Digital Hubbub – IEEE Spectrum

Here’s an article that may be useful. It’s in current issue of IEEE Spectrum, and it appears to be available to nonmembers. The accompanying article on the major players is interesting also. (Don’t miss the chart.)

Note this paragraph, buried near the end of the article:
“As cable TV companies, burglar-alarm suppliers, and even power companies negotiate for space inside digital hubs, Whatley foresees a sort of free-for-all to control a raft of functions also tied into the hub. An electric utility could, for example, manage loads more effectively, even turning off an air conditioner during peak periods. The system would also know when homeowners returned from work, so it could bring the house back to a comfortable temperature by the time they walked in the door.”

Are energy industry companies just naive bit players with their attempts to do “gateways” and smart homes? (Note their complete absence from the chart.) Or are utilities in a unique position to pull it off while media and IT giants do battle with each other?


Digital Hubbub

Companies vie to create a single device, or hub, to handle all your home entertainment needs

By Paul Wallich, Contributing Editor

It’s a set-top! It’s a home server! It’s a digital hub! Whatever you call it—a souped-up cable box or a hard-disk recorder with wings—companies know that whoever gets it right will rule the entertainment gateway to the home.

More than a half-dozen companies so far are scrambling for the billions of dollars they hope to reap by offering consumers a single machine to handle their home entertainment needs. The companies agree on what the machine should do: record, archive, and play back video and music, organize digital photo albums, and distribute digital media around the home. Where they disagree is on what shape that machine should take.

For a view of how media companies are organizing to reach the hub in your home,

The Largest Players Rule the Media Playground
By Steven M. Cherry, Senior Associate Editor

The top media companies increasingly do a lot more than create content. The 12 companies shown here deliver content via cable systems and the Internet. They also have investments in makers of personal video recorders (PVRs) and set-top boxes and suppliers of video on demand.

Consider the former Moxi Digital, builder of a personal entertainment hub that can play DVDs and CDs and can function as a PVR and a set-top box. Moxi’s investors, before Vulcan purchased it, included AOL Time Warner, Vulcan, and Scientific-Atlanta. Vulcan also owns Digeo, another hub maker, with which Moxi was merged.
see CHART:

Eight of the companies listed—AOL Time Warner, Comcast, Disney, GE, Liberty Media, Sony, Viacom, and Vulcan— were investors in ReplayTV before it was bought by SonicBlue. TiVo, an up-and-coming PVR maker, has attracted hefty investments from almost all major media companies.

A Proposition for a New “Regulatory Contract”

At the BPA Conference in Portland (Feb 2), one of the distinct highlights was a presentation by Pamela Lesh, VP Rates & Regulatory Affairs at Portland General Electric. She outlined a remarkable new approach for regulating distribution utilities that goes well beyond “performance based rates”. It was the first public airing of ideas she’s been developing for some time.

The real conceptual breakthrough is to separate the basis on which the utility gets paid from the way the customer is billed, so the right incentives can be presented to each one. Here’s the next to last slide (the complete text appears below):

– Price to the utility to align success so that the more effectively the utility achieves the results, the better it does, i.e., unit-based, not usage-based, pricing.

– Price to the customer to encourage conservation and prevent abrupt shifts in cost, e.g., usage or demand-based, not flat, pricing.

– Yes we can price differently to the utility and to the customers! We will just need to balance collections with payments.

Contact Pamela Lesh,
VP Rates & Regulatory Affairs, Portland General Electric.


“What If’s, Why Not’s, and So What’s”

What If?
– Distribution utilities could become the drivers of new distribution technology, including distributed energy resources?

– The best and the brightest came to work in distribution utilities because, at these companies, commercial success was synonymous with innovative solutions, customer focus, and value, value, value?

Why Not?
– Because words like rate base, cost of service, disallowance, and prudence comprise our vocabulary and constrain our actions

– Because we reward increased electricity sales in the short term and increased rate base in the long term

– Because we are still using the system built to drive the finance, construction, and use of electric infrastructure even though we have long since achieved this purpose

Why not CHANGE?
Change the “frame” — change the framework

From a regulatory compact to one or more regulatory contracts
– make explicit that which is implicit
– pay for performance, not investment
– price on value and what, not on cost and how

Why not get what we–utilities, commissions, public interest representatives– want from distribution directly and up front in the same way that commercial parties bargain?

From a regulated entity to one or more regulated services, at regulated prices
– Distribution services
– Demand-side services
– Supply services
Why not free utility organizations to look for other ways to give and
receive value in the communities they serve and know so well?

The new framework
– A series of “regulated” contracts between a utility and a Public Utility Commission that express and price the values of those who use and/or are affected by a regulated service.

– Times at which the contracts expire, followed by extension, re-negotiation, and the possibility of termination and replacement.

– A permanent abandonment of rate base and cost-plus ratemaking.

What the heck is a “regulatory contract”?

A document with the following key terms:
– Scope
– Performance commitments
– Restrictions on how
– Consequences for non-performance
– Change orders and change process
– Term, termination and “unwind”
– Pricing

What is Scope?

Scope identifies the activities and facilities from which the service provider produces the committed results, e.g.,
– Design – Finance – Construction – Maintenance
– Restoration – Replacement – Access

What are performance commitments?

Measurable results based on what the buyer values, e.g.,
– Reliability – Power quality – Safety – Environmental responsibility
– Information accessibility

What’s all that other stuff?

Everything else except price affects price!
– Constraints are specific means the utility may not use to meet its commitments.

– Consequences are the penalties or damages for failure to meet commitments.

– The change process is the way the parties anticipate and cope with

– Term is the length of the initial bargain and the process by which a new bargain is struck — or not, and what happens then.

How would you price this?

– Price to the utility to align success so that the more effectively the utility achieves the results, the better it does, i.e., unit-based, not usage-based, pricing.

– Price to the customer to encourage conservation and prevent abrupt shifts in cost, e.g., usage or demand-based, not flat, pricing.

– Yes we can price differently to the utility and to the customers! We will just need to balance collections with payments.

So what?

– So we remove the obstacles to deployment of distributed energy resources that the current regulatory system forces on us
? displacement of rate base
? displacement of utility kWh sales
? utilities precluded from participation because of concerns about

– So we enable utilities and others alike to compete to provide customers energy solutions, with the same distribution service available to all

So why not START NOW ??

Heat Transfer Research, Inc.(HTRI)

HTRI is a for-profit membership R&D consortium focusing on heat transfer in process industries. Members from all over the world include major engineering firms (e.g., ABB, B&W, Bechtel, Black & Veatch, Brown & Root, GE Power Systems, Kvaerner, Stone & Webster, etc.), major oil and chemicals companies, equipment makers, and exactly one utility (Ontario Hydro).
HTRI wants to increase its involvement with utilities, and has approached UFTO for help. While their work hasn’t yet addressed some of the core power plant systems (steam generators, surface condensers, etc.), they could certainly initiate programs in those areas.

At the same time, utilities do have innumerable other heat exchangers and heat transfer applications that are addressed by HTRI (e.g., shell-and-tube heat exchangers).

Perhaps more important, conventional steam boiler technology is being supplanted by combined cycles — primarily natural gas-fired at this time, but likely to include more coal, residual oil, and biomass gasification in the future. The major heat exchanger in a combined cycle plant — the heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) — is a relatively new type of heat exchanger in terms of widespread commercial use. There will be many challenging design and operating approaches and challenges associated with HRSGs as combustion turbine and steam turbine designs evolve into higher temperature regimes.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that utilities (or ESCOs) could use HTRI resources in their continuing role of helping industrial customers be more efficient, productive and successful.

Thus, there would appear to be a number of ways HTRI and the electric power industry could grow together. As one example, HTRI is planning a new “sub” consortium to address heat exchanger fouling, certainly an important topic for utilities.


–>> UFTO Members are invited to attend the upcoming HTRI Annual Meeting, July 26-31, Amelia Island, FL, which will feature technical presentations and workshops on the IST and EHT codes (described below).
Contact Susan Edwards at HTRI to request a copy of the program agenda.
tel 409-260-6203


Claudette Beyer, President and CEO 409-260-6222,
Fernando Aguirre, Dir. Marketing 409-260-6200,
Heat Transfer Research, Inc.
1500 Research Parkway, Suite 100
College Station, Texas 77845 USA
Tel 409-260-6200 Fax 409-260-6249

The material attached below is excerpted and
adapted from HTRI publications and their website

1. Conducts research on heat transfer equipment of a type and scale, and with fluids and operating conditions, relevant to industry.
2. Develops methods for the thermal/hydraulic design and rating of heat transfer equipment that are soundly based on experimental data.
3. Creates, maintains, and supports superior quality computer programs that utilize HTRI methods, are user-oriented, and easily interfaced with other programs.
4. Serves as a source of support and expertise addressing current and future needs in heat transfer technology.
5. Recruits and supports staff and consultants or partners who bring the necessary expertise, dedication, and vision.

HTRI products are based on decades of member-sponsored proprietary R&D, and are not available on the open market. HTRI members have access to HTRI’s product line and become part of a research consortium comprised of industry leaders from around the world—all for less than the salary of a single additional engineer. (Membership fee varies with size of company–to a maximum of approximately $50,000 per year.) Subsidiaries of a member company may also use HTRI products, if they are more than 50% owned.

Joining HTRI is like adding a dedicated team of heat transfer experts to a member’s company. Members gain access not only to our software and research data, but also to the collective experience of the staff. HTRI technical support can improve productivity with expert answers to questions about software, methods, correlations, and research, as well as theoretical questions concerning heat transfer and exchanger design.

— History

Incorporated in 1962, Heat Transfer Research, Inc. was chartered for the purpose of conducting application-oriented research on large-scale equipment in the general field of heat transfer and associated fluid flow, and converting the results into dependable design methods for industrial purposes. This was a depar-ture from the more typical method of companies conducting individual experiments based on university-derived theory. A few years later, the company moved from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, to Alhambra, California, and continued to grow in size and reputation. While in California, HTRI’s experiments were conducted on research units located at C. F. Braun, Inc., an HTRI member.

In 1990, HTRI relocated from California to College Station, Texas, where we built a multi-million dollar research facility with industrial-scale units. This strategic location also provides collaboration opportunities with the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and Texas A&M University, one of the United States’ top engineering schools.

— Research Facilities
The HTRI Research Facility, developed in 1991, is a well-equipped multimillion dollar experimental facility. The site has four research units with supporting facilities and equipment. The facility can be customized to meet the changing needs of our customers. We also are available to conduct research and construct new rigs under contract.

The facility’s physical plant includes a 500-horsepower Johnson Boiler with a heating capacity of 17 million Btu/hour and a two-cell Marley Cooling Tower with a cooling capacity of 21 million Btu/hour. The machine shop includes welding equipment, a milling machine, lathe, drill press, band saw, and pipe threader. Instrument calibration and electrical tests are performed on site using a variety of testing components.

A laboratory also is on site to perform tests ensuring compliance with environmental regulations and to analyze test fluids from the research units.
– High Temperature Fouling Unit – provides data for defining process operating conditions and exchanger design features so that fouling of typical industrial fluids can be minimized. A wide variety of fluids can be tested, including gas oils and crude oils. The unit can operate at up to 1000 psig (6,895 kPa) and 800 °F (427 °C). The HTFU has two test sections that can operate simultaneously at different conditions.

– Multipurpose Boiling Unit – provides flow boiling heat transfer and pressure drop data for pure fluids, hydrocarbon mixtures, and alcohol-water mixtures. The MBU can operate over a range of conditions typical of industrial heat exchange processes.

– Single Phase Unit – (formerly known as the Plate Heat Exchanger Unit) provides information to develop heat transfer and pressure drop methods in single-phase flow. This unit has two plate-and-frame heat exchangers, a spiral heat exchanger, and a welded plate heat exchanger. The SPU can operate under a wide range of conditions with a variety of process fluids.

– Vertical In Tube Condensation Unit – provides data used to develop heat transfer and pressure drop methods for intube condensation. A variety of fluids including alcohols and hydrocarbon mixtures with and without inerts can be tested. The unit can operate from low vacuum to 450 psia.

— Software
Software modeling and simulation tools, based on proprietary, relevant, and quality research, helps HTRI members design efficient heat exchangers.

HTRI software methods are derived from extensive research and documented in our publications. Many of the research programs are ongoing, leading to continual improvement of methods and simulations. All software accepts data in U.S. Customary, SI, and MKH units (except our Fired Heater program, which currently accepts U.S. Customary units only). Most programs have identical user interfaces and input structure: process conditions and physical properties are specified similarly, using the same data input lines. To ease interpretation of data, printed output follows a standard format in nearly all applications.

Interfaces between our software and other computer programs allow easy data transfer to process simulators, mechanical design systems, and database systems. Interfaces are available for software from such companies as AspenTech, B-JAC, Bryan Research & Engi-neering (BR&E), Physical Properties Data Service, ABB Lummus, SimSci, and others. HTRI is a member of the Process Data eXchange Institute (pdXi).

Before release, every HTRI program undergoes a rigorous testing process on several different platforms. These tests verify software results against HTRI’s proprietary research data. Test sets are extensive, making use of as many as 2,600 separate cases.

– ACE rates and simulates air-cooled heat exchangers and economizers. The program handles forced draft, induced draft, and “fans off” air-cooled heat exchangers. The economizer option also may be used to rate air preheater bundles. ACE is a fully incremental program.

– CST, using a fully incremental approach with HTRI’s latest pointwise correlations, designs shell-and-tube condensers from a set of process conditions and rates the performance of a geometrically specified condenser. Used with confidence since 1974, CST handles TEMA E, F, J, and X shells.

– FH simulates the behavior of fired heaters. Its capabilities include the solution of combustion and tube design problems and the simulation of cylindrical heaters, box heaters, and convection tube banks.

– IST rates the performance of geometrically specified shell-and-tube heat exchangers. A fully incremental program, IST contains HTRI’s latest pointwise equations for predicting condensing, boiling, and single-phase heat transfer and pressure drop. IST handles TEMA E, F, G, H, J, and X shells.

– PHE rates plate heat exchangers for liquid-phase applications. The program uses average local properties within each plate group. Various plate types may be selected from an automatic data bank or entered manually.

– RKH designs and rates kettle reboiler, column internal bundles, and horizontal thermosiphon reboilers.

– RTF designs and rates shell-and-tube vertical thermosiphons and vertical or horizontal forced-flow reboilers with the boiling on the tube side. The program also rates spiral plate reboilers. RTF is a fully incremental program.

– ST designs single-phase shell-and-tube heat exchangers from a set of process conditions. It also rates the performance of a geometrically specified exchanger. ST handles TEMA E, J, X, H, G, and F shells.

– ST Educational is an educational package for engineers wanting to learn about or review shell and tube heat exchanger calculations. Utilizing the full calculation engine from ST, this product provides companies and educational institutions with an accurate and user-friendly training tool.

– TWALL calculates the mean tubewall metal temperature in each tubepass for a TEMA E shell with fixed tubesheets. The TEMA Standards use these temperatures in their design equations.

– VIB conducts a rigorous analysis of the vibration of a single tube in a tube bundle. Additionally, VIB calculates natural frequencies for up to 15 modes.


This program centers around applied research and data taken from industrial-scale experimental rigs. Findings are published in the Design Manual, data books, and reports, all of which are available only to members. HTRI’s research programs provide the data and correlations which make our software the most accurate available—a distinct advantage over software based only on simulations and theory.

Over 120 reports are available to members. Multi-volume report books, data books, and our design manual provide you with an edge over your competitors. Some of our report areas include

– Agitated Vessels
– Air-cooled Heat Exchangers
– Boiling in Tubes
– Boiling in Kettle Reboilers
– Condensation on the Shell Side
– Crossflow Boiling outside Horizontal Tube Bundles
– Extended Surfaces
– Fouling
– General Studies in Boiling
– General Studies in Condensation
– Plate Heat Exchangers
– Flow-Induced Vibration in Shell-and-Tube Heat Exchangers
– Shellside Heat Transfer and Pressure Drop Methods
– Tubeside Enhanced Heat Transfer and Pressure Drop Methods
– Tubeside Heat Transfer and Pressure Drop Methods
– Two-phase Flow
Our data books provide you with raw data from experiments run on HTRI’s industrial-scale research units.

The Design Manual, our most used publication, provides you with a single source for our methods and correla-tions. This manual is also a great place to browse HTRI technology, providing you with an easy way to search for information from our reports. And if you need more detail, each report is referenced in the appropriate section of the Design Manual.

In conjunction with meetings, hands-on software workshops and theoretical short courses are routinely conducted. Software workshops provide participants with practical information on the computer programs, an overview of the program’s inputs and outputs, example cases for discussion, and an actual problem to solve. The length of short courses varies by topic.

If regularly scheduled training sessions don’t meet the need, customized training can be arranged either at HTRI facilities in Texas or at a company’s site. Charges for customized training are based on the specific request.

Interaction is important both to members and to HTRI. For this reason, HTRI holds meetings and training sessions all over the world, providing a wide range of opportunities for members to:

– Help to shape the direction of future research and development by serving on subcommittees
– Learn new skills at our training and workshop sessions

Members are encouraged to interact with HTRI and each other through Communication Committees. These committees can be formed by any group with common goals, providing a formal means of communication.

CETI & Patterson Cell

SUBJECT: Latest on CETI & Patterson Cell

The publicity I’d told you might be happening last month will be postponed until the end of June, according to more recent rumors. Apparently, CETI held a meeting at Miley’s lab in Champaign Urbana at the end of March. Two utilities (who are following all this very closely), GE, NASA, and a couple of foreign automakers were there, along with EPRI and SRI. Motorola was notable for its absence. The story goes that a deal was struck that everyone who got cells to test agreed to hold off making any announcements at least until the end of June. We’ll see what happens then.

Meanwhile, ENECO is putting together a proposal to utilities and other energy companies to offer a detailed State of the Art report. (This would be a first step towards setting up a private investment consortium to fund research at several sites around the world to get definitive answers that the individual participants can then go and develop further on an individual proprietary basis.)

Sincerely yours,
Edward Beardsworth, Consultant
951 Lincoln Ave___________Tel 415-328-5670___Fax 415-328-5675
Palo Alto CA 94301________EMAIL: