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Small-Scale Distributed Generation Workshop

Small-Scale Distributed Generation image
Wednesday, June 1, 2011 to Thursday, June 2, 2011

ARPA-E hosted an event in its series of public workshops, “Small-Scale Distributed Generation,” which took place on June 1-2, 2011 in Alexandria, VA. This workshop addressed the challenges and opportunities associated with developing low-cost electrical generator sets (gensets) with very high energy-conversion efficiency. Gensets can be fuel-based-only or a hybrid of renewables with fuel firming.  The kW-electric output ranges of interest are 5-10 kWe and 200-500 kWe.

It is believed that high-efficiency gensets at these kWe ranges represent critical enabling modules toward commercializing reliable (24x7x365) and economical small-scale systems for distributed power generation and combined heat-and-power for the single family, neighborhood, and small commercial segments.

For fuel-based-only (excluding gasoline or diesel) technology platforms, ARPA-E was interested in R&D pathways towards achieving the following efficiency targets:

  • 5-10kWe: ≥40% fuel-to-electricity conversion efficiency,
  • 200-500kWe: ≥60% fuel-to-electricity conversion efficiency, and
  • various additional functional, emission and cost metrics appropriate to the end-use segments

For hybrid technology platforms, ARPA-E was interested in R&D pathways towards achieving the following efficiency targets:

  • 5-10kWe: ≥40% fuel-in-to-electricity-out efficiency,
  • 200-500kWe: ≥60% fuel-in-to-electricity-out efficiency, and
  • various additional functional, emission and cost metrics appropriate to the end-use segments

The primary goal of the workshop was to identify the most challenging technological barriers to achieving very high efficiency low-cost gensets.   Other objectives of the workshop were to:

  1. Catalyze promising new R&D paths to meet identified challenges;
  2. Develop a set of realistic, quantifiable metrics for evaluating progress towards these goals and assessing R&D success;
  3. Bring together experts from industry, universities, government, utilities and regulatory agencies with diverse perspectives; and
  4. Foster collaboration and teaming discussions amongst participants of very diverse backgrounds.

The specific technology areas of interest included:

  • Internal combustion engines: Alternative engine architectures and thermodynamic cycles, advanced combustion methods, novel materials;
  • Microturbines: Alternative component and system architecture, thermodynamic cycles, advanced combustion methods, novel materials;
  • Stirling engines: Alternative component and system architecture, working fluids and containment methods, novel materials;
  • Fuel cells: Alternative system architecture or manufacturing methods not already supported by DOE;
  • Alternative “prime-mover” technology platforms not covered above; and
  • Hybrid prime-move systems.

View the workshop agenda (pdf). Proceedings from the meeting are summarized below. 

 

DAY 1 AGENDA:

Keynote Speakers and Presentations

Arun Majumdar, ARPA-E Director - Welcome (pdf)

David Shum, ARPA-E Program Director - ARPA-E Vision for Small Scale Distributed Generation: Thoughts, Motivations, & Objectives (pdf)

Jack Lewnard, Gas Technology Institute - State of Distributed Generation Internationally: “Overview of Small Scale Gas-Fired Power Generation Technologies and Demonstrations” (pdf)

Dan Rastler, Electric Power Research Institute - State of Distributed Generation in the USA (pdf)

Ram Sastry, American Electric Power - Utility Perspective on Distributed Generation: “Distributed Generation” (pdf)

Jose Esparza, Southwest Gas - Utility Perspective on Distributed Generation: “ARPA-E Distributed Generation Workshop” (pdf)

Cherif Youssef, Sempra Energy - Utility Perspective on Distributed Generation: “Gas Utility’s Perspective on Small Scale Distributed Generation” (pdf) 

 

Breakout Session Output

Robert Conrado, ARPA-E - “Product Specs” in 6-10 Year and Beyond (Single Family Scale) (pdf)

Nick Cizek, ARPA-E - “Product Specs” in 6-10 Year and Beyond (Community Scale) (pdf)

 

DAY 2 AGENDA

Keynote Speakers and Presentations

Gunpreet Singh, U.S. Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies Program - Technology Crosscut: “DOE Transportation Strategy: Improve Internal Combustion Engine Efficiency” (pdf)

Sunita Satyapal, U.S. Department of Energy Fuel Cell Technologies Program - Technology Crosscut: “Fuel Cell Technologies Program” (pdf)

Matt Ferber, Oak Ridge National Laboratories - Technology Crosscut: “Opportunities of High Efficiency Microturbines for Use in Small Scale Distributed Electrical Generation” (pdf)

Robert Cheng, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories - Technology Crosscut: “Ultra Clean Low Swirl Burner for Heating and Power Systems” (pdf)

Martin Gunderson, University of Southern California - Technology Crosscut: “Pulsed Power and Transient Plasma Ignition” (pdf)

 

Breakout Session Output

Robert Conrado, ARPA-E - 3-year Must Have Metrics (Single Family Scale) (pdf)

Nick Cizek, ARPA-E - 3-year Must Have Metrics (Community Scale) (pdf)

Sam Weaver, Cool Energy - Report Back – Stirling Engines (pdf)

Matt Ferber, Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Report Back – Microturbines (pdf)

Sunita Satyapal, U.S. Department of Energy - Report Back – Fuel Cells (pdf)

Andy McIlroy, Sandia National Laboratory - Report Back – Internal Combustion Engines (pdf)