Six stalwart UFTO company representatives and yours truly spent the entire day on May 8 at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), in Golden CO.

NREL is the smallest of the DOE national labs, with just over 1000 staff, and an annual budget of $187 million (FY00).. It is also the only lab with a specifically defined mission to advance renewable energy technology. NREL has a number of special purpose facilities and programs in wind, solar (PV and thermal), biomass/bioenergy, hydrogen and advanced transportation vehicles.

One impression that struck us was the strong sense of purpose and commitment that the NREL staff bring to their work. They really seem motivated by a desire to make the world a better place.

In terms of technical content, it was a bit of a drink from a firehose. Each presenter managed in under an hour to encapsulate the state of the art, explain the context and importance, and indicate what NREL’s particular role is.

(Presentations are available for download from the UFTO website–client password required. To access the directory of all presentation files, go to:
Or click on the links below to download individual documents directly.)

Obviously, in this amount of time we were only beginning to scratch the surface–myriad information resources abound on the DOE, NREL and other websites and publications. Best of all, perhaps, was the opportunity to meet the people doing the work, and to be able to recontact them to dig deeper.

Discussions of context and importance reflected a familiar list of driving forces (climate, resources, population, poverty, etc.). Energy demand will grow substantially; oil and gas won’t last forever. Renewables are on a decades-long development cycle that most new technologies (e.g. oil) have experienced in the past. Their cost and performance characteristics are now beginning to reach a point where their use is increasingly entering the mainstream in a major way.

One idea that NREL has been talking about for a couple of years — if the 20th century was the fossil energy century, then perhaps the 21st will be the biological energy century, with “biorefineries” gradually taking the place of oil refineries to provide fuels, chemicals, and myriad other material feedstocks of the economy. It’s definitely a long-term vision, but one can cite several examples where this already happens, e.g. in a paper mill, trees become paper, energy and other products. Another is corn, which becomes ethanol, corn, and livestock feed.

NREL Overview (1.2 mb)
David Warner,
Lee Boughey,
Industry Liaison

Distributed Energy Resources and Hydrogen (820kb)
Tony Schaffhauser,
Director , Distributed Energy Resources Center

This group pursues the linkages of renewables and natural gas with national energy needs through distributed generation. They provide analysis tools, test facilities, resource assessment, and work on standards, codes, and regulatory/institutional issues.

Renewable Resource Data Center (RReDC) provides information on several types of renewable energy resources in the United States, in the form of publications, data, and maps. GIS integration enables overlay of related infrastructures, e.g. pipelines, roads, and transmission lines.

Solar Programs Overview (7mb)
John Benner,

PV Roadmap:

Some key take-aways:
– “Breakthroughs” are not necessary. PV is on track to become a major energy supply via gradual improvement. The range of cost-effective applications is rapidly expanding, with PV energy costing from 10-50¢/kwh. Over the last 20 years, prices have fallen 25% with each doubling of cumulative shipments.
– Silicon PV rides on the shoulders of the semiconductor industry, with all its materials, equipment and manufacturing technology (e.g. the progress from 6″ to 8″ to 12″ wafers). (NREL’s PV lab does research funded by IC companies!) Even amorphous silicon can draw from the flat panels industry. The various thin-film technologies have no such opportunity to leverage better established industry capabilities.
– Thin film, though less efficient, is cheaper, and can fill important niches such as building-integrated PV.
– US market share is dropping. Elsewhere in the world, interest, and government support is leading to faster growth. World wide production is over 400 MW/year.
– There are lots of myths to dispel. For example, some say that huge land areas are required. Answer: existing roofs are more than enough.

Superconductivity (2.8mb)
Richard Blaugher,
Technology Manager, Superconductivity Program

NREL is one six DOE labs that work in superconductivity (SC). The DOE website has a lot of information about the overall effort:
(note in particular “Library” and “Technology Status”)

There are two main thrusts: basic research into new materials and wire or ribbon fabrication methods, and develop superconducting electronic power devices, in collaboration with industry. Devices include transformers, cables, a motor, current limiter and a magnetic separator. (Fact sheets on each one are available under “The Partnership”.) Utilities are involved with several of these projects.

NREL’s own internal R&D includes development of new coating techniques to make HTSC ribbon. One method uses electrodeposition, and recently a dip-coating technique has set new records for current density.

See Blaugher’s excellent review article from 2000 Global Energy Prospects.doc (52kb)

Energy Analysis Overview (3.1mb)
Walter Short,

This group, along with counterparts throughout the lab, studies technology, policy and market issues to support decision making at the program level, lab management, and DOE headquarters. They develop models and tools and perform analyses such as life-cycle cost, technology choice, R&D program prioritization and review, etc.
The website has a lot of good material, including publications and even an online software tool for renewable energy cost estimation.

Enterprise Development Program (1.2mb) (word 300kb)

Marty Murphy,

This unique program supports innovators, recognizing the need for viable small companies as one of the principal mechanisms to carry new technologies forward to commercialization. The website offers an broad array of reference and other materials to help them with all aspects of their business, especially fundraising. Venture investment forums are held around the company. Over 200 companies have presented in past events. NREL has also been instrumental in establishing a new national alliance of incubators around the country which focus on clean energy.

Next event: The 15th NREL Industry Growth Forum
Oct. 29- 30, 2002 in Albany, NY.

Biofuels Overview (1.9mb)
Cindy Riley,
Process Development Leader
Biotechnology Division for Fuels and Chemicals

Ethanol from cellulosic biomass is a key goal of NREL’s. For thousands of years, ethanol has been made by fermentation of sugars and starches; most of today’s US ethanol is made from corn. Most biomass, however, consists of lignin and cellulosic material which has to be broken down first. Various combinations of acids and enzymes are used to convert the cellulose to sugars which then can be fermented. (Lignin remains, and once separated has uses of its own.)

The DOE website gives a good overview of the process:

NREL’s program includes engineering new enzymes and yeasts, process technology, a major test facility, resource analysis, and systems economics studies, with a goal to bring the production cost of bioethanol down to $1/gallon by 2010. Bioethanol, and many various potential coproducts, could be a major realization of the “biorefinery” vision.

Bioenergy Overview (5.3mb)
Rich Bain, Group Manager,
Chemistry for Bioenergy Systems

Following the ethanol story, bioenergy is a far broader topic. Noting there are hundreds of bio-based production facilities in the US already (which already produce over 6000 MW of power), this presentation reviewed many of the huge variety of opportunities within the biorefinery concept, from biodiesel to biopower and gasification at scales ranging from 15 kw to the 200 tons/day Battelle Gasifier.

Tour of the National Wind Test Center (2.4 mb)
Brian Smith, Turbine Program Development,,
Jim Johnson, Site Operations,,

As with solar, Europe leads the US by a wide margin in deployment of windpower, with a total installed capacity nearly four times ours. The economics of wind are steadily improving, and some very large companies are heavily committed. As DOE’s lead laboratory in wind technology development, NREL operates the National Wind Technology Center and manages turbine research programs and applied research activities.

We visited the Center, 30 minutes from NREL, and toured the facilities, which are available to wind turbine manufacturers for equipment test and evaluation.

NREL operates the only full-scale blade testing facility in the U.S. for MW-scale wind turbines. 35 meter length blades are pushed and pulled a million times to find their weak points. The full-system wind turbine drive train testing accommodates up to 2.5 MW turbines. A huge electric motor drive simulates the wind, pushing systems to their limit. This facility in the only one of its kind in the world. In addition, there is a strong gusty wind that comes through a notch in the mountains. This would make a poor production resource, but is an excellent testing environment, as it subjects systems to highly variable and difficult conditions. Full scale turbines of all sizes are installed at the site and monitored in detail. Our group actually got to up inside a 600 kw wind turbine– impressive to say the least, at 120 feet above the ground.

Distributed Energy Resources/Hybrid Test Facility (256kb)
Ben Kroposki,

This facility has a variety of distributed generation technologies, a grid simulator and load banks. It is used to test inverters and interconnection power electronic systems, especially those developed under the DOE Distributed Power Program. Recently, the mission has been expanded to do testing of standards, “testing the test” to see if proposed standards can be used in practice.

IEEE 1547 Interconnection Working Group

IEEE SCC21 Working Group
(P1547 Draft Standard For Interconnection)
31 Jan -1 Feb 2002, Arlington, VA.

Held in conjunction with the DOE Distributed Power Program Review [covered in a separate UFTO Note]

Officially established by IEEE Standards and integrated into SCC21, the P1547 project was launched 4/99, and the Working Group (WG) has been on a fast track ever since to get a standard written and accepted by stakeholders in a wide-open consensus process. Relentlessly, meetings have been held 4-6 times a year, around the country.

Complete documentation of 1547 activities can be found at:

An excellent overview and current status as of last Oct can be found in a paper by Dick DeBlasio in the proceedings of the IEEE T&D Expo 2001 (Atlanta). [I have the pdf.]

In the last year, Draft #7 was voted on in March, and #8 by a ‘recirculation’ ballot in October. The voting showed interesting patterns; in particular utilities were divided right down the middle. Other constituencies are clearly in favor. There were two huge flurries of email among WG members debating various points, one just before the Oct ballot, and again just before this meeting. The goal now is to complete Draft #9 and to have a successful ballot on it.

Chairman Dick DeBlasio’s introductory remarks* and charge to the group outlined a key source of the problem–a long list of issues which are most likely not appropriate to deal with in a Technical Standard are nonetheless being brought up repeatedly. People with reservations about impacts on the grid, penetration levels, contractual issues, etc etc. continue, sincerely or otherwise, to raise and debate these issues in the WG. There was also a red herring over a minimum vs. maximum standard — opponents claimed that once enacted 1547 could only be made less restrictive and not more — the truth is that IEEE standards invariably undergo revision time and again, before the ink is dry. A cynic might wonder how much of this concern is sincere, how much is due to misinformation, and how much is simply raw tactics to block DG.

Another complicating factor for the 1547 effort–it is the very first case under IEEE’s newly introduced “open balloting”. This means that any IEEE member can jump in fresh to the process and cast a vote without having been involved in previous discussions. Standards committees have long endured repeat dialogues covering ground that’s been dealt with before, but ballots with anyone able to vote is much more problemmatic.

* This agenda document has the remarks which explain the approach:
* Also see the middle section of Dick’s presentation to the DPP meeting:

New Working Groups

IEEE Standard making recognizes the difference between “shall” and “should” and “may”, and produces three types of documents: Standards, Recommended Practices, and Guides, which reflect these different levels of influence. As many of the issues being piled on to 1547 are more appropriately dealt with the second or third type rather than the first, two new working groups have been established and a third has been proposed. The idea is to strip out of 1547 anything that belongs in a different document, e.g. procedures, applications guidance, safety, etc. (In sheer size, 1547 drafts began at over 500 pages; it’s been shrinking but it’s still far above a length appropriate to a IEEE Technical Standard.)

– IEEE SCC21 P1589 — Draft Standard for Conformance Tests Procedures For Equipment Interconnecting Distributed Resources With Electric Power Systems
– IEEE SCC21 P1608 — Draft Application Guide For “IEEE Draft Standard 1547 Interconnecting Distributed Resources With Electric Power Systems”
– Potential new SCC21 PAR for DR communication/control

(P1589 is also a Standard, but it separates issues of testing from the Standard itself. The numbering may be changed to 1547.1, 1547.2 and 1547.3, to reinforce the association among them.)

After DeBlasio’s opening remarks, the opening session of the WG meeting continued with presentations on the new initiatives. Each of these new working groups are recruiting members at the present time.

P1589 (1547.2) Standard on conformance testing will specify the types of tests to be done to demonstrate compliance with 1547.1, in particular at the factory producing equipment and at commissioning. (It would not deal with post-installation testing, which is a matter between business parties involved in a particular setting.) Contact Jim Daley, 973-966-2474,

P1608 (1547.3) Guide is to facilitate use of 1547, by providing characterizations of DG technologies. The development of this document will draw on dozens of existing resources, including 1547 resource materials, the 1001 IEEE standard for storage technology done in the 80’s (and withdrawn in ’98), various state procedures, utility handbooks, and other materials from EEI and EPRI. Contact Dick Friedman, 703-356-1300,

New Comm/Control (1547.3) Guide will cover equipment and systems for both remote on onsite monitoring and control of DG, supporting a wide variety of transactions among any DG stakeholders. It will include CHP and coordination with building or enterprise energy management systems. Contact Frank Goodman, 650-855-2872,

Back to Draft-Writing

The rest of the first session saw the start of a difficult process of reviewing Draft #8, section by section, going over suggested changes, and deciding which materials could be moved into one or the other of the new documents. It recalled the old saying about laws and sausages, with the added fun of wordsmithing by (very large) committee.

Over the next day and 1/2, significant progress was made, with lots of material removed from the Technical and Test sections and the appendices, for inclusion in 1589 and 1608. A “strawman” for Draft #9 is set for the writing committee to tackle in the next two months. (It was also announced that there will be some adds and drops to the writing committee roster.) A full WG meeting in June will, it is hoped be followed soon with the ballot.
Contact: Dick DeBlasio, 303-384-6452,
Tom Basso, 303-384-6765,

(For background about the start of this effort, see:
UFTO Note – IEEE Stds for DR Interconnection, 09 Jul 1999)

Small Modular Biopower System

Beginning in 1999, Community Power Corp (CPC) joined with NREL and Shell Renewables to develop a new generation of small modular biopower systems (SMB), designed to replace conventional diesel generators and to free communities from dependence on diesel fuel, with its high cost and environmental damage.

CPC’s fully automated SMB system can use a variety of biomass fuels to generate electricity and thermal energy for rural communities, enterprises and social services, and usually solving a agricultural residue disposal problem at the same time. The initial prototype SMB, rated at 12 1/2 kWe, is performing well in a Philippine village, since it’s commissioning on 2 April 2001.

With support from the Calif Energy Commission, CPC is now installing a second SMB on the Hoopa Valley Indian Tribe reservation in northern California. Fueled with forest residue, the unit will supply heat and power to a greenhouse, and CO2 enriched exhaust gases will also aid plant growth.

CPC’s advanced design, downdraft gasifier with fully integrated and automatic controls, produces an extremely clean combustible gas from a variety of woody fuels. The “producer” gas is conditioned and fed into a standard internal combustion engine genset for conversion to mechanical, electrical, and thermal power. Future systems will be adapted to SOFC fuel cells, microturbines, stirling and other IC engines.

Specifications and Features
– Combined heat and power operation for rural electrification and distributed generation applications;
– Environmentally friendly, non-condensing system without scrubbers, effluents or hazardous wastes;
– Fully automatic, closed-loop control of all components including gasifier, gas conditioning and genset;
– Dispatchable power within one minute of auto-startup ? uses no diesel fuel or gasoline;
– Fuel flexible: wood pellets, coconut shells, wood chips, corn cobs, palm nut shells;
– Electrical output in blocks from 5kWe to 25kWe; 120 and 240 VAC; 50 and 60 Hz;
– Modular, transportable, no need for on-site buildings or waste water disposal, 1 day installation.

Remarkably, Community Power actually first identified a market and need, and then developed SMB as the technology to meet it, rather than the other way around. The founders were experienced in the electrification of offgrid communities using conventional renewable energy technologies (PV, wind).

To serve this large, demanding market, (over 4 million communities) CPC specified a system that was sized for the typical un-electrified community; automated to prevent reliance on unskilled operators; mobile to facilitate easy installation and relocation; able to operate without the co-mixing of any fossil fuels; modular and scalable; and perhaps most importantly, one that met stringent environmental requirements with no liquid effluents or toxic wastes.

Worldwide, millions of potential customers annually dispose of billions of tons of forest and agricultural residues through burning or dumping, generating both air pollution and green house gases. Where these consumers have a sustainable source of biomass residue and where fossil fuel is either very expensive or not readily available, the SMB can be the lowest cost and greenest solution.

(A point that’s often missed in thinking about 3rd world village power– a large fraction of these communities do have currency, and already spend too much of it on energy, as currently their only choices are diesel or lead-acid batteries carried to distant charging stations–both of which are expensive and dirty. These communities can afford, and will welcome, to pay for a cheaper better local source of power.)

The company website has a great deal more information:

A recent slide presentation can be found at:

Contact: Robb R. Walt 303- 933-3135
Community Power Corp., Littleton, Co

There was a recent article in the Far Eastern Economic Review regarding CPC and the use of coconuts as fuel for their small modular bipower system that has been installed in the village of Alaminos in the Phillipines.

( 1 Aug email from Walt Robb, one of the founders)

Big news: Due to our efforts, by the end of September the DOE and US Forest Service will provide CPC with a non-competitive “Phase 3” add-on to our current SMB contract. The add-on will total $3.2 million over 2 1/2 years. We must secure $1.2 million of the $3.2 as cost share (38%). The cost share can come from multiple sources. Already, we have been contacted/visited by firms interested in the possibility of leveraging these funds.
Other news:
1. We have won two SBIR’s
2. California Energy Commission has specifically stated they are ready to give us a significant add-on to scale-up our SMB platform to 50 kW and conduct many more demos in California
3. The US Army has expressed interest in our 25kW SMB and 5 kW micro-modular biomass hybrid power system for their “Zero Foot Print Camp” program
4. A Massachusetts company has proposed a $350,000 demo in the state with state funding
5. The new trailer-mounted SMB for Hoopa is exceeding all of our expectations.
6. Art is back from vacation at Deep Creek Lake and didn’t catch any fish.

Fuel Cell info; DOE DP Program

In the Jan 23 UFTO Note about the Fuel Cell Seminar, several sources of information on Fuel cells were provided. Here is some additional clarification of how four separate publications are related.

Fuel Cells 2000 is an activity of the Breakthrough Technologies Institute (BTI), a non-profit organization formed to promote the development and early commercialization of fuel cells and related pollution-free, efficient energy generation, storage and utilization technologies and fuels.

They publish “Fuel Cell Connection”, a monthly sponsored by USFCC, NFCRC, and NETL
(subscribe at
This will also get you the quarterly “Fuel Cell Catalyst”, (the Winter 2001 issue arrived this afternoon) and access to back issues:

Fuel Cells 2000 also publishes and distributes its own monthly “Technology Update”, summarizing recent events in the fuel cell industry

And, they publish “Fuel Cell Quarterly” — subscription requires a paid contribution of $25 or more.

All of the above mentioned organizations have extensive websites with lots of documents, links, lists, etc.


The January 2001 issue of Fuel Cell Connection arrived today, with 28 separate items. Here are two that are noteworthy.

9. NREL Establishes Center for Distributed Power
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has established a new “Distributed Energy Resources Center” to conduct research and provide information needed to efficiently develop additional power supplies from small, decentralized generating units. Research on fuel cells and microturbines will fall under the “Hydrogen and Natural Gas Systems” section of the center.

10. Guide to Doing Business with DOE’s National Laboratories Now Available
The Laboratory Coordinating Council of the DOE has prepared a guide to “Doing Business with the Laboratories of the Laboratory Coordinating Council. (LLC)” The guide is available online through the DOE Office of Industrial Technologies.

Even though the “LLC” is focused specifically on the Office of Industrial Technologies, this new document appears to be a good new resource about the whole subject.


Speaking of Distributed Power and NREL, the DOE program is really taking off.

On December 4, 2000, DOE released its “Strategic Plan for Distributed Energy Resources,” (dated September 2000) which outlines a national effort to develop clean, reliable and affordable distributed energy technologies over the next two decades. The goal of the plan is eventually to allow industrial, commercial and residential customers to choose from an array of distributed energy resource products and services. The Strategic Plan will focus initially on developing “next-generation” distributed energy technologies and addressing the institutional and regulatory barriers that interfere with the development of dis-tributed energy resources. The DOE also outlined six separate strategic areas it plans to address in the near future.

“The Strategic Plan for Distributed Energy Resources” can be found on the Internet at
(Generally thislast website is the one to pay attention to.)

The DP Program Review meeting was just held the week before last in Washington. Very soon I hope to be able to pass along detailed notes from the NREL folks who are handling the website.

Las Vegas Energex2000

Las Vegas Lemonade

ENERGEX’2000 GlobeEx’2000 35th IECEC
Riviera Hotel Convention Center, LAS VEGAS, USA
JULY 23-28, 2000

If ever there was a time to make lemonade (i.e. when the world gives you lemons), this conference was it. One of the worst organized, most jumbled, and light on content imaginable. A great many speakers simply didn’t show up. Attendance was mostly by DOE, 3rd world energy officials, academics, and a few vendors and entrepreneurs. It was also very heavy on Nevada as a great place to do business, most notably development of the Nevada Test Site. (Also, I would not recommend the Riviera Hotel.)


So, for some lemonade. Plenary speeches, which mostly consisted of high level pep talks and very general overviews of the energy situation around the world, did offer a few good points.

– Dan Reicher (DOE Assist. Secty for Energy Effic) gave an optimistic and aggressive account of DOE’s commitments to renewables and efficiency, with emphasis on cost-effectiveness. He noted that in 1999, for the first time, more new windpower came on line than new nuclear.

– Nevada State Senator Randolph Townsend, who spearheaded deregulation in Nevada, actually said–if your legislators ever tell you they think they know what’s best, they’re dead wrong. The whole business of deregulation is one of surprises and unintended consequences.

– Admiral Truly, Director of NREL, suggested that the growth of the petroleum industry in the first half of the 20th century is going to prove to be an excellent analogy for what is starting to happen with biomass refining in the 21st century.

– Richard Sonstelie, recently retired CEO of Puget Sound Power, explained that the utility industry has always known that generation, transmission and distribution are entirely different businesses, and that generation has never been a natural monopoly. He went on to develop the idea that distribution isn’t either, and that it’s been terribly oversimplified. Distribution actually consists of a long list of distinct businesses (e.g., network planning, construction, outage response, call centers, customer research, energy procurement, meter reading, billing and collections, etc.). The only aspect of the pipes and wires business that can even begin to be viewed as a natural monopoly is the ownership of pipes and wires–in that it doesn’t make sense to have more than one set in any given location (there are exceptions to this, as we know, and some would argue the point.). Therefore, it isn’t necessary to treat the entire Disco as a regulated monopoly. Most of its activities can be handled on a competitive business model, with incentives and penalties to assure that service/reliability standards are met. After all, pipes and wires are “transportation” businesses, and their metrics should more like those applied to Federal Express. Utilities are already outsourcing what they’re not best at, and some are doing for other utilities–as new lines of business–what they’re good at themselves.

– Jan Pepper, renewables expert and until recently with APX, in charge of setting up their green power market, outlined the growing scale of green power programs. Eight states have already adopted renewable portfolio standards, and 13 have systems benefit charge used to support green power. Truth in labeling/certification agencies are emerging. An intriguing new trend–the “green” attribute of green power can be traded separately from the actual KWH’s themselves. This enhances the marketability of power from intermittent generators.


Two topics that got a lot of attention: Building Heating, Cooling and Power (BCHP is the new acronym) and geothermal, particularly the local heating and cooling variety. (If there is interest, I can provide more information on these items.)

Building Heating, Cooling and Power (BCHP)

The DOE has gotten very interested in on-site generation which maximizes the use of the waste heat for heating and cooling. The BCHP Initiative has over 70 participants, including government, utilities, ESCOs, manufacturers, vendors, etc.

The gas industry continues to push hard on gas cooling. The GAX heat pump technology promises 30% higher efficiency than the best gas furnace, and 100 beta units will go into the field next year. There is increasing emphasis on humidity control through the use of dessicants.
Rocky Research is a technology development company in Las Vegas that has a impressive array of work going on in heating, cooling and refrigeration, and is looking for commercialization partners for several of its technologies.

Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium is a non-profit organization advancing the use of “GeoExchange” heating and cooling systems, notably in commercial and industrial applications, in addition to residential. (GeoExchange Systems work by moving heat, rather than by converting chemical energy to heat like in a furnace. Every GeoExchange System has three major subsystems or parts: a geothermal heat pump to move heat between the building and the fluid in the earth connection, an earth connection for transferring heat between its fluid and the earth, and a distribution subsystem for delivering heating or cooling to the building.)

One supplier, ClimateMaster, offers a range of advanced products geared to commerical and residential, including a split system that can be used in combination with a traditional furnace.


The most unusual find–I met a German project developer with a story about a “solar chimney”. They actually built a demo in Spain (with Finosa), with at 200 meter chimney that ran for 7 years. The fullscale design calls for a 950 meter chimney, 135 meters in diameter, surrounded by 4 mile diameter circular heat absorber structure (like a greenhouse roof). Heat rising through the chimney will generate 100 MW by turning a fan blade in the base. Crops can be grown in the covered area, and black tubing filled with water can provide storage to make power 24 hours a day. They already have permitted projects and are raising money. The company also has a number of solar trough programs in Spain, Crete and Jordan.

DOE Hydrogen Program

Forwarding this announcement about the DOE Hydrogen Program website…it’s a quite comprehensive resource site on hydrogen. Note the complete proceedings from the ’98 and ’99 Program Reviews (under Information Resources).

Date: Sunday, May 21, 2000 8:46 AM
Subject: [h2view] Redesigned Hydrogen Information Network website is live!

From: “Gregoire, Cathy”

The DOE Hydrogen Program website has been completely redesigned. This site contains important information on R&D advances and technology validation efforts within the US Department of Energy’s Hydrogen Program.

The web address remains the same –

Please note that all future notices related to the DOE Hydrogen Program, including meeting notices and solicitation announcements, will only be sent to those persons signing up on the new mailing list – this current list will no longer be used.

Action is required on your part for you to continue to receive important information. You must sign up to receive news and information (

Thank you for your interest in hydrogen.

Catherine E. Grégoire Padró, P.E.
Technology Manager, Hydrogen Program
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
1617 Cole Blvd., MS 1613
Golden, Colorado USA 80401
Tel: +1-303-275-2919
Fax: +1-303-275-2905

IEEE DistGen Stds update

IEEE SCC21 P1547 Web Site Available:

(The first is the html home page, the second one is simply an archive file log.)

The site includes a P1547Background file, a P1547MeetingPattern file explaining meeting logistics, and folders for past and ongoing notices, agendas and minutes. (Meeting minutes “annexes” are not available electronically.)

The January 2000 meeting (Albuquerque NM) minutes have just been posted at the “archives” site. <>

The next meeting is April 26-27, 2000 hosted by Cutler-Hammer in Pittsburgh PA Next after that is June 7-8, 2000, hosted by Capstone Turbines in Los Angeles

Contact is: Tom Basso, 303-384-6765,

(For additional background, see:
UFTO Note – IEEE Stds for DR Interconnection, 09 Jul 1999)


In related developments: (February 10, 2000)

Sandia’s PV News: IEEE Interconnection Standard For Utility-Intertied Photovoltaic Systems Is Approved

An IEEE-sponsored working group has developed an interconnection standard that will simplify the process of interconnecting photovoltaic systems with an electric utility. Photovoltaics (PV) is a solar-electric technology that uses solid-state solar cells to convert solar energy to electric energy. Not only does this standard vastly simplify PV interconnection, but it is the first IEEE standard of its kind for allowing utility interconnections of non-utility-owned distributed generation equipment. The unique aspects of this standard include tightly-defined requirements for the interconnecting hardware that can be tested by an independent test laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories. This removes former barriers to PV use throughout the country.

John Stevens, Sandia National Labs, chaired the working group, which included about 25 members representing the utility industry, the PV industry, PV inverter manufacturers and PV researchers. The effort was sponsored by IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 21 (SCC21). It required a little over three years from initial announcement of the project to final approval by the IEEE Standards Board. Its value is that it provides a standard that PV interconnection hardware can be designed to, thus removing the requirement for specialized hardware for different utility jurisdictions. The standard includes very specific requirements for systems of up to 10kW, but it covers systems of all sizes. The IEEE PV interconnection standard, identified as IEEE Std 929-2000, is known informally as IEEE 929.

The standard actually applies to the PV inverter, the device that converts the PV dc energy into utility-compatible ac energy. Similar inverters are used in other distributed generation systems such as fuel cells and microturbines. Many of the requirements for interconnection that are described in IEEE 929 might also be adopted for these other technologies.

IEEE 929 provides guidance for operating voltage and frequency windows, trip times for excursions outside these windows, requirements for waveform distortion, as well as defining a non-islanding inverter. An important parallel effort was performed at Underwriters Laboratories where a test procedure, UL 1741, was written that will verify that an inverter meets the requirements of IEEE 929.

In support of the IEEE 929 process, several development projects were completed at Sandia that addressed interconnection issues. The performance of several inverters operating in parallel when a utility line is de-energized was characterized to better understand the potential for unintended operation during a utility outage (“islanding”). A control scheme was developed to assure that islanding doesn’t happen. A test was developed to allow testing of single inverters to identify the presence, or lack, of an adequate anti-islanding scheme. Several specific tests were performed at the request of some electric utilities to examine such issues as ferroresonance with inverters under fault conditions and response of inverter protection schemes to the non-sinusoidal waveforms that are sometimes associated with abnormal conditions on utility systems.

This working group was an outstanding example of people with different backgrounds working together toward a common goal — simplifying the interconnection procedure. IEEE SCC21, which is chaired by Dick DeBlasio of NREL, has sponsored numerous PV-related standards since its inception in the late 1970s.

For further information on this PV interconnection standard
contact John Stevens,
Sandia PV Projects (505) 844-3698 (phone) (505) 844-6541 (fax)

Wind Turbine Co Making Progress


We first reported about WTC’s work in an UFTO Note 12 Dec 1996. The story is the same, except for the tremendous progress they’ve made in less than 3 years — pretty much according to their original plan!

The material below was adapted from the executive summary of their current business plan.

Wind energy is the fastest growing segment of the renewable energy industry and is by far the most economic form of grid-connected renewable electricity. Today, wind generated electricity costs as little as 5¢/kWh, and installed global wind energy capacity has increased by more than 25% annually since 1990. It now exceeds 11,000 MW. In 1998 alone, over 2,000 MW with a value exceeding $2 billion was installed. This figure is expected to increase to $5 billion by 2003.

The Wind Turbine Company (“WTC”) has developed new wind turbine technology that promises to slash 30% or more from the cost of wind generated power compared with today’s wind turbines. WTC did a ground-up, total system-level design of a 2-bladed downwind turbine (i.e. the turbine rotor blades operate downwind of the tower) whose principal advantage lies in its ability to shed excessive wind loads. This is in contrast to conventional upwind machines (i.e. blades upwind of the tower), which must be built sufficiently strong, rigid and consequently heavy, to absorb all foreseeable wind loads and avoid catastrophic blade-tower strikes.

Since the wind pushing on the blades causes them to bend in the direction the wind is blowing, blades oriented downwind of the tower can be made much less rigid than blades upwind of the tower. WTC’s turbine will weigh only 60% as much as a comparably rated 3-blade, upwind turbine. Its lighter weight will permit WTC’s turbine to operate higher above ground (100 meters or more) than is economic for upwind turbines, thus exposing it to higher winds resulting in more energy production. Lower weight and higher energy capture combine to provide a substantial reduction in the cost of wind generated electricity. The design incorporates a “yaw” braking mechanism to dampen the response to sudden changes in wind direction, a feature lacking in earlier downwind designs by Carter and others.

Windfarms using the WTC Turbine will be able to will produce power for an unsubsidized price of 3.5¢/kWh or less, including all capital and O&M.

WTC was founded in 1989 and has invested over $6 million in its technology. In 1995, WTC was selected by DOE for a $22 million contract to develop a 250 kW proof-of-concept (“POC”) turbine, followed by two full-scale 1000 kW wind turbines, over a 6-year period. This is the second largest wind energy contract ever awarded by DOE and the largest contract ever awarded by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL). The POC turbine should be operational in early 2000. (I have a photo I can send on request – jpeg format).

In 1998, WTC received a $950,000 contract from the California Energy Commission to develop a 500 kW commercial prototype to be developed early in 2000, following completion of initial POC testing. This unit will be operational in mid 2000. Commercial sales of 500 kW units will start in 2001, when WTC also plans to begin development of a 1000 kW commercial prototype.

To overcome market penetration barriers due to developers taking a wait-and-see attitude over concerns about technology and financial risk, WTC will develop and operate its own windfarms. In parallel with its manufacturing operation, WTC will establish project development and operating entities to manage windfarms using WTC’s equipment.

WTC’s initial project development strategy is to focus on the U.S. market where there is ample opportunity and relatively easy and inexpensive accessibility for Company personnel to ensure successful windfarm development and operation. WTC has already begun discussions with potential project participants and sources of financing for two separate projects. WTC is also looking to form partnerships with existing independent power developers to further leverage its project development effort.

WTC is now seeking up to $5 million in additional funding to satisfy match funding requirements under its NREL and CEC contracts, hire additional staff, develop its initial windfarm opportunities, and establish strategic partnerships with potential suppliers and customers. A detailed Business Plan is available upon execution of WTC’s Confidentiality Agreement.

For further information, please contact:

Lawrence W. Miles, President
The Wind Turbine Company, Bellevue, WA 98004

Sanford J. Selman, Managing Director
Energy & Environmental Ventures LLC
Weston, CT 06883