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Sun Edison

SunEdison has become a world leader in solar energy services, with clients like Whole Foods, Staples and Kohl’s. Currently, they are constructing a 72MW solar power plant: the largest in Europe.



This award-winning utility company has been bringing better water to the Gulf Coast since 1981.


U.S. Fuel Cell Council


Summer 2010 $24.95 USD $26.30 CAN

Ruth Cox and Bob Rose envision a future where fuel cells power everything from cell phones to heavy equipment.




Dewey Electronics Corporation has been providing electrical equipment for the DOD for over 50 years, designing and manufacturing generators that use less fuel and keep essential equipment running under extreme conditions.

in this issue



Editor-in-Chief Todd Weaver Editor Diana Doyle Executive Editor Jonathan Mack Assistant Editor Joseph Orange Creative Director Emily Detoro Art Director Stephanie Hess Director of Advertising Julian Vu Production Coordinator Jason Rone Assistant Production Coordinator Elizabeth Macks Photography Editor Ian Palmer Video Director Susan Maybach Editorial Director Kate Darling Editorial Production Rachel Goldberg Copy Editor William Finch Assistant Copy Editor Amy Roberts Content Directors Brandon McBride (W), Aaron McGaskey (SW), Juan Orellana (Int’l), Steve Peters (Nation), Mike Rodgers (Nation), Juan Stewart (NE) Vendor Relations Director Diana Stephens Vendor Relations Eric Miller, Dov Teta Advertising Sales Coordinator Patricia O’Brien Advertising Sales Director Peter Jostens Advertising Sales Moe Kazemi, David Levi, Steve Stone Publisher Steve Reed oZ WORLD MEDIA, LLC 1100 H Street NW Suite M Washington D.C. 20005 Energy Leaders Today is a quarterly B2B trade journal that services the energy industry in geothermal, hydroelectric, gas, solar, wind, fuel cell and new tecnhologies. ELT has a readership of 100,000 C-Level executives within the energy industry. We do not accept subscription requests from the general public, however an abbreviated version is available on our website.

4 Energy Leaders Today


06 Illuminating the Road to Recovery Todd Weaver discusses the continuing effects of the earthquake in Haiti on the construction sector, and the need for countries to follow through on their promises to aid the rebuild.


08 Energy Acuity This online company covers the renewable and clean energy technology sectors of power generation, power architecture and transportation, tracking over 17,000 projects globally.


14 Dichtel Group The Dichtel group in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University has developed a method that could revolutionize the way solar cells are made by lowering costs dramatically, while creating highly-efficient and easy-to-manufacture solar cells.

16 Switch Renewable Energy Chris Graves left his job working for the conventional energy sector and has since been dedicated to spreading the word about renewable energy. His ultimate goal is to have a solar roof on every home.

22 Solar Usage Now Thom Blake, president of Solar Usage Now, is pioneering new ways to harness the power of the sun making helping customers cut their energy costs dramatically.

28 Bayer MaterialScience Using efficient insulation with polyurethane raw materials, Bayer MaterialScience produced Eco-friendly solar-powered refrigerators for Swaziland, one of the worlds poorest countries.

30 Corbin Solar Prided on their high-quality and cost-effective solutions for customers, Corbin Solar Solutions, LLC works at the forefront of the Solar industry throughout New Jersey.

36 SunEdison

60 Bravo Zulu International, Ltd.

Since 2003, the Maryland-based company of SunEdison has grown to become a world leader in solar energy services, completing over 350 projects, and is now known as a pioneer in the solar industry.

Through battery optimizing technology, Bravo Zulo International, Ltd., or Batt-Recon, is extending battery life and creating new energy saving standards for the industrial battery industry.


65 Dewey Electronics

42 Village Green Global

CEO John Dewey knows that designing generators that use less fuel and keep equipment running isn’t just for energy efficiency and lowering home utility bills-- it is also helping our soldiers overseas.

Village Green Global, Inc. announced a joint venture with Greenopia and Green Globe International to provide green business services to 25,000 business customers to help maximize their sustainability.



68 U.S. Fuel Cell Council Forward

44 Northern Green, LLC

Fuel cells, which convert chemical energy to electricity without combustion, provide a new pathway to cleaner and more efficient energy helping ease the problem of U.S. dependence on petroleum.

Offering a wide range of energy products, Northern Green, LLC, does everything from wind and solar products to composting toilets making the world greener and cleaner for the future.

50 Crossroads Wind Project Siemens Energy is supplying a major order of turbines for the 227MW Crossroads wind farm project in Oklahoma which, upon completion, will meet the electrical needs of over 68,000 homes.

70 Otto H. Rosentreter Co. With a strong dedication to renewable energy OHR Energy, a power development company and design-build engineering firm, is coming up with new ways to create energy and help the environment.

78 LOGANEnergy


LOGANEnergy Corp. is a world recognized leader in providing fuel cells for clean energy services, and markets systems from 250 to multi-megawatts capacities to commercial energy consumers.

52 Brower Mechanical

84 Fuel Cell Technologies

In addition to abdicating the use of solar power as a main energy source, Brower  Mechanical offers their services wtih untraditional products like geothermal heat pumps and radiant heating.

The Albuquerque-based corporation of Fuel Cell Technologies, Inc. sets the global standard for fuel cell testing hardware, and accelerates a novel form of energy generation.



56 Fedco Electronics


One of the nation’s largest value-added battery distributors, Fedco Electronics Inc. specializes in the production of ENERGY+ and also distributes 13 highly respected brands.

The ECUA has won water quality awards, has an elected board that enables it to act like a private company, and is building a new wastewater treatment facility in record time and under budget.

editor’s note


rebecca rodriguez

jane caffrey

Rebecca enjoys a career of writing about critical issues and prominent business leaders of our time. Her work has been recognized both locally and nationally.

Jane Caffrey earned a B.A. from Carleton College in Minnesota. Based in Madrid, Spain, she writes for a variety of print and online publications both in Europe and the U.S.

joan tupponce

two percent of the money has actually been submitted. Of course, when we’re talking about several billion dollars, spending two percent in a third world country is nothing to sneeze at. Despite the lag in cash flow and stagnant decision-making processes in the struggling country, www., lists 460 local projects that are currently accenting bids. Even so, the majority of citizens are homeless or living in camps and mountains of debris remain. At Energy Leaders Today, we hope to bring light to some of these conflicting situations in the upcoming fall issue. While the global construction industry is still struggling from the recession and Haiti is a great opportunity to initiate some change in our own country’s economy while delivering some much needed help to those who cannot currently help themselves. With the energy industry’s innovations is renewable energy, we should be able play an important supplementary role in the rebuilding of Haiti.

Joan’s experiences as a writer have taken her places that wouldn’t have been possible in other careers. Her success is evident in the awards and recognitions her writing has received.

rachel goldberg

It’s hard to believe that over six months have passed since an earthquake devastated the infrastructure, economy, and culture of Haiti. While the average Joe texted “donate” to the Red Cross or drove toiletries, tarps and other supplies to their local drop-point, some leaders in the energy industry were able to offer a bit more—fuel, solar panels and other means of emergency power. With over $5 billion pledged to the Haiti Recovery Commission fund alone, it’s hard to ignore that many of these energy companies are hoping to lock down some pretty impressive long-term contracts. For example, the Solar Electric Light Fund, an organization dedicated to providing solar power and wireless communications to those countries that are energy impoverished, is providing energy to 10 clinics across Haiti. Their efforts have immediate short-term effects, but SELF also hopes that their presence during the rebuild process will also provide a foundation for a robust and sustainable healthcare infrastructure for Haiti. Unfortunately, recent investigative reports have revealed that less than


Rachel specializes in coroprate profiles on up-and-coming companies as well as new product reviews. Rachel majored in media studies at the University of Virginia.

johanna gretschel


A native Washingtonian, Johanna majored in English and Political Science at Tulane University. Her assignments range from executive profiles to industry news alerts. Summer 2010 7

corporate profile | technology

EnergyAcuity research and business development by Rachel Goldberg

What if you had access to a global online database with powerful search capabilities that allowed you to navigate through mission critical intelligence on alternative energy companies, projects and executives in renewable energy and clean technology? And with the touch of a finger you can select criteria based on specific technologies and sectors? Energy Acuity, a distinctive company with a unique business model provides just that. Energy Acuity is an online subscription-based research and business development tool that covers the renewable energy and clean technology sectors of power generation, power architecture and transportation. It currently tracks over 17,000 projects globally. Energy Acuity combines the latest news, data, research and analysis to provide subscribers insight into all sectors of the renewable energy and clean technology industries. Customers have access to database information on over 4,000 renewable energy companies and service providers, and over 100,000 clean technology professionals. The database enables business managers at all levels in an organization to improve their research efforts, build their business and compete successfully in the renewable energy and clean technology industries. Located in Denver, CO, Energy Acuity is an international company with clients in North America, Europe and Asia, and has become one of the fastest-growing businesses in the renewable energy market research sector in less than four years of operation. Its list of clients reflects a broad range of companies in the business sector that include corporations, utility companies, law and investment firms, public relations and accounting firms, and consultants. Brian Graff is the president and founder 8 Energy Leaders Today

1 of Energy Acuity and is a graduate of the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business where he received an MBA and Boston College. “About four years ago I started looking into opportunities within the renewable industry market and what those opportunities might look like,” said Graff. “I found a tremendous amount of information, but there wasn’t a good way to capture it and use it for good business

opportunities. So that was the genesis of Energy Acuity.” Graff ’s idea was to take information and present it in a format that would enhance a company’s business development, assist them to build partnerships and better utilize their current resources. The company then became a Web-based solution for businesses to access market research, increase sales productivity and optimize business analysis.

technology | corporate profile

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fix this weird layou

The GeoAnayltics tool is an interactive map that enables users to visualize project capacity worldwide. Users can manipulate search criteria to target areas based on technology, development stage and region. “Our depth of coverage on projects, company details, and executives is unique,” he said. “The information is actionable enabling companies to leverage Energy Acuity for business development, strategic initiatives, client relations, and competitor analysis.” Energy Acuity’s current product focuses on power generation, solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and other renewable technologies. “What we are known for in the marketplace is the depth of coverage that we have on projects,” Graff explained. “We provide company details, requests for proposals and information on executives.” Their subscribers range from companies within the industry to manufacturers, developers and suppliers to the industry. Graff says that the service allows clients to really understand what is going on in the marketplace, who the key decisionmakers are and who they need to be reaching out to in order 10 Energy Leaders Today

to make their current efforts more fruitful. “This increases their chances of success, especially as things are quickly changing in policy and financing within the industry,” he said. So, how does the company find all this information? They employ a team of research analysts who scour news sources, talk to companies and research SEC and other government filing to place in the database. The data is searchable and sortable, and allows a subscriber to seek out a certain type of project and find the information they need to support it. Graff explained that the database is intuitive and userfriendly, “but if a user needs additional help or information, our team of client relationship managers and our analyst team will bend over backwards to help our clients find exactly the information that they need. Energy Acuity views their relationship with clients as a partnership. While businesses are considering using the database


technology | corporate profile

services, client relationship managers work with them to understand their business needs and to demonstrate use of the database. “Once on board, our team also works with new clients to assess their needs,” he said. “If something is missing, we figure out how we roll that in. We look at it as a collaborative relationship and we work with them to make their business successful and to provide a higher-value service for them.” Typically, clients use Energy Acuity for business development, strategic analysis, and competitive intelligence. Graff further explained that clients use the database to find up-to-date information on the industry, to search available RFPs and to develop partnerships or alliances. “Also in this current market, getting a project financed and completed is paramount,” Graff said. “Knowing who those people who have encountered success and whether they are a developer or supplier is key.” A big challenge for the company is that the industry changes so quickly and it is growing so rapidly that they must work constantly to stay ahead of the curve. “We must provide information that is actual in nature that clients can use to further their business development opportunities,” Graff said. “We have a solid and strong tool that is valuable to our subscribers. We have been successful at getting a lot of new customers on board because of that.” According to Graff, the company is angel-financed. “We have been in business for three-and-a-half years and

have grown rapidly over that time,” he said, explaining that they have brought on additional clients through marketing efforts and continually reaching out to new companies. “We have a sales group that reaches out to businesses within the industry,” he said. “Our team attends approximately a dozen industry conferences each year and others who have used Energy Acuity at their previous companies become clients in their new workplaces.” Graff ’s role in the company has changed over time. “Initially, I built the database and formed what it looks like,” he added. “As the company has grown to over 30 employees, my time is now spent on product development, working with clients, and communicating with our development team and analysts to identify new ways to better assist our clients.” Graff pointed out that a big challenge to the industry has been the economy. “Once financing stopped, companies undertaking largescale, multimillion dollar projects, especially on the utility side, and that were looking for financial providers experienced the industry slow down,” he said. “It has made it more difficult to get projects financed by tax-equity investors.” However, he said that what was a huge challenge for the industry also became an opportunity for the Company. “We have been able to identify which projects are getting financed and which companies are getting projects to move forward. Clients have utilized our database to

1. From the left, Andy Hilleary and Maxwell Ryan research global project details to build out the Project Intelligence piece of the Power database. 2. Energy Acuity’s data team sorts through hundreds of news releases each day to ensure our subscribers get the most up-todate information possible. 3. Energy Acuity’s President, Brian Graff (center), works closely with Andrew Martin (left) and Ray Mistry (right) of the development team for the new product rollout to feature smart grid developments. All photos courtesy of Energy Acuity.

increase their success of getting their projects up and running,” Graff explained. Graff noted that the renewable energy industry is very focused on understanding energy policy. “With no definition it has been a real challenge,” he said. “From a federal level, will it be cap-and-trade or what is that going to look like? Any time there is an uncertainty in that market it is more challenging to get longer-term agreements in place because firms are not certain what is going to be needed.” As to the future of the renewable energy market, Graff thinks that it “is going to be growing very, very quickly in the next 20 years.” “I don’t foresee us as a country moving to 100 percent renewables,” he continued. “With everything, there are limitations and benefits to all different sorts of technologies. So I think it will be important for the reliability of the power grid to have a number of different Summer 2010 11

corporate profile | technology

4. Energy Acuity’s soon-to-be-released Grid database will feature transmission, smart grid, and demand reduction developments.

options in place and renewable energy and clean technology will be a very important part of that. But it won’t be the sole piece of it.” In terms of future plans for Energy Acuity, Graff said that they are launching the Energy Acuity Grid product in the fall. “We will track company details for firms involved in smart grid, transmission upgrades, energy storage energy efficiency, demand reduction and electrical vehicles,” he said. “Further, we will be tracking project details for smart grid, transmission, energy storage, energy efficiency and demand reduction projects. One

other piece we are really excited about in our Grid product is the amount of information we are capturing on utilities which are a critical component to the energy grid.” Graff explained that this is important to their clients because, “This market is growing and changing rapidly and represents and enormous opportunity for companies that can capitalize on this, including which firms represent business development or alliance/ partnership opportunities and what the activity level by region and utility looks like today as well three to five years out.” “We will continue to grow our Power

product and our Grid product over the next year and we have ideas of other products we are going to roll out in the fall of 2011,” he said. Graff said the company’s goal is to provide information that is actionable and timely to their customers. “There’s lots of information in this marketplace that we have harnessed and are looking to harness in the future,” Graff said. “We want to make sure we are keeping our customers on the leading edge of industry information, so they can continue to grow their business and be successful in their endeavors.” ELT



Nixon Peabody has served the needs of energy industry clients for decades. With over 80 energy attorneys, their experience bridges virtually every aspect of energy project development and finance, including siting and permitting, major equipment procurement and EPC contracting, fuel supply agreements, power purchase and sale agreements, transmission access, project debt and equity financing, M&A, regulatory, and leasing. For more information, Contact Richard Cogen, 518-427-2665.

Armstrong Teasdale LLP, with of f ices in Mi ssouri , Ne vada and China, provides one-stop shopping to clients facing the rapidly changing business environment in the energy sector. Their Future Energy Practice handles matters worldwide; helping clients achieve c o m p l i a n c e , f i n d s o l u t i o n s a n d d i s c o v e r o p p o r tu n i t i e s w h i l e protecting the earth’s natural resources.

12 Energy Leaders Today

corporate profile | solar

by William Coleson

The Dichtel group in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University has developed a method to organize organic dyes into stacked sheets that are porous for incorporation into flexible solar cells. The process could revolutionize the way solar cells are made by lowering costs dramatically, while creating highly-efficient and easy-tomanufacture solar cells. “Also, advances like this could significantly lower up-front costs for solar power systems, which has been a deterrent for the industry that we would like to see disappear,” said Robert Hines, President of Evolution Solar. The process employs organic dye molecules assembled into a structure known as a covalent organic framework (COF). The strategy uses a simple acid catalyst and relatively stable molecules called protected catechols to assemble key molecules into a neatly ordered 2D sheet. These sheets can be stacked on top of one another to form a lattice that provides pathways for charge to move through the material. At the core of the framework are molecules called phthalocyanines, a class of common industrial dyes used in products from blue jeans to ink pens. Phthalocyanines are also closely related in structure to chlorophyll, which absorbs almost the entire solar spectrum. This structure is a model that can significantly broaden the scope of materials that can be used in COFs. Once the framework is assembled, the pores between the molecular latticework could potentially be filled with another organic material to form light and flexible solar cells. “This framework developed by Cornell researchers could possibly be one of the most significant advances in making solar energy more competitive with fossil fuels,” stated Hines. Evolution Solar is currently building a solar demonstration site in partnership with Texas Southern University, to be located at the University’s Houston Campus. The project should help Evolution Solar acquire new projects in a sector that is growing to compete in the energy industry, which includes BP, Apache Corporation, Devon Energy Corporation and EOG Resources Inc. ELT 14 Energy Leaders Today

solar | corporate profile

A New Recipe for Solar Cells

Summer 2010 15

corporate profile | solar

1. CEO and Founder, Chris Graves of Switch Renewable Energy company knows that getting up on the roofs with his crews is the best way to keep pushing the envelope in terms of making the installation process more efficient and ensuring the installations themselves are safe. Photo courtesy of Switch Renewable Energy. 16 Energy Leaders Today

solar | corporate profile


Renewable Energy by Rachel Goldberg

Chris Graves is a man on a mission: to help businesses and households across America reap the benefits of clean energy. As Founder and CEO of Switch Renewable Energy (“SRE”), he is fulfilling this goal by providing a variety of safely installed, effective, and enduring renewable energy services to both commercial and residential customers. While working in the natural gas industry during the mid 80s and 90s, Graves devoted considerable time to trying to figure out how to build a profitable business out of renewable energy. That time has arrived. He found his starting niche in solar design and installation, the most economically viable renewable resource in SRE’s current market of Maryland, Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia. The company is still at a size where Graves can personally ensure quality by overseeing every aspect of design, installation and safety. His ultimate goal is to have a solar roof on every building where it is feasible. While entrepreneurial startups are not uncommon in the renewable energy sector, Graves’ journey has been a unique one, originating in the corporate world under energy powerhouses like Enron and Sumitomo Corporation. He has a PhD in economics and was a project developer for leading energy companies, where he was responsible for packaging deals for independently-owned, large-scale power plants. By seeking potential opportunities, negotiating contracts, and arranging financing, Graves developed a deep understanding of how the grid system works, the economics of energy projects, and the innovative ways in which they can be funded. He believes these skills, coupled with licenses in general contracting and energy systems, will help him to take a more disciplined, full-systems approach to building SRE, as well as to develop innovative design and installation solutions when uncovering some of the more daunting problems faced by building owners and everyday solar installers. At first economic concerns seemed to be an insurmountable obstacle despite the market opportunity Graves saw. Later, realizing that the renewables industry was still in an emerging state, Graves adopted a new mindset and stopped viewing renewables as an established industry with structure and products. This allowed him to properly assess the nuances and

dynamics of the field he was about to forge. “The emergence of the renewable energy industry is itself a transformational process,” Graves said, comparing it to the transition from horse-and-buggy to automobile and candles to gas lighting to light bulbs. “A product or service may not necessarily be immediately economic or viable; but, as the market becomes more aware its value, it gains greater traction which leads to lower costs from economies of scale in production and lowering barriers. The process takes time, and it needs a little nudging along until it becomes self-sustaining.” The first nudge is starting to arrive in the form of incentives offered by federal and local governments. Consistent with Graves’ explanation of the transformational process, more consumers have adopted solar because of government incentives, and in turn, prices have begun to drop. Still, in Graves’ eyes, the “nudge” needs to be stronger. “I think it’s great that more jurisdictions are going solar, but when compared to all the ways the fossil fuel industry is subsidized, the current offering of solar incentives underestimates its full benefits and disproportionately supports the industry.” According to reports on, the U.S. trails most developed countries in supporting solar. The majority of European countries and some provinces in Canada have successfully adopted a feed-in tariffs (FIT) program where solar users are paid for the energy they generate during a predetermined period of time (15-20 years). In fact, Germany’s FIT was so successful it catapulted the country to 63 percent of the global photovoltaic market in the fourth quarter of 2009. “Currently, people who want to go solar are often deterred by the up front higher cost of installation, says Graves. “But, the systems pay for themselves in the long term.” He believes part of the solution is to develop financing or leasing packages at the retail and mid-size commercial level that are easily accessible and will allow system owners to pay over time. SRE is reaching out to a number of different types of financial institutions to do just this. “In order for the vision of a solar powered world to come to fruition,” Graves said, “it will take a significant marketing effort to raise awareness.” Summer 2010 17

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18 Energy Leaders Today


Because the industry is still emerging, the founding and pioneering companies often lack the capital they need to effectively conduct mass marketing campaigns to educate and disseminate information about their products and services. Without an established, common knowledge of solar technology, potential customers must do a lot of deliberating before signing on. On average, it takes three years for a prospect to move from thinking about solar to actually installing it, according to the Clean Energy Group and SmartPower “Clean Energy State Program Guide, Smart Solar Marketing Strategies” 2009 report. This same report identifies that solar consumers require a certain level of education, time commitment, and comfort with the technology; and that after customers convert to solar, they are typically very strong proponents. For now, Graves believes the solar business relies on word of mouth. “My struggle-- and I think the struggle for many other renewable energy businesses-- is to find a way to accelerate the public education process to give them the same knowledge of solar power as they have for cars.” Switch Renewable Energy made its debut in June 2007 by creating one of America’s first neighborhood-wide solar rollouts in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Washington D.C. “It was a valuable learning experience in the economics and politics of the solar installation business,” Graves said, recalling his close collaboration with Mount Pleasant residents. Here, he had to also lobby the D.C. City Council for more generous incentives for residents. The opportunity to design and install solar systems on a neighborhood scale was a practical test of Graves’ view of how communities could use scale to take the complexity out of sourcing solar, as well as soften installed costs. In turn, solarizing neighborhoods can assist states in meeting their future goals to convert to more stable clean energy sources. The Mount Pleasant solar project, which SRE intends to replicate in other neighborhoods, put the company in a headto-head competition with other installers. Each offered similar products with the latest technologies, such as full support for solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) and other incentives, and comparable pricing. SRE differentiated itself by making safety, performance and system durability its top priorities. “For most customers today, price is still the foremost issue,” said Graves. “The market’s knowledge of the technology hasn’t yet evolved to the point of understanding that not all solar contractors are the same, or how to distinguish between them, particularly on meeting the requirements for a safe and durable installation.” According to the Solar America Board for Codes and Standards, there are currently no standard testing procedures in the U.S. market for substantiating claims of minimum durability lifetime, or reliability of modules in the field. One concern they have is that as a result PV modules that do not pass internationally recognized standards may be directed to the U.S. market. Solar ABCs intends to develop recommended policies to address the current consumer and industry concerns about the lack of a U.S. protocol. Until then Graves’ decision is to go beyond the latest building and electric codes. Additionally SRE uses a 2-4. Solar panels designed and installed by SRE atop a house in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood in Washington, DC. Photo courtesy of Switch Renewable Energy.

corporate profile | solar

third-party engineer to review all of its designs. In an industry where research and new products are flooding into the marketplace daily, keeping up with technology as well as safety is a company mantra for SRE. “We certainly keep up with technologies and work with manufacturers on both design and safety improvements,” said Graves, “but additionally we focus on staying ahead of the evolving codes and informing our customers about safety and durability.” He recalls one situation where SRE incorporated additional overcurrent protection into a particular solar rooftop design to increase safety and durability rather than using the standard method of installation. Without safety codes fully established, a recommendation like this could be misinterpreted as added cost padding instead of added safety against electrical shorting. While he is aware of cost concerns and maintains competitive pricing, Graves still emphasizes safety when submitting estimates, and advising customers. “I want to build systems that will genuinely last 30 years or more,” said Graves, “I want SRE to be known as the company that builds solar systems that are safe and sound.” By example several of the older Mount Pleasant town homes SRE worked on had questionable roof supports and party walls, which could cause the roof to deteriorate and eventually collapse underneath solar panels, especially in bad weather. Graves chose to address this structural hazard by designing a mounting system to support the panels without damaging the existing structure. SRE was the only solar installer to take this added safety measure. “It required us to go the extra mile. We had to do the engineering studies, the extra installation work, and work up a special system design,” said Graves. “I might have ignored the issue as there was no specific guidance on this and could have blown it off since there is no rule on it, but, I wanted ensure the system was safe and would still be there generating energy after 30 years.” Using this experience as a foundation, SRE is now working with a national manufacturer to design a modular racking system that would make these types of installations much simpler in the future. Another project representative of SRE’s innovative use of technology and responsiveness to customers is Mountainside Summer camp, a 10kW commercial project in Urbana, Md. The camp wanted the flexibility


JKM Electric, Inc. is an electrical contracting firm with a repuJKM Electric, Inc. is an electrical contracting firm with a reputation tation for integrity, quality craftsmanship, and excellence in for integrity, quality craftsmanship, and excellence in management. management. Jim Merriam, the founder, has over 29 years of Jim Merriam, the founder, has over 29 years of professional experiprofessional experience in the electrical field. JKM Electric ence in the electrical field. JKM Electric performs basic electrical performs basic electrical installation, nurse’s call, fire alarm, installation, nurse’s call, fire alarm, motor control, Lab and PCU motor control, Lab and PCU rough in, and chiller and HVAC rough in, and chiller and HVAC rough ins. JKM is involved in three rough ins. JKM is involved in three distinct activities: Comdistinct activities: Commercial Construction & Service, Electrical mercial Construction & Service, Electrical Design & ConsultDesign & Consulting, Back Up Power Systems – Solar, Battery, & ing, Back Up Power Systems – Solar, Battery, & Generator. Generator. They have worked with Switch Renewable Energy on They have worked with Switch Renewable Energy on Multiple Multiple projects as the primary installer of solar back up systems. projects as the primary installer of solar back up systems.

20 Energy Leaders Today

to switch from solar to grid as well as reliable back-up power. Most solar electric systems are either tied to the grid, where they are required to power down when the grid fails, or they are totally off-grid with no access to grid power. SRE designed a system that met the camp’s demand allowing them to use both grid and solar power with back-up capabilities in the event neither the grid nor solar were available. In the process, SRE discovered some shortcomings in the capability of the equipment. They are now in the process of working with a local company to enhance the system design. “Aside from the well-known advantages of solar power– reducing pollution and dependence on fossil fuels– an important but often overlooked benefit is its capacity to lessen the strain on the electrical power grid,” said Graves. “A grid-tied solar inverter can feed power back into a distribution network and, with a battery backup, can manage power in the event that the utility grid shuts down.” Unlike the central power station model where power is located at a distance from the load and must be transported across transmission lines, solar can be located specifically where the need is. In many urban areas there is no longer space for large-scale power plants or additional transmission lines, but the existing rooftops, parking lots and Brownfields provide an ideal location for distributed energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines that can aggregate into fair-sized power plants. Graves is happy to use the standard installation procedure, but when circumstances direct differently he will innovate and work with his customers and manufacturers. He said he is also exploring building partner relationships in the building trades and procurement of other alternative energy sources. His long-term view is to grow SRE into a national company and brand name. He brings a practical business sensibility to the clean energy campaign, an out-of-the-box technical expertise, and a genuine desire to help people. Although consumers and businesses consistently report a preference for energy produced from renewable energy sources, there are still barriers to overcome. Raising the visibility of solar in the marketplace to keep the benefits of solar in mind is still a frustration point in this newer industry. The sense of working towards a worthwhile goal, of both finding solutions for customers, and of being known as a reliable energy advisor to customers and manufacturers gives Graves’ work a deeper meaning. “There’s something about what we’re doing that goes beyond the standard business metrics,” he said. “It’s also about the whole idea of getting solar on every house or business and how that could radically transform a lot of things in this country.” Adaptation of solar energy can help in the long haul to reduce green house gas emissions, stabilize energy costs, and reduce dependence on overseas energy sources. By changing the world one rooftop at a time, Switch Renewable Energy is laying the foundation for a solar-powered future. ELT

solar | corporate profile

5. Mountainside Camp, Urbana, MD. 10KW grid-tied/battery back-up PV system. Photo courtesy of Switch Renewable Energy. Summer 2010 21

corporate profile | solar

1 22 Energy Leaders Today


solar | corporate profile

solar Usage now

harnessing the power of the world’s oldest energy source: the sun

by Rachel Goldberg


n the heart of Amish country, Thom Blake is pioneering a new way to harness the power of the world’s oldest energy source: the sun. Blake started out selling woodstoves and solar products in Defiance , Ohio. But when economic incentives for renewable energy evaporated in the face of falling oil prices in the 1980’s, he shifted his focus to manufacturing wood fixtures for retail chains. His business grew successfully, supplying large retailers including Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret , and Abercrombie. Four years ago, Blake was traveling to look at more stores when a new type of solar collector caught his eye. He contacted the manufacturer and became a distributor of the Apricus evacuated tube solar collectors. But the collectors weren’t enough; for solar energy to power a home, it takes an entire system. He teamed up with the Australian company, Rotex, to

sell their solar systems in the U.S. Later, Blake branched out to create Solar Usage Now (SUN). “The SUN Equinox is a residential and commercial system that will revolutionize the way people heat homes and water,” Blake said. “Australia has a lot of business in the solar industry. They decided to bring it over here and they helped me set up my factory.” Blake saw the need for a complete system in the U.S. market when he installed one in his own home. His house, a renovated 19th-century church with an indoor swimming pool, racked up high energy costs each month. So he decided to take action- but installing a solar system turned out to be harder than expected. “I had to drive hundreds of miles to get any solar products,” 1. Finished product for a hotel. Providing all of the domestic hot water. 2. System in a factory preparing to be packed for shipment. Summer 2010 23

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Blake said. “Every news station covered it because no one’s doing it. It’s a great idea but difficult to come up with the money.” Though the up front costs of installing the system were high, he says the system has cut his heating costs by a wide margin. He found that there was a lot of interest in solar energy, but few resources to support it. For people who wanted to go green but didn’t have the time or money, a solar-powered home would seem out of reach. Blake realized that he had to change his tactics. “My company started out as a distributorship, where I thought I was just going to sell collectors and people were going to flock to me and buy,” said Blake. “Well, they flocked to me- but they didn’t buy. As I grew, I realized that I had to do the same thing I did in the store fixture industry-- give people value added incentives, a one-stop shop.” Unlike other companies, which involve a long process of communication between designers and contractors to install a solar system, the SUN Equinox system does all of the work in one place. They design the modular system and produce it so that it can easily be rebuilt and installed in a home or business. The industrious residents of the local Amish community turned out to be an advantage for the young business. “When I needed brass parts or European fittings, I went to other shops and asked them to manufacture them,” said Blake. Horse and buggies were a common sight outside the high-tech manufacturing facilities. The Rotex solar water heating system include several innovative features that distinguish it from others sold in the U.S. The atmospheric tank is insulated with a thick layer of foam and plastic, and the hot water in the tank is used as a storage battery to heat incoming water. 3. From left: Craig Glew, General Manager, Rotex Austrailia; Dave Cygan, Chief Combustion Engineer, GTI; John Aitken, Director of Rotex Australia. 4. Operating center for an aquatic pool. 5-6. Setting up an Equinox System at a large aquatic center. 24 Energy Leaders Today

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The insulated “sanicube” is designed to be as hygienic as possible by providing a fresh water supply as needed, not stored. This prevents diseases or bacteria from growing. The drain-back tank and secondary coil ensure that the system can accommodate the heating needs of a home without freezing or overheating. Because the systems were tested and refined for several years in Australia before being brought here, Blake said, they have proven reliable and effective. They also include modifications to meet the needs of cooler climates. Solar energy’s newness in the U.S. marketplace means it is not wellunderstood, and Blake says many people make easily-avoidable mistakes when installing their solar systems. He points to the “law of diminishing returns”more solar collectors do not necessarily lead to a more efficient system. The SUN Equinox is also designed to be versatile, powering large scale systems as well as residential ones. It can also be used in conjunction with other types of systems. “You can manifold tanks together for commercial jobs,” said Blake. “In Australia, they’ve used them with 600-room hotels, hospitals and military bases.” He is currently talking with large groups in the U.S., including universities and restaurants that are looking to solar as a way to reduce their energy costs. As the benefits of solar become more widespread and visible, interest in the technology is quickly picking up in the U.S. He sees a bright future ahead for the solar industry. “The magnitude of this business can’t even be envisioned; the number of people that can be employed can’t even be envisioned, because this is a whole new industry, and it’s in its infancy,” he said. “The possibilities in solar, as a way to heat a building that can save thousands of dollars plus help the environment, are endless.” ELT 7. A Solar Usage Now employee building a manifold for tank production. 8. An Array of heaters used as the back-up heat source for a hotel. 9-10. Warehouse facility where the tanks are stacked and staged for assembly. All photos courtesy of Solar Usage Now. 26 Energy Leaders Today

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spotlight | solar

Bayer MaterialScience releases a new eco-friendly solar-powered refrigerator for Swaziland by William Coleson

Swaziland in southern Africa is one of the world’s poorest countries. Its inhabitants live widely dispersed in villages and have to grow their own food. Temperatures are high and food goes off quickly because electricity is not widely available and, consequently, communal refrigerating appliances can only be used to a limited extent. Palfridge Ltd., a leading manufacturer of refrigerating appliances in southern Africa based in Swaziland, has developed an eco-friendly refrigeration solution. The company manufactures appliances with very thick-walled insulation made of rigid polyurethane foam based on raw materials from Bayer MaterialScience. Thanks to its outstanding insulating properties, rigid polyurethane foam is used in most refrigerating appliances worldwide. “Polyurethane insulation has therefore contributed significantly to reducing the energy consumption of refrigerators from 1950 to 2005 by 65 percent”, says Robbie Buchanan, an expert for polyurethane insulation at Bayer MaterialScience in South Africa. The Palfridge appliances have an insulating layer 10 centimeters thick, which keeps the contents cool for up to five days without electricity – even at external temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius. Some of the company’s product lines are also equipped with two 90 Watt solar modules, which are a great help in powering refrigeration appliances in hot countries. “Thanks to these and other measures to boost efficiency, our appliances consume substantially less energy than conventional refrigerators,” reveals Mr. Roy Singh, Technical Director at Palfridge. Long-term refrigeration of both food and medicines is essential to many people’s survival in Swaziland. More than 25 percent of the population is HIV positive – one of the highest rates anywhere in the world – and therefore dependent on drugs that need to be stored in a cool place, as do drugs to treat malaria. Only recently, Palfridge was the first company in Africa to switch its entire production to natural refrigerants in the form of hydrocarbons. “This enabled emissions of gases containing fluorine to be reduced by a total of 29,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year. In addition to improving conditions for the people, these measures also make a small contribution to climate protection,” continues Roy Singh. The project was financed under the Proklima program of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH. ELT 28 Energy Leaders Today

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Solar Solutions Brighten up the Northeast Prided on their high-quality and cost-effective solutions for customers, Corbin Solar works at the forefront of the Solar industry throughout New Jersey.


Corbin Solar Solutions, LLC may not be the only solar-energy company under the sun—but it’s one of the most unique. Its counterpart, Corbin Electrical Services, had 30 years’ experience in the electrical field before branching into this bright new realm. The expansion made sense: solar energy and electricity are inextricably linked. Plus, with the growing demand for planet-friendly energy, the timing was perfect. Founded in 1978, Corbin Electrical Services was the brainchild of electrical engineer Steve Corbin, who also has a master’s degree in business management. His industry knowledge, coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit, led to tremendous growth and a stellar reputation. Today, this once-small, local company has blossomed into a 35-member firm that serves all of New Jersey. Helping with this expansion is Steve’s son, Adam, who brought his electrical experience to the family business 10 years ago when he joined the team as Commercial Project Manager and Chief Estimator. Adam earned a bachelor of science degree in building construction from the University of Florida, and he presently sits on the National Electrical Code (NEC) code-making panel number 3. He also holds electrical licenses in New Jersey, Florida, and New Hampshire. Four years ago, Rick Sehein, now Director of Operations, approached Steve about expanding into solar energy. It was a natural fit. Corbin Solar Solutions was launched in 2006 and is currently licensed in New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. “Corbin Electrical Services has always been forward-thinking,” said Steve. “We decided to take that plunge, and it didn’t take long for us to realize that this was a viable enterprise.” For Sehein, an F-16 aircraft electrician who served two short tours in the Middle East with the U.S. Air Force, the need for Summer 2010 31

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renewable energy was something of a personal crusade. “It bothers me that we’re so dependent on unstable countries for oil, and that many of our government’s decisions are based on this ‘addiction,’” Sehein says. “Solar is our path to selfreliance. It’s a clean, renewable energy source; I want to be part of bringing it into people’s lives, one house at a time.” And that’s exactly what Corbin Solar is doing. Their clients— ranging from homeowners to commercial businesses—trust the Corbin team, which is known for both its electrical expertise and its solar-installation prowess. President Steve Corbin sits on the board of the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), and Vice President Adam Corbin is a certified NABCEP solar installer. Sehein is entry-level NABCEP certified. NABCEP was created to raise industry standards for solar

installers, providing training and certification so consumers can be more confident when choosing solar professionals. Membership is optional. “It’s what sets apart those who go through the qualification process to prove their knowledge in solar PV,” says Adam. “In New Jersey, anyone with an electrical license can do a solar PV installation. But that doesn’t mean he is well-versed in the design and installation of solar PV technology.” Through its mandatory continuing-education courses, NABCEP keeps members on top of the latest technologies and design techniques. Though solar installations are essentially electrically based, they represent a highly specialized field that requires specific knowledge and training. While Corbin has a solid foundation in electrical services, the company works to stay at the forefront of solar technology. Summer 2010 33

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Corbin Solar’s staff is trained to deal with every aspect of solar installations, making the experience turnkey for clients. In-house engineers perform a detailed site analysis before designing the installation with CAD (computer-aided design) technology. Meanwhile, the administrative team handles all the paperwork for permits and rebate applications. Installation takes just three to five days, and once the client goes solar, Corbin follows up with a sixmonth “checkup.” In addition, no job is ever subcontracted out. “We believe that in order to maintain the highest level of quality, it’s best to do everything under our roof,” Sehein explained. Corbin emphasizes superior-quality work and fastidious attention to detail. Staff members work diligently to find the most cost-effective solutions for their customers’ solar installations. When designing a system, they consider the unique concerns of each client. In one case, a homeowner lacked sufficient roof space for the solar panels. So Corbin got creative and constructed a solar awning, giving the client the benefit of both sun and shade on his patio. Corbin also completed work on a 25,000-kilowatt system for a medical center, creating an aesthetically pleasing arrangement of solar panels that also met the energy needs of a corporate office park. The clients were so pleased, they’ve engaged Corbin for other projects. Corbin’s smart business relationships have also given them leadership status in the solar market. In fact, The Home Depot named Corbin top solar installer on the east coast. Because the upfront costs associated with solar installations can be financially challenging, Corbin is aligned with financial partners that offer financing options, including leasing programs that allow for solar-system installations with no money down. Aside from cost, there are other obstacles to overcome in the solar-energy industry. A fear of the unknown may cause potential users to hesitate. Without knowing the benefits of solar energy, people may be skeptical of the seemingly too-good-to-be-true claims made by solar sales representatives. Over time, Corbin’s systems pay for themselves. Adam said he has not paid an electric bill since he installed his own system several years ago. “I can attest to the fact that you save money, you help the environment, and at the end of the day, you feel good about yourself knowing you are helping the future of the planet,” he said. “Once we can get that message out to more Americans, I think the tidal wave of people signing up for solar installation will come.” New Jersey’s solar rebate program allows those who install solar panels to save on energy costs and even get money back for their energy contribution. As other states follow New Jersey’s example, Corbin plans to expand into new markets, including Massachusetts, Florida, and Maryland. ELT 1-2. Before and After of a Commercial installation for South Jersey Eye Care. This commercial installation project utilizes an aesthetically pleasing design to incorporate solar panels onto the roof of a pre-existing building. 3. Residential Solar Awning installation in central New Jersey. The roof of this family home could not accommodate 50 solar panels, so Corbin Solar designed a solar awning over the patio, giving the residents use of both sun and shade. 4. Residential installation in northern Delaware – 8 Kw PV system, ground mounted, grid tied. 5. From left to right: Rick Sehein, Adam Corbin and Steven Corbin. 6. Residential installation in central New Jersey – 7.8 Kw PV system, roof mounted, grid tied. All photos courtesy of Corbin Solar Summer 2010 35


corporate profile | solar

a world leader in solar energy by Rachel Goldberg

Since 2003, SunEdison has grown to become a world leader in solar energy services. The Beltsville, Md. based company has completed over 350 projects and is known as a pioneer in the solar industry. “Innovation is in our DNA,” said Attila Toth, Vice President of Marketing. “When it comes to financing, to contractual agreements, to system design, SunEdison is an extremely innovative company.” Toth has a strong background in energy and strategic marketing. He oversees product marketing, brand management and marketing communications. Working with a cross-functional team, he is committed to developing the next generation of solar services to benefit the commercial, utility and public sectors. SunEdison pioneered the solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), which has become a standard in the solar industry. The PPA model enables businesses, utilities, and public entities to benefit from solar energy without the expense of owning and maintaining a system. Clients commit to purchasing the energy produced by SunEdison’s systems at predictable rates

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“We look at incentives as a bridge to cost parity. We’re not basing our business model on government incentives, but we take advantage of incentives in the short term to achieve lower costs.” for a fixed period of time. SunEdison secures financing for the systems and does the construction, monitoring and maintenance. The customer then utilizes the energy produced to offset their demand from the power grid. For many clients, utilizing solar energy fits naturally into an overall sustainability plan, and they benefit from positive publicity associated with “going green”. One of SunEdison’s strengths is its ability to leverage incentives to reduce the costs of its solar power plants. Solar is a relatively new form of energy generation, and often requires incentives to be cost-effective. “We look at incentives as a bridge to cost parity,” said Toth. “We’re not basing our business model on government incentives, but we take advantage of incentives in the short term to achieve lower costs.” At the same time, SunEdison is focused on driving down the financial and technological barriers to make solar energy available at or below utility rates, without incentives. They build strong partnerships with financial institutions to raise large diversified funds, each of which finances numerous projects. Earlier this year they announced a joint venture with First Reserve, the largest energy-focused private equity company with $20 billion under management. The partnership could provide for the acquisition of up to $1.5 billion in current and future PV energy projects.

As technology and manufacturing processes become more efficient, the high costs of solar have shrunk dramatically. From 1997 to 2008, there was an annual average decline of 3.5 percent in the costs of PV systems. “The technology has improved so much over the past five years that costs have come down extremely quickly,” said Toth. SunEdison is able to capitalize on these shrinking costs by being “technology agnostic”, meaning they utilize the products that best fit the system design and will be the most cost efficient for their clients and investors. In 2009, the company was acquired by MEMC, a leading manufacturer of silicone wafers for the semiconductor and solar industries. This move gives SunEdison better insight into upstream component manufacturing, which ultimately affects its project development plans. “By controlling the solar contracts and the silicone wafers, which are the highest value components of delivering clean solar energy, we can get very competitive prices,” Toth says. The acquisition also gives SunEdison a strong financial foundation that smaller, more transient companies lack. Their record of financial stability and successful execution keeps their customers returning—44 percent have more than one SunEdison system. They have deployed a national fleet of solar installations for Kohl’s department stores and Summer 2010 39

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“Wehavepeoplewhoare true environmentalists, and people who are true capitalists. We are all driven by the same cause of making solar a widely used energy source at prices that make sense.” operate over 7.8 MW of solar projects on the roofs of Staples facilities. While SunEdison is well established in the commercial solar sector, they have also led the way on utility scale projects. They built the first ever utility-scale solar power plant in the U.S. – an 8.2 MW farm in Alamosa, Co. – and are constructing one in Rovigo, Italy, which at 72 MW will be the largest solar power plant in Europe. SunEdison’s success in a competitive marketplace is due in large part to the company’s values, says Toth. They are committed to achieving results while maintaining a high level of integrity and transparency with clients. SunEdison has over 360 employees who represent a diverse mix of backgrounds and viewpoints. “We have people who are true environmentalists, and people who are true capitalists,” said Toth. “We are all driven by the same cause of making solar a widely used energy source at prices that make sense.” ELT 1. An electrician works on the combiner box of a 600kW system for the City of Rifle, Colo. 2. SunEdison’s first project was a 32kW system installed at the Whole Foods in Providence, N.J. Whole Foods and SunEdison have teamed up on further projects in California, New Jersey and Massachusetts. 3. City of San Diego officials, including the Honorary Mayor Jerry Sanders, along with VP of Sales at SunEdison, Jaime Smith, prepare to “flip the switch” to celebrate the activation of the 945kW Otay Mesa, Calif. Water Treatment Facility solar plant. 4. A worker installs solar panels on the roof of the Stockton, Calif Department of Transportation. 5. A 1 MW ground mounted solar plant at the Ironwood State Prison in Blythe Calif. All photos courtesy of SunEdison 40 Energy Leaders Today


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spotlight | green business

Keep it Green.

Village Green, Greenopia and Green Globe International Team Up to Provide Sustainable Solutions for Small Businesses

by William Coleson

Village Green Global, Inc. announced a joint venture with Greenopia, who utilizes an eco-analysis method to provide a local guide to green living for most major U.S. cities, and Green Globe International, a leading company in the fight for environmental responsibility and response to global climate change. Village Green and Green Globe will provide market-leading green business services and technology solutions to the 25,000 small/medium business customers of Greenopia, so that they can maximize their sustainability. “We admire what Greenopia has done to create a comprehensive list of eco-friendly retailers, services, and organizations” Village Green’s SaaS-based carbon accounting tool, SMARTweb®, which will be offered to Greenopia members for a discounted rate, not only tracks the environmental impacts of businesses, but makes unique productspecific recommendations to improve sustainability and reduce costs. Unlike most assessment tools, SMARTweb features an easy-to-use online interface that can save thousands of dollars versus using environmental consultants or building auditors. Moreover, SMARTweb can significantly lower logistical costs, resulting in additional savings. Referencing these savings, Doug Smith, CEO and Founder of Village Green Global, Inc. said, “Direct savings to the bottom line performance of 15 percent for companies using SMARTweb are not uncommon in the United States.” “Greenopia is excited to offer such a complete sustainability toolkit to its merchants in the myGreenopia program,” 42 Energy Leaders Today

said Gay Browne, founder of Greenopia. “Not only will these tools help decrease the businesses’ environmental footprint, but they will save small business owners money, and will help promote the great environmental initiatives they are doing.” Established in 2002, Village Green pioneered automated environmental reporting for businesses. The company provides reporting solutions, advisory services, and education to support better business practices and improved bottom line performance. Its SMARTweb carbon emissions accounting tool enables enterprises, governments and individuals to accurately gather and verify emission data using the online application allowing for multiple levels of automated reporting not possible with manual, non-integrated systems. SMARTweb has been used for more than 6,000 environmental audits and incorporates approximately 30,000 devices in its database. Greenopia employs its award-winning eco-analysis method to deliver actionable green-assessments to the rapidly growing green consumer market. Green businesses and merchants use Greenopia's targeted marketing methods to effectively reach consumers making greener choices. Greenopia's rankings and ratings are based on its review of publicly available information and reflect its evaluation of such information. “We admire what Greenopia has done to create a comprehensive list of eco-friendly retailers, services, and organizations,” said Smith. “Village Green’s goals and objectives are similar to Greenopia’s in that we see a sustainable future ahead of us, so this partnership is a logical next step in our expanding business model.” ELT

1-3. Meyer’s, New Canan, Ct. Husband and wife team Susan and Arnold Meyer run a small business near their home in Connecticut. Selling a variety of products, from ice cream to stationery, the two have been looking for innovative ways to keep their business green and eco-friendly. Photo by Debbie Meyer.

Greenopia Greenopia utilizes its proprietary eco-analysis methodology to assess the greenness of businesses, products, and national corporations. Greenopia’s dynamic research model uses a life-cycle based approach to measure the most pertinent environmental impacts. Each business is rated using category-specific criteria that are weighted based off of their relative importance environmentally. Greenopia’s rankings and ratings are based on its review of publicly available information and reflect its evaluation of such information. To find out more, please visit

green business | spotlight

Green Globe Green Globe International, Inc. is the worldwide owner of the Green Globe brand, which includes the leading sustainability certification and benchmarking programs, carbon footprint calculation and offset programs, and a broad range of consulting services. Green Globe International has been admitted as an affiliate member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the business leaders’ forum for the travel and tourism industry, is a 5% common stock owner of Green Globe International.

Village Green Established in 2002, Village Green Global pioneered automated environmental reporting for businesses. The company provides reporting solutions, advisory services, and education to support better business practices and improved bottom line performance. Its SMARTwebÂŽ carbon emissions accounting tool enables organizations to accurately gather and verify emission data using the online application allowing for multiple levels of automated reporting not possible with manual, non-integrated systems. SMARTweb has been used for more than 6,000 environmental audits and incorporates approximately 30,000 devices in its database. Get Green helps students of all ages learn processes needed to take advantage of green job opportunities within environmental services world wide. For more information, visit

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corporate profile | wind

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Northern Green specializes in alternative energy soultions that help make the world greener, cleaner and safer for generations to come.

Everything Under the Sun by Johanna Gretschel

Most alternative energy companies specialize in one type of energy, or offer a limited range of products and services, Northern Green LLC, retails everything from custom portable solar packages to wind turbines, and LED lighting to educational models and kits. They also offer a complete line of composting toilets, garden composters and other accessories. Their best-selling and most comprehensive educational kit is the Renewable Energy Education Set (REES). This miniature renewable energy system includes a wind turbine, solar panel, electrolyzer, PEM fuel cell and a hydrogen storage system combined to create the world’s smallest green zone. However, even this super science kit

pales in comparison to the 10kW wind turbine that will be installed at a high school in Falmouth, Mass. Northern Green has partnered with Waterline Industries to complete this project. “There is a strong emphasis on education and the importance of teaching our youth about alternative energy options.” marketing director Stephanie Creech said. “Because of this mindset, there is increased demand for the models and kits that demonstrate these technologies.” The turbine is only one part of a variety of on-site renewable energy generation systems commissioned by the town. “This is a working 10kW wind turbine. The other systems include a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) array of

approximately 13.5 kW and several wallmounted solar PV arrays,” said Creech. “Hybrid systems offer more efficient use of technology and guarantees more consistent power. It’s all very smart.” Aside from education in schools, Northern Green also educates adults about the choices they can make to incorporate alternative energy sources into their daily lives. “The Northern Green portable solar packages give everyone an opportunity to dabble in the concept of alternative energy without jumping in with both feet,” Creech said. “ It is a place to test the waters with little financial commitment.” For just under $30 you can have a solar mobile charger that provides a charging source for travelers, students Summer 2010 45

corporate profile | wind

and campers. Homeowners can add exterior solar lighting in the form of yard and deck lights as well as the architecturally pleasing “LED 2 Light Lamp Post” for around $250. Creech emphasizes that since there is no need to hire an electrician for hard wiring, solar powered lights are convenient for everyone. “Let’s say you want to add light to the end of your driveway. Traditionally you would need to hire an electrician to run the power, dig a trench to bury the line and pour a footing to secure the light. With a solar powered lamp post all you need to do is pour a footing to secure the light. There is no cost for an electrician and a calculable savings,” said Creech. For customers who are more advanced in the green movement, she said that the best way to utilize renewable energy is to invest in a hybrid system combining solar and wind. Some communities have rules that may limit residents from investing in wind power. “There are land requirements and height restrictions. Once you get past those you must also deal with the residents in your community who do not find a wind turbine appealing and try to ban them,” said Creech. “Not everyone wants a turbine in their backyard. It is important to do your research and understand any opposition that might present itself before you consider your option.” In contrast, the solar generators’ portable capability and quiet power generation has led to its rising popularity for off-grid event power. Diesel generators were previously the product of choice for such events, but their noise and energy inefficiency

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have led to a decline in popularity. Northern Green designs, builds, sells and rents portable solar generators including trailer to provide such power. Currently, Northern Green’s premier relationships exist with Bergey Wind Power, Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, Atlantis Solar and Sun-Mar. But director Jeffrey Reede is constantly sourcing new and exciting manufacturers of consumer, commercial and educational products. “Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies’ educational kits and Northern Green’s portable solar chargers for cell phones and laptops are the most popular products,” said Creech. In an effort to build product awareness and drive traffic to their online store, Northern Green participates in alternative energy fairs, festivals and trade shows where they are able to display their product lines. “The booth serves many purposes. It gives us a place where consumers can come and see the actual product, ask questions and learn how to incorporate the many transitional products into their everyday lives. Going Green is not just smart for the environment it’s also practical in its application.” ELT


1. The Renewable Energy Education Set includes a wind turbine, solar panel, electrolyzer, PEM fuel cell and a hydrogen storage system to create the world’s smallest green zone. 2. The 4th annual Green Office Conference held by Mass Recycle, June 2010. 3. Southborough, Maine. The Trottier Middle School’s Environmental Fair in May 2010. 4. Boston, Mass. Boston GreenFest at City Hall Plaza in August 2010. 5-6. Boston, Mass. Planet Hugger Conference at the Seaport World Trade Center. in July 2010 All photos courtesy of Northern Green.

GOGREEN WEB DIRECTORY The GoGreen® Web Directory is the one-stop place to find products, services & information to help reduce your carbon footprints and achieve a more eco-friendly lifestyle. GoGreen® believes that taking action and making the simplest change in ones daily behavior can make a difference. “Actions Green Louder than Words® 48 Energy Leaders Today


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Harnessing the power of the Oklahoma winds

First supply of new direct drive machines for the American market by William Coleson

The German company of Siemens Energy has secured an order for the supply of 98 wind turbines for the Crossroads wind power plant in Oklahoma. Siemens will supply 95 units of the SWT-2.3-101 to Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E), the owner of the Crossroads project. The contract includes three units of the new SWT-3.0-101, Siemens’ new gearless direct drive wind turbine. The SWT-3.0-101 was launched for sale in America just a few months ago. Construction of the 227.5 megawatts (MW) wind power project will begin in late August, with the first wind turbines being delivered in April, 2011. The Crossroads project will be built in Dewey County in northwest Oklahoma, approximately 160 km (100 miles) from Oklahoma City. The scope of supply for the Crossroads wind farm includes the delivery, installation and commissioning of all turbines. Siemens will also provide services for turbine service and maintenance for an initial period of three and one-half years. Upon completion in the second half of 2011, Crossroads will be able to meet the electrical needs of more than 68,000 average U.S. homes. This is already the third Siemens wind power plant that will provide clean energy to OG&E, following the OU Spirit and Keenan II wind farms, built in 2009 and 2010, respectively. “We are proud that OG&E has chosen Siemens again as the supplier to their wind power projects,” said Jens-Peter Saul, CEO of the Siemens Wind Power Business Unit. “This is the first time that the new SWT3.0-101 direct drive turbine has been sold in the US. Bringing our new generation of 50 Energy Leaders Today

wind | corporate profile

direct drive wind turbines to Oklahoma is the first step in establishing this gamechanging technology in North America.” “We are excited to move forward this project, which we have negotiated on very favorable terms for OG&E’s customers,” said Jesse Langston, vice president of utility commercial operations. “By its third year in operation, we expect Crossroads to be delivering net savings to our customers for the balance of the projects 25 year life. This is possible because of the excellent business partnerships we have formed with Siemens, and also due to the constructive regulatory environment we have in Oklahoma.” Wind turbines are part of Siemens’ Environmental Portfolio. In fiscal 2009, revenue from the Portfolio totaled about EUR23 billion, making Siemens the world’s largest supplier of ecofriendly technologies. In the same period, the company’s products and solutions enabled customers to reduce their CO2 emissions by 210 million tons. This amount equals the combined annual CO2 emissions of New York, Tokyo, London and Berlin. The Siemens Energy Sector is the world’s leading supplier of a complete spectrum of products, services and solutions for the generation, transmission and distribution of power and for the extraction, conversion and transport of oil and gas. In fiscal 2009 (ended September 30), the Energy Sector had revenues of approximately EUR25.8 billion and received new orders totaling approximately EUR30 billion and posted a profit of EUR3.3 billion. On September 30, 2009, the Energy Sector had a work force of more than 85,100. Further information is available at:www. ELT Summer 2010 51

corporate profile | geothermal


heat wave by Johanna Gretschel

Founded in 1979 as an HVAC specialist company, Brower Mechanical Inc. has since expanded its repertoire to delve into alternative energy sources. In addition to steadfastly abdicating the use of solar power as a main energy source, the Northern California company offers their services in the installation and maintenance of untraditional products like Geo-Thermal heat pumps and radiant heating. Brower Mechanical has created a brand for itself as a company that provides durable, high-quality goods and excellent service. The company emphasizes that

investments into their products often pay for themselves over time. Customers who purchase a Geo-Thermal heating and cooling system, for example, will save between 40 and 60 percent on their electric heating and cooling bills, according to an estimate by the Black Hills Power company. Geo-Thermal heat pumps create heat by transferring heat to and from the soil under customers’ houses. The pump unit itself is a compact object that fits into a cabinet inside the house. While in heat mode, the unit can produce heat at 110 degrees, and the cool setting makes the air a brisk 55

degrees. Besides the obvious advantage of a decrease in heating bills, the installation of a Geo-Thermal pump eliminates the need for outdoor equipment. The device also operates completely silently. Radiant heating is another atypical method of heating. Brower Mechanical specializes in hydronic heating, a type of radiant heating, in which warm water circulates through tubes installed underneath the floor. Of all their services, Brower Mechanical is the most enthusiastic about the use of solar power as an energy source. Their

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enthusiasm comes with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approval this past May of a $350 million rebate system for residents who install solar heating. California is incentivizing the use of solar energy because it is the most economically and environmentally savvy energy source to use. The state’s goal is to install 300,000 solar heating systems over the next 8 years, which would save Californians six million cubic feet of natural gas and three million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, according to Brower Mechanical Inc. Brower Mechanical uses a photovoltaic (PV) system to process solar energy. The PV process converts light to electricity through solar panels, usually located on the roof of a house. The home uses what it needs and excess electricity is sent back to a power grid. The extra electricity results in credits with the utility company that are given back to consumers during winter months when the system creates less electricity than what is needed. Brower Mechanical has even organized a “Summer Symposium” of two weekends in August to address how homeowners and small businesses can capitalize on the solar energy rebates. According to the company, commercial PV systems can convert 7 to 17 percent of sunlight into electricity. Using solar energy eliminates waste, emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. The amount of solar energy used to run one million homes reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 4.3 million tons per year. The economic pros to utilizing solar energy are obvious as well. The installation of solar heating units increases a house’s value by 20 times the annual savings, according to Brower Mechanical. Houses with solar heating units are also exempt from property tax increases and qualify for federal tax credit. Of course, Brower Mechanical still provides the standard services that it began with as an HVAC provider. The company installs and maintains the basic HVAC utilities as well as fireplaces and insulation. More information about Brower Mechanical Inc. can be found online at CLT


1. Brower mechanical crew at well installation site. 2. Drilling a well in a custom home in Atherton, Calif., 2008. 3-4. Goldman Guest, Palo Alto, Calif. Radiant Floor tubing and the flowcenters, 2007. 5. Drilling in Dansville, Calif., 2009. 6. Spanish Springs Middle School site. Geo wells awaiting horizontal manifolding, Nev., 2003. All photos by Jeff Brower.

MELINE Meline Engineering Corporation has provided energy efficient mechanical system designs for commercial and residential buildings for the past 15 years. Located in Sacramento, Calif. Meline is considered the West Coast industry leader in designing geoexchange and related applications. Summer 2010 55

corporate profile | power generation

Battery Power+++ Fedco Electronics recharges the energy industry one battery at a time by Johanna Gretschel

As one of the nation’s largest valueadded battery distributor serving the information technology industry, Fedco Electronics Inc. specializes in the production of its own replacement power line, ENERGY+ as well as the distribution of 13 highly respected brands, including including Panasonic, Saft and Sanyo. Replacement power products include

1 56 Energy Leaders Today

batteries, battery packs, AC adapters and DC power adapters. “Our mission is to achieve customer satisfaction through the quality of our products and the service provided,” said Fedco Electronics President Andy Victor. Established in 1975 in Fond du Lac, Wis., Fedco Electronics is a widely

power generation | corporate profile

respected battery entity throughout the United States as it is deeply involved with replacement power product groups. The company is a charter member of the Rechargeable Battery Association (PRBA) and its president is a member of the PRBA Board of Directors. Fedco Electronics is also a licensee of the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), which established and continues to run a national program for recycling small rechargeable batteries. One of Fedco Electronics’ specialties is its custom battery pack assembly. Fedco Electronics has a wide variety of products, allowing the company to support all battery chemistries, including lithium ion, lithium primary, nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride and sealed lead acid. An in-house engineering department is staffed by four graduate electrical engineers, two of whom are Registered Professional Engineers in Wisconsin. “Our capabilities include the implementation of charge electronics, injection molded plastic cases, custom stamped contacts, smart battery electronics and fuel gauge circuits,” said Victor. All of Fedco Electronics’ home-grown ENERGY+ brand batteries include a full 12-month warranty. Fedco first began producing their own battery packs for laptops in 1987 and the ENERGY+ brand was introduced in 1994. Since then, Fedco has continued to tweak and develop the design to produce the best battery possible. “It is always a challenge when developing new products, entering new markets and working with new battery cell chemistries,” Victor said about Fedco’s development of the ENERGY+ brand battery line. “However, our management, engineering, quality control and production teams have over 20 years of experience which increasingly helps drive the learning curve down.” 1. Fedco production operators work on battery assemblies.


2. Fedco Inventory specialist doing audit of retail packaged ENERGY+ retail packaged battery packs. Summer 2010 57

corporate profile | power generation

Their website outlines the production cycle of these high-quality batteries. The process begins by tabbing together battery cells and using computer controlled resistance welders to form core packs. Next, safety fuses, thermal breakers, circuit breakers and thermistors are added to core packs. This addition insures the safety and reliability of the battery. The core packs are then placed into injection molded plastic cases fitted with the same mating connector in the OEM battery. Fuel gauge circuits are then added to the battery; charge electronics are added to smart battery packs. Battery packs are then inspected and pack assemblies are made ready for closure by placing case covers on them. A process of sonic welding then permanently seals the battery packs. The next stop for the batteries is the quality control department. During this final stage, batteries are tested for form, fit, function and electricity. After testing, the results are documented and the battery packs are labeled. All items are then packaged for resale. Fedco Electronics has an online store, but only does business online with other businesses in the battery industry, like dealers, resellers, service centers and other qualified, authorized direct customers. The general public can purchase ENERGY+ brand batteries and accessories from local computer stores, service centers, mail order, select national retailers and websites. Due to non-disclosure agreements with clients,

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power generation | corporate profile

Victor cannot go into detail about the company’s current project developments. However, he was able to say that the projects involve “working on several new Lithium Polymer and Lithium Ion battery pack designs for several portable equipment manufacturers.” In other exciting news, Fedco Electronics has recently won several awards from Panasonic, Sanyo and Varta, all of which are cell suppliers to Fedco. ELT 3. Fedco production operator using computer controlled sonic welder used for sealing plastic encased battery assemblies. 4. Fedco ENERGY+ laptop and notebook battery packs with retail packaging. 5. Fedco production operator uses computer controlled high frequency welder to assemble battery cell packs. 6. Chart shows make up of typical advanced battery pack for notebook computer. All photos courtesy of Fedco Electronics, Inc.

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from to

by Johanna Gretschel

Bravo Zulu International The average lifespan for an automotive battery is four years. But according to Bravo Zulu International, Ltd., these same batteries can extend their lifespan to six to ten years through a simple utilization of their battery optimization technology. Battery optimization targets and minimizes accumulated sulfation, the leading cause of early battery failure and loss of capacity. The sulfation process starts when sulfur in the sulfuric acid of the battery forms sulfur crystals. The crystals attach to the battery’s lead plates and act as insulation, preventing the battery from accepting the charge and rendering it useless. What California-based Bravo Zulu offers are the Batt-Recon Rapid Sulfation Elimination System and the Zulu One ScanCommand -Control System. “Battery optimization techniques are the new energy savings standards for the industrial battery industry,” Zeier said. “The energy consumption to re-charge industrial batteries in a typical distribution center is about 30 percent of their electrical grid usage. Our data shows that about 20 to 60 percent of this charging grid electricity is wasted because of battery sulfation and charger inefficiencies, which can be dramatically reduced using battery optimization techniques developed by Bravo Zulu.“ President Bruce Zeier and his Bravo Zulu team stumbled upon the key to desulfation by chance. The company’s initial enterprise was in designing helicopter flight simulators. Their creation of the patented Heli-Trainer marked the first time student fliers were able to experience a simulation of a helicopter tail rotor system failure and a fixed wing aircraft flat spin. The simulator’s hydraulic motion-based system required the Bravo Zulu team to master the Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) process.

60 Energy Leaders Today

power generation | corporate profile

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“The majority of work is performed by the resonant vibration induced into the cell and secondarily the electrical repulsion or normal charging effect of electrons being forced into that molecule,” Zeier said. “PWM is basically the switching on and off of a constant voltage device.” Once his technicians were highly skilled in PWM operations, Zeier wanted to investigate whether PWM could be manipulated to combat sulfation. “When we first investigated this, it wasn’t to become a manufacturer of devices, it was to attach to aircrafts,” Zeier said. Aircraft batteries are extremely susceptible to sulfation because of their initial minimal capacity, long periods of inactivity, and storage and operation in high temperatures. Sulfation in general is more common in hot climates and aircraft batteries’ standard environment is in a fairly hot climate. Zeier and Bravo Zulu’s research on PWM and de-sulfation was not intended for commercial purposes; they simply wanted more information to improve the battery life of their aircraft products. Yet as they continued gathering data, they found that there was an extensive market for de-sulfation technologies. What they first came up with was the Batt-Recon system. While Bravo Zulu’s product is admittedly not the first of its kind, as several smaller-scale products exist, Zeier calls it the first

62 Energy Leaders Today

commercially viable system. While similar products can require anywhere from eight hours to four days to complete the desulfation process, the Batt-Recon system takes just 30 minutes for most batteries. Zeier says that his Batt-Recon system has been scientifically proven to exceed the performance restoration capabilities of conventional battery optimization methods. The Batt-Recon system is also much more economical than standard methods. Batt-Recon is easily portable and can be transported directly to clients, while conventional methods dictate that the batteries must be brought to a repair facility. Zeier also says that BattRecon uses about 500 to 1000 watts of grid electricity, compared to hundreds of kilowatts used by the conventional repair process. Zeier did his homework before putting the Batt-Recon system on the market. “Our clients said they wanted a universal machine,” he said. “We don’t want five different machines to work on five different batteries.” True to form, the Batt-Recon system is universal and is just as often utilized on telecommunications batteries as motive batteries. In fact, though Batt-Recon’s current top industries rank forklifts ahead of golf carts and telecommunications, Zeier believes, based on world market demands, that will telecommunications will move to the top with forklifts and shipping close behind. “Telecommunications is the big mover here; India recently started using Batt-Recon to maintain the batteries in their 400,000 cell phone towers,” Zeier said. Zeier outlines how cell phone towers in India, as well as in African nations with a similar socioeconomic profile, are

power generation | corporate profile

BRIGGS INDUSTRIAL Established in 1896 as the Briggs-Weaver Machinery Company, Briggs Equipment has experienced just about every industry change that has occurred in the past 114 years; but their commitment to their customers has never wavered. Serving some of the largest markets in the United States, Briggs Equipment operates 19 locations throughout Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Briggs offers new and used industrial equipment, service and parts, forklift rental and fleet management. Principle products include material handling equipment, forklifts, terminal tractors, telescoping booms, scissor lifts and railcar movers from Yale, Taylor, Ottawa, Genie and others. Ranked largest in the world by many of the manufacturers they represent, Briggs has earned a leading-edge position by developing the best people, investing in the right technology and listening to thousands of customers to better understand their goals and needs.   

often located in remote areas. Long journeys by donkey or camel are often the only option to reach these areas. The energy used to make such trips is often unnecessary because the batteries are usually prematurely replaced. “We’re talking about millions and millions of batteries every year,” he said. Without the use of a product like Zeier’s Batt-Recon system, batteries are replaced well before their threshold has been reached. Needless energy is then invested into grinding up and re-melting the batteries to make new ones. Of course, this applies to Western civilization as well. “If you think about the energy that’s used to grind up these batteries, it’s millions of watts,” said Zeier. “The numbers are staggering on what could and is happening with respect to increasing the life of the battery.” To extract full potential from each battery, it is crucial to know how much power remains in each and to then use each accordingly. It was from this concept

that Bravo Zulu unveiled the Zulu One, which should be commercially available by the time of publication. “The Zulu One product measures cell by cell and controls the battery optimization process,” Zeier said. “The Zulu One process allows the operator to closely monitor the performance of their battery fleet on a cell-by-cell basis and determine in a scientific manner when to de-sulfate the battery maintaining their optimum performance. Zulu One does not wait until the battery is noticeably lacking in performance, rather, it allows the operator to determine the acceptable level of electrical efficiency and scientifically maintain the batteries automatically to this standard.” The ability to optimize batteries will put an end to needlessly charging batteries, which actually decreases battery operating power in addition to wasting energy. “If you don’t overcharge these batteries so much, they last longer,” Zeier said. Prematurely retired batteries are likely Summer 2010 63

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the warehousing industry’s largest waste product. The industry as a whole has embraced the newfound “green” practices that promote sustainability. Yet most of their conservation centers around lighting, heating and air conditioning practices, ignoring battery waste. “If you measure the carbon footprint of wasted battery, it’s is a very large footprint,” Zeier said. ELT

1. BZi flight simulator for Pakistan Airforce. 2. BZi Simulation at a helicopter show. 3-4. BZi products including: Model 4800F Facility Industrial De-Sulfation machine and model 1000 Load tester. 5. Batt-Recon system repairing a helicopter battery. 6. BZi static flight simulator 7. President and founder, Bruce Zeier, with motion flight simulator. 8. Impedence testing class. 9. Batt-Recon booth at a Golf Conference. All photos courtesy of Bravo Zulu International.

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power generation | corporate profile

DEWEY ELECTRONICS by Rachel Goldberg

Most people know that being energy efficient is good for the environment and the electric bill. But for a soldier fighting overseas, it could mean the difference between life and death. That’s why Dewey Electronics, headed by CEO John Dewey, designs and manufactures generators that use less fuel and keep essential equipment running under extreme conditions. Dewey Electronics Corporation, based in Oakland, N.J., has been providing electrical equipment to the Department of Defense for over 50 years. The company was founded in 1955 by Gordon and Frances Dewey. According to their website, it began as a “systems oriented research and development organization that designed and built electronic and electromechanical equipment for use by the U.S. Navy and Air Force.” They went public in 1968 and transformed into a manufacturing operation. Since 1996, they have produced one of the Army’s most commonly used generators - a two kilowatt, open frame style which runs on diesel fuel. After Gordon Dewey’s unexpected death in 2002, his son John took over as CEO. Under his leadership, the company’s focus has shifted to compact diesel generators and power management systems for military use. “By compact I mean one or two people can pick it up and move it,” Dewey said. Under the direction of John’s father, a nuclear physicist, the company concentrated mainly on technically complex systems like radar, navigation and torpedoes. “When I took over, I picked a market segment which was battlefield power generation and continued to build the

company around being the best in compact power,” Dewey said. “To succeed now, a company really needs to be specialized.” The company still conducts longterm research, but their major focus today is rapid design and production of equipment. Their driving philosophy is “simple equals reliable”, and they focus on a product’s practical application. “In power generation you have to picture that a soldier’s going to be at a guard post somewhere in the desert making life or death decisions, or exposed on a mountaintop, and they really don’t have time to fix the generator,” Dewey said. “If the generator goes out it can have serious consequences. So what Summer 2010 65

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we do is focus on how to keep the equipment as simple as possible so that it works, and keeps working.” The Department of Defense has consistently turned to the small, family-run business for electrical equipment with broad applications. Their products are used around the world and power everything from mobile kitchens to counter-mortar ground protection and IED defeat systems. The power systems are designed to be flexible. “We use a modular design, kind of like Lego pieces, meaning that all of the parts we use are individual modules which can be snapped together for different applications,” Dewey said. In recent years, the company has started to produce more direct current generators. Unlike alternating current generators, direct current generators can be easily connected to storage batteries, AC inverters or renewable energy sources, like solar panels. Dewey also builds the military equipment that optimizes the generation, storage, conversion and distribution of the energy obtained from these systems. “These generators will work even when other systems fail,” Dewey said. “The user can put a wind, solar or fuel cell system in a remote location and know it may be generating extra power, but when push comes to shove, our generators work. If there’s no sun, if there’s no wind. It’s the backbone of reliability.” Just as commercial energy producers are making the switch towards renewable energy, the Department of Defense is now concentrating its efforts on fuel efficiency for troops around the world - but for unique reasons. “What they’ve discovered is a very large portion of casualties that are happening in convoys delivering fuel and water, not in traditional combat,” Dewey said. “So there are two things: one, they’re losing life and limb trying to get this fuel out to the forward operating bases, and two, their missions are limited in the distance they can go and the amount of time they can stay out based on how much fuel they use.” The Department of Defense’s commitment to energy efficiency represents a major priority shift. It used to rely on ample and inexpensive fuel. In this respect, the military 66 Energy Leaders Today

technology has followed that of the commercial sector, rather than the other way around. ELT All photos courtesy of Dewey Electronics

power generation | corporate profile

industrial engine distributor air & liquid cooled diesel engines From 4 to 84 HP

For more information, contact (419) 782-9911

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associations | fuel cell


finding a path to cleaner energy by Rachel Goldberg

The growing problems caused by U.S. dependence on petroleum have made the need to find alternative sources of energy more urgent than ever. Fuel cells, which convert chemical energy to electricity without combustion, provide a new pathway to cleaner and more efficient energy. The fuel cell was first discovered in 1838. It has been used in the space program since the 1960s. Fuel cell power generation systems have been operating since the 1990s. The fuel cell works using a chemical reaction that is the opposite of electrolysis, combining hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity and water, along with useful heat. According to the US Department of Energy’s website, 68 Energy Leaders Today

fuel cells are “an energy user’s dream: an efficient, combustion-less, virtually pollution-free power source.” Fuel cells run on a variety of fuels, increasing the efficiency and lowering emissions when powered by fossil fuels and providing a mechanism to transform excess electricity generated by intermittent renewable sources, such as wind and solar, into hydrogen for use in a broad range of applications. “Fuel cells and hydrogen are integral components of the clean energy portfolio,” said Ruth Cox, executive director of the US Fuel Cell Council. “They facilitate the transition to renewable energy sources by increasing the power generated with fossil fuels while minimizing their

environmental impact, and providing a highly efficient platform for generating electricity with biogas, biofuels, and other renewable feedstocks.” Fuel cells are being commercialized for a wide variety of markets, including combined heat and power (CHP) systems, backup and remote power, consumer electronics, recreation, military markets and industrial vehicles. In many markets, federal tax credits help cover the cost of purchasing the fuel cell systems; energy savings from the fuel cell’s efficiency provide a significant additional cost savings - literally millions of dollars in some cases. So why aren’t we driving fuel-cell powered cars? A few hundred lucky

fuel cell | associations

drivers are driving fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) today, but the excitement is focusing on the year 2015. Major auto manufacturers have agreed that FCEVs will be commercially deployed around the world in 2015 or perhaps a year earlier. Within a decade millions of fuel cell vehicles will be on the road. Japan, Europe, Korea and China have all have programs to provide the fueling infrastructure the FCEVs will need. This renewed optimism is based on the exceptional recent progress on fuel cell system cost, performance and efficiency. The best fuel cell vehicles get well more than 300 miles per tank, refueling takes only a few minutes, and the vehicles are

full size, with all the creature comforts and performance consumers expect from their cars today. The auto industry, working in the US with the Department of Energy has solved or knows how to solve issues such as cost related to platinum use as a catalyst, cold-weather operation, durability and onboard fuel storage. “The industry has made exceptional progress in the past two or three years,” said Bob Rose, cofounder and now Senior Advisor to the US Fuel Cell Council. The US Fuel Cell Council (USFCC) is an industry association that promotes the commercialization of fuel cells. Its members include the major producers, suppliers and distributors

of fuel cells. Rose says that the group offers technical expertise, advocacy and education for members and for the industry as a whole. The USFCC is working to increase government investment in infrastructure and market support and to accelerate enabling regulations. Congress restored a proposed reduction in the DOE vehicle program in the 2010 fiscal year and USFCC expects another increase for FY2011. The USFCC’s vision is a near future in which fuel cells power everything from cell phones to industrial equipment, making the problems of pollution and power outages a thing of the past, and ensuring our energy security and economic growth. ELT Summer 2010 69

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70 Energy Leaders Today

fuel cell | corporate profile


THE OHR WAY. By Rebecca Rodriguez

Southern California has a strong dedication to renewable energy and Otto H. Rosentreter Co. (OHR Energy) based in Santa Fe Springs, Ca., is coming up with new ways to create energy and a cleaner environment. The power development company and designbuild engineering firm, specializes in biogas and renewable fuel cell projects. In Southern California, fuel cell technology began to take off in 2005, and OHR Energy was at the forefront working with companies like FuelCell Energy. Together they completed fuel cell projects at two Sheraton Hotels in San Diego, Calif., OHR Energy’s first fuel cell installation. Since then OHR Energy has installed 21 fuel cell power plants throughout the state. The company is also talking with UTC Power and Bloom Energy about using their equipment on different projects. The fuel cell companies manufacture the fuel cell equipment while OHR Energy develops the projects, interacts with customers, provides design, permitting and installation services to complete the project. The company’s biggest customers are municipalities, waste water treatment plants, hotels, universities, and colleges. “Anyone who has large electrical and thermal loads 24/7 are our big customers,” said company vice president, Ken Rosentreter. Rosentreter noted that they are working with a new customer, Pasadena City College, where the fuel cell could save them approximately half a million dollars a year in utility costs. Fuel cells operate like batteries but do not require recharging. It will produce energy in the form of electricity and heat as long as fuel is supplied. A fuel cell consists of two electrodes sandwiched around an electrolyte. Oxygen passes over one electrode and hydrogen over the other, generating electricity, water, and heat. About ten years ago during the California energy crisis, skyrocketing electricity rates, continued

environmental regulations, and the emergence of cheap goods from China resulted in many of OHR Energy’s California foundry customers going out of business. OHR Energy had been in the foundry business since its formation in 1952, but it found itself in need of a change. So around 2001, it entered the cogeneration business and began exploring fuel cells. Because of the volatility of the electricity market during the last couple years, the company has found that the installation of fuel cells fed by natural gas and/ or renewable fuels such as Anaerobic Digester Gas offer a reliable and inexpensive source for electricity, while at the same time providing clean renewable energy. HR Energy is working on an exciting new project with the Sonoma County Water Agency which involves the use of chicken waste from local egg producers as the feedstock for a new anaerobic digester. OHR Energy responded to an RFP for a fuel cell running on natural gas, but the project has evolved into this larger, more cutting edge project. The Agency will host the digester, built by OHR Energy’s strategic partner Biostar Systems, LLC, and a fuel cell that will consume methane released by the chicken waste digester. A significant by product of animal waste is methane. “I think we’ll soon see methane come to the forefront of greenhouse gasses,” Rosentreter said. “CO2 gets all the bad press, but methane is 21 times worse for the environment.” The digester creates methane as the bacteria inside it digest the waste stream. The methane is then captured, and sent to a gas conditioning system. The gas conditioning system cleans and compresses the methane to a point where it is pipeline quality, at which point the methane is either sent to the fuel cell cogeneration system or injected into the utility natural gas pipeline. Once in the pipeline,



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the methane can be nominated for use in another fuel cell, such as one installed at a hotel or university, which has no source for renewable gas. Because this second fuel cell is running on methane injected into the pipeline and nominated for use on site, it is a renewable energy source. “There is no flame and no combustion interacting with the methane during the electrochemical conversion process of a fuel cell, therefore the emissions are miniscule,” Rosentreter said. “In California these (projects) will get a lot of press. We’re able to create renewable fuel and renewable electricity while removing something harmful (methane) from the environment,” he said. Along with benefits to the environment, fuel cells can benefit one’s wallet. A reduction in energy service costs for a building can be between 20 to 40 percent. And federal and state incentives can make up front costs nonexistent. The state’s Self Generation Incentive Program can be quite lucrative. The dollar per kilowatt rebate is $2500 per kilowatt for natural gas and $4500 per kilowatt on biogas or other renewable fuel. A federal treasury grant cuts a check for 30 percent of the total project cost in lieu of incentive tax credits. The cost for a 1.4 megawatt fuel cell along with installation is approximately $7.5-8 million. OHR Energy is also working on Advanced Energy Storage which is similar to a big battery that converts electricity into another form of stored energy. This energy – in multi megawatt ranges - can be stored on site and then converted back to electricity at another time. By coupling this system with fuel cells, customers have a reliable source for back up power that can power their critical energy needs in case of a utility blackout. Advanced Energy Storage systems also allow customers to store power produced at night from fuel cells and use the energy during the day when electricity rates are the highest. “We store energy at night when it’s cheaper to purchase from the utility, and then consume the electricity stored in the battery during the day when electricity is more expensive,” said Rosentreter. “This results in a cost savings in addition to the back up power supplied by the battery.” OHR Energy markets directly to its customers, companies who Rosentreter feels are “good matches” based on a company’s philosophy and energy profile. OHR Energy’s comprehensive website, is an excellent source of marketing for them, he said.

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“We definitely have the most experience out there and have done projects for the widest range of customers,” he said. “Our extensive portfolio and our experience speak for itself.” The company works throughout all of California and is branching out into other states because large companies have approached them. Rosentreter said that although the companies do not receive the 1. San Diego Sheraton, West Towwer. OHR Energy was awarded the design-build EPC contract to construct a cogeneration facility using two 250KW DFC300MA fuel cell power plants fueled by natural gas. This project involved the installation of the first DFC300MA in California. Project was completed in July, 2006. 2.. San Diego Sheraton, East Tower. The cogeneration portion of this project involved recovering the exhaust heat using multiple heat recovery units to produce hot water. The hot water was then tied into the heating loop of the hotel pool via a plate and frame heat exchanged to supplement the pool heat needs. The project was completed in November, 2005. 3. Turlock Irrigation District, City of Turlock Waste Water Treatment Plant. Installation of the fuel cell cogeneration system at the City of Turlock’s Waste Water Treatment Plant using one 1200KW DFC1500B FuelCell Energy power plant. This system was designed to run on both natural gas and treated anaerobic digester gas. The cogeneration portion of this project involved the recovery of exhaust heat using a single heat recovery unit to produce hot water. Project was completed in December 2008.

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same level of incentives as those available to customers in California, they are motivated by being socially responsible and doing something that’s good for the environment. “It is financially harder for them, but they want to be a part of these types of projects,” Rosentreter said.

SNOWDEN ELECTRIC Snowden Electric Company is a Southern California based electrical contractor with over 32 years of experience in commercial/industrial electrical design, engineering, and installation. A little over ten years ago, Snowden Electric began an endeavor into cogeneration plants and has since become an industry leader in renewable energy fuel cell installation. The Snowden team alongside the Rosentreter Company has installed prizewinning fuel cell cogeneration plants from San Diego to Sonoma County. Snowden Electric’s record for success is proven by over 20 awards for electrical excellence presented by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). Snowden’s team is comprised of some of the brightest electricians, project managers, CAD designers, and electrical engineers in the industry. Snowden Electric carries one of the highest regarded names in electrical construction. All of Snowden’s clients can attest to their unparalleled commitment, and the level of service offered. Snowden Electric offers 24-hour emergency service 7 days a week, and their service provides professional, experienced project managers who are available anytime. Snowden Electric is qualified, experienced, and ready to serve all of your electrical needs. At Snowden Electric “Service with integrity is their success.” 74 Energy Leaders Today

Rosentreter came to work for OHR in 2001 after graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), with an economics degree. He also holds a master’s degree in Real Estate Development from the University of Southern California. The company is a family-run business. His father, Bill Rosentreter is president. Ken Rosentreter’s grandfather started the company after working in the foundry industry for many years. Business is so strong, Ken and Bill Rosentreter will be bringing in a third person to join the company. Five years down the road, Ken Rosentreter sees the company more than doubling its business. Currently the company has its hands full during the next two years with 25 projects in different stages of development. The company’s annual revenue is about $6 million. “In the last eighteen months we’ve gotten really busy. We’ve had more inquiries into what we’re doing,” he said. “I’m confident this will continue to take off.” Like a fuel cell storing up power, OHR Energy has powerful prospects for the future. Its solid reputation for excellence and ingenuity is guiding it toward even stronger success. ELT 4. Eastern Municipal Water District, Moreno Valley, Calif. OHR Energy recently completed the fuel cell cogeneration facility at the Eastern Municipal Water Districts Waste Water Treatment Plant. This system was designed for a final build out of five 300KW DFC300MA fuel cell power plants. They installed the infrastructure for a total of five 300KW DFC300MA, foundations, electrical and piping for four total units and installed three DFC300MA units. Project was completed in March 2009.

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ESC CORPORATION The biogas purification system is a substantial part of the Turlock I.D. fuel cell power generation project. Biogas purity is critical for the longevity of the fuel cell’s reformer, which converts the methane to hydrogen. After conversion, the hydrogen produces the electricity. The fuel cell reformer requires the digester gas to have no more than 30 parts per billion total sulfur species, less than 100 parts per billion halogenated species, and less than 1,000 parts per billion organic silicon species. ESC corp. is one of the few companies in the world that can provide biogas ultrapurification systems for fuel cells. Without ultrapure biogas, the fuel cells would not be able to produce power.

corporate profile | fuel cell

1 1. Pacific Missile Range Facility, Hawaii One 300 kilowatt carbonate fuel cell during construction. Photo courtesy of LOGANEnergy. 2. Pacific Missile Range Facility, Hawaii. One 300 kilowatt carbonate fuel cell. 3.Fort Jackson, Columbia, South Carolina. Three 5 kilowatt hydrogen fueled back-up fuel cells. Photo courtesy of LOGANEnergy.

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fuel cell | corporate profile

The Power of Fuel Cells 2


LOGANEnergy Corp. sets the global standard for fuel cell testing hardware, and accelerates a novel form of energy generation by Joan Tupponce

Sam Logan was surprised when an engineer suggested he use a fuel cell for power generation when he was developing biogas production sites in the early 1990s. “I had never heard of a fuel cell except as in an aircraft fuel bladder,” he said. “I was very, very intrigued by this technology.” Developed in the 1960s with the Gemini and Apollo space programs, fuel cell technology converts chemical energy into electricity. Fuel cells are more efficient power generators and provide clean energy, unlike incumbent oil and gas technologies. “The technology allows us to move in new directions, away from oil and gas to cleaner energy and more efficient use of resources,” Logan said. Today, LOGANEnergy Corp. (LEC) is a recognized world leader providing fuel cell solutions for clean energy services. Logan started the company in 1994. It markets systems from 250 watts up to multi-megawatt capacities with a primary focus on providing fuel cell solutions to commercial energy consumers. “We are now in our third decade of providing those types of solutions,” Logan said.

LOGANEnergy identifies markets where fuel cells can be used and targets customer projects in those vertical markets. The company provides design, installation, operations and maintenance services for fuel cell projects across 13 time zones, from Hawaii to the United Kingdom. Interest in the benefits of fuel cells continues to grow. “Fuel cells have few moving parts as the power block generates electricity through an electrochemical reaction rather than combustion,” Logan said. “Because of the absence of combustion, there are no harmful emissions, meaning fuel cells offer sustainable energy solutions that produce clean power and heat.” In some cases, LOGANEnergy, a service company, not a manufacturer, owns the fuel cell at the customer site, providing the company with energy services. In other cases, LEC sells the fuel cell directly to the customer. Fuel cells are now used in commercial and industry applications. As they are scaled down, there will be more demand for the technology in the residential industry. “They are expensive for residential use,” Logan said. “Price Summer 2010 79

points are linked to the size of capacity of a system. On a kilowatt basis, the larger you get, the more cost effective you become.” Currently LEC is focusing on backup fuel cell systems as well as larger scale systems that provide prime power. “We are not involved in portable systems such as laptops,” he said. “We are, however, doing a lot of work to get small units prepared for commercial release into the residential marketplace but that’s probably about three years away.” Logan has been steadily growing his company, strategically hiring experts from the fuel cell industry. “Today our core leadership has a total of over 100 years of experience in the fuel cell industry,” he said. “Our brand is recognized as a company with broad-based technological experience and knowledge.” When Logan started his business, there was only one fuel cell product and one commercial manufacturer. Now there are up to 50 companies with various fuel cell products. “We work with a dozen different vendors and different fuel cell technologies,” Logan said. “We know all the fuel cell technologies and all the applications that can be used. We match the customer application with the best fuel cell product.” Over the years, LEC has developed close working relationships with different manufacturers. “We really work for the customer,” Logan said. “OEM relationship management is a big part of our business.” LEC also works with a variety of vendors such as R.C. Knox/ Bruce Murray which underwrites property casualty insurance for LEC’s installed properties. The federal government, especially the Department of Defense, is one of LEC’s largest customers. Over the years, the company has received numerous contracts from the Army Corps of Engineers to test fuel cells across the U.S. and in the United Kingdom, Iceland and Puerto Rico. In 2005, LEC opened a subsidiary in Edinburgh, Scotland, Logan Energy Ltd., and in 2008, took on an investor. The UK firm recently installed a couple of large projects, one for the City of London and another for a large electric utility.

“In the United States, companies still want low-cost solutions to suit their immediate goals, whereas in the United Kingdom they rate carbon reduction and clean energy as more important than cost,” observes Logan. “There is growing social awareness about cleaner air, water and energy in the power industry and fuel cells have a strategic role in helping that come about.” When it comes to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, Europe has put steadfast regulations in place. Any new construction has to achieve a certain carbon footprint. “Each year that gets stiffer,” Logan said. “Developers have to figure out how to use energy systems on large buildings that will give them a lower carbon footprint. Fuel cells can do that.” The company is currently doing a great deal of work with five to 35-kilowatt small scale backup generators for cell phone towers, emergency responders’ communication networks and various remote applications. “The fuel cells are powered by hydrogen stored in pressurized cylinders at the site,” Logan said. “They only come on when there is a utility upset. They take the place of diesel generators. With fuel cells you don’t have the same service and maintenance concerns as you do with diesel backup systems and they are clean, quiet and more reliable.” LEC designs small scale refueling stations capable of generating hydrogen at the point of need. For example, a fork truck operating on batteries may need three sets of batteries a day, one in the lift truck and two in standby. “That’s very expensive,” Logan said. “If you take out the battery and replace it with a fuel cell with a hydrogen storage tank, you can refuel quickly.” Always on the forefront of new technologies, LEC has its eyes on the future. The company is expanding into energy storage (LEC transfers electricity into hydrogen for storage) and mobile fuel cell generators. It is also integrating solar systems with fuel cells. “The fuel cells provide the base load and the solar system is used to provide peaking demand at the facility,” Logan explains.

We work with a dozen different vendors. We know all the fuel cell technologies and all the applications that can be used. We match the customer application with the best fuel cell product.

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4 Fort Jackson, Columbia, SC. Keith Williams, a LOGANEnergy technician, inspects the condition of the cell stack. Photo courtesy of LOGANEnergy.

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5 Merrifield Post Office One 200 kilowatt fuel cell US Post Office, Merrifield, Va. Photo courtesy of LOGANEnergy.

THE CALIFORNIA CENTER FOR SUSTAINABLE ENERGY Brighten Your Energy Future with Solar It’s good for the earth and great for your bottom line California’s premier solar city, San Diego, is leading the way to a clean energy future. For businesses, solar power is a financially sound way to dramatically reduce utility bills, supplying a fast return on investment, while also helping the environment. Sunshine is the ultimate renewable energy source, and the cost of solar power systems in California has dropped 40 percent over the past decade. Installing solar power or water heating systems is the best hedge against higher future energy costs for both construction companies and their clients looking to build more sustainable facilities. The California Center for Sustainable Energy empowers businesses to make wise energy decisions using objective information, sound analysis, and incentives such as those available through the California Solar Initiative or the Photovoltaic and Solar Thermal programs. These programs offset the installation costs of solar power systems making them affordable for both contractors and their clients. Federal tax credits are also available for up to 30 percent of the solar equipment costs and approximately 85 percent of system costs qualify for depreciation deduction over a six-year period. With so many reasons to use solar energy, construction professionals can lead by example and advise clients to do the same. There are many San Diego area businesses benefitting from solar photovoltaic (PV) power. Even a small 10-kilowatt solar system can provide 80 to 90 percent of a small business’s energy needs for 15 to 20 employees. Local business owners are encouraged to join San Diego’s solar energy evolution by contacting the California Center for Sustainable Energy at 858-244-1177 or

As the President of the Fuel Cell Seminar and Exposition Board of Directors, Logan feels the fuel cell industry has been overshadowed by the solar and wind powered industries. “The fuel cell industry hasn’t done a good job of telling its story,” he said. “Because of the number of companies with vastly different fuel cell products and applications, the industry is more of a mosaic than a single face.” During his term, he hopes to promote government policy as well as awareness of fuel cell technology. “We are grateful for federal and state incentive programs like those managed by the Self Generation Incentive Program in California and the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund that help transform the market by providing grants for fuel cells and other alternative energy products,” Logan said. “As a society we are creating more and more air quality issues and ground water pollution. Changes need to be made. Our industry can make a significant contribution to a model environment.” ELT Summer 2010 83

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POWERING Powering Fuel Cell Technologies:

1 84 Energy Leaders Today

Envision automobiles that are fueled by electricity; a cordless iPad convenient for air travel, and the elimination of batteries. Fuel cell technology—the process of converting the electrochemical cells of a source fuel into an electric current—may be the revolutionary procedure to evoke such changes. Chuck Derouin, who has always been on the pioneering edge of this innovative technology, continues to break new ground in the fuel cell industry today as the President of Fuel Cell Technologies, Inc. This Albuquerque-based corporation sets the world standard for testing hardware and software to determine the potency of fuel cells, and propels a fresh source of electrical energy into further development. “We should go down the track of what is going to happen in the future. Based on analyses we have decided that fuel cells might be a viable solution,” Derouin said. A fuel cell is an electrochemical cell that generates electricity when reactions between a fuel and an oxidant are triggered in the presence of a catalyst. While the reactants flow into the cell, the reaction products flow out, producing an electric current. “The process is like the experiment in high school chemistry class with electrolysis of water,” Derouin said. “You put two electrodes into water, pass a current through the electrodes, and it generates hydrogen at one electrode and oxygen at the other. This is called electrolysis of water. A fuel cell is the exact opposite. You put in the hydrogen and the oxygen, and

fuel cell | corporate profile

the The future Future by Jane Caffrey



then these gases react and generate electricity and produce water as a byproduct.” Fuel cells can operate continuously, as long as the necessary reactant and oxidant flows are maintained. Test stations are instrumentation devices that allow users to load a fuel cell and control the amount of electrical current generated. “You can program any sequence into the load box to load the fuel cell,” Derouin said. “There are lots of things you can do, and your imagination is the limit.” Derouin, a leader in fuel cell testing technology, has experience in the industry that stretches back to the 1970s. Software Engineer, Don McMurry, and Derouin worked as technologists for more than 15 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Fuel Cell Core Research Program. The scientists, engineers, and technicians in this group developed what is today modern fuel cell technology. “At Los Alamos we purchased an old golf cart, and we modified it and put a 1.5 kW phosphoric acid fuel cell on it,” Derouin said. “We built that fuel cell powered golf cart as a demonstrator. Evidently, enough DOE people were impressed with it that some core research money was allocated. The money started in 1980, which, in turn, started the fuel cell program at Los Alamos, and it is still going strong.” During the 1980s, Los Alamos became interested in a PEM fuel cell devised by General Electric. Los Alamos purchased

two test stations and cell hardware to begin trial of these cells. While previous fuel cells had been relatively simple to operate, the PEM cells could now be pressurized; yet in order to do so, the gases had to be humidified using bubblers, and temperature controllers. It was at this point that Derouin began to design customized test stations. “It got to be a lot of instrumentation, so I consolidated everything into what we now call a test station.” he said. “We’ve been doing them ever since.” Fuel Cell Technologies was incorporated in 1992, and Derouin brought the expertise gained from years of exposure to a wide range of fuel cell applications. The Company continued to grow and in 1998 Derouin retired and devoted full time to Fuel Cell Technologies, Inc. Today, the corporation has expanded to serve a global network, with clients in China, Korea, Europe, South America, India, and Australia, and representatives across the continents. It has eight employees, and is one of the oldest fuel cell test station manufacturers in the world. “We’ve certainly grown a lot,” Derouin said. “In the early years, we would sell three or four test stations per year. Now we have over 300 systems worldwide and probably sell over 50 custom systems per year.” Fuel Cell Technologies supplies three main lines of products; testing systems, cell hardware, and humidification systems. Specializing in fuel cell test stations, the corporation is distinguished Summer 2010 85

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86 Energy Leaders Today


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from others in the industry for custom designs that fit the exact specifications of virtually any fuel cell testing application. “Other companies have a standard cookie cutter model,” Derouin said. “We offer the option of some standard models, but we also do a lot of custom work where we configure the test station to meet the customer’s requirements.” The systems range in size from 60 watts to 5 kilowatts, which control flow, temperature, and pressure for anode and cathode gases. Each station incorporates a DC electronic load, two humidity bottles, and also includes LabView software, which is designed to gather and plot data for the I-V curves, life-cycle tests, and read a reference electrode. “The software has been continuously developed. We’ve been doing this for over 17 years, so the software has evolved into a very nice package that has a lot of flexibility and a lot of features,” Derouin said. The company also develops single cell hardware, which consists of a pair of Poco graphite blocks with a precision, machined-flow pattern, and a pair of gold plated current collectors sandwiched between aluminum end plates. “I took a long time to make sure that I got everything right, and it has become world standard. Just about everybody uses our cell hardware,” Derouin said. The third main product line consists of humidification systems, which incorporate Swagelok fittings for gas inputs and outputs that are welded into 316 stainless steel humidity bottles. Nafion tubing is coiled in the bottle to provide dewpoint humidity levels for the gas passing through the tubing. Fuel Cell Technologies testing systems are the tools for innovative applications of fuel cell energy generation. While the development of infrastructure to support this form of energy is still in the research stage, Derouin envisions a future in which fuel cells will become more economically viable. “I don’t think you’ll see a tremendous amount of fuel cells in the general population, but you could certainly see fleets of

fuel cell buses that all operate out of a central terminal where the fuel cell maintenance and refueling can be done,” he said. Government support for fuel cell technology has primarily been garnered from the Department of Energy, although the Department of Defense has also provided funding for research. “There are other applications for fuel cells, such as a soldier suit that has its own air conditioning, various electronics, and a fuel cell as a power pack,” Derouin said. On the public level, fuel cells may ultimately be used to power small electronic devices. Derouin imagines that cell phones will be operated via a small power pack that sends out low amounts of current; and laptop cases that power computers with fuel cells, making computers battery free. “These products are down the road, but I think there are some companies that have started developing small fuel cells for those exact things,” Derouin said. “We are certainly quick to adjust to the current needs. I think that fuel cells, in one form or another, will be here for a long time.” ELT 1. Floor standing 20 cell stack test station with enclosed stack area, voltage monitoring and AC impedance (EIS). 2. Staff technicians (Santiago Lopez, Austin Hayden, and Ted Yamada) fabricating test stations 3. Software Engineer, Don McMurry designing custom LabVIEW software programs 4. Standard/University test station with computer and monitor 5. Single Cell Hardware, left is a 25 cm2 triple serpentine flow pattern and right is a 5 cm2 single serpentine flow pattern 6. Dual bottle humidification system. 8. SOFC test station using Applied Test Systems (ATS) tube furnace with ProbaStat button cell fixture (not shown). All photos courtesey of Fuel Cell Technologies


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better water to the

emerald coast by Rebecca Rodriguez

88 Energy Leaders Today

utilities | corporate profile


2 The Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA) has many unique factors that affect Florida’s panhandle region, including Escambia County and the City of Pensacola where it operates. It has won water quality awards, has an elected board that enables it to act like a private company, and is building a new wastewater treatment facility in record time and under budget. Three out of the past five years the company has received awards from the American Water Works Association for having the best tasting water in region nine of their Florida chapter. This region encompasses the four northwesternmost counties of Florida. To participate in this contest, a utility cannot have any violations of health or regulatory codes. ECUA prides itself on its high quality water and its abundant water supply due to the prolific Sand-and-Gravel Aquifer. ECUA has an unusual operating structure. It has a five-member, publicly elected board that provides oversight, allowing what is essentially a government agency to operate much like a private sector business. “We operate comparably to a private business with some public oversight from the board,� said executive director, Stephen E. Sorrell. The board is responsible for resource allocation and major organizational policy, while the day-to-day operations are the full Summer 2010 89

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MANSFIELD Mansfield Industrial is a world class provider of industrial coatings, insulation, fireproofing, refractory, industrial cleaning, scaffolding, metal building erection and roofing services. In addition to having worked with ECUA over the last 30 years, they have worked on projects like the Pensacola CRWF wastewater treatment facility. For this project, Mansfield provided specialty concrete coating and linings. Mansfield is responsible for piping and painting of pipe coating, equipment painting, architectural painting, carbon steel structural painting and water proofing coatings. Mansfield Industrial has also been heavily involved in the Gulf oast oil spill recovery effort. 90 Energy Leaders Today

responsibility of the staff. In operation since 1981, ECUA handles water, wastewater, and solid waste collection. It has 32 deep wells and is permitted to pump more than 70 million gallons of potable drinking water per day. “One of the recent efficiencies we’ve instituted was our Automated Meter Reading (AMR) Program. Automated meters replaced approximately 95,000 manually-read meters over the last few years, allowing for a dramatic reduction in personnel and processing costs, while increasing accuracy and productivity,” Sorrell added. The company runs three wastewater

treatment plants, including the Main Street plant that is being replaced in an impressively quick and financially smooth way. Affectionately called “Ol’ Stinky” by Sorrell, the Main Street plant has been around since 1937. It is located on the southwest side of downtown Pensacola and employs an activated sludge process that can emit odors. A study showed that it would be more beneficial to build a new facility rather than upgrade the existing plant. What’s even more exciting for the Authority, and the community as a whole, is that this new plant will have 100% industrial reuse of the effluent, eliminating

utilities | corporate profile

MIOX MIOX’s on-site water disinfection technology safely and economically generates either hypochlorite or advanced mixed oxidant. For municipal and industrial water disinfection, using just salt, water and power replaces the need to purchase, transport and store dangerous chemicals. Winner of the Frost & Sullivan 2010 Product Line Strategy Award, MIOX has a range of products – including the RIO™ and Vault™ series - to fit your disinfection needs. Visit www. for more information.

the surface-water discharge currently in place at the Main Street facility. The odor given off from the old plant can be oppressive. “Most people in Pensacola do not want to live near the plant,” Sorrell said. “It will be a huge economic development shot in the arm for Pensacola to have approximately 200 acres of new frontier to develop in the downtown area once the plant is replaced.” Sorrell explained that the disappearance of the old plant will lead to investors converging on the area; the economic stimulus to the local community will be a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the city.” The new facility will be called the Central Water Reclamation Facility (CWRF) and will be incorporating state of the art onsite generation technology for its disinfection solutions. It is being built to withstand a category 5 hurricane and 191-mph Summer 2010 91

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wind gusts; it will be built 100 feet above sea level with 25 miles of new ductile iron transmission pipeline. The project was on target to start in August 2010. The $316 million-budgeted project is currently close to $11 million under budget. Because Hurricane Ivan hit the Main Street plant in 2004, ECUA was able to acquire $134 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to repair the damage that occurred. The ECUA Board decided to replace the plant in lieu of upgrading and armoring “Ol’ Stinky”. The elected board members took a “leap of faith” empowering the Authority’s staff to make decisions for the project and to assume the financial authority normally vested in the board. The lack of need for public meetings to approve change orders and to make construction decisions greatly accelerated the construction schedule, significantly reducing the cost of the project.

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“This is a tremendous win for the entire community,” Sorrell said. “It’s the largest public works-type project in Escambia County, and it will have a very significant impact on the long term economy, environment, and aesthetic effects on this region.” ECUA has low water rates of $1.78 per thousand gallons of potable water. “We have some of the most economical water in our area. About one half to one third as much as some other purveyors,” Sorrell said. The company serves approximately 250,000 people and maintains over 2000 miles of water mains. Any revenues in excess of the operating costs go back into the system for capital improvements, which in turn keeps rates low. There isn’t any siphoning of the revenue stream to fund other governmental operations— something that occurs in many other agencies. Residential refuse, recycling, hazardous waste, and bulk collections are part of the company’s solid waste collection department operations. There are about 74,000 customers for solid waste, 1,000 of those are commercial customers. The company has 550 employees

and many have licenses of various levels from the state of Florida. ECUA’s engineering staff includes civil, mechanical, and chemical engineers. The company compensates its engineers for maintaining their professional licenses. There is also a state-certified lab staffed by chemists for water quality analyses. The laboratory staff conducts approximately 15,000 water quality tests each year. Safety training is ongoing and there is an incentive program for safe practices within the solid waste collection department. Since the collection crews operate $230,000 fully automated trucks that will incur costly repair costs for any degree of damage, workers receive a $300 incentive for each quarter they do not have an at-fault accident. “Since implementation, the number of incidents has dropped sharply,” Sorrell said. Before coming to ECUA, Sorrell worked as a professional engineer, finance director, assistant city manager, and city manager in southwest Ohio. He took over as ECUA’s executive director in late 2002 and gives much credit to the success of the

company to those with whom he works. “I give a lot of credit to the elected board and to our competent, dependable staff,” he said. Looking to the future, Sorrell said he hopes to see the company continue to run so efficiently. And with a new wastewater treatment facility being completed ahead of schedule and under budget, efficiency is something that comes naturally to ECUA. ELT 1. Pensacola Beach, Pensacola, Fla. Photo by Stephanie Hess. 2. ECUA executive director, Stephen E. Sorrell Photo courtesey of ECUA. 3. Central Water Reclamation Facility under construction 25 miles North of Pensacola, Fla. Once the facility is completed, the ECUA will shut down the Main St. Plant, a process expected to take several months. Photo courtesey of ECUA. 4. Perdidio Key, Fla. Post Hurricane Ivan recovery. Photo courtesey of ECUA. 5. Pensacola Beach, Fla. Three dolphin decorated water tanks, located at the base of the Bob Sikes Bridge, house the water for the Santa Rosa Island community. Photo by Stephanie Hess.

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Energy Leaders Today Summer 2010  

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