Waste Heat to Power

There is a lot of interest in recovering waste heat. Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is at the heart of a large part of the distributed generation business. The heat can be used to heat water, provide process heat, and even cooling. Converting waste heat to electric power is getting attention as well.

On the bleeding edge, there are a number of efforts underway to do it without moving parts–solid state conversion (of course not limited to waste heat). There are programs, for example to put thermoelectric converters on the exhaust manifold of diesel trucks, with the goal of replacing the alternator. Thermoelectrics, thermionics, thermophotovoltaics — all are being pursued with renewed vigor, in the hope that new physics can overcome the longstanding problem of high cost and very low efficiency…a subject for another day.

Waste heat gets wasted only because it tends to be hard to use. A diesel engine converts about 1/3 of the fuel energy to useful work (electric power, in the case of a genset) — the rest goes off as waste heat in cooling water and exhaust — unless a cost-effective means can be found to use it, as in CHP.

Making more electric power with the waste heat is another matter. The age-old Rankine cycle, the basis of all steam power plants, can be made to work at lower temperatures by using something other than water as the working fluid ("refrigerant"), typically an organic compound, thus the term "organic rankine cycle" (ORC). In effect, this is a heat pump or refrigerator running backwards. Instead of using mechanical energy to create a temperature difference, mechanical energy is produced by a temperature difference.

The main challenge isn’t the theory, it’s the practical difficulty of doing it. Factors such as temperatures (inlet and outlet), flow rates, size and type of heat exchangers, type of expander, materials, controls, etc. must be considered in the trade-offs of cost, performance, reliability and longevity.

It’s a lot harder than it looks. Despite many attempts, and the obviousness of the basic idea, there are actually not very many commercial providers of such systems, particularly in smaller sizes which can operate effectively at lower waste heat temperatures.

UTC, for example, announced it’s new "PureCycle" 200 kW unit only last Fall. It requires inlet temperatures above 500 deg F.

Ormat, (ORA-NYSE) long established ORC maker for geothermal plants, is moving into the industrial waste heat market. They too need relatively high temperature, for units in the 250kw – MW range. They also sell small standalone ORC-based generators which burn a fuel as the external heat source.

In Europe, one can find Turboden (Italy), Triogen (Netherlands) and FreePower (UK). All require high temperature, with the possible exception of FreePower, who say they can operate as low as 230 deg F.

High temperature means industrial processes that put out high temperature waste heat. Ormat, for example, has a 1.5 MW showcase unit that takes air at 520 deg F from a cement plant in Germany.

The water jacket of the lowly diesel engine, however, can only be allowed to go to around 230 deg F (and the water must be returned no cooler than around 215 deg F). While such temperatures can be readily adapted to CHP uses, power conversion is more difficult.

Cooler Power, Inc, a startup in California, has successfully built units that work in this range. The engine’s cooling water is taken (before it goes to the engine’s own radiator), and is fed to a heat exchanger where it is heated further by the engine exhaust. In another heat exchanger, the hot water heats and vaporizes the organic working fluid, which then drives the expander which turns the generator. The expander is key. In principle, any compressor technology can work backwards to act as an expander: scroll, screw, turbine, or piston. All have been used at one time or another. Cooler Power initially used a scroll, but then developed its own proprietary modification to a commercially available screw compressor, as the heart of the system. They have a patent in final review stages covering the modification and use of the screw expander, as well as the control system and choice of working fluid.

Cooler Power has proprietary software to develop process flow diagrams to size and specify components or installations. The proprietary Program Logic Control (PLC) circuits are designed for optimal failsafe performance and contain algorithms that are protected from reverse engineering. Each of the key components (heat exchangers, expanders, condensers, generators) are designed to last 20+ years and come from one or more sub-sectors of the existing industrial equipment industry.

The system can be scaled to fit applications ranging from 50 kW – 1 MW. Installed costs are in the range of $1500-1800/kW. Depending on the sales price for power, payback can happen in 2 years or less. It’s important to emphasize that this is green power, which usually enjoys premium pricing. There is no fuel cost; operating costs are very low; and there are also (monetizable) environmental benefits.

A showcase 50 KW beta unit was installed in 1992 at the Newby Island landfill site in Milpitas, CA, on a 1 MW engine. A new 150 kW system will come on line in March. The company anticipates installing 10 units in 2005, with rapid growth thereafter based on already-established customer and marketing relationships, selling both systems and power. They raising an equity investment round currently, and welcome both investor and customer interest.

Ray Smith, COO
Cooler Power Inc,
Redwood City, CA

2002 Fuel Cell Seminar

Fuel Cell Seminar
Nov 18-21, Palm Springs, CA

The Fuel Cell Seminar has been held every two years* since 1978. Until recently, it’s been essentially a scientific forum. The 2000 event (in Portland OR) saw a major change into a full blown trade show. That trend continued this time, with 50% larger attendance (3000) and many more than twice the number of exhibitors (125). The event is very international, with huge contingents from Europe and Asia. For the first time, simultaneous translation in Japanese was provided. (*From now on, they’re going annual–the next one will be in Miami, Nov ’03.)

The mood this time, however, was distinctly different. Recall that January 2000 started with a runaway boom in stock prices and excitement over fuel cells. By November, that surge was still strong, and the event had the feel of a celebration. In contrast, this year the mood was almost grim, or at least very subdued. Beyond the effects of the wider economic doldrums, the reality has set in that cost and performance of fuel cell technology just aren’t there yet. Fuel cells are still years from being ready for a meaningful ramp-up in commercial market penetration. Investment bankers and venture capitalists, who were very much a presence in 2000, were few and far between this time.

A great many of the exhibitors were suppliers to the industry, offering membranes, catalysts, pumps and valves, test equipment, etc. Thus the comment that people were there to sell to each other, not to sell fuel cells to real customers. (The only customers appear to be governments–see below.) It is possible to spin this positively–companies like 3-M and Agilent wouldn’t be bothered if they didn’t see a big opportunity down the road. The large attendance could be viewed in the same light. The saying goes that it’s a matter of when, not if [that fuel cells will be a practical reality on a large commercial scale].

Keynote Address
S. David Freeman was blunt (as usual) in his keynote address–fuel cells have not achieved financial viability; the fuel cell car is a huge publicity stunt–not yet a practical reality; and distributed generation (via fuel cells) doesn’t have the political appeal that renewable energy enjoys. He urged the industry to pay more attention to the question of fuels for fuel cells, and suggested that it’s in everyone’s interest to deploy hydrogen burning IC engines, to build up the hydrogen infrastructure independent of and in parallel with fuel cell development.

Four keynote lectures followed:
– DOE Fossil Energy Fuel Cell Program (Victor Der for George Rudins)
FE spends $250 million/year for stationary fuel cell RD&D, mostly on SECA and FC-Hybrids. SECA is the initiative whose goal is $400/kw planar solid oxide fuel cell. Contracts have been awarded to four industry teams to pursue various technical strategies.

– Stationary Perspective (Jerry Leitman, Fuel Cell Energy)
Stationary plants are commercially available today, and offer dramatic efficiency and emissions improvements over engines and combined cycle plants.

– Transportation Perspective (Andrew Schell, for Ferdinand Panik, DaimlerChrysler)
Fuel cells in transportation are a necessity to gain the “freedoms” (i.e. of choice, from emissions, from oil dependence, etc). Applications will ramp up over the next 7 years to become truly commercial. New fuel insfrastructures must be deployed. (In January, DOE replaced the PNGV with FreedomCAR, concentrating on hydrogen and fuel cells

– Portable Perspective (Laryy DuBois, SRI)
There is no Moore’s Law for batteries. The price paid per kw is high compared with large scale power, creating an opportunity for fuel cells. Drivers include longer runtime, fast recharge, unlimited recharge, etc. A dozen companies at least plan to be selling products sometime in the next 3 years. Concentration is on direct methanol or PEM, with at least one SOFC to run on butane. The competition isn’t standing still, with advances in batteries and ultracaps, as well as work on nano-heat engines and RF scavenging. (I have a pdf of this presentation-2MB)

– Fuel Perspective (Don Huberts, Shell Hydrogen)
Stationary, Transportation and Portable each have different requirements for refueling infrastructure, and no single answer will suffice. There needs to be a mix of technologies, primary energy sources, and delivery means.

Program Overviews
A series of presentations outlined programs and budgets deveoted to fuel cell developments funded by the European Commission, Germany, Japan, and the US (DOE). Strong long term commitments were evident, with expressed goals of meeting Kyoto requirements and reducing oil dependence through hydrogen and fuel cells. $100s of millions are budgeted. Notably, they all talk in terms of gradual progress up the adoption curve, with the bulk of activity over the next 6-10 years in demos and projects.

In addition to over 230 poster papers, parallel sessions included presentations on PEM R&D, SOFC, Commercialization and Demonstrations, Fuel Processing and DMFC/Portable. Many of the papers were highly technical and specialized, while others were little more than general overviews for companies and programs (some bordering on infommercials).

Reflecting on the general state of the industry, governments appear to be the main customers for fuel cell companies, along with the big carmakers who are doing demos, partnerships, and their own development programs (GM was curiously quiet at this event). Otherwise, it just seems to be a swarm of similar sounding programs, and it’s nearly impossible to see any real differentiation that would indicate a possible eventual winner.

This is especially true in PEM, and also to some extent in SOFC. Fuel Cell Energy, of course, is the only US molten carbonate company, and they are just introducing a new and improved series of models into their 12 MW order backlog. They are “commercial”, but price remains an issue, as well as perceived technical risk on the part of buyers (the US Navy does seem to be keen on them for shipboard use). Meanwhile, companies like Plug and Nuvera have quietly stopped talking about residential.

As the long slow march of this technology continues, maybe the traditional approaches are just too difficult. Almost everyone seems to be pursuing the same old stacks with bolts around the edge, and the same handful of reformer technologies. Meanwhile, a number of “stealth” developments are underway, out of the spotlight, by people who are thinking different. They may just come along with novel new approaches that break through the age-old dilemmas of cost, manufacturability, and performance. One is almost tempted to think that if something is being presented at conferences, it’s not cutting edge, and it’s not the answer. (And it’s a safe bet that companies that do make presentations are probably not telling us about their really good stuff.)

Here is an example of such a possible “end-run”: Microcell Corp had a booth showing a very different configuration for a fuel cell system. Very few details were given, but they did tell me their cost goal is less than $100/kw. The cells are long thin hollow tubes (less than 1 mm in diameter) whose wall consists of the anode, electrolyte, and cathode, and which can be made by extrusion. The cells can be arrayed in bundles in a tube and header configuration, and high power densities are predicted. The company is in the 2nd year of a 3 year ATP grant, with cofunding investment by Pepco.

Ceramic Fuel Cell Ltd, of Australia, presented its new all ceramic SOFC stack technology which looks very promising. Temperature cycling is the big issue for SOFC’s and their latest set of innovations have resulted in a simple rugged design.

References and Publications:

Abstracts of the 2002 Fuel Cell Seminar–the book is 2 ” thick; also on a CD, available for purchase ($55 and $30, respectively). Contact:
Catherine Porterfield

European Integrated Hydrogen Project
White paper: “European Transport Policy for 2010 : time to decide ”

New releases (at the seminar):
2002 Annual Progress Report, H2, FC and Infrastructure Technologies Programs, 400 page book, or CD. Also online at

The new 6th edition of the DOE Fuel Cell Handbook (Oct 2002) was handed out at the Seminar. This comprehensive textbook (450 pages) can be ordered on CD at

Overview of Portable Power
The German company Smart Fuel Cell is among the many contenders in portable power, and appear to be making good progress towards commercialization. They were listed among Scientific American’s 50 Business Leaders (Dec issue)

They cite this helpful overview of the market on their website:

[web tips]
— The NETL website has its fuel cell materials under the Strategic Center for Natural Gas. Look under “End-Use” to find fuel cells.

— The DOD has a website which details a major residential PEM demo program, as well as the Army’s Fuel Cell Test & Evaluation Center (FCTEC), operated by Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) in Johnstown, PA

By coincidence, this article appeared right after the Seminar

More Rationalization Of Fuel-Cell Companies Expected
By Lynne Olver, Dow Jones Newswires — Nov 25, 2002

VANCOUVER — The fuel-cell industry is entering an “important phase” in which more corporate consolidation can be expected, according to Pierre Rivard, president and chief executive of Hydrogenics Corp. (HYGS). Rivard said the PC and telecom industries tend to have a few dominant players, and he expects a similar pattern in the fuel-cell business over the next three years.

“It’s typical that, post-consolidation, you might see two, three, perhaps four emerging, larger-sized companies and to me that’s very healthy,” Rivard told Dow Jones.

. . . . The article goes on to describe Plug Power’s acquisition of H Power, and Global Thermoelectric’s interest in finding a buyer or major partner for its SOFC business.,,BT_CO_20021125_005129-search,00.html?collection=autowire%2F30day&vql_string=olver%3Cin%3E%28article%2Dbody%29

Solid State Power Breakthrough

Thermoelectrics Revisited — Again

The bytes were barely dry on the 14 Oct UFTO Note about thermoelectrics (“There is a tantalizing hope that someday someone will come up with a real breakthrough in direct heat-to-electricity conversion.”), and the following day, just such a possible breakthrough came to my attention in an item in EV Progress. (

The article talked about dramatic claims made at the September Global Powertrain Congress in Ann Arbor, Michigan for a “Power Chip” that would recover from 10-70 KW of the waste heat of a car’s engine as electric power. The technology is a new variant on direct thermal conversion.

Here is a portion the Power Chip’s own press release:
“Power Chips are discs comprising two electrodes separated by a gap of less than 20 nanometers, through which the hottest (most energetic) electrons tunnel to create an electrical current. Power Chips are silent, nonpolluting, solid-state devices that are scalable as arrays to meet any size power load. They can generate electricity from heat produced by any primary energy source……

They are projected to operate at 70% of the maximum theoretical [Carnot] efficiency for energy conversion, even when converting low-grade waste heat. The only other technology capable of converting such heat directly to electrical output is thermoelectric (Peltier) devices, but the efficiency of production thermoelectric systems is only 5-8%.

Power Chips™ are protected by an extensive patent portfolio covering general theory and specific techniques for quantum thermotunneling and thermal energy conversion. More details are available on the Power Chips plc Website, including the full text of issued patents and photographs of prototype Power Chips.

Power Chips™ were invented and are being developed and licensed by Power Chips plc, a majority-owned subsidiary of Borealis Exploration Limited (BOREF). Both companies are incorporated in Gibraltar. Borealis’ business is reinventing the core technologies used by basic industries, including electrical power generation, cooling and thermal management, electric motors, and steel production.”

Not mentioned was the obvious point that if you could do that, you wouldn’t bother with the IC engine in the first place. The company is in discussions with GM, who invited them to participate in the Powertrain conference.

I contacted the company, executed an NDA, and learned a great deal more about it through extensive conversations with management. Actually, the first product is going to be for cooling. (As with thermoelectrics, this process can be used either as a heat pump or a power generator.) It has attracted serious attention of major defense contractors for cooling of critical electronic components.

The parent company is Borealis, an unusual company with a colorful history dating back to an oil company founded in 1924.. There are over 100 employees scattered all over the world, and they draw on many additional institutions and people. The CoolChips subsidiary is already public (COLCF), and PowerChips and other subsidiaries are poised to go public as well. The long technology development has mostly been funded privately by private/family money of the principals, however they now recognize the need to broaden the base of support and involvement. A private offering memorandum is available from the company.

A great deal of technical and business information is available in various areas of the companies’ interlinked websites,,, and The cooling technology was presented at the recent Long Beach 21st International Conference on Thermoelectrics, and another paper is being given today at the “Thermal Management” conference in Dallas. (Both events were cited in the 14 Oct UFTO Note).

Note in particular a new version of their technical overview dated Oct-28 (this is what is being presented in Dallas). Two nanotechnology milestones were reached recently: the fabrication of large conformal pairs of electrodes, and electrodes with excellent local smoothness. The document includes new detailed electron microscope data of the surfaces.

The quantum tunneling theory is described in a paper by a group of Stanford materials researchers (I have the pdf if anyone would like to see it–it’s not easy reading unless you’re a quantum physicist–and even then it’s no walk in the park):

“Refrigeration by Combined Tunneling and Thermionic Emission in Vacuum: Use of Nanometer Scale Design”, Y. Hishinuma, T. H. Geballe, and B. Y. Moyzhes, Applied Physics Letters, Vol 78, No. 17, 23 April 2001.

According to their calculations, the basic tunneling process is ideally capable of delivering 95% of Carnot efficiency. The technical overview then goes through detailed analysis of losses, and comes up with a final figure of 70-80% of Carnot overall.

The physics theory is one thing; making a device is another. The company says it has developed reliable means to build such devices — with the unheard-of narrow gaps. Two small production lines are being debugged and ramped up currently.

First deliveries of the initial product are anticipated in a matter of months. It will be a several watt cooling chip, which will be offered for sale at a very high price. The device is said to be capable of delivering temperature differences of over 400 deg K, cooling down to 150 deg K with a hot side of 250 deg C.

If these claims bear out, even partially, it would truly be a game changer. If the devices can be made reliably and cheaply, then little would stand in the path, in every arena of refrigeration, power production and transportation, not to mention electronics. Time will tell.

Thermoelectrics Revisited

There is a tantalizing hope that someday someone will come up with a real breakthrough in direct heat-to-electricity conversion. No moving parts, “solid-state”, self-contained, scalable, and so on. Such miracles do exist, but they are costly and inefficient, and can find use only in specialized niche applications like satellite power, IC chip cooling, novelty items like picnic coolers, and most recently as comfort conditioning in automobiles.

The sought-after breakthrough would be in performance and cost, for example, to “make the internal combustion engine obsolete” and do many other marvelous things. As one example, cold climate utilities have attempted unsuccessfully to use thermoelectic generation to develop self-powered home heating systems which could continue to operate during power outages.

The fundamental underlying processes have been known for a long time, e.g., Thermoelectric (TE) (Seebeck, Peltier), Thermionic, ThermoPhotoVoltaic, etc. NASA, for one, has spent decades fine tuning these for use in space, and a hardy band of scientific, engineering and business people continue the quest. Some companies actually earn a decent living at making and selling such devices, but it is strictly a matter of small niches. Note that TE can be used reversibly to either provide cooling (heat pump) or generate electricity (heat engine).

There are some interesting stirrings of late. For a number of years, researchers at MIT and elsewhere have focused on nanostructures which create one and two dimensional worlds for electrons (known as “quantum wells”), which theoretically should yield higher efficiencies. Experimental results are slow in coming. Last October, the Research Triangle Institute published a major paper in Nature claiming dramatic improvements (in the lab) in TE performance, based on nanolayers of traditional TE materials. Most research in the field has focused on trying to find new bulk materials that have better properties, so this layering approach caught people by surprise. Prior claims to boost “ZT” (the figure of merit for TE) much above 0.7 – 1 haven’t held up, but RTI seems really to have a ZT of 2.4. Such a doubling or tripling of “ZT” could hugely expand the range of applications for both cooling and power — assuming of course that the cost is low enough.

RTI is putting on a conference Oct 28-30 in Dallas:
“Next Generation Thermal Management Materials and Systems – for Cooling and Power Conversion”
Full agenda at:

* The latest advances in thermal management materials and systems, and how recent developments can spur commercialization.
* Market trends and opportunities for new thermal management technologies in cooling and power conversion – in wide ranging applications – from micro electronics to refrigeration.
* The status of commercial applications – impact on enabling new markets and displacing current markets.

One of the speakers has recently given a paper at a recent TE conference*. (I have the papers if anyone is interested.) A clever way** of arranging an array of TE modules more than doubles the overall system efficiency for cooling. A commercial product using this technique already is in use, cooling seats of luxury cars. (

(The TE conference* was the ICT2002, held August 26-29, Long Beach, CA. This is an annual meeting of the worldwide thermoelectric R&D community. For a brief account of the conference, see the Sept 30 “ZTSpam” at Cronin Vining’s website:
Cronin is a renowned expert in TE, and a good friend and colleague of UFTO.)

Besides TE, thermionic and TPV continue to get attention. (In thermionic conversion, electrons boil off a heated surface and are collected on another electrode. In TPV, the heated surface sends out photons of a particular variety which go to a specialized PV cell. It’s PV with its own built-in custom light source, which is heat-driven.) Some of the most promising new developments use nanoscale approaches to overcome traditional obstacles to cost and performance. The “Nano-TPV” work is being done at Draper Laboratory, and involves reducing the spacing between the heated emitter and PV receiver to nanoscale dimensions. Experiments confirm a dramatic increase in the photo current. In another development, Eneco in Salt Lake City continues to make progress on its nanoscale method which they say combines thermionic and TE effects. (See UFTO Note 28 Nov 2001.)

** As explained in the papers, the configuration involves (as I describe it) a counterflow heat exchanger where a number of parallel heat pumps push heat from the cold side to the hot side. Each heat pump sees a temperature difference that is only half of the “delta-T” that the overall system provides, leading to higher overall efficiency. Whether this would be practical in a larger system using compressors is hard to say.

Eneco Announces Direct Heat-to-Electricity Device

ENECO, a small company in Salt Lake City that we’ve known for over 5 years, has kept a very low profile until this week, when it burst into the news with an announcement, jointly with MIT, of a solid state device that converts heat directly to electricity at higher efficiency than thermoelectric devices. With considerable luck, they landed a feature article in Tuesday’s NY Times weekly Technology section:

They had given the NY Times a 24 hour head start before issuing a major press release, to coincide with one from MIT:

The company’s own materials released Tuesday can be found at their website:

A technical paper was presented at a poster session Materials Research Society’s fall meeting in Boston this week, but copies, and preprints of other papers submitted to major technical journals, won’t be available the publications release them.

The technology is said to combine both the thermoelectric effect and the thermionic effect into one device. Electrons boil off the emitter layer on the hot side, adding to the current from the thermoelectric effect. Instead of a vacuum gap, as in standard thermionic devices, there is a semiconductor layer thermally isolating the hot side from the cold side.

They claim to have already demonstrated efficiencies of 17%, compared with 10% which is the best thermoelectrics can do, and at 250-300 C, not the 1100 C that thermionics converters require.

The company very recently hired a new CEO, a veteran of the semiconductor industry. They expect to do a new private offering in the first quarter of 2002.

I have a small investment in the company, and am well acquainted with the principals. If you would like to make contact I would be pleased to make a personal introduction.

Technology Transfer Opportunities – Ames National Laboratory



Final Report

Technology Transfer Opportunities in the National Laboratories

Ames Laboratory

Ames, Iowa

December 1997

Prepared for:

Utility Federal Technology Opportunities (UFTO)


Edward Beardsworth


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

1. Summary
1. Ames Overview
2. Ames Technologies & Programs

This report is proprietary and confidential. It is for internal use by personnel of companies that are subscribers in the UFTO multi-client program. It is not to be otherwise copied or distributed except as authorized in writing.


This report details technology and technology transfer opportunities at the Ames Laboratory (Ames) that may be of strategic interest to electric utilities. It is based on a site visit to the Ames Laboratory, and subsequent contacts conducted as part of the UFTO multiclient project.


The UFTO program was established to investigate the opportunities afforded to electric utilities by both the tremendous scope of the research conducted in the laboratories/ facilities of the U.S. government, and the federal government’s strong drive to foster partnerships with commercial industry that result in practical applications of its research/technologies.

Ames Overview

The Ames Laboratory started in the 1940’s, when researchers at Iowa State University developed the first practical methods for refining uranium ore into metal. The Laboratory processed over 100 tons of uranium metal during the early 40”s, which was further purified to produce the nation’s first generation of nuclear weapons. After this initial period, the Laboratory turned its capacity for research in chemistry, the materials sciences and physics to the investigation of the nation’s energy-related problems. Today, much of the funding for its work comes from the DOE’s Office of Energy Research/Basic Energy Sciences, although other funding comes from the DOE’s Offices of Environmental Management and Fossil Energy.

The Laboratory is located on the campus of Iowa State University, and its programs intertwined with the university and its special research Centers and Institutes. Staff often hold dual appointments, and university students often do their graduate research in Ames Lab facilities under the direction of Lab staff. This is an agile, open environment, where research teams form and re-form very readily, and flexibly tackle new undertakings. The people know each other, and they work together well.

An absolute headcount is hard to determine, because of the movement of students and visiting scientists entering and leaving programs. However, the core staff consists of about 400 FTEs, about 200 of whom are experienced scientists. There may be another 200 to 300 grad students, post doctoral researchers, visiting scientists, and university “associates” supporting their research at any time. Recent annual budgets have been about $30 million. As the smallest lab in the DOE system, Ames produces program research results and wins scientific awards in disproportionate numbers, and has the lowest overhead rates of any DOE lab.

They have unique capabilities and expertise in a number of interesting areas. These include: magnetic materials and their applications, rare earth materials and their applications to energy-related problems (Note: the Ames Laboratory’s “Materials Preparation Center” produces and distributes most of the world’s research grade supply), and thermoelectric materials (and TPV–thermo photovoltaic materials). Elsewhere in the materials world, they also have some unpublished ideas for a new class of high temperature corrosion resistant coatings (which need a demonstration partner and a little funding) and high strength conductors (10 times the tensile strength of Cu, at 80% of the conductivity). Ames Laboratory research areas also include, ash characterization and use(they’ve got a monitor to measure carbon in ash and also an alkalinity monitor for gasifier diagnoses), biomass utilization technologies, coal cleaning methods, fluidized bed combustion (FBC) operations and troubleshooting. and Non-Destructive Evaluation technologies and methods.

• Technology Transfer Office

Call Todd Zdorkowski, 515-294-5640,
Web site —

Ames Technologies & Programs

Covered in this report:

• Center for Rare Earth and Magnetic Materials 3
Rare Earth Information Center
• Magnetic Refrigeration 4
• Sulfur resistant coating 6
• High Strength Conductors 6
• Thermoelectrics 6
• Fossil Energy Programs 7
• Environmental Technology Development 10
– Expedited Site Characterization
– Other ETD Technologies

• Center for Rare Earths and Magnetics

Dr. William McCallum, Director,
515-294-4736, or

One of the Ames Laboratory’s mission-related strengths is in the area of metallurgy and ceramics. Within that broad area, Ames has developed a unique focus on the rare earths (perhaps because lantanide series materials science is similar to actinide series chemistry and materials science). This informs their work on magnetic materials, magnetic refrigerant materials, power conversion materials, corrosion resistant coatings and novel conductive alloys. The physics, chemistry and instrumentation developed in these areas also informs the Ames Laboratory’s work in Fossil Energy and Environmental Technology Development.

Rare earths are key though little-known ingredients in many fields of technology, including optics, magnetics, catalysts, and electrochemical devices (batteries, fuel cells, etc.). Ames Lab supplies 80-90% of the world’s research grade rare earth materials to US laboratories, to universities, and to firms with research organizations, distributed across the U.S., Asia and Europe. They also develop commercially viable material purification, processing and separation processes. Basic and applied research into rare-earth-dependent materials includes research into magnetic materials, magnetic refrigerants, power conversion materials, and coatings. (For a good layman’s overview on rare earths, see The Industrial Physicist, p. 28, September ’96.).

Dr. McCallum, who is the Director of the Laboratory/ISU Center for Rare Earths and Magnetics is in the process of building a research consortium of firms and organizations interested in the practical applications, processing and development of advanced magnetic materials. He is, himself, an expert in the composition, processing and performance of neodymium-iron-boron magnets, and recently won an R&D 100 award for his work on processing magnetic powder materials. The information-outreach side of the Center is represented by the Rare Earth Information Center.

Rare Earth Information Center (RIC)

This center was established in 1966 to serve the scientific and technological communities by collecting, storing, evaluating, and disseminating rare earth materials information. The Center publishes two newsletters and maintains a database of over 80,000 references on the metallurgy, physics, chemistry, and toxicity of rare earth elements and compounds. Personnel can access 17,000 journals and 400,000 U.S. government reports. Everyday questions concerning rare earths and their applications are researched and answered over the telephone by RIC staff, while more sophisticated database searches are done on a for-fee basis. The Center’s periodical publications include:

– RIC News is a quarterly newsletter, available free, containing items of current interest to the science and technology of rare earths.

– RIC Insight is a monthly newsletter, provided as a membership benefit of supporters of the Center, with editorial comment and late breaking news slanted to the technological and commercial aspects of rare earth materials. (Supporters pay an annual contribution starting from $300 for individuals.)

For an overview of the Center, see its homepage at ……

or call RIC staff at: (515) 294 5405 or (515) 294 2272

• Magnetic Refrigeration (UFTO Note Oct 24, 1997)

Ames Lab and Astronautics Corporation of America, are making considerable progress towards a commercially viable refrigeration technology based on the magnetocaloric effect present in certain rare earth materials .

Magnetic refrigeration has been around for a long time, and was used in the past, principally, to reach ultra low temperatures in cryogenics research. Recent developments on two fronts are now moving the technology towards room temperature and commercial application. One is the refrigeration cycle itself–new approaches have been developed, which are reaching performance at room temperature that is very competitive with vapor compression. A laboratory scale magnetic refrigerator built by Astronautics produces 600 watts of cooling power, achieves a temperature span of 28 degrees K near room temperature, with the highest temperature being just above the freezing point of water. The system efficiencies approach 60% of Carnot, with a COPs of five to eight. It has been in continuous operation since December ’96. This work used traditional gadolinium spheres as the magnetic refrigerant (and a more advanced system has recently been demonstrated that improves upon these numbers).

The other key ingredient is the magnetic material. Ames Lab, a leader in the field of rare earth metals research, announced a breakthrough this summer, producing a giant magnetocaloric effect in new alloys of gadolinium, silicon and germanium. The magnetocaloric effect in these materials is 2 to 7 times larger than in other magnetic refrigerant materials. Their operating temperatures (the Curie point) can be tuned from -400 degrees F to 65 degrees F, by adjusting the ratio of silicon to germanium.

Magnetic refrigeration operates by magnetizing and demagnetizing the material, analogous to compression and expansion in a vapor cycle. However, the losses due to magnetizing and demagnetizing are much less than the friction losses that occur during compression and expansion. Two “beds” filled with magnetic material are pushed in and out of a magnetic field. As a bed enters a high magnetic field space, its components are aligned in the magnetic field and it heats up (magnetocaloric effect). The heat is picked up by a flow of heat transfer fluid (which is water in this laboratory scale magnetic refrigerator) and is dissipated into the surroundings. When the bed is pulled out of the magnetic field, its components return to an amorphous state, and it cools down due to the reverse magnetocaloric effect, cooling the water.

The use of a solid refrigerant material (gadolinium) and water as a heat transfer fluid offers another advantage compared to conventional vapor cycle refrigerators: this is the absence of harmful chemicals as liquid refrigerants that present serious environmental hazard.

Strong magnetic fields are needed for this system, and these are currently produced by superconducting magnets. However, the team is finding ways to lower the field required, while new developments in permanent magnets (materials, fabrication, and expiration of key patents) offer the possibility of simpler and less expensive systems. Also, high temperature superconductors are coming into their own, which could also change things dramatically.

The need for a strong field puts the economics of magnetic refrigeration in favor of larger systems, however smaller scale devices are also anticipated. The key differentiating features are:

1. Higher efficiencies (which can be highly significant when power is limited–e.g. in an electric vehicle).

2. Reduction (to zero) of the environmental issues associated with conventional liquid refrigerants.

3. Ability to cool continuously over a range of temperatures(e.g. in chilling a fluid stream)

4. Ability to scale down without significant losses of cooling efficiency, which is to the contrary of conventional vapor cycle refrigeration.

Initial applications will probably be in industrial and commercial (e.g. supermarkets) refrigeration, cooling and air conditioning. Other possibilities of interest to utilities may include cooling of inlet air for combustion turbines, and district cooling.

The technology is at least five years from a practical commercial reality, however Ames and Astronautics are already fielding numerous inquiries from interested parties and potential partners. The developers are open to the possibility of teaming with other companies who may do the manufacturing and marketing of actual products.

A number of technical and popular articles and other information are available from Ames.


Karl Gschneidner, Ames Lab, principal investigator, 515-294-7931,
Vitalij Pecharsky, Ames Lab, principal investigator, 515-294-8220
Carl Zimm, principal investigator, Astronautics, Madison WI,

Sulfur-Resistant Coatings

This is an unpublished idea that is currently unfunded, due to budget cuts in DOE. Rare earth oxysulfides should be fairly easy to apply as a ceramic coating on refractory materials, and will be highly immune to damage by sulfur, making them ideal for use in coal-fired power plants.

Along with some modest funding, the researchers at Ames need some boiler tubes to work with, and a burner in which to test them once the coatings have been applied.

Contact: Dr. Larry Jones 515.294.5236 or

High Strength Conductors (UFTO Note Sept 20, 1996)

This new class of alloys has 10 times the tensile strength of copper, at about 80% the electrical conductivity. These are deformation processed copper metal matrix composites that have a long filamentary microscopic structure.

Possible applications, in addition to non-sagging transmission and distribution wires that could allow hotter operation and increased tower spacing, include use in equipment where tensile strength is extremely important, such as generators or pulsed-power magnetizers that are used to make permanent-magnets.

While the metallurgy aspects have been published in trade journals, there’s been no funding currently available to pursue these various power systems applications. The Lab would appreciate input from interested industrial parties.

In related work, the Lab also has developed improved aluminum metal-matrix composites with increased strength and very little loss of conductivity, which may be another candidate for power conductor applications.

Contact: Larry Jones, Principal Investigator, 515-294-5236,

• Thermoelectrics and Thermophotovoltaics

Thermoelectric devices (TE) convert heat directly into electricity or work as a heat pump when supplied with electric power. They’ve been used in space craft for a long time, but their low efficiencies have limited their commercial use to a few specialty applications (such as cooling electronics). A great deal of research takes place around the world to try to break the performance barrier, where the efficiency rarely exceeds 5-7 percent. Ames is one of the important centers for this research, and has extensive measurement and testing capabilities.

More recent work has focused on thermophotovoltaics (TPV), a different approach to the conversion of heat into electricity. (In TPV, the idea is to apply heat from a combustion or radioactive source to a special emitter material, which then radiates light at a specific wavelength. This light is then converted into electricity by a specially matched high efficiency photovoltaic cell. Efficiencies could, theoretically, reach 40-60%. Energy Daily had a good overview of recent work in this area on Sept 2, 1997.) Ames lab is developing “rare earth super emitters” for TPV which become incandescent at 800-1500 deg. C, and perhaps as low as 600 deg. They are also developing materials which can survive the thermal shock cycle, and which may eventually lead to commercially viable applications like gas furnaces that supply their own fan power (able to provide heat during power outages).

Contact: Bruce Cook, 515-294-9673,

• Fossil Energy Programs

The Ames Laboratory Fossil Energy program and the ISU Center for Coal and the Environment form one of the linked laboratories that characterize Iowa State’s research community. The Fossil Energy program and the Center do extensive research into coal separations and cleaning, coal combustion systems and system monitoring, and combustion effluent/exhaust controls and monitoring technologies. Recently the Center has developed a new focus on biomass utilization. The research benefits from the long history of materials science, analytical chemistry, instrument building and systems engineering that characterize both the Laboratory and ISU. Both the Center and the Ames Laboratory can be appropriate contracting vehicles, depending upon a firm’s preferences or situation. Funding for the Laboratory comes from DOE, but Center funding comes from EPRI and a range of other utility industry sources.


Contact: Robert Brown 515-294-8733,

Fossil Program Office: 515-294-3758

CfCE Office 515-294-7936

Carbon in Ash Monitor In this off-line device, a low-power laser heats the ash sample. In the air space above the sample, a sensitive microphone detects minute sound wave produced by the heated carbon in the sample. Power plant operators can thus have quick and accurate information to help make assessments about plant performance. The instrument has been used to measure carbon concentrations from less than 0.1% to nearly 7% by mass, with an accuracy of 4%. It has been successfully tested at several sites. This device is patented and recently won an R&D 100 award for innovation and commercial potential.

Contact: Robert Brown, 515-294-8733,

Ametek Inc, a small company in Pittsburgh, is pursuing commercialization.

Contact Joe Capone, 412-828-9050, ext 222

Coal Ash – Alternatives to disposal: The use of coal ash as a soil stabilizer in feedlots has been successfully demonstrated. This may be useful in states where livestock confinements are large or growing components of the agricultural economy.

Biomass: Several studies into systems that use crops and agricultural wastes (in Iowa) for energy production have been successfully completed.

Latent Heat Ballasted Gasifier. The idea is to store heat in a metal alloy with a melting point close to the desired gasification temperature. This allows a single reactor to sustain pyrolysis without oxygen addition, by storing energy during periods of combustion and releasing the stored energy during periods of pyrolysis, resulting in a producer gas with higher methane content and heating value.

Contact: Robert Brown, 515-294-8733,

Coal cleaning

A wide ranging experimental program in new techniques to clean coal. (With emissions allowances so cheap, coal cleaning isn’t a hot topic currently, but industry needs to get ready for tighter standards coming in 2000.)

– Remove 60% of pyrite and organic sulfur via “low-severity oxidation” for $2-3/ton. EPRI funded this work, and is seeking a patent.

– Remove chlorine with a lime (calcium hydroxide) solution (leftover pickling agent from steelmaking). Trick is to find a good wetting agent. On combustion, the reagent left on the coal forms calcium sulfate, reducing SO2 emissions. Iowa State owns this technology. Patent was granted April ’96. Colin Chriswell, 515-294-6776.

– Column Flotation – new development in applying this technique to fine coal. The coal is initially ground very fine in a ball mill, and injected into a high narrow tube of water. The column separates coal and minerals based on different surface properties which affect how they interact with air and water in the column. Coal particles attach more readily to air bubbles generated at the bottom of the column, and a coal rich froth collects at the top. Mineral particles are drawn to the bottom. Control algorithms are the key to making this work.

– Oil Agglomeration – also works on the difference between coal fines and minerals in their interaction with water. In agglomeration, oil is slowly added to a stirred mixture of coal and water. The minerals remain suspended in the water as the coal particles become coated with oil and stick together. The Ames research is finding additives to help impurities stay with the minerals and not with the coal. There’s a large potential resource that could be recovered from waste ponds if this work is successful. Thomas Wheelock, 515-294-5226.

Fluidized bed combustion (FBC) operations and troubleshooting

For DOE and private companies, Ames and Center staff help operators with specific operational problems, such as diagnosing causes for deposit formation and bed agglomeration.

They have developed a “similitude model” of fluid bed or fluid bed combustion. This is a physical device which operates under “similar” conditions to an actual reactor, and can predict reactor behavior. Results can be scaled via dimensionless parameters. It’s been operated first with glass beads, to analyze cold flow.

RF Surface Contour mapping system makes it possible to monitor and map surfaces of process streams in a variety of coal processing vessels (e.g. FBC’s, gasifiers, etc.).

On-line alkalinity monitor measures sodium and potassium in hot gas streams from coal combustion (pulverized coal, pressurized fluidized bed) and gasification. Because sodium and potassium are everywhere, this measurement is difficult to do. Other techniques involve concentrating an alkali sample from a got gas stream, which takes several hours followed by lab analysis. Handling made is almost impossible to avoid contamination. The Ames device uses flame atomic emission spectrometry for instant on line measurements at parts-per-billion levels, making it possible, for example, to blend coal and clays to prevent turbine corrosion. Ames brings their instruments to a site for analyses and troubleshooting on a contract basis.

Contact David Eckels 515-294-7943

On-line monitor for mercury in hot gas streams of coal gasifiers. Detects all species of Hg, not just elemental. Contact Glenn Norton 515-294-1035

On-line monitor for hydrogen chloride in hot gas streams of coal gasifiers. 100 times more sensitive than commercially available devices (needed for fuel cell applications).

Contact Colin Chriswell 515-294-6776

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer implemented at the Iowa State University physical plant in a research program to evaluate various coals and limestone sorbents. Challenge was to harden the device for the harsh environment. A possible real time emissions monitor.

Contact: Robert Brown 515-294-8733

Biomass-derived char as source for carbon for use in lithium battery electrodes — potentially much better than coal-derived carbon, which contains transition-metals — a problem in these applications. In a related project, they helped a seed corn maker to dispose of old seed coated with herbicide, by gasifying it.

• Environmental Technology Development (ETD)

ETD works on solutions not only to DOE’s cleanup problems, but also to similar problems faced by public and private sector organizations. Under development are such things as compact, portable instruments to identify hazardous wastes, rapid techniques for in-the-field analysis of radioactive materials, and laser systems to decontaminate equipment.

Director: Martin Edelson, 515-294-4987,

Expedited Site Characterization (ESC)

(Also see:

ESC is a field-proven methodology for environmental site assessment that utilizes in-field decision making, a dynamic work plan, real-time data acquisition and interpretation to efficiently minimize uncertainty in remedial selection and design. It has been successfully applied at a variety of sites containing multiple aquifers and multiple organic and metal contaminated sites, all under full regulatory scrutiny.

Regulators are accepting ESC because of its proactive, open strategy to involve them and its demonstrated ability to move the cleanup ahead of schedule while providing for improved data quality that supports better remedial decisions.

Site owners are accepting ESC because it breaks the lengthy cycle of analysis, planning, sampling followed by more of the same, all of which can take years. ESC is different from traditional methods in the areas of project organization and staffing (a core team), a regulatory interface (proactive involvement) and data management (real-time acquisition and integration). ESC saves site owner money in two ways; by reducing site assessment time and by providing a reliable basis for any subsequent remediation.

ESC incorporates several key principles.

– A core team of an experienced multidisciplinary group of hands-on professionals is formed to plan the project and also to manage field investigations.

– A dynamic work plan can be modified in the field by the core team to ensure project objectives are being met. On-site data processing and interpretations ensure effective on-site decision making.

– In Phase I, multiple non-intrusive and minimally intrusive methods such as geophysical techniques, borehole logging and direct push technologies (DPT), are used to develop the hydrogeologic portion of the conceptual site model (CSM)

– In Phase II, field work focuses on the chemical contaminant portion of the CSM, only after the hydrogeologic portion is complete. Appropriate analytical methods for the contaminants of concern are selected in accordance with USEPA data quality objectives process. Use of on-site mobile labs assures cost effective and rapid turnarounds.

A comprehensive, innovative quality assurance plan is developed that includes assigning quality attributes to all historical information available prior to the ESC. Throughout the investigation all prior information is maintained in a unified database that assists in quality control and timely decision making.

In partnership with regulators, a communications plan is developed that maximizes their involvement with every aspect of ESC consistent with their needs and resource limitations.

ESC will be most effectively applied to those sites that are amenable to cost-effective use of geophysical and DPT methods. Typically this means sites larger than a few acres.

ESC is unique in that:

1. The site characterization work is done by experts who creatively interact during field work (yes, the experts are in the field … not behind a desk in a home office) to iteratively design the sampling plan in “real-time.” These same experts pick the site specific technologies that support that on-site decision making in real time.

2. ESC emphasizes strong interaction with regulators and stakeholders throughout the site characterization. The ESC core team leader meets with regulators at the beginning of the site characterization process and negotiates such things as the definition of the contaminants of concern, the sampling strategy and analysis program.

The result of these unique practices is a very technically powerful and publicly-acceptable site characterization. The initial cost of putting experts in the field is recovered by not having to revisit the site for later measurements and by generating a result that has strong regulatory and public acceptance.

The methodology is now being extended to accommodate both characterization of buildings and other facilities, and explicit risk assessment

Contact: Al Bevolo, 515-294-5414,

ESC Demonstration at Manufactured Gas Site

Ames Laboratory teamed up with IES Utilities, Iowa environmental regulators and manufacturers of environmental cleanup technologies to demonstrate the ESC approach at a former manufactured gas plant site in Marshalltown, Iowa, April – May 1994. The site is owned by IES Utilities, a major Iowa electric and gas company, and the first public utility in the country to cosponsor an event to demonstrate ESC.

The site, acquired by IES in the early 1900s for its distribution lines, manufactured gas from coal. This fuel was used between the late 1800s and 1940s for lighting street lamps, heating and cooking. At the time of operation, gasification by-products, which included coal tar, coke and other materials, were not regulated. Now, under the guidelines and oversight of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, IES Utilities is responsible for investigating and remediating the contaminants at this former manufactured gas plant site.

This project involved both soil and groundwater media and COCs, such as PAHs, volatile organics, petroleum products, DNAPLs, pesticides, radioactive isotopes and RCRA metals.

Other technologies developed in the ETD program include:

(see :

Analyzing Environmental Contaminants

Mobile Demonstration Laboratory for Environmental Screening Technologies – MDLEST — Uncommonly versatile, this new analytical laboratory on wheels effectively brings comprehensive capabilities to the field for faster, safer, better and cheaper environmental assessment.

Metals and Isotope Analysis Using Electrothermal/Plasma and Diode Laser Spectrometry — Offering highly precise simultaneous detection of radioactive isotopes and hazardous metals in the field, DLS-FANES should speed DOE restoration activities, reduce costs and improve confidence of characterization and monitoring analyses.

Improvements in Inductively Coupled Plasma – Mass Spectrometry — Augmenting an already effective analytical technique, sampling improvements for ICP-MS promise reduced hazards, costs and complexity for assessing DOE’s radioactive sites.

Electrospray Mass Spectrometry — Adapting for environmental use an analytical technology already common in medical applications, researchers are developing a single instrument comprehensive enough for a wide range of environmental analyses. Reducing the need for multiple analytical tools, this system should cut the costs and complexity of DOE’s environmental assessments.

LA-ICP-AES using a high resolution fiber optic interferometer — With a remarkable combination of small size, affordability and high sensitivity, Ames Lab’s new interferometric ICP-AES spectrometer should make detailed field-testing possible in areas where traditional methods lack the required selectivity and portability.

FTIR-Photoacoustic spectroscopy of solids — This technique reduces worker exposure to radiation because of the small sample size and the dramatic reduction in sample preparation needed, also making the technique faster and more cost-effective.

Monitoring Environmental Contaminants

Zero Tension Lysimeters — Offering expanded monitoring capabilities at a reduced cost, this new zero-tension lysimeter produces a more complete and accurate picture of soil and water flow to help guard against the spread of contaminants in upper regions of the soil.

Piezoelectric thin-film resonator sensors — Automatable, easy to maintain and cost-effective for wide-spread deployment, a new thin film resonator sensor system will help ensure the safety of underground storage tanks with continuous, simplified monitoring of the tanks’ potentially explosive gases.

Ultrasonic characterization of wastes — Safe, quick and cost-effective physical description of stored waste will help speed the decommissioning of storage tanks for newer, more effective waste treatment, storage and disposal.

Measurements by Transient Infrared Spectroscopies (TIRS) — Helping DOE improve waste solidification with continuous monitoring, Ames Lab’s new infrared spectrometry technique will allow process operators to maximize and document the quality of polymer-encapsulated waste for safer, more efficient storage and disposal.

Decontaminating Environmental Wastes

Laser decontamination of metals — This new technique that uses lasers for safe and effective metal decontamination produces little secondary waste and can reduce selected waste volumes (or at least lower waste classifications) and therefore reduce the hazards and costs of waste storage and disposal.

X-ray detector system helps evaluate facility contamination — Rapidly providing critical contaminant information on site, Ames Lab’s portable K-edge heavy metal detector should make the dismantling of DOE’s contaminated facilities easier, safer and more efficient.

Environmentally Conscious Manufacturing

Lead-free Solder Paste — The strength, heat resistance, workability and cost-effectiveness of Ames Lab’s new lead-free solder make it an attractive alternative for getting environmentally hazardous lead out of commonly used solders.

DOE SBIR Commercialization Forum

Subject: UFTO Note – DOE SBIR Commercialization Forum
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 1996 09:21:35 -0700
From: Ed Beardsworth <>

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

Abstracts for 40 companies which were presented at the:

“Dawnbreaker DOE Commercialization Opportunity Forum”,
Washington DC, Oct. 8-9, 1996

These are small businesses that have received DOE SBIR funding, and who are seeking investors or business partners (or customers).

– Each one has prepared a business plan, with coaching by DOE commercialization consultants.
– The companies appear in order of interest to utilities–most interesting first (not a rigorous ranking).
– Last paragraph of text (appearing before Company name and address) was prepared by company itself.
– Other comments are by UFTO.
– You may disregard numbers appearing after title (n//m) :
n = interest rank ordering, and m = company # as listed in program materials.
– Companies are separated by a line that starts with two back-slash characters, which you can use to parse this long text record if you need to.

Plant Environmental and Cost Optimization System (PECOS) ™: On-line software to minimize power generation cost
1//3 VERY Interesting
Integrates coal yard, boiler & NOx control, steam side operation and byproducts into a single cost function. (Competitors treat only one part) One year payback. Doing Coal Monitor Wkstn with TVA. (EPRI members can use TC $ towards installation.) Impressive and convincing story.

This company’s product is unique in its comprehensive approach, cost focus, and distributed architecture. This on-line software advises plant operators on settings to minimize controllable costs of power generation. The software covers all areas of plant operations such as dynamic coal sorting and blending, efficiency, control of all emissions, and disposal/sale of byproducts. The company has strong ties in the utility industry. It is currently testing the product on-line at two power stations, and sales to other plants are in negotiation. The software can also be adapted for other process industries. The company seeks a strategic partner which is either a utility or other organization with an existing base of services and/or sales in the utility industry to participate in an emerging market with a total size of $200,000,000 in the U.S. The partner will profit through appreciation of shares in a dynamic company by generating revenues through sales and implementation services for the product and by the synergistic growth of its other related businesses in the utility industry. (FOSSIL)

Praxis Engineers
Randhir Sehgal, President
852 N. Hillview Dr.
Milpitas CA 95035
Cost-effective retrofit, ultra low-NOx coal burner which also removes SOx and ash
1//11 VERY Interesting
Retrofit replacement for PC burners at $60-90/kw installed (cheaper than scrubbers, GTs, buying credits or low S coal).
Rotating drum creates artificial x10 gravity for mini-fluid bed gasifier. Removes ash! NOx below 100ppm and SOx is 90% controlled. Use crush/pellet coal not pulverized. Good with RDF.

The Company has developed its patented Rotary Combustor (RC) to allow electric utilities to refire boilers to meet Clean Air Act emissions standards for the year 2000 and to improve efficiency at cost significantly lower than any alternative solution. The RC is an ultra low-NOx burner which also removes SOx in the combustion process. Refiring with the RC competes effectively in cost and performance in the combined $1 billion market for scrubbing equipment, low-NOx burners, and SCR systems. We are seeking a strategic partner to help manufacture and market the RC and related technologies. (NOX & SOX, FOSSIL)

Spinheat Ltd.
Michael Virr, President
1222 Bronson Rd.
Fairfield CT 06430
NDE Systems for monitoring age degradation and manufacturing quality
1//16 Very Interesting
As one example, inexpensive sensor could be left installed under piping insulation; connect instrument to take reading. Has EPRI $ for validation of real-time imaging in power plants. Information pkg available–looks solid.

This company’s patented technology provides breakthrough capabilities in quantitative nondestructive characterization. Portable systems integrate thin and conformable electromagnetic sensors, model-based GridStation TM software, and board-level instrumentation. Rapid scanning for clusters of microcracks, precrack fatigue damage monitoring and coating characterization are examples of the new capabilities offered by this proprietary technology. Fully integrated systems are being demonstrated at trade shows and sold to target customers for pilot-plant testing. Target markets for products and services exceed $300 million. This company seeks strategic alliances with market leading service providers, and an infusion of capital to finance manufacturing scale up and the expansion of field capacity, to meet current and expanding demand. (NUCLEAR, FOSSIL)

JENTEK Sensors
Neil J. Goldfine, President
Watertown MA 02172
Cost-effective electrochromic windows
1//24 Very Interesting
The only U.S. company to focus solely on this technology. First patent for ceramic thin film coatings. Use several coatings on glass. Pass DC current for 90% blockage of visible and 100% of IR and UV for sophisticated lighting and HVAC control.

This company has developed a patented ceramic thin-film electrochromic technology that gives users the ability to adjust the level of tinting of their glass from nearly clear to very dark. This gives the user the ability to effectively control glare and heat gain in windows. Sageglass delivers the durability, pleasing visual characteristics, low cost and customer benefits required for the architectural window markets. This company projects sales of $80 million in the year 2002. The company seeks a strategic partner in the glass window or energy management industry to scale up manufacturing for commercial product introduction. (END USE)

SAGE Electrochromics, Inc.
Mike Myser, Director Marketing and Sales
Piscataway NJ 088540-0278
Landfill gas (LFG) to products, using carbon dioxide (CO2) wash technology
2//28 Very interesting
Land Fill Gas to Methane, and Liquid CO2, where some of the LCO2 is used to wash contaminants out of the gas. Looking for partners.

Company conceived, developed, patented, and demonstrated carbon dioxide (CO2) wash technology which converts landfill gas (LFG) to products including electricity, medium Btu gas, pipeline gas, liquid methane, liquid CO2, and methanol. Company was founded in 1989 for the advancement of innovative gas separation technology for high CO2 streams. There are 2,900 active landfills in the U.S. which could use this technology. Average investment is $7.5 million with payback under 3 years. Company offers the only technology which (1) derives the separating agent (CO2) from LFG, (2) is insensitive to changes in contaminant composition and concentration of LFG, (3) produces liquid CO2 from LFG, and (4) allows multiple end uses for LFG.

Acrion Technologies
Bill Brown, President
Cleveland OH
Highly graphitic carbon fiber reinforcement
Vapor grown carbon fiber, low cost, simple continuous process. Very different from other fibers. High effective surface area. Injection moldable, smooth finish. Can be used in major quantities to reinforce tires, wood products, concrete(including ash-based?). Made from Hi Sulfur Coal, with methane as by product.

This company has developed a proprietary, highly graphitic carbon fiber reinforcement having a diameter of 0.2 microns, a length of 100 microns, and a low production cost. The unique combination of small size, high reinforcement value, and low cost enables broad use in EMI–shielding, friction products, batteries, engineered plastics and rubber for the automotive industry. A market demand of 120 million lbs./yr. for these specialized applications have been identified. The company is seeking an investor or joint venture partner from the automotive or energy industries to scale up for product introduction in mid 1988.

Applied Sciences, Inc.
Max L. Lake, President
Cedarville OH 45314
Advanced dry sorbent systems for air pollution control applications
2//30 Very interesting
Chemistry systems on vermiculite substrate for duct injection and easy recovery.
1. “Fluesorbent” SO2 control for retrofit in older small plants. (EPRI tested at Ohio Edison) Byproduct is a licensed agric. soil amendment.
2. “Mercsorbent” Air Toxic control, duct injected works at low temp., is recoverable. Will demo at Ft. Dix. Need Coal fired demo site.
3. “JetSorb” NOx control. First application at jet engine test cells.

This is a new kind of company: a supplier of multiple advanced sorbent systems for air pollution control applications. Each of the firm’s technologies are waste-free, retrofitable, and either low in total cost or low in capital cost – quite a contrast to existing market offerings. Specifically targeted markets are: 1) SO2 control for older, smaller plants, where scrubbers are uneconomic; 2) NOx control for stationary and mobile diesels; and 3) mercury air-toxic control. With six issued and four pending U.S. patents, the company is now scaling up and demonstrating its systems in the field. It is seeking funds and strategic alliances with large and mid-sized engineering or air pollution control firms to assist in marketing and product introduction programs. (NOX & SOX)

Sorbent Technologies Corp.
Sid Nelson, VP
Twinsburg OH
Supersonic air jet and vacuum transport for safe excavations using supersonic air jet
2//31 Very interesting
Did prototype with EPRI. Can be operated remotely (robotic). Safe, productive, precise, safe, efficient, flexible. Won’t harm any impermeable surface. Can even dig around tree roots.

Our Safe Excavation technology employs a proprietary, synergistic combination of supersonic jets of air and pneumatic vacuum transport to uncover any type of buried object without fear of accident or inadvertent damage. Industrial market applications involve urban and suburban excavations for new installation or repair of telecommunication. electric, or gas utility lines. Commercial needs range from agriculture to environmental remediation and recovery of hazardous or radioactive waste. Military usee include retrieval of unexploded ordnance or removal of buried land mines. We have designed, built, and tested hand-held, portable, and backhoe sized prototype equipment for each of these market segments. Market forecasts for our larger equipment are approximately two thousand units in a mature market annually. We desire an investor or commercial partner to help us begin to manufacture and sell into these market segments. (T&D)

Concept Engineering Group Inc.
Richard D. Nathenson, President
Pittsburgh PA
Portable imaging nuclear survey meter
2//17 Interesting
Pre production units available for purchase. $75-100K each expensive but price is competitive and there is big savings in labor.

An established nuclear detector R&D and instrument manufacturing firm has developed an instrument that provides a picture of the distribution, intensity, and energy of gamma radiation sources. It is a self-contained system having two cameras, one for the nuclear image and one for the video. A black and white video image is produced with the nuclear image superimposed over it in color. The instrument addresses the $600 million nuclear radiation detection and monitoring market. The focus is on three major market segments that total $120 million: the nuclear industry, including nuclear power plants, nuclear material producers, and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons; the medical industry, including nuclear medicine and radiation oncology; radiation safety, including universities, industry, and hospitals. The firm is seeking a strategic alliance with a partner having an established marketing and distribution network. (NUCLEAR)

Radiation Monitoring Devices
Michael Squillante, VP Research
Watertown MA
Ground penetrating radar for underground imaging and site characterization

3//2 Interesting
Has significant utility contacts (see EPRI Journal 10/96 pg 38) Image processing needs to be faster. Digital wideband radar, airborne or truckmount, to 30 ft. depth, tie to GPS for 5 cm location accuracy. Plans for U/G Database Service.

A Silicon Valley high technology company has developed and demonstrated a patented Standoff Ground Penetrating Radar which can produce high resolution 3 dimensional images. A rapidly growing demand exists for underground site characterization and assessment for environmental, construction, utility, and defense customers for the location and classification of buried objects. The company projects sales in excess of $50 million per year by 2002 with an estimated growth of 15%-20% annually. Patented hardware, copyrighted software, and proprietary imaging algorithms insure significant market dominance. Equity investment is sought along with strategic alliances to accelerate product launch and early market penetration. (T&D)

Mirage Systems Inc.
Robert Ziernicki, President
Sunnyvale CA
Removal and recovery of mercury found in flue gases
3//10 Interesting
New subsidiary, Mercu-RE Inc., formed to pursue Mercury removal.

ADA is a engineering consulting service firm specializing in troubleshooting and analysis of emisssion control systems.
This company offers a process that takes mercury out of flue gases and recovers it as liquid elemental mercury suitable for commercial recycling and produces no secondary wastes. A regenerable sorbent (patent pending) is at the heart of the process. Available alternatives, such as activated carbon, are expensive and produce mercury-contaminated solid or liquid wastes. The parent company has over ten years of experience in air pollution control technology and offers units to DOE site clean-up efforts planned for Oak Ridge and other former weapon-making facilities. The firm is looking for a marketing, sales, and distribution partner with access to key markets, such as commercial and municipal waste incinerators. The ideal partner would also have knowledge of process engineering equipment. The technology would be a valuable asset to the portfolio of a partner with existing interests in air pollution control equipment and services. Sales over $10 million per year can be realized as a result of the hundreds of incinerators that are subject to mercury emission regulations, leading potentially to even larger markets in coal-fired power plants. (FOSSIL, ENVIRONMENT)

ADA Technologies
Daryl L. Roberts, Vice President
Englewood CO 80112
Integrated sensors for air quality and safety monitoring
3//15 Interesting
Low cost, mass-produceable planar thick film membrane, for application in indoor air quality. Stable over long time. Parent company Giner is specialty R&D company in electrochemistry and materials science–PEM, O2 generators, sensors, etc.

The company, a spin-off of an electrochemical and materials research firm, is targeting the annual $20 million U.S. indoor air quality and safety monitoring market. A unique patent-pending sensor design enables a manufacturing process for mass-production of high-quality, low-cost electro-chemical gas sensors. Manufacturing costs can be reduced to one-tenth of current costs. In addition, the new design will allow integration of sensors for simultaneous monitoring of combinations of gasses, such as CO, CO2, NO, NO2, and SO2, with sensitivities in the low-ppm range. Separate smoke detector and air quality monitor functions can now be combined into one new instrument to serve the target market. The company is seeking an investment for manufacturing set-up, and possibly a strategic alliance for distribution and marketing capability. (END USE)

Giner, Inc.
Anthony LaConti, President
14 Spring Street
Waltham MA 02154
Lumber utilizing a low-cost industrial by-product feedstock (incl. flyash)
3//26 Very interesting
Patented resin binder systems, can use multiple feedstocks including flyash. Fire resistant due to hi mineral content and closed cell structure. Process is exothermic. Product is moldable into shapes (e.g. moldings).

This innovative firm has developed a multi-patented cost competitive composite decking material. Ecodeck is non-warping, wood grained, moisture and insect resistant, and paintable. It can be cut and assembled with conventional tools and is produced with commercially available machinery. Ecodeck lumber utilizes a low cost industrial by-product feedstock and is cost competitive in the $580MM market for select grades of pressure treated southern yellow pine. The company is seeking strategic partners in the electrical utility and building materials industries and venture capital for remaining development and manufacturing scale up. (FOSSIL)

Ecomat, Inc.
John Mushovic, Exec. VP
Poughkeepsie NY
Thermoelectric modules for power generation and waste heat recovery

3//4 Interesting
Driving down mfg. cost of traditional 5-6% thermoelectric devices. Wide range of applications. Have prototype alternator replacement for diesel trucks.

Thermoelectric power generators for converting waste heat into electricity are available for U.S./overseas markets which range up to $1B. Cost-effective modules (one third competitors’ price) can be utilized for a broad spectrum of products: self-powered furnaces, engine alternator replacements, remote power and power generation for urban incinerators. Fourteen and twenty watt modules are in limited production. These modules can be used individually or in multikilowatt generators. A two Watt generator is planned that can outperform chemical batteries. We are seeking strategic partners and venture capital for scale up of manufacturing and rapid market penetration. (DU)

Hi-Z Technology, Inc.
Norbert Elsner, President
San Diego CA
Microprocessor technologies for the purpose of power monitoring
3//18 Interesting
Unique current sensor replaces conventional CTs. One fourth the size. No need to disconnect wire to install it. They have not explored any possible T&D grid applications.

This privately held company has developed products which combine unique and patented current sensors with custom developed VLSI and microprocessor technologies for the purpose of power monitoring. The products are based on more than 10 years of R& D, production and direct marketing experience. These technologies will provide a company with a competitive lead by reducing size, cost and installation time 50+%. Additional high-margin products, in design, will effectively and efficiently instrument commercial buildings, industrial processes and homes.. Of the overall USA Electrical Measuring Instrument Market (SIC 3825, $8+ Billion), the company is focused on market niches that total $130 million. These markets include Energy Service Company applications, commercial tenant submetering, industrial equipment monitoring and control and Utility Demand Side Management, Load Research, Time Of Day metering and Customer Service applications. The company seeks partners who bring established distribution channels and capital for production and marketing. (END USE)

Energy Teller, Inc.
Tim Michels, President
2718 Sutton Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63143
Hazardous and radioactive waste treatment
3//23 Interesting —
“DeTox” wet oxidation to destroy organic compouns at low temperature. Difficult to judge — one of many contenders in this field.

With eleven years of operating history, patents issued in the U.S. and seven major industrial countries, and a full-scale demonstration project funded by the Department of Energy, this innovative and dynamic corporation has established its wet chemical oxidation technology at the forefront of hazardous and radioactive waste treatment options for government and industrial markets. The total U.S. environmental market is $165.5 billion. Our company is focusing on the market segments of hazardous waste management, remediation and industrial services, and process and prevention technology development which together comprise a $4.2 billion market. Established and potential customers find the advantages of transportability for on-site treatment, alternative permitting options, safe (low temperature and low pressure) operating conditions, broad ranged applications, and benign secondary wastes to be significant improvements over incineration and other alternative waste treatment technologies. Partnership with a leading environmental management firm is sought for $1 million equity participation, $3 million project financing for an existing customer, and marketing and sales assistance in implementing the commercialization plan involving the sale of plants and services. (ENVIRONMENT)

Delphi Research, Inc.
Terry W. Rogers, President
Albuquerque, NM
Breakthrough material to remove radionuclides, metals, and organics from contaminated waters
3//39 Interesting
Humasorb, made from coal, simultaneously captures both metals and organics. Can be used as a liquid or solid filter. Could handle coal pile run off. Co. a spinoff from Atlantic Research Corp in 1987.

A unique material has been developed for the single-step removal of radionuclides, metals, and organics from contaminated waters. This versatile new material replaces traditional sequential processing approaches making it cost-effective as a permeable barrier to remove and capture plume contaminants and for surface treatment operations. Applications are targeted at the water pollution prevention and remediation markets estimated to exceed $600 million per year. Technology to produce the new material is protected by pending patents and trade secrets gained over a 5-year period of development by a company that has a successful record of commercializing new technologies. Investors and strategic alliances are sought to support the commercialization of the material on a site-specific or application basis. (NUCLEAR, FOSSIL, ENVIRONMENT)

Harry R. Johnson, Technical Director
Chantilly VA 20151
Large-scale advanced vitrification technologies for site remediation and waste treatment
Subsidiary of Battelle is commercializing this DOE technology. Tested and licensed. Clear focus on markets, and good grasp of who competitors are.

This international Company holds an exclusive worldwide IP position in the field of large-scale advanced vitrification technologies for site remediation and waste treatment. The Company has over $20 million in current backlog, is profitable, has worldwide growth opportunities, and it’s proven technologies possess excellent regulatory and public acceptance. The Company plans to acquire more than $50 million of sales from the DOE environmental restoration marketplace within the next three years. The Company seeks a strategic partner, that is established or entering the DOE ER/WM marketplace, to augment its operations and marketing capabilities as needed to secure large ($20 to 100 million) waste remediation and treatment projects within the DOE, other government, and private remediation markets. Benefits to the partner include increased market potential, a strong vitrification technology base, and strategic access to the Company’s parent, which is a leading environmental technology company. The Company poses an attractive opportunity for $8 million of second stage equity investment followed by an IPO for support of further growth. (NUCLEAR, ENVIRONMENT)

Geosafe Corp
James E Hanson, Vice President
Richland WA
Solid-Gas sorption refrigeration, consumer products
5//19 (Not presented — “Already found financing or strategic arrangments”)

The company is a thermal product development firm with an excellent reputation in the commercial HVAC&R industry. It is seeking an equity investment to launch the OEM manufacture of small packaged refrigeration and heat battery modules for already existing and future appliance manufacturing customers. The technology is based on a sorption process which provides refrigeration without moving parts and yields unmatched rechargeable thermal battery energy densities. The market applications include consumer products, medical and automotive appliances. The initial focus is on small refrigerators/freezers and an automotive application with existing customers. Anticipated fourth year OEM sales volume is $25,000,000. (END USE)

Rocky Research
Dr. Uwe Rockenfeller
1598 Foothill Dr.
Boulder City NV 89006
Continuous removal of coatings for aircraft, bridge & environmental applications
5//20 Interesting.
Unique capability to remove paints and coatings with one step process, quickly and less expensively. Can even remove one layer at a time!

Very broad applicability. Company focusing on airplane depainting, so opportunity to pick up on other fields of use.
A small business that develops commercial applications of laser-based systems is seeking an equity investment to commercialize their proven technology for removal of coatings from various kinds of surfaces for multiple applications in the commercial marketplace. This technology uses lasers and robotics to provide the most efficient, environmentally-sensitive and cost-effective process for removing paint from aircraft, bridges, and radioactively-contaminated facilities. The annual target market for these applications is $4.5 billion. By year 4, the projected sales for these applications are estimated to be $70 million.

F2 Associates, Inc.
Joyce Freiwald, President
14800 Central SE
Albequrque, NM 87123
A system for recycling acids used for metal surface preparation
Interesting (?) Hard to judge

The Pickliq process is a patented system for recycling acids used for surface preparation in the metals processing industries. The process produces salable solid metal salts as by-products. The company employs highly experienced people that have an investment stake. The people work with Engineering and Construction firms and their clients to implement the process. The firm qualifies and supervises sub-contractors who construct the skid mounted units of the system. Data to date indicate a $15 – 20 million/yr market for the system after year four is possible. Further process development is funded by the US DOE through an ERIP grant. The company is obtaining working capital from small investors. It is looking for alliances with Engineering and Construction firms with clients in the steel and wire industry to exploit domestic and international markets. (ENVIRONMENT)

Green Technology Group
Douglas Olsen
Pawling NY
Position sensors in and around underground storage tanks, buried pipelines and below buildings.
5//36 Interesting

The Steerable Vibratory System (SVS) is the only way to accurately position sensors in and around underground storage tanks, buried pipelines and below buildings. The SVS is made up of a lightweight rig, a steerable tip, the patented navigational system and penetrometer rods with unique joints. It is not affected by magnetic anomolies and will not bring contaminated cuttings to the surface or contaminate other layers. The more accurate delineation of plumes will save money in clean-up. The firm has worked closely with customers in the underground industry for over 15 years. Our market includes Superfund sites and underground storage tanks (>295,000). The company will manufacture the SVS and seeks licensees with established distribution networks for marketing and sales. (ENVIRONMENT)

UTD Incorporated
Barney Harris, Vice President
Newington VA 22122
Treatment of radioactive, hazardous and mixed waste
5//14 (Not presented — “Already found financing or strategic arrangments”)

This environmental technology company has developed and commercialized its patented steam reforming technology in the paper industry. The company is now expanding by applying its unique non-incineration technology to the treatment, volume reduction, and disposal of radioactive, hazardous and mixed radioactive/hazardous wastes. Tests are underway in a1 ton per day facility demonstrating the destruction of hazardous compounds (greater than 99.99%) and the isolation of radionuclides in an environmentally superior final waste form. This is opening the door to the burgeoning DOE market, commercial ion exchange resin market, and industrial hazardous waste market. The company is seeking a joint venture arrangement with a strategic ally/investor to commercialize the technology in these new applications. The combined potential market exceeds $350 million per year. (NUCLEAR, ENVIRONMENT)

ThermoChem, Inc.
Gary Voelker, COO
10220-H Columbia Rd
Columbia MD 21046
Multimedia training in technical subjects
Company combines expertise in both instructional material preparation and technology. Not particularly different from other suppliers.

This company creates multimedia training packages in scientific and engineering disciplines for use within the DOE complex, by accelerator manufacturers, and in higher education. Its unique combination of scientific expertise, software skills, and the needs of the DOE complex makes it the vendor of choice for training for environmental cleanup and production of special materials, such as tritium. Multimedia training rapidly raises the level of competency and quality of technicians and engineers, leading to a more effective work force. For example, a tutorial in development on accelerator physics can serve as a basis for specialized training programs in companies manufacturing accelerators for industrial and medical applications. Opportunities for a publisher include marketing as a standalone software piece, bundling with a textbook, and teaming to develop new educational tools.

WhistleSoft, Inc
Richard R. Silbar, President
Los Alamos NM
Electrical energy storage/ hydrogen production
5//35 Interesting, but doubtful
This uses a solar heated furnace to drive water+ Br –> HBr reaction, and electrochemical cell using the reversible H + Br <–> HBr reaction to store and release electrical energy. Provides on peak electicity and H2 for sale. Have strong DOE support.

From 03-14-96 The Financial Times:
“Solar Reactor Technologies has entered into a $2.5m (#1.6m) co- operative agreement with the US Department of Energy for its system for producing renewable hydrogen and combined electrical storage. Hydrogen is generated by means of solar energy concentrated onto bromine and water which forms hydrogen bromide and oxygen. The former is then split at night using low cost off-peak electricity in an electrochemical cell to produce hydrogen, and regenerate the bromine. The end result is that water is split into hydrogen and oxygen, but using one third of the electricity required for conventional water electrolysis.

By storing extra hydrogen and bromine and recombining these in the cell, electricity is generated. This in effect permits the storage of off-peak power for use at any time. The system is potentially very attractive to large electrical consumers. However, the economic generation of hydrogen would also be very significant for vehicle companies looking to the longer- term future. BMW has been experimenting with hydrogen fuelled vehicles since the late 1970s while Mercedes is one of a number of companies which is taking the development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles very seriously.”

This company is focused on the development and commercialization of renewable energy technologies. One of these is a patented solar-electrochemical system which links utility scale electrical energy storage with the production of hydrogen and oxygen from water. The system will provide peak electrical power and hydrogen with no greenhouse emissions. The process is competitive with existing combustion technologies. Sales potential for the electrical energy storage market in the U.S. is estimated at $100 -$200 million per year. To fund its commercialization program, the company is seeking a relationship with an investor and/or strategic partner. (DU)

Solar Reactor Technologies, Inc.
Harley L. Heaton, Vice President
3250 Mary Street, #407
Miami FL 33133
Remote power generation, residential cogeneration and cryogenic cooling products
5//42 (Not presented — “Already found financing or strategic arrangments”)

Two distinct lines of products, using the same basic technology, have been developed by this eleven year old company. The RG-350TM uses heat from any source to produce electricity for the remote power market (estimated at $30 million annually) while the RG-1000TM will use propane/natural gas to create combined heat and power for the residential cogeneration market (independently assessed to exceed $1 billion annually in ten years). Additional advantages derived from these products include higher fuel efficiency and reliability with lower maintenance, noise, and emissions than any existing products. The company is also manufacturing its BeCOOLTM cryocoolers for use in the computer, superconductivity and sensor cooling markets. Teaming partners are being sought for marketing, distribution and new product development while investor funding will be used for pre-production and manufacturing activities. (DU)

Stirling Technology Co.
Mr. Jeffrey Lubeck, Controller
4208 W Clearwater Ave
Kennewick WA 99336-2626
Low-cost fiber optic chemical sensors–Smart Cable ™ detects leaks along long distance pipelines
6//13 (did not consider)

This company is dedicated to developing and licensing low-cost fiber optic chemical sensors for environmental monitoring and medical diagnostics.The first generation, developed for the detection and discrimination of water and hydrocarbons, is elegant in its simplicity and has been field tested by an independent third party. The corporation has already produced sales of related environmental products. These revolutionary, patented sensors provide continuous monitoring for environmental contamination at very competitive costs. Installed in fuel tanks, pipelines, and landfills, sensor networks provide realtime indications of contaminants and leaks over large and remote geographic areas. Additionally, sensors are being adapted for use in hospitals and medical laboratories to detect the presence of specific biochemicals in bodily fluids. This corporation seeks licensees with strong presence in environmental remediation and potential licensees which will fund continued development of the sensor family in exchange for exclusive licensing rights. (ENVIRONMENT, T&D)

Noverflo, Inc.
Dr. Joe Hopenfeld
Rockville MD
Wireless identification (RFID) tagging for asset management
6//37 Interesting
May have applications in asset tracking, remote metering.

The company has developed an exciting wireless technology, called RFID, derived from R&D grants by the Department of Energy. This technology has enormous commercial potential for applications such as asset management and transportation operations. The company chairs the ANSI technical sub-committee for RFID standards. Multiple patent and trademark applications have been filed. The product currently is in beta testing at DOE’s Savannah River site and is ready for use in all DOE sites. A trucking demonstration system is on display at Andersen Consulting’s transportation center in Atlanta. The management team, with over 35 years of RF, business, and finance experience, is poised to aggressively penetrate the current $250,000,000 market for RFID equipment, growing at an annual rate of 25%. The company is forming alliances with major corporations to accelerate growth and is seeking equity investment of $1,000,000 to support that growth. Various exit strategies will be entertained for equity investors including acquisition or IPO.

Alan C. Hurkamp, Chariman
Fairfax VA 22030
Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) generation of electricity from flame heat
6//41 Interesting
TPV device with their own patented emitter and cells. Original technology licensed from Boeing. Claim ing advantage over competitors. “Mini-cogen” – devices at 2, 50, and 150 watt elec –“wall heater” Their approach to the market is arguable.

Using its infrared-sensitive photovoltaic cells coupled with a fuel-fired emitter, this company fabricates Midnight Sun® cogenerators of electricity and heat. These cost-effective units feature quiet, reliable, efficient, and clean operation. With a strong patent position, military contracts, and an operating cell manufacturing facility, the company is positioned to capture a large share of the emerging market for remote and mobile cogeneration. Homes off the electric grid are targeted first, with a five year plan to take the company public and enter the much broader on-grid residential market. Investors are sought to rapidly scale up manufacturing capabilities; of particular interest are utilities pursuing growth in unregulated operations and furnace manufacturers considering self-powered heating systems. (DU)

JX Crystals, Inc.
Dr. Lewis M. Fraas, President
Issaquah, WA 98027
Metal coated fine powders
POWDERMET is a new spinoff that will be doing this work. ULTRAMET is the established company.

Ni and Co coatings on nanograin tungsten carbide, using “fast fluid bed chemical vapor deposition”
The company is a commercial spin-off of an established medical and aerospace materials firm. We are seeking an equity partner to launch the large scale manufacture and marketing of metal coated powders for the ordinance, tool, and die markets. Metal coated sub micron powders represent a revolutionary advancement in powder metallurgy, enabling a 30-50% increase in cemented carbide and tungsten alloy performance at equal or lower cost to current products. This investment partnership opportunity will leverage over $1 million in signed, development contracts to achieve projected revenues of $20 million in a $120M market within 5 years. This breakthrough patent pending technology is currently operational in the pilot plant stage. All proprietary rights, developmental, and pilot plant equipment has been negotiated for assignment to the company.

Andrew Sherman, Marketing Mgr.
12173 Montague St
Pacoima CA 91331
Fiber optic sensing
8//7 (did not consider)

This company has developed and demonstrated proprietary technologies encompassing components and system building blocks enabling production of low cost interferometric fiber optic sensors. The technology is applicable to inertial, intrusion, vibration, acceleration, acoustic, strain and electro-magnetic sensing in formats of single element, multi-channel distributed, and remote configurations. The company seeks an equity investment from a partner to spin off a business for the purpose of producing components and instruments based on the proprietary technologies and marketing them to sensor manufacturers in their respective fields. Expected sales for these ground breaking products will exceed $10 million per year by year 5.

Optiphase, Inc.
Jeff Bush, President
Van Nuys CA
Direct Load Control switches for plug connected appliances
Plug connected “smart” switch, remote controlled via one-way radio. Device stores data on operating history. (Hopelessly naive and out of date DSM device)

Manufacturers of electric utility load management controls will find this exclusive licensing opportunity of unique value. The Company has patented and field tested a microprocessor-based electric Direct Load Control (DLC) switch for plug connected appliances. The switch is designed to improve residential DLC program effectiveness; and economically collect comprehensive market intelligence on end-use appliance operation. The Company is looking to form a strategic alliance with a manufacturer interested in increased market share through the development of a “family” of DLC and home automation related products which complement the licensee’s current product line. The licensee’s product development costs would be reduced through follow-on licensing agreements with the Company.

Automated Energy Management Systems
Frank Rudden
E. Northport NY
Open-path atmospheric pollution monitor, detection of hazardous air pollutants
8//33 (did not consider)

The open-path atmospheric pollution monitor being developed for DOE integrates a CO2 laser and an acousto-optic tunable filter into a single instrument which measures pollutant concentrations in the optical path to any topological object. The range is over 4 times longer than existing monitors, thereby eliminating the need for multiple monitors and reducing costs. The estimated environmental and process control market is over $100 million within 5 years with the potential for ~$400M for military applications. A large defense contractor seeks to license a company to commercialize this monitor. The licensee will have exclusive use of the basic patent and unlimited access to the filter for which the contractor is the only supplier in the world. (ENVIRONMENT)

Northrop Grumman STC
Dr. Lyle H. Taylor, Fellow Scientist
Pittsburgh, PA
Pyridines from kerogen oil
9//34 (did not consider)

Kerogen oil, derived from Western Green River oil shale, is rich in pyridines (~20% of the raw oil). These pyridines can be produced and refined at costs substantially lower than current manufacturing costs for synthesis routes. A strategic partner and project financing are sought to develop a Kerogen Products Extraction (KPX) venture which will annually produce 25,000 tons of pyridine products and 300,000 tons of petroleum products. Annual revenues are projected at $150 million yielding more than 30% internal rate of return on an investment of $75 million. Pre commercial milestones will be achieved through an existing DOE contract and phased project financing. Product development opportunities in higher alkyl pyridines, pyrroles, indoles, phenols and quinolines offer additional long-term growth potential.

James W Bunger & Assoc. Inc.
West Valley City, UT 84119
Electromagnetic Sensors For Chemical Analysis
9//38 (did not consider)

A well established research laboratory is forming a subsidiary company to manufacture and market proprietary sensors for continuous chemical analysis. This innovative technology utilizes eddy current properties in an advanced electromagnetic sensor to identify chemical constituents. Advantages of this patented approach include exceptional resistance to fouling, low system cost, high sensitivity, compatibility with digital integrated circuitry, and high selectivity. The newly formed company will acquire all of the intellectual property and over 14 years of related experience. Equity or strategic partners are sought to participate in launching the new product line. Potential instrumentation markets for the sensor include process control, environmental monitoring, and biotechnology. The measurement of wastewater pH alone is anticipated to be a $100 million market by the year 2000 and should conservatively generate $10 million dollars revenue.

American Research Corp of Virginia
Howard J. Moses, Director, Business Development
Radford VA 24143-3406
A compact, high-yield, HGA synchrotron X-ray lithography source
10//1 (did not consider)

The mission of this company is to become a leading supplier of high-intensity synchrotron x-ray source machines for lithography of Giga-bit class memory chips with resolution at or below 0.18 micron to meet the emerging global demand. The product makes use of a compact electron injector based on a high–gradient accelerator (HGA) combined with a superconducting synchrotron radiation ring, resulting in increased resolution, lower capital cost, lower production cost per chip, and lower cost of ownership. The company seeks $10 million from joint venture partners and investors for the completion of the first machine to be sold in 1999.

DULY Research
Rancho Palo Verdes CA
Portable fiber optic phase fluorometer
10//6 (did not consider)

This company, a leader in cutting-edge optics, optoelectronics and monitoring instrumentation technologies, has developed the only portable fiber optic phase fluorometer (FOPhase) instrument available in the market. This patent protected technology addresses the environmental safety ($50 million), process control ($100 million), R&D ($50 million), and medical markets ($200 million), for fluorescence detection monitoring. Owing to the high market demand for a low cost fluorescence lifetime spectrometer in various market segments, the company is searching for a strategic partner to market and distribute the FOPhase Technology. The sales forecast for 2000 is $26 million or 6.5% of the total market.

Physics Optics Corp
Torrance CA 90501
Interdisciplinary science education software
10//8 (did not consider)

Our firm will become the premier source of interdisciplinary science education software. We seek a partnership with a forward looking company in the communication, hardware or software industry that wishes to raise the level of scientific preparedness of the next generation of students and increase the use of computer and communication technology. Our partner will manage the distribution of our product line to expedite market penetration of our first product ready for introduction in January 1997. Over the next two years we will introduce a series of products utilizing CD-ROM and Internet data sets. Titles include: El Niño, Ozone and Monsoon, and are designed to teach Science from grade 6 to college level. Our series is a set of virtual research expeditions in which students use satellite observations of the Earth and data from climate models to study the Earth as a system of interacting components. It brings science alive.

Plant Earth Science
Dr Catherine Gautier-Downes
Santa Barbara CA
Interactive display software for hospitality industry
10//9 (did not consider)

This Company is developing interactive display software that provides electronic guest services for the national and international hospitality industry. These proprietary technologies allow hotels to integrate this software into their front desk operations, reducing overhead, increasing productivity, and enhancing guest services. Notable electronic services include express check-in/out, account transactions, services and events locators, interactive maps, and business services. The total available market for this kiosk technology is $2.8 billion. The high-end hotel market, the primary focus of this business plan, is $1.2 billion. This Company is seeking equity financing and a strategic partner for development, manufacturing and distribution.

Scientific Digital Visions, Inc.
San Jose CA
De-contaminating concrete; in-situ cleanup of soil
10//12 (did not consider)

This company is forming a spin-off to commercialize novel patented electrokinetic technologies developed under DOE funding. We plan to license to major site management contractors who are involved in remediation of DOE sites. This will be a good opportunity for entry into a sizable industrial market as well. This technology provides the only available approach to an in-situ cleanup of soil contaminated with heavy metals. It also provides a cost-effective technique for decontaminating concrete. The industrial opportunity is extensive in that it applies to the many entities which must deal with aqueous waste streams. The company is receptive to developing a creative package that recognizes investor’s risk and provides for exit when performance objectives are met. (ENVIRONMENT)

New Orleans LA
Computer mapping software for petroleum industry
10//22 (did not consider)

The company develops advanced technologies to assist the petroleum industry with exploration and production (E&P) problems. Their product, Gviz, is state-of-the-art computer mapping software, coded in C++, that interpolates spatial data to estimate interwell reservoir properties. E&P professionals purchase $48 million annually in mapping software. This company maintains proprietary expertise, keeping them ahead of the market with improvements to their software. They plan a series of releases leading to an integrated reservoir management package in five years. The company seeks an alliance with an oilfield E&P software vendor who can bring financial resources, marketing, and distributing expertise to our commercialization effort. In return the strategic ally will receive exclusive right to the product.

Correlations Co.
William Weiss, President
Socorro NM
Advanced quantum chemistry software package
10//32 (did not consider)

This company has developed an advanced quantum chemistry software package allowing industrial, government and academic researchers in the chemical, biochemical, pharmaceutical and materials sciences, among others, to address far larger molecular structures and complete calculations faster on smaller molecular structures than is currently possible. This innovative package will afford users significantly reduced run times and lower processing and manpower costs. The market size for sophisticated molecular modeling software is estimated at $58 million with the quantum chemistry software niche occupying $8 million and an annual market growth rate of 8%. The company seeks an equity investment for commercialization, marketing and sales operations.

Q-Chem, Inc.
Benny Johnson, President
Pittsburgh PA 15218

Bulletin #23 – Ames Lab “Road Map”

UFTO Bulletin #23

June 12, 1996

To: UFTO Members:

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

Ames Lab “Road Map” Underground Radar Brasil

1. Last week I visited Ames Lab, a different kind of DOE lab at Iowa State University. It started in the 1940s developing methods to purify uranium. Much of the funding comes from Energy Research/Basic Energy Sciences Office in DOE. The headcount is hard to determine, because there’s such a high degree of overlap with the university and its various centers, but in round numbers figure about 400 FTEs and upwards (counting grad students). The annual budget is about $30 million. As the smallest lab in the DOE system, they produce results and win awards in disproportionate numbers, and have the lowest overhead rates of any DOE lab.

They have unique capabilities and expertise in a number of interesting areas, including magnetic materials and applications, rare earth materials (they produce most of the world’s research grade supply),thermoelectrics (and TPV–thermo photovoltaics), ash characterization and use, biomass, coal cleaning, NDE , and fluidized bed combustion (FBC) operations and troubleshooting. They’ve got a monitor to measure carbon in ash, and an alkalinity monitor for gasifier diagnoses.

Also, some unpublished ideas for a new class of high temperature corrosion resistant coatings (needs a demo partner and a little funding). Also high strength conductors — 10 times the tensile strength of Cu, at 80% of the conductivity. [Wouldn’t this be interesting for transmission lines? No more temperature sag limits? Increased tower spacing? Not to mention high-speed generator rotors, and magnetizer coils, and other applications where strength is an issue?] These opportunities are virtually untapped.

If you want to jump on any of these topics before I return from vacation, Call Todd Zdorkowski, 515-294-5640, Email:

2. Following up on one of the discussions at the Tampa Meeting on the “process” of dealing with the labs, you’ll find enclosed a copy of “Road Map to Technology”, which Virginia Tong at Com Ed sent to me as she said she would. (Thanks, Virginia!) Chapter 6 and some of the Appendices look as though they might be particularly useful.

3. Underground radar — some of you are interested in this, for locating buried pipes, cables and obstacles. Our new member KEURP is sponsoring work (an EPRI TC) at the University of Kansas, Radar Systems and Remote Sensing Lab, with the goal of detecting pollutants underground. The professors and grad students have built a test facility, and have a detailed computer model of the entire system (antenna, ground layers, scatterer). They appear to have a very complete grasp of the field and all the other programs and players. Contact Prof. Richard Plumb, 913-864-7395

4. If your company is looking at utility acquisitions, Power System Research Inc. (PSRI) in Rio is very close to and knowledgeable about power systems and privatization issues in Brasil and throughout Latin America. See the web site at

As you know, I’ll be out of the country and completely out of touch with the office from June 13 to July 13 , on vacation in Brasil visiting family and friends and ending with a 10 day river boat tour on the Amazon. We’ll go 200 mi. upstream from Manaus on the Rio Negro. Wish us luck with the piranhas.