Uncovering Emerging Technologies

November 12, 2007
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ATLANTA - The New Technologies session at the World Energy Engineering Congress (WEEC) provided a variety of ways to find information on emerging technologies as well as an overview of some promising new technologies.

First Steven A. Parker, P.E., C.E.M., program manager, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, supplied sources of information on new energy efficient technologies to a packed room. “The world that looks at new technologies is broad and it’s hidden,” he said. Parker then offered a detailed list of sources, starting with the federal government.

One of the largest sources of information is the U.S. Department of Energy and its program offices:

• Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) - www.eere.energy.gov

• Office of Fossil Energy (FE) - www.fossil.energy.gov

• Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) - www.oe.energy.gov

• Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) - www.osti.gov

The U.S. Department of Commerce is another good source, including:

• National Technical Information Service (NTIS) - www.ntis.gov

• National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) - www.nist.gov

Parker then mentioned several offices of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

• Climate Protection Partnership Division (CPPD) - www.epa.gov/cpd

• Energy Star - www.energystar.gov

• Climate Leaders - www.epa.gov/climateleaders

• Combined Heat and Power - www.epa.gov/CHP

State agencies are also a good source of information, Parker said. He mentioned:

• California Energy Commission (CEC) - www.energy.ca.gov

• Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) - www.energy.ca.gov/pier

• Energy Center of Wisconsin - www.ecw.org

• Florida Solar Energy Center - www.fsec.ucf.edu

• Iowa Energy Center - www.energy.iastate.edu

• New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) - www.nyserda.org

• Washington State University, Energy Programs - www.energy.wsu.edu

Other organizations may also be useful sources of information, remarked Parker. These include:

• Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) - www.ase.org

• American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) - www.aceee.org

• Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) - www.cee1.org

• E Source - www.esource.com

“The Internet is a tool, not a source,” cautioned Parker, and he said to make sure you consider the source.

Also, he said, “Remember that things change.” Make sure to check the date of the material you have found.  


Paul Kistler, P.E., C.E.M., program manager, Department of the Navy, then presented results from the Navy’s technology validation program, talking about four new technologies.

First he talked about a magnetic bearing chiller compressor from Turbocor used in a project in San Diego. The chiller compressors with magnetic bearings were used to optimize the cooling system. The Navy then collected a year’s worth of data.

Comparing the original screw compressor to the retrofit system, the first test period showed a chiller efficiency of 1.11 kW/ton for an existing system and 0.59 kW/ton for the Turbocor system.

The second test period showed a chiller efficiency of 1.04 kW/ton for the existing system and 0.55 kW/ton for the Turbocor system. The third test period showed a chiller efficiency of 0.73 kW/ton for the existing system and 0.49 kW/ton for the Turbocor system.

In another project at Jacksonville, a Turbocor retrofit is being compared to an existing recip compressor. Partial data indicates a chiller efficiency of 0.91 for the existing system and 0.53 kW/ton for the Turbocor system.

Kistler noted that a lot of maintenance issues with chiller compressors are with oil. The magnetic bearing chiller compressor does not use oil, so there are no issues with oil. Also, the magnetic bearing compressor is very quiet. The water pumps make more noise than the compressor, he said.

The second technology he discussed was a thermal destratifier. The product moves hot air at the ceiling down to the floor level to save on heating costs.

In testing at a Bethesda base, heating system energy use was tracked. The destratifier saved energy, even more as the temperature got colder. The simple payback was determined to be six years.

The next technology covered was spectrally enhanced lighting. It is a higher temperature light that uses less wattage, thus saving energy. It was determined to have a seven-year payback.

Finally, Kistler talked about a duct sealing system licensed to Carrier. With this system, an aerosol is injected into ductwork to seal holes or openings.

Kistler said three buildings have been done so far in three locations. A building in Orlando achieved a six-year payback. Kistler said duct sealing is ideal where you have high site energy costs.  


Harvey Sachs, Ph.D., director, buildings program, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), discussed energy-saving technologies and practices for the building sector.

We have seen a tripling of per capita energy consumption from 1960 to 2000, said Sachs. Emerging energy-saving technologies have less than a 2 percent market share.

The ACEEE has explored 72 measures to save energy, he said. These include:

• Integrated building design;

• Advanced building diagnostic systems;

• Retrocommissioning;

• Duct sealing.

How are these technologies accomplished? Sachs said it is done through major investments by manufacturers, by standards-fed regulations, and through market transformation.

HVAC advancements have included advanced rooftop units, advanced humidity control technologies, underfloor air distribution, and scaled onsite generation. Chillers with magnetic bearing compressors, as discussed earlier, are another advancement, he stated. The removal of oil provides greater reliability.

However, Sachs remarked, energy-saving practices are important as well.

“Emerging technologies are at least as much about emerging practices as the boxes.”

Publication date: 11/12/2007  

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