New New Solar PV

There are a number of fascinating new developments in the world of solar photovoltaic cells, which represent major shifts from the usual crystalline silicon cell based on semiconductor technology, which supplies as much as 80% of the market today (referring to wafers sliced from large single crystal or polycrystalline ingots). Here is a quick overview. Much more information exists on most of these topics.

Evergreen Solar
Evergreen has one of most mature of the new approaches, and is now a growing public company (symbol ESLR), ramping up production of its unique string ribbon Silicon cell. The Evergreen cell is fully equivalent on a functional basis, but is considerably than the ingot slice method. Evergreen anticipates sales of $6-9 million in 2003. The website does a good job explaining the whole story.

Solar Grade Silicon
In March, Solar Grade Silicon LLC announced full production of polycrystalline silicon at its new plant in Washington, the first ever plant dedicated wholly to producing feedstock for the solar industry. They supply the purified silicon that is then melted and made into single crystals, i.e. in large ingots, or Evergreen’s ribbon. In the past, solar cell makers relied on scraps from the semiconductor industry, which won’t be sufficient to handle the growth in the PV industry.

Spheral (ATS Automation)
In one of the stranger sagas of solar, you may recall that in 1995, Texas Instruments finally gave up on a major development program to develop “Spheral” solar cells, an effort they’d devoted many years and many dollars to (with considerable support from DOE). Spheral technology comprises thousands of tiny silicon spheres, bonded between thin flexible aluminum foil substrates to form solar cells, which are then assembled into lightweight flexible modules. TI’s goal was to develop a manufacturing process that would drive PV costs to $2/watt. Ontario Hydro Technologies acquired the technology, set up manufacturing in Toronto, and sold some systems, but in 1997, reorganizations and a return to basics led them to sell it off. Apparently dormant since then, in July 2002 ATS Automation announced it had acquired the technology, set up a subsidiary, and was scaling up production with plans to be in commercial production this year. The Canadian government put in nearly $30 Million. The jury is out on this one. For the story, go to:

Thin Film-CIGS
Commercially produced thin film PV falls into 3 general categories, Cadium Telluride, Amorphous Silicon, and CIGS (Cu(In,Ga)Se2). The first two technologies are struggling, with BP’s notable exit last November from both. CIGS is having instances of some apparent success and continuing development efforts, and enjoys strong support at NREL, a true believer. There are production facilities doing CIGS as well as innumerable development efforts around the world to make it cheaper and more efficient. CIGS has the unique feature of becoming more efficient as it ages.

Global Solar**
Global, partly owned Unisource, the parent of Tucson Electric, is selling thin film CIGS modules to the military, commercial and recreational markets. One product is a blanket a soldier can unfold on the ground. Current production capacity is 2.3 MW per year, and they’re fundraising to expand to 7.5 MW.

Among the new entrants, Raycom is a startup in Silicon Valley, led by veterans of thin film coating for disk drives and optical filters. They believe their experience (and existing equipment) will enable them to avoid the long and painful development cycles that have traditionally characterized the solar PV industry, and be in production in less than 2 years. Their secret is “dual-rotary magnetron sputtering” a patented process that has already proven effective in high volume manufacturing. Cost targets are under $1 per watt. They also have brought a fresh eye to the formulation of CIGS, and see ways to make it without cadmium, which is highly toxic. Raycom produced their first working cells in a matter of months. They are in the midst of fundraising. One might observe that this is a rare instance where someone comes to PV from manufacturing instead of science. Normally, people develop PV technology in the lab and then endeavor to become manufacturers. This time it’s the other way around. [To see the magetron sputtering technology, go to:]
Contact David Pearce 408-456-5706,

Konarka has attracted a great deal of attention and sizable VC participation (funding round Oct 02) with promises of a way to commercialize the “Gratzel” cell, which Dr. Michael Grätzel developed and subsequently patented in the 1990’s. The core of the technology consists of nanometer-scale crystals of TiO2 semiconductor coated with light-absorbing dye and embedded in an electrolyte between the front and back electrical contacts. Photons are absorbed by the dye, liberating an electron which escapes via the TiO2 to the external circuit. The electron returns on the other side of the cell, and is restores another dye molecule. The jury is out on this one, whether it’ll happen quickly as the company and its investors hope, or will there be a long road ahead. One of the biggest issues since this idea was first tried has been the stability of the organic dyes.

For a good discussion of dye-sensitized cells, see this pdf:

This Palo Alto based company has a long list of goals for its nanotechnology, ranging from chemical/biological sensors, to electronics and photovoltaics, based on formulations of nanowires, nanotubes, and nanoparticles. Their idea for PV is reportedly to embed nanorods of photosensitive material in a polymer electrolyte, on a principle not unlike Konarka’s. On April 24, they announced an amazing $30 Million VC funding. You have to wonder about this one, i.e. if the nano-hype has taken over, and how successful they’ll be about solar as compared with the other areas.

The technology was originally developed at Lawrence Berkeley Lab:

Also Palo Alto based, this one is in stealth mode. The basic idea is similar to Nanosys, but they are focused only on solar. They also incorporate technology licensed from Sandia for nano-self-assembly to align the nanorods perpendicular to the surface, which is supposed to make a big difference in the efficiency. (Nanosys’s nanorods are said to be randomly oriented in clumps.) NanoSolar has some very famous investors, who are maintaining an extremely low profile.

Solaicx is a new spinout from SRI International, and has a way to make polycrystalline silicon cell material in a continuous process atmospheric-pressure furnace. Their presentations and materials tell very little about what they have, making it pretty hard to judge.

This is a very unusual concentrator story involving the use of variable “graded” index glass optics. The work started in the mid 80’s. Solaria Corporation was formed in 1998 by the founders and former management from LightPath Technologies, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico. Solaria holds the exclusive license from LightPath to use its proprietary GRADIUM® optics in the field of solar energy.

** These companies presented at the Cleantech Venture Forum in San Francisco, April 30.

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)

Science Mag. Energy Issue

Science Magazine’s recent (July 30) issue is a special edition with a major series of articles on Energy. Here are the table of contents, abstracts, and full text of the lead articles, which I downloaded from their website. If you want any of the articles, but don’t have access to either the magazine, or full text downloading (which may require a subscription), let me know.

Science Magazine, July 30, 1999

A Responsible Energy Future.
pg. 662. (Editorial) [Full Text]

Powering the Next Century.
pg. 677. (Introduction to special issue) [Full Text]

(Abstracts below for these 14 articles)

Bright Future–or Brief Flare–for Renewable Energy? pg. 678-680.

2. ENERGY: Solar Homes for the Masses. pg. 679.

3. NEXT GENERATION AUTOMOBILES: U.S. Supercars: Around the Corner,
or Running on Empty? pg. 680-682.

Toyota’s Hybrid Hits the Streets First, pg. 681.

Bringing Fuel Cells Down to Earth, pg. 682-685.

Company Aims to Give Fuel Cells a Little Backbone. pg. 683.

Turning Engineers Into Resource Accountants. pg. 685-686.

In This Danish Industrial Park, Nothing Goes to Waste. pg. 686.

9. A Realizable Renewable Energy Future. John A. Turner, pg.

10. Underinvestment: The Energy Technology and R&D Policy Challenge.
Robert M. Margolis and D. M. Kammen, pg. 690-692.

11. Photovoltaic Technology: The Case for Thin-Film Solar Cells.
A. Shah, et. al., pg. 692-698.

12. Ceramic Fibers for Matrix Composites in High-Temperature
Engine Applications.
P. Baldus, M. Jansen, and D. Sporn, pg. 699-703.

13. Thermoelectric Cooling and Power Generation.
F. J. DiSalvo, pg. 703-706.

14. Environmental Engineering: Energy Value of Replacing Waste Disposal
with Resource Recovery. R. Iranpour,, pg.706-711.

Powering the Next Century (Introduction to special issue)
Richard Stone and Phil Szuromi

Twenty-five years ago, Science devoted an entire issue to what then was perceived as a major threat to Western society: the energy crisis. Some authors presciently wrote of conservation and improved fossil fuel recovery, while others missed the mark by heralding new eras of nuclear and alternative energy. For a deeper understanding of that turning point between energy naïveté and energy realism, see articles from that and subsequent issues posted at our Web site.

Unexpectedly cheap oil prices in the United States, impossible to foresee in the immediate aftermath of the crisis, are rooted in both economics and politics. Greater oil resources are now available thanks to new reserves and enhanced recovery technologies. [The extent of existing oil resources is under debate (Science, 21 August 1998, p. 1128).] Oil-exporting nations have not maintained the political resolve to keep oil prices inflated by limiting production, and the Persian Gulf War demonstrated the resolve of Western nations to use force to protect oil resources in the Middle East.

Western policy-makers are now debating how to rein in the environmental costs of oil use, such as oil spills and rising concentrations of greenhouse gases. To meet the pollution reduction challenges, energy producers are blazing trails in energy efficiency and reviving alternative energy sources. This special issue explores the science and policy of emerging technologies. Most are works in progress. Fuel cells, for example, are limited largely by ion transfer rates across fragile membranes, whereas the efficiency of heat engines is limited in part by the operating temperatures of metals; ceramics are being explored as hardier alternatives. Improving thermoelectric devices for refrigeration requires finding materials with high electronic conductivity but low thermal conductivity, properties that normally tend to increase or decrease together.

Alternative fuels are also being developed, but they face their own hurdles. Using hydrogen in fuel cell vehicles, for example, would require billions of dollars to create the infrastructure to deliver the gas. Meanwhile, the present infrastructure could become vastly more energy efficient–a shortcoming the young field of industrial ecology is trying to address. Many resources that could be recycled, such as waste water or flare gas, often are not. Where political will translates into legislation, such as California’s demand for alternatively fueled vehicles and the deregulation of its electricity market, investments in new technologies have happened. Where political will has faltered, such as not establishing firm targets for carbon dioxide emissions, developments have been slow.

In his editorial in that 1974 issue of Science, Phil Abelson noted, “Had we been driving smaller, less gas-consuming cars, there would have been no energy crisis. Some other forms of transportation consume less gasoline, and their use should be encouraged.” The logic remains irrefutable a quarter of a century later. Advances in energy technology will likely need to be assisted, however, by changes in our own habits of energy use, willingly or not.


A Responsible Energy Future (Editorial)
Rush Holt*

Affordable energy is the lifeblood of modern society. Without it, the network of transportation, agriculture, health care, manufacturing, and commerce deemed essential by many of the world’s inhabitants would not be possible. Yet our use of energy releases sulfur dioxides, metals such as cadmium and mercury, and greenhouse gases and other noxious pollutants that damage our quality of life. Moreover, when we use fossil fuels, we make ourselves dependent on an energy source that cannot be relied upon forever.

With the apparent conditions in the United States today, what could induce us to change our energy habits now? Almost daily, gasoline prices reach record lows, and U.S. citizens have not waited in line for gas for decades. Our fossil fuel engines and turbines burn more cleanly and more efficiently now than ever before.

Nevertheless, the truth is that our current system of energy use is unsustainable; our energy habits will have to change. For, although fossil fuel supplies are limited, total energy use will rise rapidly in coming years as global economic development continues. What is more, according to many scientists, current greenhouse gas emissions–let alone any greater emissions in the future–threaten to produce serious environmental changes.

Some scientists have predicted that projected greenhouse gas emissions for the coming decade could produce climate changes as significant as an increase of 5º to 6ºF (2.8º to 3.3ºC) in average global temperature, a one-half meter rise of sea level, and even an increase in the intensity of hurricanes and tropical storms. Worst-case scenarios? Perhaps. But other negative effects of fossil fuel pollution, such as smog, acid rain, water contamination from leaky fuel tanks, oil refinery emissions, and oil spills, are already very real in many regions of the globe, in both industrialized and developing nations. Even without global warming, these immediate problems are enough to warrant change.

For developing countries, cheap, polluting, and inefficient technologies are often the only affordable option. The United States is in a position to develop better alternatives. We should take the initiative. Our current investment in research and development in energy is nothing short of irresponsible. The U.S. national energy product exceeds $500 billion annually. Yet barely 1% of that amount is invested in R&D. The President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) has recommended that the Department of Energy’s applied energy-technology R&D budget be nearly doubled to $2.4 billion by 2003. In my view, this recommendation should be considered a minimum figure.

This money would be well spent. Those who position themselves to manage the coming changes in energy use will stand to gain enormously. American companies would profit from the development of more efficient, cleaner–and therefore more desirable–technologies; the American economy would benefit from the expertise built up by further research; and American citizens would benefit from a cleaner, safer environment.

Just as the federal government has a responsibility to invest now in basic medical research to ensure the health of present and future generations, so it has a responsibility to invest now in basic energy research to ensure both our near-term and long-term economic and environmental health. The justification for this commitment seems clear to many of us trained in science and technology. Yet with energy prices low, the necessary political will may be lacking. Will apprehension about negative effects–greater pollution and global climate change–provoke people to examine our energy habits and take action? Or will the possible economic opportunities attract attention and provoke action? A huge potential market awaits, promising an opportunity to enhance the quality of life of all the world’s people. Meanwhile, researchers and policy-makers must continue to seek ways to make relevant to our communities the nature of our global energy challenges and opportunities.

The author is a U.S. Congressman from central New Jersey, a physicist, and the former Assistant Director of Princeton University’s Plasma Physics Laboratory.


Abstract 1 of 14

ENERGY: Bright Future–or Brief Flare–for Renewable Energy?

Kathryn S. Brown

PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA–Solar, wind, and other forms of renewable energy are making surprising gains as some U.S. states open their power markets to competition. But with fossil fuel prices near all-time lows, experts are split on whether alternative energy can maintain its momentum. Concerns about climate change are the strongest force pulling in favor of renewables, but if the Kyoto climate change treaty falters and global warming forecasts become less dire, the fossil fuel era is likely to continue into the foreseeable future.

Abstract 2 of 14

ENERGY: Solar Homes for the Masses
Alexander Hellemans

Near Amersfoort, the Netherlands, the NV REMU power company is leading a $13 million project to build 500 houses with roofs covered with photovoltaic panels–the world’s largest attempt at so-called “building-integrated photovoltaics.” By the time the homes are finished next year, they should be drawing 1.3 megawatts of energy from the sun, enough to supply about 60% of the community’s energy needs.

Abstract 3 of 14

U.S. Supercars: Around the Corner, or Running on Empty?
David Malakoff

GOLDEN, COLORADO–A collaboration between automakers and the federal government to develop high-mileage, low-emission cars is set to unveil its first prototypes–probably diesel-electric hybrids–next year. However, critics charge that the program is betting on the wrong technologies by emphasizing polluting diesel engines instead of potentially cleaner technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells; others question why the government is subsidizing the effort when Toyota has already built a fuel cell car on its own dime (see sidebar). Moreover, with the United States’ current low gas prices, observers don’t expect to see consumers cruising in the new supercars anytime soon.

Abstract 4 of 14

Toyota’s Hybrid Hits the Streets First
Dennis Normile

TOKYO–As U.S. automakers struggle to draft blueprints for their future fuel-efficient cars (see main text), the Toyota Motor Co. has beaten them to the punch with a gas-electric hybrid that gets about double the gas mileage and spews half the carbon dioxide of similarly sized sedans. What’s more, the Prius has made it to market without the benefit of taxpayer-sponsored research and without any looming domestic requirements for zero-emissions vehicles.

Abstract 5 of 14

Bringing Fuel Cells Down to Earth
Robert F. Service

Automakers are banking on fuel cells, used to run equipment aboard spacecraft, to power the first zero-emission vehicles; the type of fuel that supplies the cells could determine how deeply
these cars penetrate the market. Engineers and clean-air experts say the simplest and cleanest option is hydrogen gas itself, while car and oil companies would prefer to equip vehicles with
miniature chemical factories to convert liquid fuels, such as gasoline or methanol, into hydrogen gas that can be fed into fuel cells. Critics, meanwhile, argue that the converters likely will
be expensive and prone to breaking down.

Abstract 6 of 14

Company Aims to Give Fuel Cells a Little Backbone
David Voss

ELKTON, MARYLAND–Before fuel cell-makers can challenge utility companies for our business, they must first lower the price and ratchet up the power of their devices. A crucial part of the strategy is to improve the membrane assembly, which serves as catalyst, electrode, and chemical separator. Researchers are achieving promising results using fluoropolymers, but cost remains an obstacle.

Abstract 7 of 14

Turning Engineers Into Resource Accountants
Jocelyn Kaiser

A new discipline is trying to persuade companies that tracking the flow of materials and energy over a product’s lifetime makes good business sense. The philosophy has begun to pay off–mainly in Europe–in everything from appliances designed with reusable parts to schemes for capturing precious metals that may otherwise end up in landfills or riverbeds. However, a cradle-to-grave approach to doing business hasn’t yet caught fire in the United States.

Abstract 8 of 14

In This Danish Industrial Park, Nothing Goes to Waste
Jocelyn Kaiser

If there’s anything that sums up the hopes of industrial ecology (see main text), it’s a tiny pipeline-laced town in eastern Denmark called Kalundborg, where companies have been swapping byproducts like gypsum and waste water for up to 25 years. This “industrial symbiosis” is drawing keen interest from policy-makers in the United States, although opinions vary on its odds of success.

Abstract 9 of 14

A Realizable Renewable Energy Future
John A. Turner

The ability of renewable resources to provide all of society’s energy needs is shown by using the United States as an example. Various renewable systems are presented, and the issues of energy payback, carbon dioxide abatement, and energy storage are addressed. Pathways for renewable hydrogen generation are shown, and the implementation of hydrogen technologies into the energy infrastructure is presented. The question is asked, Should money and energy be spent on carbon dioxide sequestration, or should renewable resources be im plemented instead.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO. E-mail:

Abstract 10 of 14

Underinvestment: The Energy Technology and R&D Policy Challenge
Robert M. Margolis, 1* Daniel M. Kammen 2*

This Viewpoint examines data on international trends in energy research and development (R&D) funding, patterns of U.S. energy technology patents and R&D funding, and U.S. R&D intensities across selected sectors. The data present a disturbing picture: (i) Energy technology funding levels have declined significantly during the past two decades throughout the industrial world; (ii) U.S. R&D spending and patents, both overall and in the energy sector, have been highly correlated during the past two decades; and (iii) the R&D intensity of the U.S. energy sector is extremely low. It is argued that recent cutbacks in energy R&D are likely to reduce the capacity of the energy sector to innovate. The trends are particularly troubling given the need for increased international capacity to respond to emerging risks such as global climate change.

1 Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP) Program, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ .
2 Energy and Resources Group (ERG), University of California, Berkeley, CA .
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:;

Abstract 11 of 14

Photovoltaic Technology: The Case for Thin-Film Solar Cells
A. Shah, 1 P. Torres, 1* R. Tscharner, 1 N. Wyrsch, 1 H. Keppner 2

The advantages and limitations of photovoltaic solar modules for energy generation are reviewed with their operation principles and physical efficiency limits. Although the main materials currently used or investigated and the associated fabrication technologies are individually described, emphasis is on silicon-based solar cells. Wafer-based crystalline silicon solar modules dominate in terms of production, but amorphous silicon solar cells have the potential to undercut costs owing, for example, to the roll-to-roll production possibilities for modules. Recent developments suggest that thin-film crystalline silicon (especially microcrystalline silicon) is becoming a prime candidate for future photovoltaics.

1 Institute of Microtechnology (IMT), University of Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
2 University of Applied Science, Le Locle, Switzerland.
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:

Abstract 12 of 14

Ceramic Fibers for Matrix Composites in High-Temperature Engine Applications
Peter Baldus, 1 Martin Jansen, 2* Dieter Sporn 3

High-temperature engine applications have been limited by the performance of metal alloys and carbide fiber composites at elevated temperatures. Random inorganic networks composed of silicon, boron, nitrogen, and carbon represent a novel class of ceramics with outstanding durability at elevated temperatures. SiBN3C was synthesized by pyrolysis of a preceramic N-methylpolyborosilazane made from the single-source precursor Cl3Si-NH-BCl2. The polymer can be processed to a green fiber by melt-spinning, which then undergoes an intermediate curing step and successive pyrolysis. The ceramic fibers, which are presently produced on a semitechnical scale, combine several desired properties relevant for an application in fiber-reinforced ceramic composites: thermal stability, mechanical strength, high-temperature creep resistivity, low density, and stability against oxidation or mo lten silicon.

1 Bayer AG, ZF-MFA, Leverkusen, Germany.
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Festkörperforschung, Stuttgart, Germany.
3 Fraunhofer Institut für Silicatforschung, Germany.
* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Abstract 13 of 14

Thermoelectric Cooling and Power Generation
Francis J. DiSalvo

In a typical thermoelectric device, a junction is formed from two different conducting materials, one containing positive charge carriers (holes) and the other negative charge carriers (electrons). When an electric current is passed in the appropriate direction through the junction, both types of charge carriers move away from the junction and convey heat away, thus cooling the junction. Similarly, a heat source at the junction causes carriers to flow away from the junction, making an electrical generator. Such devices have the advantage of containing no moving parts, but low efficiencies have limited their use to specialty applications, such as cooling laser diodes. The principles of thermoelectric devices are reviewed and strategies for increasing the efficiency of novel materials are explored. Improved materials would not only help to cool advanced electronics but could also provide energy benefits in refrigeration and when using waste heat to generate electrical power.

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. E-mail:

Abstract 14 of 14

Environmental Engineering: Energy Value of Replacing Waste Disposal with Resource Recovery
R. Iranpour, 1* M. Stenstrom, 2 G. Tchobanoglous, 3 D. Miller, 4 J. Wright, 5 M. Vossoughi 6

Although in the past, environmental engineering has been primarily concerned with waste disposal, the focus of the field is now shifting toward viewing wastes as potential resources. Because reclamation usually consumes less energy than producing new materials, increasing reclamation not only reduces pollution but saves energy. Technological innovations contributing to this shift are summarized here, and are variously classified as emerging technologies or research topics, as either new departures or incremental improvements, and as opportunistic innovations, or examples of a unifying strategy. Both liquid and solid waste examples are given, such as a recent discovery of effects in disinfecting microfiltered reclaimed wastewater with ultraviolet light. In addition to its value in reducing pollution and conserving energy, this reorientation of environmental engineering could contribute to a more general shift toward greater cooperation among organizations dealing with the environment.

1 Applied Research Group, Hyperion Treatment Plant, Los Angeles Sanitation, Santa Monica, CA.
2 Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
3 Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC-Davis, Davis, CA
4 Tech Research, Los Angeles, CA
5 Dept of Civil Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.
6 Biochemical and Bioengineering Research Center, Sharif University, Tehran, Iran.
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:

Copyright © 1999 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

IEEE Standards Group Tackles DR Interconnection Issues

The IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 21 (IEEE SCC21) oversees the development of standards in the area of fuel cells, photovoltaics, distributed generation, and energy storage.

— SCC21 coordinates efforts in these fields among the various IEEE societies and other appropriate organizations to insure that all standards are consistent and properly reflect the views of all applicable disciplines. SCC21 reviews all proposed IEEE standards in these fields before their submission to the IEEE Standards Board for approval and coordinates submission to other organizations. (To learn more about IEEE Standards activities, go to: )

“Standard for Distributed Resources Interconnected with Electric Power Systems” is the task of a new working group (one of 19 under SCC21). Their project authorization request (PAR) P1547 got the final go ahead in March ’99 to develop a “uniform standard for interconnection of distributed resources with electric power systems and requirements relevant to the performance, operation, testing, safety considerations, and maintenance of the interconnection.”

Working Group Chair — Richard DeBlasio (NREL)
Vice Chair — Frank Goodman (EPRI)
Vice Chair — Joseph Koepfinger (Duquesne), and
Working Group Secretary — Thomas S. Basso (NREL).

For a good and timely overview, see this recent testimony before the US Senate:

“Testimony on Interconnection of Distributed Resources before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, US Senate” June 22, 1999,
by Tom Schneider,Vice Chair, Energy Policy Committee, IEEE/USA,

The P1547 Working Group, whose membership is approaching 200, has met already several times since the initial organizational meeting in December, and will continue to meet as often as every 2-3 months. The last meeting was held Jun 28-30, in Chicago. Future meetings are set for Sept 27 (tentative – precise date to be determined), in Washington DC, then Dec 1-2, in Tampa.

At the September meeting, there are tentative plans to hold an open informational session, which might be good to attend. Also, the Summer Power Meeting in Edmonton (July 18-22) will have DR as a major theme (“Track 3”), with a panel session on interconnection.

There’s an aggressive schedule to put together a DR standards document for submission to the IEEE Standards Board — to have a final draft ready by March 2000. Individuals and small groups are working on writing assignments to prepare the various sections. The group has already produced and assembled a great deal of valuable information, and have worked out detailed classification schemes for types of DR interconnection equipment and configurations. Probably the most important attribute is size of the DR, and the size of the system it’s connected to–the larger the DR, as a fraction of the system, the more involved the requirements.

Overall, this is a huge undertaking. According to one estimate, there are at least 18,000 “combinations,” considering the number of different kinds of distribution circuits, inverter types, size ranges, and “issues” to address. An analysis by EEI (Interconnection Operations and Planning Group) has identified 30 issues, times 3 converter types (inverter, and synchronous, and asynch generator), times 5 distribution circuit types. (Some of the 30 issues include nuisance fuse blowing, reclosing, islanding, overvoltages, harmonics, switchgear ratings, lineworker safety, etc.) A major goal of this project is to minimize the time and expense required for protection studies and eliminate customization of solutions, by providing a common analysis framework and prequalification of equipment.

Individual states are under ratepayer pressure to come up quickly with their own jurisdictional DG interconnection rulings, and there are major programs in Europe, so it’s all the more important to avoid the complications of multiple (possibly conflicting) sets of requirements. Fortunately, many other IEEE committees already have standards related to interconnection topics or components, e.g. for power quality, relaying, etc. The ongoing cooperative consensus approach to the P1547 DR standard should help accelerate the development of a technically sound, uniform interconnection standard.

It’s seems surprising that relatively few utilities are represented on the Working Group, despite the often stated belief that DR is going to be hugely significant. (Industry organizations are actively participating, however, along with equipment makers and others.) The companies that are involved seem to embrace the DR concept and appear to be positioning themselves to prosper by it. (Some other companies are getting reputations as obstructionists, throwing obstacles and delays at every proposed installation.)

Participation is the best (only) way to tap into this rich array of information on the subject (all in hardcopy with minutes of the meetings!), and to track and influence developments. Industry experts who contribute their time and energy get a chance to make a difference.

Contact: Dick DeBlasio, 303-384-6452,
Tom Basso, 303-384-6765,

Sandia Help Implementing Solar

Sandia to Help Utilities Implement Solar Energy

Sandia has received funding to work with utilities interested in teaming with the solar industry to install solar systems in their territory. The team will provide technical expertise to the utility in selecting technologies and, if warranted, work with industry partners to improve their systems. This may result in partnerships (such as CRADAs) with some utilities and industry members.

Sandia staff are currently lining up utilities to visit for exploratory meetings. For more information (and to be among the first companies to take advantage of this),

David Menicucci, 505-844-3077,

For background on Sandia’s renewable programs, their web site is at:

The goal is to help energy users consider and properly implement renewable energy technologies, as part of an educational outreach and technology transfer service on behalf of the Department of Energy’s investment in development, commercialization, and deployment of renewable energy technologies. This effort is designed to complement, not compete with, the technical services available through the US industry.

Sandia’s Renewable Energy Team is a cross-technology group of engineers with a primary focus on solar thermal, photovoltaic, wind, geothermal, and biomass systems. They can provide: 1) An on-site assessment of energy needs applicable to renewable energy systems, 2) Help in renewable energy program planning and implementation, 3) Help in deciding whether renewable energy can work in certain applications, 4) Expert advice in choosing renewable energy systems, 5) Calculations about the projected energy and economic performance of a renewable energy system, 6) Advice during design and procurement, construction, operation of the system, and operations monitoring, 7) Analysis, testing, and evaluation of systems, and 8) Training in renewable energy systems.

Space Solar Power, A Fresh Look

Subject: UFTO Note – Space Solar Power, A Fresh Look
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 1997 21:58:39 -0700
From: Ed Beardsworth <>

| ** UFTO ** Edward Beardsworth ** Consultant
| 951 Lincoln Ave. tel 415-328-5670
| Palo Alto CA 94301-3041 fax 415-328-5675

Space Solar Power, A Fresh Look

In 1968, Peter Glaser of AD Little put forth a concept to put solar power stations in earth orbit and beam power to ground stations using microwaves. After extensive study in the 1970’s by NASA and DOE, the idea was found infeasible for many reasons, especially the costs to put payloads into orbit and the a design approach that involved massive amounts of equipment and people in space, i.e. many large geostationary space stations. Even if the approach could could have claimed overall cost effectiveness, the huge upfront capital investment (with no incremental revenues along the way) would have prevented it from going forward.

NASA has just completed a new review entitled “Space Solar Power, A Fresh Look at the Feasibility of Generating Solar Power in Space for Use on Earth”. April 4, 1997. SAIC-97/1005. The NASA/HQ Advanced Concepts Office directed the 18 month study, which assessed newer concepts that might have the potential to enable affordable production of energy in space for use on Earth.

The NASA team characterizes the work as *very preliminary*, but is optimistic that technologies and systems approaches have emerged in the last 20 years that make the potential for space solar power far more feasible than traditionally believed, perhaps as soon as 10-15 years from now.

**They want involvement and participation by the utility industry in the next phases.**

For more information, or to request a copy of the report, contact:

John Mankins, Advanced Projects Office, NASA Headquarters.

A good summary also appears in the May 1997 issue of Aerospace America, published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). (I have a copy.)

(The following summary was prepared by UFTO, based on material contained in the report)

“Space Solar Power, A Fresh Look at the Feasibility of Generating Solar Power in Space for Use on Earth”. April 4, 1997. SAIC-97/1005.

With the original SSP from the 70’s, as a “reference concept”, the new study looks at new concepts, architectures, and techologies that have been identified or developed since that time. These include modular designs, advanced materials, automated assembly and deployment (in orbit), and new orbital configurations. Most interesting are ideas that produce incremental returns for incremental investment (e.g., small self-deploying launch packages).

Six concept architectures were defined and studied in detail,, based on many ideas identified through exhaustive brainstorming and elicitation of ideas at “Interchange Meetings”

The study’s findings include:
1. Markets — the global need for power will increase dramatically, with advances in the developing countries, and more and more concerns about global climate. SPP could play a significant role.

2. System Architecture — New concepts involving modularity, non-geo stationary configurations, small launch vehicles make a major difference in the cost outlook, and in possible approaches to financing.

3. System Cost — High efficiency PV arrays achieving 500 watts or more per kg could be sufficient for economic viability, but low cost space transportation (less than $200 per pound to low earth orbit) is the most important factor.

4. Public Acceptance — The study is refreshingly forthright in discussing the challenges that safety claims will face, though they are convinced that health and safety risks are negligble.

5. Other Applications — The technology will have a better chance if it can also be applied in other applications. In particular, a lot of work was done under SDI to develop concepts for beaming power to satellites and aircraft. NASA could use the same techniques to power space craft.

***One especially intriguing idea is to use satellites to relay power from place to place on the earth, much as telecommunications are handled. The implications would be truly staggering, with power deliverable from anywhere to anywhere.***

6. Critical Technologies
— Space Transportation: Needto have modular launch packages of 20,000 kg or less, to be able to use general purpose launch systems currently under development for a wide array of projected space industries (NASA Reusable Launch Vehicle and Advanced Space Transportation Program). Payload costs must approach $100-200 per pound.
— Wireless Power Transmission: a new generation of solid state devices might enable the use of a higher microwave frequency. Existing klystron technology may be initially cheaper but would not offer improved packaging and beam steering capabilities. Trade offs need to be carefully examined.
— Energy Storage: Storage (on board or on Earth) was not considered in this study, but might be needed to have the ability to deliver uninterrupted quality power.
— Solar Conversion: Terrestial PV has made dramatic gains in the last 20 years, and their space counterparts must be developed (radiation hardening in particular).
— Guidance, Navigation, and Control: Advanced concepts proposed in the study are potentially less cumbersome than conventional (gyro-thruster) techniques.
— On Board Power Transmission and Thermal control: The ability to use high voltage high temperature superconductors is critical (to move power from the PV array to the RF beam system).
— Telecommunications/Data Processing/Autonomy/Command and Control: Systems must have a high degree of operational autonomy. Staffing levels must be low. New data system architectures may be required, involving a high degree of distributed computing power.
— Structure: Very light weight tension-stabilized structures will be used, instead of the trusses and braces of the original space station approach.

——-Upcoming Events——————

Space Power Systems for Humanity Conference,
August 24-28, 1997, Montreal

Space Technology & Applications International Forum, (Staif-98)
January 25-29, 1998, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Technology Transfer Opportunities – Livermore National Laboratory

by Edward Beardsworth
Nov 1994


This report details findings about technology and technology transfer opportunities at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) that might be of strategic interest to electric utilities. It is based on several visits to LLNL in 1993 as part of a project for PSI Energy, which had the additional goal to establish relationships that would enable PSI to monitor developments and gain access on an ongoing basis.

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, PSI Energy supported this project to become familiar with the content and process of those programs, and to seek out opportunities for collaboration, demonstration or other forms of participation that will further the business objectives of PSI. PSI has agreed to make these results available to the participants in UFTO.

Detailed listings of LLNL people, technologies and programmatic capabilities (of relevance to utilities) were assembled in the course of the project, and are included. LLNL’s matrix organization is not easily understood, though we did begin to get a sense of it, and certainly identified the key people and groups to deal with. It was a matter of hearing similar accounts a number of times from a number of people, before one began to have confidence that an accurate picture was forming.

LLNL has a large body of work that is relevant to utilities, including storage and power conditioning (batteries and capacitors), toxics remediation, NOx reduction, modeling, hydrogen storage, sensors, materials (catalysts, coatings, insulators, thermoelectrics), etc.

Armed with a brief statement of PSI’s technical and business interests (and an understanding of generic industry interests), it was possible to sift very quickly through a large body of program information at LLNL, mostly through conversation with key contact individuals, and identify areas meriting further study. Additional information was requested for projects of particular interest.

On a practical note, it was interesting to discover that a degree of advance preparation is involved even in the practical matters of learning where facilities are located and the procedures for gaining entry (no minor matter in LLNL’s case, since it still operates as a secret weapons lab). After an actual visit, one can approach a facility with far greater ease and familiarity. Like putting names to faces, there is no substitute for seeing things for oneself.

Method of Approach
LLNL personnel repeatedly suggested that progress would be quicker with a list PSI’s specific needs/problems. LLNL could then do its own internal scan of technology resources to find a match. This certainly is a useful approach, however PSI had an additional broader mission in mind. The broader objective included a general familiarization with LLNL’s programs and the start of a fruitful ongoing set of (personal) relationships. Over time, as PSI becomes a known commodity to LLNL, one would expect LLNL to bring new opportunities to PSI’s attention.

Both the “specific needs” approach and a general awareness approach were used. The two overlap, each supporting the other. As interactions continue, each organization gains increasing awareness of the other’s methods, resources, needs and capabilities (“culture”), leading to a stronger potential for a mutually beneficial business relationship. (General Motor’s experience bears this out. See separate writeup.) No “deal” can be made without personal contact at some point, and conversation is the process by which that happens. In any case, when both parties are motivated to “do something”, the process moves with remarkably efficiency, as was the case in this study.

In particular, the “general awareness” mode identified a LLNL technology of potential interest to PSI that is just at a stage where utility interest was being sought (flywheels). In the “specific problem” mode, an unexpected match was identified between a need of PSI to find uses for glass microspheres from flyash, and LLNL’s work on hydrogen storage (itself a spin off from inertial fusion research).

To accomplish the “general awareness” goal, there is no real substitute for personal contact, visits and probing into the various programs and perceptions at a complex organization like LLNL. Published materials are likely to be out of date and certainly will not provide any of the nuance or subtlety of understanding that could eventually lead to an actual working relationship or “deal”.

The various search databases and services can only help to identify contacts for a particular, rather well-defined, question or problem. Even then, however, it is noted in a couple of test cases that neither the National Technology Transfer Center (NTTC) or the Federal Labaratory Consortium (FLC) identified LLNL’s activity in a particular area.

Business Arrangements
Livermore, as with all the federal labs, are feeling strong pressure to show results in technology transfer, to get their technology out into the marketplace and help the U.S. economy. Likewise, they are very concerned with the survival of their programs, and are anxious to obtain additional outside resources. So, while money is a concern, the motivation is not the same as a business profit motive. The primary goal is to get things used, so society benefits.

While there is a long list of mechanisms for industry-laboratory collaboration, including exchange programs, licenses, and cost-sharing, nearly all new agreements are being prepared under the provisions of CRADAs. The business arrangements possible under a CRADA are very flexible, and can accomplish most if not all of kinds of objectives. Importantly, it is only under CRADA (and directly funded “work-for-others”) that the industrial partner can gain a measure of protection for intellectual property (for up to 5 years) while gaining benefit from the government’s technical capabilities.

CRADAs can be approved more quickly if they do not involve new (i.e. unplanned) expenditure by the lab program. Generally, the concept is a 50-50 split, with each party’s contribution provided by funding, intellectual property rights, technology know-how, use of facilities, man-hours, etc. The only restriction is that government money cannot flow to the industrial partner.

Federal Policies and Programs in Flux
Federal efforts in this arena are very much in flux and the subject of considerable debate and political controversy. The future of the major labs is by no means clear or assured. A new study “Defense Conversion, Redirecting R&D” [Office of Technology Assessment May 1993] cites the continuing difficulties of intellectual property, liability, US only use, funding, and bureaucracy that bedevil the “CRADA” negotiation process, against a backdrop of major debate on the appropriate government role in fostering competitiveness and economic growth (in the context of the end of the cold war and all it implies for defense R&D). Such periods of uncertainty and transition often present big opportunities to those willing to jump in and see what can be done.

General Observations

• TECH TRANSFER is much easier to approach with specific needs/problems!!!!
The message from everyone contacted at LLNL (also a dominant theme from General Motors’ experience) is that a potential industrial partner is best served by coming forward with a statement of its own needs, problems, and goals, and a characterization of its own interests, abilities, and resources. Lab people will then get you together with the right contacts.

• Utilities could have high leverage/influence on LLNL’s ability to get the attention and funding from DOE/Fossil Energy. As a defense lab, LLNL tends not to be regarded as an likely player in fossil work, and is often prohibited by law from responding to DOE solicitations. If PSI sees work of interest at LLNL, its opinion alone would carry considerable weight.

• “TT is a contact sport” Ultimately, deals will be made between individuals, who have to first find each other. The Lab’s objectives are funding and commercial utilization, so they want real business deals to happen.

• The scale of material, technology, personnel and organizational complexity of LLNL is staggering. Over 10,000 people work there. [Note what it takes for a utility to keep up-to-date and tapped in to EPRI]

• Noteworthy that in LLNL’s case, the bulk of the core program is for weapons, isotope separation or magnetic and inertial fusion. Only a relatively small portion is “applied”. Tremendous spin-off potential, however.

• There are tremendous time lags in all aspects of the the TT process, from making first contact to signing a deal.
– Telephone tag and people’s travel schedules mean that initial contacts can take weeks to establish, and meetings can be difficult to arrange. If LLNL perceives a real opportunity, then they are likely to respond more promptly, but they seem very open and accommodating as a general rule.
– At least 4 sets of lawyers get involved in putting a deal together — DOE , U Calif, LLNL and the industrial partner. Sometimes DOE regional office at odds with headquarters. Policy subject to varying interpretations. Policies also evolving.
– DOE budget cycles delay, limit resources available for matching funds.

• If companies approach LLNL, LLNL can respond 1 on 1. If LLNL seeks partners, they must make good faith effort to make opportunity available to any/all companies in the industry.

• LLNL’s internal organization is in constant flux–responding to very real threat of extinction by trying lots of new things. New faces appear, new programs–a moving target to try to know who’s who. Roles and missions of people and offices are changing over time. There appears to be some friction between some of the new “marketers” and some technical people, although most people seem to appreciate the seriousness of the need for LLNL to change in order to survive.

• Information systems, publications, conferences and trade shows are good as hunting grounds, but the Federal R&D resource is immense. Again, having a specific need/topic/problem/question is very helpful.

• Although there is a long list of “mechanisms” for tech transfer with the labs, ranging from cost-sharing and exchange programs to licensing and “work-for-others”, most new agreements are being written as CRADAs (cooperative R&D agreements). This is the only mechanism that affords the industrial partner a degree of protection for intellectual property.

Specific LLNL Technologies Identified

[“Ref Oppty’s ” refers to LLNL publication “Opportunities for Partnership” Technology Profiles — one page write-ups on selected items.]

Zn-Air — [like Al-Air which was commercialized from LLNL work in 70’s (Alu-Power, NJ)]
Cheaper cycle, due to low temp reduction process. Instant refueling. Very little environmental impact of discard.

Flywheel –1, 5, 25 KWH versions. very high specific energy (100-150 kwh/kg) and high power. Conceivably could compete with Pb-Acid in $/kwh. A demo is being built at LLNL. Can tailor design for applications from railroads to UPS (uninterruptible powr supply). Better than SMES. Utility application — interest being pursued by an equipment mfg.

Li-Ion — improvement over Sony/AT&T technology (Reversible intercalation of Li in carbon anode) using foam technology get 1-1/2 times current 80-100 wh/kg. High cycle life. Utilizes aerogel carbon foam technology (see aerogels below).


Windpower: NDE for blade mfg; windflow modeling for siting and dispatch; flywheel storage.

Solar: advanced solar rankine cycle (MHD) very speculative

Thermoelectric Materials. Thermoelectric power generation and cooling has always been limited to very specialized applications, due to low efficiency and high cost. Very recent theoretical work (paper to be published soon) indicates the possiblity of a new class of devices based on new materials and very thin multi layers, with dramatically enhanced figures of merit that would make them competitive. At the stage of basic R&D, first application of interest is cooling of electric vehicles. LNLL has a relationship with MITand a company that is developing solid state replacements for alternators on truck diesels(which use waste exhaust heat).
Contact is Joseph Farmer 423-6574 or Jeff Wadsworth

Storage Reservoir Characterization — acoustic and seismic imaging techniques from work in geothermal applicable to CAES or gas storage? Contact is Alan Burnham. (The principal investigator is Paul Kasameyer, Earth Sciences.)

Hydrogen/fuel cells: LLNL concentrating on vehicle storage–composite materials for tanks; cryogenic carbon adsorption and glass microspheres.
Contact is Glenn Rambach 423-6208
– 10-12 years ago, they needed “perfect” glass microspheres for inertial laser fusion (fill with deuterium or tritium — tiny H-bombs when blasted with lasers). Commercial ones too irregular–sorted thru and found that only 1 in 10**13 that were good enough. (Note one of the commercial processes involves flyash in a turbulent flame.) They developed a way to make perfect ones. Now seeking to scale up the manufacturing process, to use spheres for bulk storage of H2.
– They’re in discussions with a vendor interested in a near term commercial application.
– Need to scaleup mfg. by factor of 10**12 — already accomplished 10**6.
– Still may be able to use commercial/imperfect spheres–sorting process to pick out the ones that are good enough.
– Reference: Robert Teitel, BNL Report # 51439, May 81 “Microcavity H2 Storage, Final Progress Report”. Also, there is an LLNL report on properties, manufacture and use.
– LLNL has best capability in the world to study structure/characteristics of microspheres.

Economic Modeling: Genlzd Equilibrium modeling (3rd generation) network/market model; (relaxation of Lagrange coefficients.) Want opportunity to use methods to meet a utility’s needs. (Tom Edmunds and Alan Lamont)

– National market model –policy applications — market clearing/capacity additions — with accurate detailed charactization of technologies, linked in a network model.
– Distributed Utility (DU) they contributed to PG&E DU report — their approach apparently was not adopted. They feel confident their approach would be useful to utility planners–based on idea of value/market clearing prices determining what is built and when.
– For EIA/DOE — Emission trading and natural gas models.
– META•NET is beta software “language/platform” for this kind of modeling — user’s manual provided.
– Suggest LLNL’s has special competence in sensors, data mgt, control/response moment-to-moment, that would be important in operation of DU.


Thin-layer — < 4 µ layer dielectric – very rugged, high voltage, very high power for pulse applications and high voltage power conditioning. 0.6 wh/kg. With other materials,can go to megavolts! [ref 9-13 Opptys] This is one application of very thin film multilayer manufacturing technology.

Aerogel — (see aerogel discussion) 10**4 better! up to 40 Farads/gm,
high energy 5-10 wh/kg , power 2-20 kw/kg (contact is Jim Kaschmetter, Physics)
Uses carbon aerogel foam in thin layer as electrode in liquid electrolyte. Extremely large surface area and double layer capacitor effect. Carbon aerogel manufacture appears to be closer to practicality, as it doesn’t require non-critical extraction. Very low cost. Opens up possibilities for very low energy desalination via capacitive deionization.
[Update: Jim Kaschmetter left LLNL to form Polystor, a spinoff startup company that is commercializing this technology.]

Materials (general): Contact Alan Burnham or Jeff Wadsworth
Ceramics–non-brittle “plastic”, moldable and fracture resistant.
Blast resistant laminates
Anti-corrosion coatings; modeling of coating properties

Granular Flow Modeling
Over last 10-15 years, developed new class of modeling capability applying molecular dynamics to macroscopic materials. Otis Walton is a world expert. Lots of interest from chemical mfg, and some discussions re coal handling (need better inroads with coal/utilities).
(Potentially applicable to ground source heat pump work.)

Combustion Modeling (Charles Westbrook) work for IC engines, use of refinery gas.
Works very closely with Sandia/Livermore’s combustion group. He does chemical kinetics, toxics, Clean Air Act, etc. They do more numerical work, and have a major coal program.
– Big CRADA with auto makers, Cummins & other engine makers, Sandia and Los Alamos for modeling to reduce HC and NO emissions from engines. (Separate from post combustion NOx project).
– Haven’t had much contact with utilities–have gone to auto, oil, mfg industries first.
Putting together concept for consortium with oil companies for a “Clean Air Act Center”
– Ultra low NOX nat. gas burner subcontract to UC Irvine/Calif Instittute for Energy Efficiency.
– GRI project similar/related
– Also for GRI — Burner Engineering Research Lab at Sandia

NOx reduction: — pulsed plasma and hydrocarbon catalysis — (Henrik Wallman) CRADA with diesel mfg. -Cummins– (advantages over ammonia and urea injection) [ref 3-11 Opptys & handout] Interested in developing power plant application.

Methane-to-methanol in conjunction with power generation: (A. Burnham) once thru system for conversion, with the effluent used for power generation. Avoids expense of multi-pass and separations to utilize all the methane. Conversion takes place via pulse plasma (Henrik Wallman), or “bio-mimetic” catalysts (Bruce Watkins).

Electochemical [ref 9-3] measure contaminants in waste streams, monitor corrosion

Fiber Optic [ref 9-7]

… “frozen smoke” lowest density solid — many remarkable properties and potential applications. very high surface area 300-1000 sq meters/gm, lowest thermal conductivity of any material. Supercritical extraction of solvents leave open-cell structures of Silicon, Carbon-based or metal oxide materials. Fabrication not cheap yet. [ref 6-5 Opptys]
Supercapacitors ( see above)
Metal Oxide catalysts [ref 6-17 Opptys]
Insulation (can be made from agar–seaweed!)
Natural Gas storage
new electrodes for fuel cells

Environment: (contact is Jesse Yow) [additional details available in “Environmental Technology Program Annual Report FY91 — UCRL-LR-105199-99]

In-Situ Remediation:

Sensors: — New class of fiber optic sensors down in a drill hole detect concentrations 1:10**6 (benzene => gasoline) and 1:10**9 (TCE). Dramatic reduction in cost to characterize/monitor an underground site in almost real time.

Underground Imaging: — Electromagnetic techniques using RF or DC current–can get 3-d images of pollutant plumes, or of the burn front of in situ coal gasification.

Spill Cleanup — Electric resistance heating and steam injection used to drive volatile compounds out of the earth, reducing time scale from 10’s -100’s of years to 10’s of months.
(Ground heating may be applicable to ground source heat pump work.)

Radiolytic Decomposition of toxic Materials (Steve Matthews)
Use of E beams, x-rays and ultraviolet ionizing radiation to break down organic materials into harmless or less toxic materials. Can be applied to vapor or liquid phase, in remediation applications or process streams.

Global Emissions / Atmospheric Release Modeling — LLNL was called upon for analysis of Chernobyl, the Kuwaiti Oil Fires, etc. Can handle accident/leak situations on any scale.

LLNL Organization

LLNL has a complex matrix organizational structure, consisting of “directorates”, or “programs” and “divisions”. The general pattern is for technical personnel to belong administratively in discipline-based divisions (physics, chemistry & material science, engineering, etc.). Most project work is organized in the programs, to which personnel are assigned and bill time, etc. There are many exceptions, however. Some projects are administered in the divisions, and a number of people “wear several hats”, reporting to different groups within LLNL at the same time. Organization charts are of little help. Key contact personnel can provide guidance about who to talk to on any given subject, though it does pay to get more than one perspective on program content and direction.

A recent reorganization is reflected in the attached organization charts.

LLNL Personnel Contacted/Identified: (general phone # 510-422-1100)

Alan Burnham 422-7304, Program Leader, Energy Technologies. is our main point of contact. He is in EMATT, in the Energy Division(see below).

Alan Bennett, 423-3330, Director, Industrial Partnerships and Commercialization.
New to LLNL inDec ’92, to handle “institutional marketing”, and to develop new business for the lab as defense/ weapons budgets shrink. [Promoted 11/94 to new position in charge of tech transfer overall.]

Technology Transfer Initiative Program (TTIP):
(This group of about 30 people has seen its role transition from initiator to production administrator. Where previously they were trying to promote tech transfer and make the connections between Lab staff and industry, they now find themselves with more than enough proposals, and responsible to oversee negotiations and contracting–more of a classic intellectual property/licensing “production” operation. They also coordinate trade show participation and visits to the lab by outsiders.)

(vacant) 423-1341, Director
Dave C. Conrad 422-7839 Acting Director. Came in Feb. 93 from weapons program to set up business procedures; took over when former director Gib Marguth left to go to Sandia Livermore.
Ann Freudendahl 422-7299

“TACTs” Technical Area Coordination Team —
This designation relates specifically to the $140 million DOE Technology Transfer Initiative, and is comprised of technical staff members secunded to review proposals and to meet with reps from other labs to do overall rankings.

Alan Burnham Energy 422-7304
Bill Robson Environment 423-7261 [Laser/Environment Program]
Jeff Wadsworth Chemistry & Materials Sci 423-2184 [Ass’t Asoc. Director]
Bart Gledhill Biotech
Mike Fluss Microelectronics

Their are also TACTs assigned for the new special DOE AMTEX program with the textile industry. (See discussion about Industry Partner Programs.)

Anthony K. (Tony) Chargin 422-5196, head of EMATT (Energy, Manufacturing and Transportation Technologies), a new program established late ’92 bridging the Energy and Engineering Directorates, now reporting directly to the Energy Division.

Alan Burnham, 422-7304, Program Leader, Energy Technologies. Point of contact for energy supply and storage. Also a member of TACT. Most of the work is in oil & gas production, espec oil shale and petroleum geology. Physical Chemist — 1/4 time doing technical work. He is also LLNL’s point of contact with Morgantown Energy Technology Center (METC), which handles DOE coal gasif. work.

Jeff Richardson, 423-5187, formerly in Chemistry & Materials Sci., is now Program Leader in EMATT for Materials Manufacturabilit
Dick Post, 422-9853, developer of Flywheel (electromechanical battery)
Henrik Wallman, 423-1522, Staff Scientist, Fossil Fuels. Has work going on in hydrocarbon catalysis and pulsed plasma — NOx reduction. Also proposing partial oxidation of methane coupled to power generation,

Tom Edmunds 422-5156 System Sciences, Engineering Research Div.
Alan Lamont 423-2575
Genlzd Equilibrium modeling (3rd generation) network/market model
Charles Westbrook 422-4108 , Physics Department, Combustion Modeling
Works very closely with Sandia/Livermore’s combustion group. He does chemical kinetics, toxics, Clean Air Act, etc. They do more numerical work, and have a major coal program.
(Sandia/Livermore Combustion Program: Don Hardesty 510-294-2321.)
Glenn Rambach 423-6208, Hydrogen/fuel cells: LLNL concentrating on vehicle storage–composite mat’ls for tanks; cryogenic carbon adsorption and glass microspheres. Also some new concepts in materials for fuel cell electrodes and electrolytes.

Chemistry & Materials Science
Jeff Wadsworth, Chemistry & Materials Sci 423-2184 [Assoc. Director] Joined LLNL in ’92 from Lockheed (metallurgy)

Jean H. dePruneda, 422-1339, [Division Leader, Chem. Sciences Div.] does internal and external networking for tech transfer–point of contact. Aerogels for catalysts, supercapacitors, insulation.

Lucy Hair, 423-7823, Point of contact for aerogel catalysts
Troy Barbee 423-7796, Point of contact for thin layer supercapacitors
Bruce Watkins Methane –> methanol conversion, biomimetic —
synthesize materials to mimic enzyme/proteins — with GRI

Steve Mayer 422-7702, Electrochemist working on Li-ion battery. (Reversible intercalation of Li in carbon anode. Rick Pekala is materials person 422-0152) He is on DOE Utility storage group. Sees utility applications for supercapacitors for Power conditioning, motor starting, etc.
These two people are also the developers of the aerogel supercapacitor.

Laser Program
Ralph Jacobs 424-4545, Director, New Technology Initiatives, Laser Program, (also microelectronics) Focused on laser isotope separation, advanced chemical processing
Bill Robson 423-7261 Environment TACT, industry partnering for Environ Protection Program,
Don Prosnitz 422-7504 contact for emission monitoring
Booth Myers 422-7537 Sr. Scientist, Isotope enrichment (gadolinium for LWR control rods), waste processing/incinerator replacement
Steve Matthews 423-3052, Environmental Protection Dept / E-Beam, LLNL’s own site remediation, and some research. (This group is not in the Laser Program).

Physics and Space Sciences Directorate
Steve Hadley 423-2424 (Assistant Assoc Director for Tech Transfer) Point of contact for Industry partnering. Joined LLNL 11/92 from Aerospace industry. Notes that Physics at LLNL is focused heavily in weapons/SDI related work and basic research. Can also look in other departments (lasers, chem & materials) for items that one might expect to see under physics.

Environmental Programs Directorate (created in a recent reorganization, combining several related functions from other areas. Acting Director is Jay Davis.)
Jesse Yow 422-3521 Deals with wide range of environmental technologies, especially in-situ monitoring and remediation.

Information Source Contacts / Technical Information Services:

Public relations. General # is 422-4599
Marybeth Acuff 423-4432 knowledgable contact.
Loren Devor, Technical Info. Dept. (liaison to Directors Office) 422-0855
She handles corporate publications/ mailing lists;
Energy & Technology Review (monthly magazine), and the 5 yr. Institutional Plan

Research Library (for internal lab use–but individuals seem willing to help over the phone)
Circulation Desk /general # 422-5277 — Betty Herrick is Ass’t Group Leader
– There’s an on line database avail to employees and contractors only of their card catalog/holdings, also to the entire U.C. system (Univ. Calif)
– New LLNL reports list published monthly is for internal use only.
Howard Lentzner 422-5838 — Research Librarian (chemist by training)
– They can help outsiders for pay–complicated administratively. Can help gratis on quick items. Better to get copies of lab reports thru NTIS or directly from the researcher.
– Everything is in DOE databases, on Dialog and other services.