SoCalGas joins the California Energy Commission in the demonstration of a new ultra-efficient water heater, space cooler developed by SMTI

Restaurants use a lot of energy to not only prepare and cook food, but to cool kitchens, dining rooms, and other spaces. A new high efficiency, ultra-low emissions commercial water heating and space cooling unit, which begins field demonstrations at two Southern California restaurants this week, could dish out energy savings, lower operating costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions for foodservice and hospitality facility operators.

The new technology uses a thermally driven heat pump fueled by natural gas or propane to capture ambient energy, achieving a heating efficiency of 140 percent or greater. It is projected to reduce energy use by 30 to 50 percent compared to standard natural gas water heaters. The highly-efficient heat pump also provides space cooling simultaneously, which reduces the need for air conditioning and can help lessen electricity use.

Stone Mountain Technologies, Inc. (SMTI) developed the new heat pump by redesigning heat pump technology traditionally used for cooling and focusing it on heating with cost-effectiveness and scalability in mind. GTI is leading the demonstration, and AO Smith Corporation is also providing support. Project funding was awarded by the California Energy Commission and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) research and development funds authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission.

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TVA Board of Directors nominee confirmed by Senate, other nomination announced

(Credit: TimesFreePress.com)

(Credit: NewsChannel9)

The US Senate has confirmed Memphis attorney John Ryder as the newest member of the TVA board.

Nearly 13 months after he was first nominated by President Trump, Ryder will assume the seat vacated nearly two years ago by Mike McWherter.

Ryder’s term runs through 2021 on the 9-member TVA board, which currently has only seven members.

Ryder’s first public meeting with the full TVA board will be on May 9 when the TVA governing board meets in Franklin, Tennessee.

President Trump has also nominated Chattanooga native William B. Kilbride to a member of TVA’s board.

Kilbride formerly served as the president and CEO of the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce and as president and chief sustainability officer of Mohawk Industries.

Kilbride’s nomination still has to be accepted by the US Senate before he could serve on TVA’s board. His term would run until May 18, 2023 replacing Eric Martin Satz.

Innovation Crossroads cohort one is winding down. Here are updates on their progress.

As Oak Ridge National Laboratory finalizes selections for the third cohort in its “Innovation Crossroads” program that accelerates new energy start-ups, Teknovation.biz wanted to provide an update on the three members of the inaugural cohort. They arrived here in May 2017 and will complete their two-year Fellowships soon. Here are updates from SkyNano’s Anna Douglas:

  • When you were selected for the inaugural cohort of ORNL’s “Innovation Crossroads” program, how would you describe the state of your technology and where you were in standing-up a start-up?At the time we were selected, we had just filed the legal framework for setting-up a start-up and were still working through a lot of the market analysis. We had demonstrated initial proof of concept at Vanderbilt for the use of the technology to produce carbon nanotubes ~ 23 nm in diameter.

 

  • Now, more than three-fourths of the way through the two-year experience, how would you answer the question?We learned a LOT through customer discovery during the first six months of the program, which led to a pivot from our initial technical focus, and are now fully committed to scaling the technology in the next 12 months and getting samples out into the marketplace. At this point, we have doubled our team with the addition of two full-time team members who have been instrumental in the technical progress we’ve made towards scaling our electrochemical growth process.

Read more at Teknovation.biz. Here are updates from Active Energy Systems and Yellowstone Energy.

TAEBC attends, sponsors 2nd annual Innovation & Entrepreneurship Week on the Hill

TAEBC attended and sponsored Launch Tennessee’s 2nd Annual Innovation & Entrepreneurship Week on the Hill in Nashville Feb. 19 to 20. This gathering was hosted by Launch Tennessee and several organizations across the state as an opportunity for entrepreneurs and innovators to speak with legislators and promote innovation in the statewide economy.

Policy makers, legislators, and key stakeholders kicked off Week on the Hill celebrations of entrepreneurship and innovation at a reception the evening of Feb. 19. The next morning, TAEBC and other sponsor organizations spoke to attendees before launching into a day of meetings.

Vice President of TAEBC Cortney Piper and CEO of Stone Mountain Technologies (SMTI) Michael Garrabrant attended and spoke with state legislators and policymakers about TAEBC’s mission and the benefits of advanced energy entrepreneurship and innovation for Tennessee’s economy.

In these meetings, they discussed TAEBC’s 2018 Tennessee Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report to provide further context for decision makers regarding the state’s advanced energy sector. Michael also emphasized the importance of the Energy Mentor Network as its second graduate and SMTI’s cost-effective, advanced heating technologies, along with his commitment to grow his manufacturing company in Northeast Tennessee. SMTI’s products seek to lower energy costs, improve comfort, and reduce CO2 emissions.

Throughout the day, they met with representatives Lt. Governor Randy McNally, Rep. John Holsclaw, Sen. Rusty Crowe, Rep. Rick Staples, Rep. John Ragan, and Sen. Becky Duncan Massey. They also met with Allen Borden, the deputy commissioner of business, community and rural development, and Tony Niknejad, the policy director for Governor Bill Lee.

TVA releases draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and invites public feedback

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) released its 2019 draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) on Feb. 15, 2019. TVA is currently inviting public stakeholders for feedback on the draft through April 8, 2019. TAEBC will submit public comments for the final IRP.

The IRP provides a long-term vision for how TVA can best meet the Valley’s need for power during the next two decades. According to the draft, the IRP will impact how TVA supports environmental stewardship, encourages economic development, and offers low-cost electricity in the area.

As the utility industry is evolving rapidly, this IRP will improve TVA’s ability to create flexible power-generation systems that will ensure reliable power at an affordable cost. The IRP will also inform TVA’s Long-Range Financial Plan.

TVA is updating its 2015 IRP due to vast changes within the utility industry, including increased access to natural gas, heightened attention on energy conservation efforts, and lower costs of renewable generation. As the nation’s largest public power provider, it is imperative for TVA continually seek out new solutions the region’s energy needs.

This IRP has been under development since Feb. 2018, when scoping efforts first identified issues relevant to the public and provided the foundation for the current draft. During the spring and summer of 2018, TVA began the development of model input and framework process, which involved finding and creating scenarios, resource options, and business strategies.

In the fall of 2018, TVA analyzed and evaluated the performance of their 30 resource portfolios that were identified during the previous modeling process. Throughout this projected 18-month journey, TVA has actively engaged external stakeholders, like TAEBC, to share their assumptions, opinions, and expertise to create an IRP that will benefit all Tennesseans.

In April 2018, TAEBC submitted comments to TVA as part of the initial IRP drafting process. With these comments, TAEBC reaffirmed our commitment to support TVA as it takes steps to address the ever-changing utility marketplace. The purpose of these comments is to illustrate how TVA can best meet future electricity demands with access to economic development data. The guidance we provided included:

  • Ensure there is a collaborative, public, open stakeholder process for developing the IRP.
  • Resource planning should include both TVA-built resources and procured third-party resources; as well as take into consideration customer-sited and demand-side management resources.
  • Correctly valuing distributed energy resources (DERs) is critical to integrating the benefits they offer to both demand and supply side operators. Valuing a stack or system of DERs is a challenge that must be addressed as the net benefits may increase when certain technologies are used together.
  • Consider how the IRP might encourage or discourage economic development, capital investment and jobs in our region from the advanced energy sector.

TVA will hold public meetings throughout the state over the next month to present the plan, answer questions, and accept written comments for the IRP. According to the IRP timeline, TVA will complete public meetings by April 2019, release the final IRP to the public in summer 2019, request approval from the Board in August 2019, and publish a Record of Decision soon after.

To learn more, sign up for TVA’s public webinar on Tuesday, Feb. 26 from 11:00 to 11:45 a.m. Follow this link to register. The recorded version will be available on TVA’s website.