Cost-Effective Dimmable Fluorescent Ballast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Technology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LBNL Building Technology

(One of a series of notes detailing results of recent visits to
Lawrence Berkeley National Labs – LBNL)

Building Technology Dept.

Commercial Building Systems, Simulation, Windows & Daylighting, Lighting, and Applications
LBNL has one of the largest US building RD&D activities; active since 1976 in this field, approx. $18M per year in funding currently; with about $12M from DOE and remainder from other sources, addressing most major aspects of building energy use, including hardware, systems, software, indoor environmental issues.
Stephen Selkowitz, Dept. Head, 510-486-5064


Diagnostics for Building Operation and Commissioning
Commercial buildings alone consume about 15% of all energy at a cost of $85 billion annually. Half of this consumption is wasted, compared to what is cost-effectively achievable. To realize these savings requires a careful examination of the process by which buildings are designed, built, commissioned, and operated, using a life-cycle approach.

A multi-year project is underway to develop and apply technology to improve building operation and maintenance. In a collaborative effort among researchers, building owners, utilities and private industry, an interdisciplinary team has been gathered to:
– Assess the current state of performance technology
– Develop an appropriate information gathering and diagnosis capability
– Test this new diagnostic system in real buildings


Information Monitoring and Diagnostic System (IMDS)
160 Sansome, San Francisco

The first IMDS has been installed and is now operating in an 18 story 100,000 sq ft, class A, San Francisco office building, built in 1964.

The IMDS includes 56 sensors, 34 calculated fields (for a total of 90 monitored data points), computer-based communications, data archival and retrieval capabilities, diagnostic information processing, data visualization, and other components that meet the needs expressed by building owners and property management companies. Existing proven hardware and systems were used, and the focus is on obtaining detailed accurate technical data (e.g. sufficient for calculations for a performance contract). Note this is a passive system, performing measurements only, and not control of equipment. A detailed specification is to be published.

This system implements a top-down approach, with diagnostic and information visualization algorithms, at three levels.
– Level I diagnoses whole-building performance at the aggregate level,
comparing to other buildings with similar energy services.
– Level II examines major end-use systems, and
– Level III focuses on major subsystems.

Savings opportunities of 10% were identified in the first four months. Life cycle cost issues have come into play, for example, improper rapid cycling of equipment. The active participation of the building’s innovative owner and operators should help publicize the effort and influence others in the industry. More recent findings suggest that the IMDS has proven extremely useful to the on-site building operators, helping them to improve control of the entire building.

Project Team Leader: Mary Ann Piette, 510-486-6286,
The project homepage:

“Development and Testing of an Information Monitoring and Diagnostic System for Large Commercial Buildings,” (paper presented at the ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, August 1998).

There is a detailed “Virtual Tour” at:
A project overview appears at: (


Building Life-Cycle Information Support System (BLISS)

BLISS is intended to provide a distributed computing environment for managing, archiving, and providing access to the wide variety of data and information that is generated across the complete life-cycle of a building project.

— > Identify Contraints/Opportunities — >
** Design — > Construction — > Commissioning — >
Monitoring — > Operations/Maintenance — >
Retrofits/Use changes — >
Re-evaluate Opportunities — > **

BLISS requires standardization in both a common building database model and in the mechanisms for transferring this information between tools.

The project has three major elements: (1) to specify the distributed software architecture, (2) to develop a life-cycle building model database schema, and (3) to develop a mechanism to capture and update “design intent” throughout the life cycle. The distributed systems architecture describes how various software components communicate, and the building model schema specifies the structure and semantics of the database (e.g. how performance metrics are defined and represented quantitatively).

BLISS is being developed within the evolving software specification from the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI). The IAI is a non-profit alliance of the building industry with six international member chapters. Its mission is to integrate the industry by specifying Industry Foundation Classes (IFCs) as a universal language to improve communication, productivity, delivery time, cost, and quality throughout the building life cycle.

Currently, Metracker is a tool being developed to help capture design intent via a number of performance metrics and then track changes in those metrics over the life of the building. The data schema is built on the IAI building data model. It is being tested on a new building in Oakland CA.
Contact Rob Hitchcock, 510-486-4154,


Remote Building Monitoring and Operations(RBMO)

A prototype system has been developed which permits remote monitoring and control of multiple commercial buildings across the Internet from a single control center. Such a system would be used by owner/operators of multiple buildings, such a school districts, governments, universities, large retailers, utility companies, building management firms, etc. Average savings estimated at 15% would come from reducing energy waste from equipment that runs when it does not need to, set point optimizations, and correcting operations and control deficiencies.

The project was initiated as a demonstration of the use of internet protocols and open systems for building monitoring, permitting integration of equipment from multiple vendors. It addresses similar IT issues of authentication, access-security, etc., which arise in a major Lab program on sharing scientific instrumentation over the internet.

The project includes the following components.

An Internet-to-building-EMCS (Energy Management Control System) gateway which speaks CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) protocol atop TCP/IP on the Internet side and either (preferably) BACnet atop TCP/IP, or a proprietary EMCS communications protocol, to the building EMCS.

Development of applications-level object specifications for HVAC objects, e.g., chillers.

A remote building monitoring and control center which will provide data visualization, database management, building energy simulation, and energy usage analysis tools.

Deployment and testing of the system in multiple buildings with diverse types of EMCS systems. Our goal is to assess scalability of the system to large numbers of buildings, both in terms of performance and accommodating heterogeneity of control systems and HVAC systems.

Remote control of HVAC systems – this awaits the availability of a secure CORBA implementation.
Frank Olken 510-486-5891


Simulation Research

The Building Energy Simulation User News is a quarterly newsletter for the DOE-2, BLAST, SPARK, EnergyPlus and GenOpt programs. Sent without charge, the newsletter prints documentation updates, bug fixes, inside tips on using the programs more effectively, and articles of special interest to program users. The winter issue features a cumulative index of all articles ever printed. Current issues are available electronically (below). All issues are available via regular mail, by request.

To subscribe or to request a back issue, contact: Kathy Ellington,

DOE-2 is a computer program for the design of energy-efficient buildings. Developed for DOE, DOE-2 calculates the hourly energy use and energy cost of a commercial or residential building given information about the building’s climate, construction, operation, utility rate schedule, and heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment. A new version, DOE-2.2, includes an integrated SYSTEMS-PLANT program based on circulation loops with tracking of temperatures and flows, luminaire/lamp modeling of lighting systems, a window-blind thermal/daylighting model, input value defaulting using expressions, and expanded building component libraries.

EnergyPlus – A new-generation building energy simulation program based on DOE-2 and BLAST, with numerous added capabilities. Developed by the Simulation Research Group, the Building Systems Laboratory at the University of Illinois, the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Lab, and DOE.

GenOpt – A tool for multi-dimensional optimization of an objective function that is computed by a simulation program. This project at LBNL is sponsored by the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences, the Swiss National Energy Fund, the Swiss National Science Foundation, and DOE.

SPARK [Simulation Problem Analysis and Research Kernel]
A program that allows users to quickly build models of complex physical processes by connecting calculation modules from a library.

BDA: Building Design Advisor – A computer program that supports the concurrent, integrated use of multiple simulation tools and databases, through a single, object-based representation of building components and systems. Based on a comprehensive design theory, the BDA acts as a data manager and process controller, allowing building designers to benefit from the capabilities of multiple analysis and visualization tools throughout the building design process. The BDA has a simple Graphical User Interface that is based on two main elements, the Building Browser and the Decision Desktop.

International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI) – With international partners, develop Industry Foundation Classes(IFC) and an integrated building information model for describing buildings. Develop methods for allowing applications, such as CAD and energy analysis, to interoperate with the information model. Interoperability will allow diverse building drawing and simulation tools to share the same building description and to exchange results, thus simplifying building design, construction and operation.

RESFEN – A PC-based computer program (using DOE-2 as the simulation engine) for calculating the heating and cooling energy performance and cost of residential fenestration systems. RESFEN is free on a CD.


Windows & Daylighting
Stephen Selkowitz 510-486-5064

– > Glazing Materials Research – Low-Emittance and Solar Control; Static spectral filters; Deposition Processes

– > Characterization facilities/optical lab for in-house research, manufacturers, and to support product rating and related standards activities.

– > The Optical Data Library provides glazing layer (peer-reviewed) optical data for over 800 commercially available products; this data is used with the WINDOW and Optics software.

– > New Materials: track of new materials R&D around the world–strong ties to IEA.

– > Manage the DOE Electrochromic Initiative – 2 labs, 4 manufacturers
Electrochromics or “smart windows” have the potential for becoming an important element in building load management due to their ability to control perimeter cooling loads and lighting loads, both of which are major elements of building peak demand. Occupant control of window shading systems is notoriously unreliable. A smart window whose solar heat gain coefficient can be modulated over a 5:1 range provides a significant new opportunity. While coating development work continues at LBNL and with industry partners, a German product is being purchased by LBNL to test in an office building in Oakland, with a focus on control integration and load management issues.

– > Advanced Systems development, testing, evaluation

– > Window Properties – determining the thermal and optical performance of window systems

– > Daylighting – LBNL has recently recieved substantial funding from California utilities to help convert RADIANCE, a lighting and daylighting research tool that is highly accurate but hard to use, to a desktop environment design tool with a user friendly interface and link to CAD software. A first version will be released in 1999; improved version with additional capabilities in 2000.

– > Residential performance – support Energy Star program; Annual Energy Ratings

– > Commercial Glazing Performance- ramping up R&D in this area, beginning with development of a design guide for architects and engineers. Later will be looking at advanced facade systems and their role in intelligent buildings. Innovative building skins are seen as not only energy savers but as building features that enhance the quality of the indoor space.


Lighting Research

The Lighting Research Group researches and develops fixtures, controls, and software which employ and promote energy efficient lighting. The group is primarily funded by DOE, although some funding is provided by industry for specific projects. The group is recognized as one of the main players in the lighting industry, as both technology developers and as observers/influencers. As such they have an indepth awareness of technological developments, issues and trends in the industry.

Research projects include sources, controls, fixture design, and human factors. Software for lighting design is a major R&D area. The test lab has the equipment which is essential for testing and designing energy efficient lighting fixtures, including a goniometer, integrating sphere, and spectro-radiometer for measuring light output. There is also an electric power analyzer for testing power and power quality of light sources.

The lab has in-house and collaborative work in new kinds of light sources that are being developed — solid state, electroluminescent, white LED, and organic liquids.

Their work to design the (non-halogen) compact fluorescent torchiere has led to the commercial availability on a wide scale of these much safer and more efficient lamps. Several universities did free exchange programs for dormitory residents, and now some utilities are doing it for their customers.
(see website for more details:

Of interest to utilities, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) are growing in popularity, but there are issues about price, quality, and longevity. Some imports have low prices, but don’t last as long as they should. To deal with this, some utilities are specifying an unecessarily high number of life hours. Specifications need to incorporate the issue of how often lights are turned off and on, but current testing procedures don’t deal with this effectively. LBL is proposing a new approach to life testing, but lacks the funding to demonstrate it.

“Bi-level” light switching is cost effective, and it is now in the building code for the state of California. (two switches–one controls 1/3 of the lighting in a room, and the other controls the remaining 2/3). Other effective measures are photosensors (for daylighting) and occupancy sensors. But it is important to solve the right problem. Hotels got little benefit from occupancy sensors, because guests rarely leave lights on when they’re out of the room. The biggest waste was found to come from bathroom lights left blazing as a night light — providing a dimmed setting would work better.

Recently, LBL combined low-glare, lower level ambient lighting with custom designed task light fixtures, in a US Post Office sorting facility. Occupancy sensors turned the task light on only when the clerk was present. Task light levels were improved while overall energy was reduced by 70%.


Lighting Software

RADIANCE – A suite of programs for the analysis and visualization of lighting in design. Input files specify the scene geometry, materials, luminaires, time, date and sky conditions (for daylight calculations). Calculated values include spectral radiance (ie. luminance + color), irradiance (illuminance + color) and glare indices. Simulation results may be displayed as color images, numerical values and contour plots. The primary advantage of Radiance over simpler lighting calculation and rendering tools is that there are no limitations on the geometry or the materials that may be simulated. Radiance is used by architects and engineers to predict illumination, visual quality and appearance of innovative design spaces, and by researchers to evaluate new lighting and daylighting technologies. (for UNIX)

(Advanced Daylighting and Electric Lighting Integrated New Environment)
ADELINE is an integrated lighting design computer tool developed by an international research team within the framework of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Solar Heating and Cooling Programme Task 12. It provides architects and engineers with accurate information about the behaviour and the performance of indoor lighting systems. Both natural and electrical lighting problems can be solved, in simple rooms or the most complex spaces. ADELINE produces reliable lighting design results by processing a variety of data (including:geometric, photometric, climatic, optic and human response) to perform light simulations and to produce comprehensive numeric and graphic information. (for PC)

SUPERLITE 2.0 is a lighting analysis program designed to predict interior illuminance in complex building spaces due to daylight and electric lighting systems. SUPERLITE enables a user to model interior daylight levels for any sun and sky condition in spaces having windows, skylights or other standard fenestration systems.

LBL Lighting publications are available (some can be downloaded) at:

Steve Johnson 510-486-4274


Home Energy Saver

The Home Energy Saver(HES) website, announced in March ’99, brings advanced building simulation software to an interactive website to help consumers identify the technologies that will save them the most energy and money.

The Home Energy Saver quickly computes a home’s energy use on-line based on methods developed at LBNL. By changing one or more features of the modeled home, users can estimate how much energy and money can be saved and how much pollution prevented by implementing energy-efficiency improvements. All end uses (heating, cooling, major appliances, lighting, and miscellaneous uses) are included.

The Home Energy Saver’s Energy Advisor calculates energy use and savings opportunities, based on a detailed description of the home provided by the user. Users can begin the process by simply entering their zip code, and in turn receive instant initial estimates. By providing more information about the home the user will receive increasingly customized results along with energy-saving upgrade recommendations.

Developed for the ENERGY STAR Program (EPA and DOE).

The HES Mission Statement ( ) explains the way the program seeks to work with and support private-sector vendors, by complementing their efforts, not competing with them.

Nor is it intended to compete with private vendors of web-based software who seek revenues from utilities who license their products. Nevertheless, utility partnerships with HES are still possible, and indeed some have already begun.

Contact: Rich Brown, 510-486-5896,

Bomin Technologies – Intelligent Energy Systems

This unique and interesting company has recently come to our attention, and may be of interest, for their technology, for their business model, and as a potential business partner and/or investment.

( This summary was adapted from company materials.)

Bomin is a privately-held Swiss-American company that develops, makes and sells Intelligent Energy Systems for buildings. Sales have grown from $2M in 1994, when the Company was formed, to $9.7M in 1997 (average growth rate of more than 64%). Sales were $12.6M in 1998, and are expected to continue growing at more than 30% a year.

Bomin was initially established in the mid-80’s as a developer of technology. Results are now moving into the market, and the company is evolving into a broad based platform for commercialization of innovative energy-related products through an international network of business partners. Bomin’s executive team combines international expertise in business operations, corporate finance and technology commercialization.

Bomin’s products improve efficiency and benefit the environment in three market segments:

– Intelligent Lighting – daylighting and controlled lighting systems, which bring sun or natural daylight into buildings and control the use of artificial light;

– Intelligent Heating – solar thermal-based products, which harness the sun for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, cooling and power generation; and

– Intelligent Control – hardware and software products which improve energy efficiency in pumps, co-generation units and other energy consuming devices.

Bomin is also bringing to market a pipeline of proprietary breakthrough technologies developed in their German and US labs.

– HEATPULSE is a stirling engine that uses mid-temperature waste heat from power generators or industrial processes, or from biomass.

– SUNPULSE is a low-temperature stirling engine developed for application in a solar-powered water pump and a refrigeration and air-conditioning system, for use throughout the developing world.

The company is seeking to raise additional capital to increase sales and marketing of existing products, enable the purchase of several identified acquisition candidates, and further product development and commercialization. An offering memorandum will be provided to qualified parties.

I also have an 13 page Executive Summary (Word document) that I can send on request.

A great deal of information is available from the company’s website at

UFTO’s Contact: Nicholas Parker, Chairman ( in Toronto)

Fed Energy Mgt Program (FEMP) Videoconf.

FYI — UFTO Notes from the last couple of months are now available on a new page on the UFTO website.

Fed Energy Mgt Program (FEMP) Videoconf.

(Thanks to Scherry Boyer at APS for passing this along.)

Even if you aren’t able to attend the videoconf., the agenda description on the website provides some good information about FEMP and the implementation of the technologies listed below.


TeleFEMP Broadcast VI

Energy Technology Solutions for the 90s and Beyond

Tuesday, June 2

2:00 – 3:30 p.m. EDT

Tune in to this 90-minute video conference and learn how sustainable energy technologies can save energy and dollars at Federal facilities. TeleFEMP Broadcast VI will focus on educating Federal energy managers and facility engineers on the engineering principles and the application of photovoltaics, solar hot water, energy effective lighting and lighting controls, and fuel cells.

Introduction (You Have the Power for Energy Technology Solutions)
Featured Technologies
Solar Hot Water
Energy Effective Lighting and Lighting Control Systems
Fuel Cells

To participate in the video conference, complete and fax the registration
form (Wordperfect [122 Kb] file).

Please send any comments, questions, or suggestions to:

Bulletin #19 – Washington DC, Tampa Meeting, UFTO Topics, Cold Fusion

In this issue: . . . . . . . . .
Washington DC Tampa Meeting UFTO Topics Cold Fusion

1. My Washington trip was packed with meetings, including the “Technology Partnering” conference. A number of interesting developments, as outlined in the attached notes.

2. The Breakthrough Conference is taking shape nicely. EPRI and EEI are now sponsors, and we’re working on DOE. (See the ad on page 45 in the February Electrical World.) You’ll receive a registration package in the mail soon.

PLEASE: respond to me about who’ll come to Tampa, and in particular who will be coming to the UFTO MEETING on Wednesday April 24. And if dinner on Thursday sounds like a good idea. And on what we want to accomplish at our meeting.

3. I may be able to announce one or two new UFTO members soon. (It’s all but certain, but I’d prefer to be certain.)

4. Filemaker! Enclosed is an example of a “cut & paste” topic report on NOx and SOx, from the new UFTO Topics database, now in “pre-prerelease.”

Alpha testers wanted. Prerequisite — familiarity with, and your own copy of, Filemaker Pro 3.0 for PC or Mac.

It’s important that everyone understand that this is strictly “as-is” software. You may prefer to simply ask me to do topic reports for you, rather than deal with the database yourself.

5. Many of you asked for copies of the Cold Fusion tapes and materials. Any thoughts or reactions?

ENECO, the company that provided the 1994 CBC tape and put together the booklet, is exploring the possibility of doing a state-of-the-art survey for interested parties, on a multi-client basis. A two page proposed outline is enclosed. The price hasn’t been set yet –that will depend on the number of subcribers and what their interests are. Probably in the neighborhood of $5K-$10K. Would your company want to participate? Let me know if you’re interested, and I can put you in touch with them.

6. See some new “UFTO Tech Nuggets” attached.

7. Upcoming events you might want to know about. (I could attend for you if you want.)
I have a little more information on each of these meetings if you want it….

• 1st Annual Conference of SMES Customer Interest Group, April 15-16, Chicago.
A half dozen manufacturers, Sandia and the US Air Force will be making presentations. Call 608-831-5773.

• DOE/EPRI Green Pricing Workshop, April 11-12, Golden CO. Open to anyone.

Call Lori Adams, EPRI Conferences, 415-855-8763.


• World Renewable Energy Congress, Denver, June 15-21. Call NREL 303-275-4358


UFTO Tech Nuggets

March 7, 1996


• Biochemical Upgrading of Petroleum (“BUP”)

Work at Brookhaven National Lab has shown that certain catalysts can effectively upgrade crude and processed oils in ways that have significant economic potential. These processes enchance lighter oil fractions, reduce organic sulfur and nitrogen content, and remove trace metals such as nickel and vanadium.

To date, processes have been demonstrated at 50 gallon bench scale. BNL, assisted by the Long Island Research Institute(LIRI), has set up a company and is seeking industrial partners. They’ve prepared a detailed commercialization plan that discusses a wide range of potential applications.

The Technology can be applied in upstream and downstream processing of oils and oil fractions, and in pretreatment of oils in many applications. Calculations show net financial benefits (i.e. after capital and operating costs) of $0.30 to $1.20 per barrel.from changing high sulfur oil into low sulfur oil.

Related technology can also treat waste streams from geothermal energy production, recovering valuable trace metals and converting geothermal sludges into commercially viable products.

Contact Ed Beardsworth, UFTO, or Phil Palmedo, LIRI, 516-361-6800


• Lighting Technology Screening Matrix (LTSM) is a software tool the calcualtes the life-cycle cost of an existing fixture and potential energy efficient replacements. Funded by the DOE Federal Energy Management Program, it was developed at the Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL). It can be ordered through the Battelle Memorial Institute at 1-800-451-3543. The price is $499.

• Small Gas Turbines for Distributed Generation Workshop, was held in San Francisco in February 1995, sponsored by EPRI, GRI, PG&E, and DOE. The 2-volume proceedings are available on request from Sargent and Lundy. Call J. N. Darguzas, 312-269-6902.

• CAGT? ICAD? Do these acronyms mean anything to you? See attached letter….

Technology Transfer Opportunities – Berkeley National Laboratory

Final Report

Technology Transfer Opportunities in the National Laboratories

Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Berkeley, California

June 1995

Prepared for:

Utility Federal Technology Opportunities (UFTO)


Edward Beardsworth


This report is part of a series examining technology opportunities at National Laboratories of possible interest to electric utilities





1. Summary

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.

LBL Organization

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

• Lighting

• 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:


• 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



Technology Transfer:

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


LBL Publications:

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:

Environmental Research

Energy Conversion and Storage

Energy Analysis

Indoor Environment Program

Buildings Technology Program

Energy & Environment Divison Newsletter, (monthly)

Energy & Environment Divison brochure (PUB-734 6/94)