator, at 800-860-1097. (very sharp!)

The Dept of Commerce’s International Trade Administration also has an energy office: Andy Vitali is Director of the Office of Energy Infrastructure. tel 202-482-1466. Others in that group include Joe Yancik (Div. Director, Energy), Les Garton (renewables), and Katherine Viel (electric utilities).

Commerce also has a Trade Information Center, 800-USATRADE. They’ll connect you with country and or industry experts, and explain Federal export assistance centers.

Other resources: Overseas Private Investment Corp, and US Trade & Development Agency. Call me for details if there’s interest.

3 The U.S. Energy Association: Contact John Rasmussen, USEA, 1620 Eye St. NW, Suite 210, Washington DC, 20006, tel 202-331-0415.

The USEA is the USA’s official link to the World Energy Council, which puts on the major “World Energy Conference” every 3 years. The next WEC is in Houston in 1996, and there will be a “warmup” meeting in Houston May 8-12, 1995 on the Strategic Value of Fossil Fuels, sponsored by USEA and DOE.

Working with AID (Agency for International Development) the USEA has arranged 10 partnerships between US utilities and countries in E. Europe. (Two UFTO members are in this program, e.g. Comm•Ed with Poland, and Boston Edison with Romania.) EEI is the partner for Russia, owing to the huge size of the utility there. The issues dealt with are mostly management, efficiency of operation, finance, budgets, and business planning. [Our ANL report mentioned this program.]

4. The National Coal Council, is not the National Coal Association. It’s a non-profit that advises DOE, and has a series of publications. Contact James McAvoy, 703-527-1191