E
Case Studies for the Energy Efficiency Program

DOE’s energy efficiency (EE) R&D program1 focuses on three sectors: buildings (both residential and commercial), industry (manufacturing and cross-cutting technologies), and transportation (primarily automotive and heavy-duty trucks). The committee decided to analyze a group of technologies from each sector that would be representative of the overall program and that would demonstrate the range of benefits and costs of the program, given that the buildings and industry sectors tend to have many smaller projects and thus account for a small portion of the overall budget.

From all the programs and technologies in the buildings sector, the following were chosen:

  • Advanced compressors for refrigerator-freezers,

  • Compact fluorescent lightbulbs,

  • DOE-2 program,

  • Electronic ballast for fluorescent lamps,

  • Free-piston Stirling engine-drive heat pumps,

  • Indoor air quality, and

  • Low-emission (low-e) glass.

From the programs and technologies in the industry sector, the committee selected the following:

  • Advanced lost foam technology,

  • Advanced turbine systems,

  • Black liquor gasification,

  • Forest products Industries of the Future program, and

  • The oxygen-fueled glass furnace.

It selected the following technologies and programs from the transportation R&D sector:

  • Advanced batteries for electric vehicles,

  • Catalytic conversion for cleaner vehicles,

  • PNGV,

  • Stirling automotive engine, and

  • Transportation fuel cell power systems.

The case studies are presented here in the order they are listed above.

ADVANCED REFRIGERATION

Program Description and History

Refrigeration accounts for about $14 billion of the U.S. residential electricity bill and also has significant commercial sector applications (OEE, 2000a). In 1977, DOE initiated an appliance product development program that included emphasis on refrigerator-freezers and supermarket refrigeration systems. Manufacturer involvement was substantial from the outset. DOE targeted both improved components, starting with the electricity-intensive refrigerator compressor, and computer tools for analyzing refrigerator design options. Early successes included a compressor system that achieved 44 percent efficiency improvement over the technology commonly used in refrigerators of the late 1970s.

When the Montreal Protocol forced manufacturers of refrigeration equipment to replace chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), DOE responded with cooperative R&D agreements that helped the private sector investigate and test alternative refrigerants, new insulation materials, and new appliance designs. These partnerships helped industry phase out CFCs while continuing to improve the energy efficiency of refrigeration.2

1  

EE refers throughout this appendix to the energy efficiency component of DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

2  

DOE’s role in easing the industry’s transition from CFCs was confirmed by Mark Menzer, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute, in a presentation to the committee on October 31, 2000. Also see Geller and Thorne (1999).



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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 E Case Studies for the Energy Efficiency Program DOE’s energy efficiency (EE) R&D program1 focuses on three sectors: buildings (both residential and commercial), industry (manufacturing and cross-cutting technologies), and transportation (primarily automotive and heavy-duty trucks). The committee decided to analyze a group of technologies from each sector that would be representative of the overall program and that would demonstrate the range of benefits and costs of the program, given that the buildings and industry sectors tend to have many smaller projects and thus account for a small portion of the overall budget. From all the programs and technologies in the buildings sector, the following were chosen: Advanced compressors for refrigerator-freezers, Compact fluorescent lightbulbs, DOE-2 program, Electronic ballast for fluorescent lamps, Free-piston Stirling engine-drive heat pumps, Indoor air quality, and Low-emission (low-e) glass. From the programs and technologies in the industry sector, the committee selected the following: Advanced lost foam technology, Advanced turbine systems, Black liquor gasification, Forest products Industries of the Future program, and The oxygen-fueled glass furnace. It selected the following technologies and programs from the transportation R&D sector: Advanced batteries for electric vehicles, Catalytic conversion for cleaner vehicles, PNGV, Stirling automotive engine, and Transportation fuel cell power systems. The case studies are presented here in the order they are listed above. ADVANCED REFRIGERATION Program Description and History Refrigeration accounts for about $14 billion of the U.S. residential electricity bill and also has significant commercial sector applications (OEE, 2000a). In 1977, DOE initiated an appliance product development program that included emphasis on refrigerator-freezers and supermarket refrigeration systems. Manufacturer involvement was substantial from the outset. DOE targeted both improved components, starting with the electricity-intensive refrigerator compressor, and computer tools for analyzing refrigerator design options. Early successes included a compressor system that achieved 44 percent efficiency improvement over the technology commonly used in refrigerators of the late 1970s. When the Montreal Protocol forced manufacturers of refrigeration equipment to replace chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), DOE responded with cooperative R&D agreements that helped the private sector investigate and test alternative refrigerants, new insulation materials, and new appliance designs. These partnerships helped industry phase out CFCs while continuing to improve the energy efficiency of refrigeration.2 1   EE refers throughout this appendix to the energy efficiency component of DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). 2   DOE’s role in easing the industry’s transition from CFCs was confirmed by Mark Menzer, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute, in a presentation to the committee on October 31, 2000. Also see Geller and Thorne (1999).

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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 Funding and Participation Total funding from 1978 through 1981 for refrigerator compressor R&D was $0.83 million, in current year dollars. Converting this to 1999 dollars with the implicit price deflator yields a total of $1.56 million (Table E-1). The research was cost-shared with industry through a competitive solicitation. The winning contractor, Columbus Products Company (CPC), contributed $0.276 million in direct costs over the course of the program (the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy could not provide the year-by-year data), or $0.55 million in 1999 dollars. However, the successful deployment of the technology in the marketplace required substantial outlays by CPC and other companies in the refrigerator industry. Results Figure E-1 presents one of the last half-century’s more remarkable technological achievements in the energy field: a reduction of more than two-thirds in the average electricity consumption of refrigerators over about 25 years, even as average unit sizes increased, performance improved, and ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons were removed. In the commercial sector, DOE-funded improvements in supermarket refrigeration systems fundamentally transformed that marketplace: “Without DOE’s financial and technical assistance, it is unlikely that the companies would have actively pursued what were then perceived as high-risk, uncertain technologies” (Geller and McGaraghan, 1998). These outcomes reflect sustained industry and government cooperation, based on the integration of R&D, incentives for customers to purchase efficient models, and government efficiency standards at both state and federal levels. While many institutions were involved, DOE was an early and effective leader, starting with its 1977 launch of a program of appliance product development. DOE’s initial investment of some $772,000 helped demonstrate the feasibil TABLE E-1 Funding for Advanced Refrigerator-Freezer Compressors   DOE Cost Fiscal Year (thousands of current year dollars) (thousands of 1999 dollars) 1978 112 243 1979 264 529 1980 226 414 1981 225 377 Total 827 1563   SOURCE: Office of Energy Efficiency. 2000a. OEE Letter response to questions from the Committee on Benefits of DOE R&D in Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy: Advanced Refrigerator/Freezer Compressor Program. December 12. ity of a full-featured refrigerator using 60 percent less electricity than comparable conventional units and produced new computer tools for analyzing the energy-use implications of refrigerator design options. DOE R&D funds and partnerships also “played a key role” in allowing industry to phase out CFCs without an energy penalty (Geller and Thorne, 1999). These successes strongly influenced the enactment of increasingly demanding efficiency standards, first in California and ultimately by DOE itself, under authority of the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987. A reinforcing cycle began that continues to this day, under which targeted federal R&D helps make possible the introduction of increasingly efficient new refrigerator models, which themselves become the basis for tightening the minimum efficiency standards (based on their demonstration that meeting a tighter standard is technologically feasible). Benefits and Costs Improvements from R&D in Refrigerator-Freezer Compressors In the late 1970s and early 1980s one of the DOE laboratories, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), began to work on improving the efficiency of major residential and commercial appliances. The refrigerator was one of these. ORNL subcontracted a major manufacturer of compressors to investigate how to improve the efficiency of these machines. By implementing a series of low-cost measures, compressor efficiency was improved from 3.6 Btu/Wh in 1980, to 4.2 Btu/Wh in 1981 and to 5.4 Btu/Wh in 1989. The manufacturer’s cost per compressor was estimated by ORNL to be in the range of $3 to $8 per unit. In the commercial market, this could have been as high as $15 to $40 per compressor (Baxter, 2001). ORNL provided technical support for various models of refrigerators to help manufacturers estimate the impacts of technical improvements (including the compressor). This R&D eventually included work to determine the impacts of HCFC substitutes and investigated how to reduce the performance degradation penalty to about zero. To estimate the benefits from compressor improvement, the committee sent a data request to DOE and received in response a spreadsheet analysis of the energy savings and net energy cost savings to consumers due to the purchase of more efficient refrigerators. In this analysis, DOE used the sales-weighted average annual energy use of refrigerators sold by year over the period 1981 to 1990. It was further assumed that the sales-weighted annual energy use per unit sold in 1979 should be used as a base number from which to calculate the impact of improved compressors. In 1979, the energy use was 1365 kWh/year, and by 1990 it had decreased to 916 kWh/year, or about 33 percent improvement. It was estimated that one-half of the reduction in the use of energy

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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 FIGURE E-1 Electricity consumed by refrigerators, 1947 to 2001. SOURCE: Goldstein and Geller, 1998. was due to improved compressors. This assumption derives from the opinions of two different expert analysts (Baxter, 2001). The assumption is reasonable since the corresponding improvement in compressor efficiency was 50 percent and the DOE compressor contractor seemed to lead the field and pull improvements from other manufacturers. The cost of efficiency improvements to the consumer was assumed to be $170 (Rosenfeld, 1991), and half this cost was assumed to be for the improved compressor. Thus, the cost of the compressor improvements was $85, which is likely too high for the reasons mentioned above. The lifetime of the refrigerators was assumed to be 20 years (Rosenfeld, 1991). For each year from 1981 through 1990, the annual energy use reduction compared to 1979 was used to calculate the energy savings due to advanced compressors and the total life-cycle savings for units sold that year. From these savings and the national average residential cost of electricity, the life-cycle energy cost savings were calculated for units sold in each year. From this cost savings, the incremental cost of the compressors was subtracted and the net life-cycle savings were calculated and summed over the decade. The result was about $9 billion in energy cost savings and primary energy savings of about 2.2 Q. In addition, the committee applied its 5-year rule. To calculate realized benefits, half of the efficiency savings per unit in 1981 was applied to the units sold in 1986, and for 1987, half the energy savings per unit in 1982 was multiplied by the number of units sold in 1987, and so on for each year to 1990. Life-cycle energy savings were subtracted for each year from the previous savings for that year and the results summed to obtain a cumulative effect. This reduced net energy savings attributable to improved compressors from 2.2 to 1.3 Q, and the energy cost savings were reduced from $9 billion to $7 billion. The simple payback varied over a period beginning in 1981 for about 10 years and lessened to about 5 years in 1990. The analysis assumed that half the annual energy use reduction measured by the industry for models sold in a particular year was due to improved compressors. Additional assumptions were made for the consumer cost of buying improved compressors. Nevertheless, the committee believes the cost savings and energy savings are reasonably attributable to improved compressors, and that the DOE R&D investment played an important role in bringing continuously improving compressors to market. Improvements Resulting from Regulatory Standards From 1990 through 2005, improvements in refrigerator-freezers have continued and will continue to occur. A princi-

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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 pal cause of this continued improvement is the DOE standards. DOE R&D contributed to the setting of these standards. Improvements are also the result of finding ways to substitute non-ozone-depleting refrigerants for HCFCs without degrading energy performance. This was helped by DOE-supported R&D. The energy savings from these further improvements through 2005 are estimated to be 2.6 Q of primary energy. The corresponding net cost savings to consumers is estimated to be $15 billion (McMahon et al., 2000). Lessons Learned Table E-2 summarizes the benefits and costs of the program. This case study underscores the value to society of integrating RD&D and minimum efficiency standards as an instrument for accelerating technological innovation. A key factor in the development of more demanding efficiency standards is simply “the availability of more efficient models in the market” (Goldstein, 2000). As a result, “sim- TABLE E-2 Benefits Matrix for the Advanced Refrigerator-Freezer Compressors Programa   Realized Benefits/Costs Options Benefits/Costs Knowledge Benefits/Costs Economic benefits/costs DOE R&D costs: $1.6 millionb Substantial benefits: Approximately $7 billionc Design modifications to compressorsd Facilitated efficiency standardse Applications softwaref Minimal: technology has been commercialized and deployed R&D on system optimizationg R&D helped develop and define future refrigerator efficiency R&D on energy-saving components and features Research findings were applied to air conditionersh Environmental benefits/costs Substantial emissions reductionsi Reductions in energy consumptionj Minimal: technology has been commercialized and deployed Benefits could be large as technology is disseminated. Security benefits/costs Improved electric system reliability Minimal benefits, since most of the electric energy saved displaced fossil, nuclear, or hydro, and little oil was displaced Benefits are relatively small, because little oil would be displaced Successful technology transfer to other nations could substantially increase worldwide energy efficiency and reduce environmental emissions aUnless otherwise noted, all dollar estimates are given in constant 1999 dollars through 2000. bFrom 1977 through 1982, DOE conducted a program on appliance product development with substantial manufacturer involvement, expending about $4.9 million (current dollars) for R&D. The largest product development efforts were focused on heat pump water heaters, refrigerator-freezer compressors, refrigerator-freezers, and supermarket refrigeration systems. Of the total budget, $1.6 million (1999 dollars) was spent on refrigerator-freezer compressors. cAs a result of DOE R&D investment with a compressor manufacturer, a series of much more efficient compressors for refrigerator/freezers came on the market beginning in 1981. These compressors were assumed to have resulted in half the energy savings of the sales-weighted average refrigerator/freezers sold between 1981 and 1990 compared to 1979 as a base from which to calculate the savings. The net life-cycle cost savings of units sold through 1990 were reduced by assuming an improved compressor would have appeared on the market by 1986 without the DOE investment and that it would have followed the same penetration path displaced by 5 years. No energy or cost savings beyond 1990 were assumed, but the full life-cycle savings over the assumed 20-year life of the units was counted. Beyond 1990, improvements in efficiency were due to DOE standards and R&D on hydrochlorofluorocarbons substitutes without performance degradation, and these are estimated to have saved 2.6 quads of primary energy for electricity generation and $15 billion in net consumer lifecycle savings through 2005. dDOE selected a suite of 13 modifications and incorporated them into a laboratory prototype unit. These involved two approaches to improving efficiency: through improved valve and port designs. A 44 percent improvement in efficiency was achieved over the compressor technology commonly used in refrigerators in the late 1970s. eIn the late 1980s, DOE began to develop efficiency standards in response to industry requests for national standards to obviate a multitude of emerging state standards. The prospect of national standards would have spurred industry to begin work on improved compressors by the late 1980s. Therefore, without the DOE R&D program, market penetration of advanced compressors likely would not have begun until the early 1990s, about 10 years later than actually occurred. fThe project developed a computer program for analyzing refrigerator design options. The program was further developed by Arthur D.Little after the project and was later used for a variety of purposes: to develop the technical basis for the DOE national minimum efficiency standards, to design advanced products for manufacturers, to evaluate refrigerant design options for EPA refrigerant rulemakings, and to help design efficient refrigerators for developing countries. gFor example, the refrigerator- freezer development focused on systems optimization of the entire refrigerator- freezer, including the refrigeration circuit, case design, insulation, and controls. hThe technology and knowledge base developed in the refrigerator compressor R&D effort was applied by industry to improving compressors for room air conditioners, and experience in improving refrigerator compressors enabled appliance manufacturers to increase the average efficiency of room air conditioner compressors by more than 25 percent through the 1980s. iEE estimates avoided emissions of 41.6 million metric tons of carbon, 0.36 million tons of nitrogen oxide, 0.63 million tons of sulfur dioxide, 0.01 million tons of particulate matter (PM 10), 0.04 million tons of carbon monoxide, and 0.01 million tons of volatile organic compounds. jImproved refrigerators reduce household electricity demand and, since the heat from refrigerators adds to the house cooling load, they also reduce cooling energy demands and thus peak demand.

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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 ply the introduction of the models based on DOE research, regardless of how well they sold or whether or not they were imitated by other manufacturers, is relevant to the development of standards” and ultimately to overall improvements in energy efficiency (Goldstein, 2000). From this perspective, what is most important about the DOE technologies is not so much their ultimate commercial success but their role in influencing efficiency standards (which may themselves prompt other innovations that preempt the DOE precursors). The capacity of ambitious technology demonstrations to influence standards is suggested by the extent to which each DOE standard departed from industry-average efficiencies prevailing at the time of enactment: a full 30 percent reduction in each of the three iterations (1990, 1993, and 2001) (see Figure E-1). COMPACT FLUORESCENT LAMPS Program Description and History Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) were developed and introduced in the 1980s, principally by several European firms, as a more efficient replacement for standard incandescent lamps, which consume 85 percent of the lighting energy in U.S. residential applications. Since fluorescent lamps are four to five times more efficient than incandescent lamps, finding ways to replace existing incandescent lighting applications with CFLs could yield substantial energy savings and has become a key goal of the DOE lighting R&D program. Nevertheless, DOE did not have a program targeted at CFLs until 1997. In the two decades since their commercial introduction, CFLs have been continuously improved and sales have grown, but slowly. CFLs are now widely used in commercial buildings in many applications that traditionally used incandescent lamps—for example, in recessed downlights. However, CFLs have not penetrated the residential market significantly, nor have they have replaced incandescent lamps in some commercial applications such as lighting in retail establishments and hotels, although some major hotel chains have replacement programs under way. In recognition of the potential energy savings, DOE decided, in 1997, to sponsor work on technology to reduce the cost and size of CFLs and hasten their commercial deployment. The principal barrier to widespread penetration of CFLs in the residential marketplace is the combination of cost and bulk of the ballast. The bulk of 1980s vintage CFL units is a particular problem when installing CFLs in portable light fixtures such as table lamps, which are widely used in residences and hotels. While more modern unitized lamp-ballast products minimize bulk, they tend to be expensive because both the lamp and the ballast are replaced when the product wears out. Separable lamp-ballast products are far less expensive overall since just the lamp can be replaced, leaving the ballast in place. However, separable products are generally more bulky than unitized products since they require the additional connection apparatus between the bulb and the ballast. These were the principal issues challenging the DOE-sponsored joint program with industry to develop CFLs, initiated in 1997. A key industry partner was General Electric (GE), which in the course of the first project of the new program, projected that reducing the cost of a CFL from $15 to $9 would increase sales by more than 250 percent. This first project, which concluded in 1999, identified evolutionary approaches to reducing cost by about 30 percent, concluding that more aggressive technical approaches to achieve greater cost reductions would probably result in less-than-adequate product performance (energy efficiency, size, and electronic interference). The second project, which started in 1999, is ongoing. It is exploring the possibility of miniaturizing the ballast electronics to such an extent that it can be built into the lighting fixture itself, with attendant reductions in lamp cost and size. Another DOE effort has been to stimulate manufacturers to develop more compact, lower-cost CFLs by extending existing lamp technology. In this effort, DOE is fostering private sector R&D by guaranteeing a minimum level of CFL purchases, primarily from the public sector for schools, public housing, etc. Portable lamp fixtures in the United States account for 20 percent of the energy consumed in lighting. There are 400 million to 500 million portable lighting fixtures in U.S. residences and another 30 million or so in U.S. hotels. Funding and Participation In FY 1999, Congress provided funds specifically for the competitive procurement of new R&D projects with industry, including a project for developing the CFL and a substantial increase in funding over the previous several fiscal years for lighting research. This was prompted in part by increased support from industry for collaborative work with the DOE, particularly in lighting. Table E-3 shows the funding history of the integrated ballast-fixture CFL project. Results The generic product (a lampholder) envisioned in the DOE CFL integrated ballast-fixture project being carried out jointly with GE is not part of the current GE product line. Indeed, since GE does not have a major product line in electronic ballasts and does not have an established market position to support, this project was not ranked very high in GE’s internal prioritization process for allocating internal R&D funding. As a result, it is clear that without DOE funding, the project would probably not have been initiated.

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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 TABLE E-3 Funding for the Compact Fluorescent Lamps Program (thousands of 1999 dollars) Fiscal Year DOE Cost Contractor Cost Total 1999 1172 293 1466 2000 to 2001 579 462 1040 Total 1751 755 2506   SOURCE: Office of Energy Efficiency. 2000. OEE Letter response to questions from the Committee on Benefits of DOE R&D in Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy: Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs Program. December 12. Benefits and Costs The principal benefits of the DOE CFL program are in the area of options and knowledge for future development, as shown in the benefits matrix (see Table E-4). The target market for CFLs, as noted earlier, is enormous, which provides the rationale for continuing the projects. Lessons Learned Building on the recent history of successful DOE/industry collaboration in lighting R&D, the CFL program has adopted many of the features of previous efforts, in, for example, the electronic ballasts program. In particular, the role of industry in helping shape the direction of the program has helped ensure continued interest on the part of industry. DOE-2 ENERGY ANALYSIS PROGRAM Program Description and History DOE-2 is a computer program for evaluating the energy performance and associated operating costs of buildings. DOE-2 is applicable to both new buildings and retrofits to existing buildings. Although the computer program has been used primarily to predict energy use associated with design alternatives for nonresidential buildings (e.g., offices, schools, and hospitals), it has also been used to predict the energy performance of residential buildings. It has also been used to simulate the performance of new technologies and to TABLE E-4 Benefits Matrix for the Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) Programa   Realized Benefits/Costs Options Benefits/Costs Knowledge Benefits/Costs Economic benefits/costs DOE R&D costs: $1.8 million Industry costs: $755,000 Benefits may be large: Market potential is significant, and industry appears interested in further commercializing the productb R&D on halogen lights and CFL prototypes Increased knowledge of circuit designs and heat dissipation methods to meet an extreme size and durability constraint Research on miniaturizing the ballastc Development of lower-cost CFLsd Environmental benefits/costs CFLs produce twice as much light and consume only 25% as much electricity as conventional halogen lights Potential benefits are largee Research on lighting, given its importance in terms of energy consumption and energy savings potential Avoided emissions of carbon, SO2, and NOxf Reduced hazards from reduced heat output in some applications Security benefits/costs Benefits are small to date Potential benefits are large R&D on reducing electricity demandg With widespread use, possible under some future scenarios, deployment of CFLs will reduce electric system peak loads. aUnless otherwise noted, all dollar estimates are given in constant 1999 dollars through 2000. bEnergy savings of 15.4 billion kWh/yr would result in $5.3 billion of net dollar savings (energy cost savings less incremental first cost). Assumptions include lamp data: (1) average wattage of incandescent lamp = 75 W, average wattage of CFL = 18 W, (2) first cost differential for fixture with integrated CFL ballast and lamp = $12, and (3) average lifetime of ballast/lamp = 24,000/8,000 hours; Market data: residential energy market penetration = 50 percent, hotel occupancy = 81 percent, hotel market penetration = 80 percent. The benefits are calculated using 1999 energy costs and no discounting, and EE assumes that the DOE project accelerates the market by 7 years. EE calculates the area between the curves of two market penetration scenarios, one with and one without the DOE project. The market penetration curves (rate and maximum penetration) for the two scenarios are identical, but displaced by 7 years. The total long-run benefits (in energy savings) do not depend on the rate of penetration. cThe goal is to miniaturize the ballast to such an extent that it can be built into the fixture, with attendant benefits in lower lamp cost and smaller lamp size. dA focus of DOE efforts has been to stimulate manufacturers to develop more compact, lower cost CFLs by extending existing lamp technology. In this case, DOE is fostering private sector R&D by guaranteeing a minimum level of purchases, primarily from the public sector (schools, public housing, etc.). eIncandescent lamps are a very inefficient way to generate light; only 3 to 5 percent of the electric energy they consume is converted into light. Fluorescent lamps, on the other hand, are four to five times more efficient than incandescent lamps. fAvoided emissions total: carbon, 3 million tons/yr; SOx, 0.05 million tons/yr; and NOx, 0.03 million tons/yr. gAs concerns grow about the adequacy of electricity generating capacity to meet future electricity demand, R&D focusing on the sources of electricity demand has received additional attention.

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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 guide research by estimating the impact of alternative R&D proposals. However, the most significant uses of DOE-2 have probably been for support of demand-side management and rebate programs by utility companies, support for the development and implementation of voluntary and mandatory energy efficiency standards, and as a tool for teaching and research in architectural and engineering schools (DOE, 2000a). The first version of DOE-2, which was released by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in 1978, evolved from previous versions that were developed in the public sector. In the early 1970s, the National Bureau of Standards Load Determination (NBSLD) program was released. The first dynamic simulation model for whole-building analysis, it supported the development of American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 90–75: Energy Conservation for New Building Design. In the mid 1970s, the program developed for the U.S. Postal Service added a life-cycle cost component to the NBSLD program. The Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) adopted the program for use in other federal buildings and promulgated ERDA-1. The California Energy Commission further developed it as CALERDA (Hunn, 2001). These predecessor programs focused on load determinations and had only basic capabilities to simulate the performance of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems. When LBNL assumed responsibility for updating the CALERDA program, one of the first improvements was to provide a set of system simulation models (Hunn, 2001). Since then, this computer program has been continually updated and improved. In 1994, LBNL released version DOE-2.1E, which incorporated new models for ice storage systems and evaporative cooling systems, desiccant cooling systems, and variable-speed heat pumps; an enhanced energy cost calculation to simulate complex rate structures; and a link to the WINDOW-4 program that simulates custom glazing (LBNL, 1994a; LBNL, 1994b). During the 1990s, personal computer versions of DOE-2 were released by the private sector, and a lighting simulation program, RADIANCE, was developed at LBNL and linked to DOE-2 (LBNL, 1992). Also in the 1990s, an indoor air quality simulation program, COMIS, which LBNL had developed together with the International Energy Agency, was linked to DOE-2 (Fisk, 2001). In October 2000, a beta 4 version of a new generation program, Energy Plus, was released; it combines features of DOE-2 and BLAST (Building Loads Analysis and System Thermodynamics, developed by Department of Defense) (OEE, 2000c). Funding and Participation According to the information provided by EE, DOE has invested about $23 million in the development of DOE-2 since 1978, and external funding to LBNL in support of this program was about $8 million during that time (investment reported in 1999 dollars) (OEE, 2000d). Approximately 20 percent of this external funding was provided by the Electric Power Research Institute, Southern California Edison Co., and the Gas Research Institute for the development of algorithms for thermal storage sizing methods, evaporative cooling methods, and gas-fired desiccant and gas-fired cooling models. The remainder of the external funding was from third-party resellers of versions of DOE-2 (OEE, 2000e). The level of funding for support of DOE-2, which peaked from 1993 through 1995, has receded since 1996. EE provided no information on investments for other simulation programs that have been developed within DOE or with other government agencies or the private sector. Results In addition to DOE-2 and BLAST, at least eight programs developed by the private sector dynamic simulation energy analysis programs are now available for commercial and large buildings, and at least 15 versions of DOE-2 adapted for commercial use are available with various interfaces. As an alternative to prescriptive procedures, energy efficiency codes and standards for new buildings in the private and public sectors typically allow the use of simulation programs to demonstrate compliance with comparable performance criteria. During the last 25 years, these standards and the simulation programs needed to demonstrate compliance have evolved in an iterative manner. Thus, as the criteria for energy efficiency have become more restrictive, the computer programs have become more sophisticated in order to accommodate these changes. According to EE surveys, DOE-2’s rate of penetration increased from 0.6 percent in 1984 to 25 percent in 1994, with a leveling off since then for new nonresidential building applications, and from 0.2 percent in 1984 to 1.5 percent in 1997, with a leveling off since then for existing residential building applications. EE did not estimate the penetrations of DOE-2 for new or existing residential buildings, nor did it estimate the penetration of other simulation programs developed by the public or private sectors for commercial or residential buildings. The estimates of penetration provided by EE were not confirmed in interviews conducted with three consulting engineers who have extensive design experience of new and existing buildings throughout the United States.3 These interviews revealed that the penetration of DOE-2 as a design tool in professional practice is minimal due for two reasons: (1) DOE-2 has been difficult for architects and consulting engineers to use and (2) energy use, or “energy efficiency,” 3   William Coad, McClure Engineering Associates and ASHRAE, personal communication, January 2001; Richard Pearson, Pearson Consulting Engineers, personal communication, January 2001; Lawrence Spielvogel, Lawrence G.Spielvogel Inc., personal communication, January 2001.

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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 is seldom the primary or final parameter in design decisions. These interviews also revealed that commercial or proprietary computer programs were most commonly used by consulting engineers to determine thermal loads in the buildings, to aid in the determination of the required system capacities, and, when required, to perform energy analyses. Estimates have not been provided by EE on the prevalence of the use of DOE-2 for the development of standards and codes, rebate programs, and other policy making decisions. However, the interviews revealed that DOE-2 has been used extensively and has been influential in the development of voluntary national standards for energy efficiency, such as ASHRAE 90.1 and 90.2, since 1989.4 DOE-2 has also been used in the development of state building codes and regulations such as California’s Title 245 and international building codes and standards in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Switzerland, China, and Brazil (Talbott, 2001). Benefits and Costs The benefit and cost estimates for the DOE-2 program are shown in Table E-5. Realized economic benefits associated with the use of DOE-2 are estimated to be substantial but indeterminate. DOE’s estimates of net life-cycle cost savings as a result of using DOE-2 are based on two assumptions: (1) that by 1994 the penetration of DOE-2 as a design tool throughout the United States was 25 percent and will remain at that rate until 2005 and (2) incremental annual energy savings achieved in new and existing nonresidential buildings were 22.5 percent from 1983 to 1994 and are expected to be 25.5 percent from 1995 to 2005. These potential energy savings are likely to be overestimates for the following reasons: (1) as reported by EE, the latest survey response to 3000 inquiries was only 2.6 percent, (2) LBNL validation studies (Sullivan and Winkelmann, 1998) indicated that DOE-2 substantially overestimated the energy savings (i.e., by as much as 100 percent) in monitored buildings that were not operated as initially assumed in the DOE-2 simulations, (3) interviews with three practicing consulting engineers indicated that DOE-2 is not the primary computer program used as a design tool in the United States, and (4) contiguous annual incremental savings of 25 percent, compared to next-best alternatives (e.g., evolving building codes and standards), are not likely. Moreover, the second assumption double-counts the energy savings attributable to the improvement of the actual technology or the use of the system being simulated (e.g., low-e windows, compact fluorescent lamps, desiccant cooling systems, and variable-speed heat pumps). Conversely, DOE also has probably underestimated the benefit of DOE-2 as it did not estimate assumed energy savings in new or existing residential buildings or assumed energy savings associated with the promulgation of codes and standards or rebate programs, based on DOE-2 simulations. To account for the next-best simulation tool, DOE has reduced its projected savings by 50 percent, which would mean that DOE-2 is twice as effective as the next-best simulation tool. This effectiveness was not demonstrated by DOE and was not supported in the interviews with the practicing consulting engineers. As the energy savings are dependent on the selection of alternative components in the design process and not necessarily on the computer program that was used for the analysis, the incremental energy savings attributable to DOE-2 rather than a next-best alternative program are suspect.6 A more likely realized benefit is that the use of DOE-2 confirmed to decision makers that substantial energy could be saved by incorporating and assuring the performance of certain sets of building systems, subsystems, and components into the building design, retrofit, or operations. Unfortunately, DOE has provided no data to show that the energy savings predicted with DOE-2 were actually realized and sustained. However, the 1998 report by Sullivan and Winkelmann indicated a tendency for DOE-2 simulations to overestimate monitored energy consumption in a set of buildings. Furthermore, this validation study did not examine the potential for degradation of energy savings owing to “value engineering,” construction defects, changing occupancy patterns over time, or deficient operating or maintenance procedures. DOE’s estimates of realized environmental and security benefits are based on the same assumptions of causal results of using DOE-2. Thus, for the same reasons as described above, the realized environmental and security benefits associated with the use of DOE-2 are estimated to be substantial but indeterminate. As shown in Table E-5, the enabling power of the DOE-2 computer program is demonstrated in the benefits that have accrued from its development. The program is in the public domain and has been continually upgraded to incorporate new technologies and operational schemes. Thus, it has been widely used as a reference for establishing government standards, motivating government programs such as Energy Star, and estimating impacts of rate structure scenarios and rebate programs. Lessons Learned The evolution of the DOE-2 computer program shows the importance of tools that allow designers, policy makers, and 4   ASHRAE Standards 90.1–1989 and 90.1–1999, and others have all used DOE-2 to evaluate candidate changes. 5   California Code of Regulations. California Energy Code, 1998. Title 24, Part 6. 6   Published comparisons of the analytical results of most major programs indicate small deviations in estimated outcomes. These comparisons also indicate that more error can be expected from different operators of the same program than from one operator using different programs.

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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 TABLE E-5 Benefits Matrix for the DOE-2 Programa   Realized Benefits/Costs Options Benefits/Costs Knowledge Benefits/Costs Economic benefits/costs DOE R&D costs: $23 millionb Industry costs: $8 milliond Substantial benefitse Ability to cost-effectively adjust efficiency choicesf Ability to tailor efficiency choices to local markets and building practices Ability to minimize first-cost impacts of buildings improvements Improved building codes and standards Better building designsg Energy Plusc Home Energy Saver (Web version) and RESFEN-3 Ability to model complex building interactions, material properties, and performance of energy-using equipment Environmental benefits/costs Substantial avoided emissionsh Used to help implement new ventilation standards for indoor air quality with minimum energy or construction cost impacts Tool for assessing impacts of proposed buildings energy policies on the environment Tool for reducing emissions related to building energy use Means of including the buildings sector in Clean Development Mechanism and other greenhouse gas emission credit options Reduced global environmental impactsi Ability to assess the air emissions impacts and trade-offs of building design choices and policies Ability to identify least-cost means of realizing specific environmental benefits in the buildings sector Ability to target building-related environmental research to areas with greatest opportunity Security benefits/costs Reduced peak-load electricity consumptionj Reduced need for new generating capacity and for natural gas Opportunity to target peak demand reductions to alleviate transmission and distribution congestion Provides ability to incorporate distributed energy resources in building designs Ability to model peak-load reduction strategies Ability to model distributed energy resource technologies Ability to model load- shifting strategiesk aUnless otherwise noted, all dollar estimates are given in constant 1999 dollars through 2000. bEstimate of constant 1999 dollar total. A complete time series budget is not available. cDOE-2 combined with BLAST plus enhancements. dEstimate of constant 1999 dollar total. A complete time series budget is not available. eEE estimated that approximately $90 billion cumulative net energy bill savings will result from the use of DOE-2 through 2005. To estimate these savings, EE (1) assumed 25 percent penetration of new buildings design, (2) assumed that 1999 survey respondents represent only 20 percent of actual square footage designed using DOE-2, (3) used sq. ft. energy savings of 25.5 percent and average energy use of new buildings of 225,000 Btu/ft2 (this is originating source data, not end-use energy consumption), (4) used EIA and F.W.Dodge data to estimate new and existing building floor space, (5) assumed that buildings savings would continue for 25 years, and (6) assumed that DOE-2 results in twice the savings as the next-best alternative. Thus, the benefit estimate appears to be extremely high for a computer program that acts primarily as a facilitator. While it is clear that software programs and information technology can play an important role in building design, it is very difficult to precisely estimate how much energy can be “saved” by DOE-2 or any other analytical tool. At best, DOE-2 allows predictions of how much energy might be saved over a period if certain building components are assembled in specified sets and only under certain specific assumptions, as no actual data on energy savings are available. Nevertheless, DOE-2 did demonstrate that software tools can facilitate energy efficiency improvements, and it helped redefine the mode of thinking in the energy efficiency industry. The benefits are thus probably substantial and greatly exceed the R&D costs. fThese can be adjusted to reflect increases in energy prices, changes in building product prices, labor costs, etc. gProvides the opportunity to change building designs in light of changes in the relative cost of electricity and natural gas. hEE estimated avoided emissions of 225 million tons of carbon, 1.8 million tons of nitrogen oxides, and 2.8 million tons of sulfur dioxide, as well as additional avoided emissions of suspended particulates. However, these benefit estimates are subject to the same reservations discussed in footnote e. iAbility to assist other countries in improving building practices and reducing global environmental impacts. jEE claimed that, in the short run, peak-load electricity consumption was reduced, often more than average consumption, and the probability of outages was also reduced. However, these benefit estimates are subject to the same reservations discussed in footnote e. Moreover, the propensity for DOE-2 modeling to overestimate energy savings may have resulted in a sense of false security. kFor example, partial thermal storage. other decision makers to evaluate the performance of complex systems by simulation. The technological improvement of a component or subsystem may offer the potential for energy savings and improved environments. However, how the components perform as an integrated whole system is difficult to evaluate without simulation tools. The primary lesson to be learned from this example is that the energy savings for a complex system are likely to be very uncertain

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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 if the interactions of the candidate components are not accurately simulated. A corollary to this lesson is that care is needed to avoid double- or triple-counting the potential for energy savings of the components identified within a system in addition to the energy savings likely to be realized by the composite use of all of the components as a whole system. A second lesson to be learned from this case study is that simulation models (i.e., software tools or instruments, such as DOE-2) are critically important enablers of decisions to improve energy economics, environmental quality, and security. However, as good as the tool or instrument may be, if the user misapplies it (e.g., provides incorrect assumptions or input data), incredible results can occur. It is therefore imperative that predicted results from whole-system simulations be carefully calibrated using data from actual systems, and that those who are responsible for the consequences of these simulations understand the limitations of the predicted results. A third, and maybe the most important, lesson to be learned from this case study is that enabling tools such as DOE-2 do not themselves save energy. Rather, they provide methods by which energy-saving alternatives can be evaluated. Thus, the benefit/cost justification for support of these programs should not be based on how much energy can be saved through their use. In fact, if that is the measure of success of the program, the effectiveness of the simulation models could be biased. Because DOE-2 has been used to estimate the energy savings of various technologies in the EE program, another method for measuring their benefits and costs should be identified. ELECTRONIC BALLASTS Program Description and History Fluorescent lights, the dominant lighting type in commercial buildings, require ballasts, which help start the flow of current through the lamp and then control it. The ballast provides the high voltage needed to start the lamps and subsequently limits the current to a safe value for operation of the lamp. Traditionally, magnetic ballasts, constructed from passive components such as inductors, transformers, and capacitors, have been used to operate fluorescent lamps at the same frequency as the power line. They are inexpensive and long-lasting devices that have been used for as long as fluorescent lighting has been used. Operating fluorescent lights at higher frequencies has long been recognized as a way of increasing their energy efficiency. When DOE began its program on lighting research and development in 1977, it was, in part, attempting to exploit this potential. Electronic ballasts are designed to operate fluorescent lamps at frequencies a thousand times higher than the power line frequency used in traditional magnetic ballasts; such operation can increase the efficiency of converting electric energy into light by 10 percent. By using high-efficiency electronic components, the combined effect of improved lamps and ballast efficiency results in as much as a 30 percent increase in lighting energy efficiency over traditional fluorescent lighting. Moreover, more advanced electronics also lends itself to dimming, remote control, and other energy-saving features not possible with magnetic ballasts. The potential impact can be seen from the fact that in the United States, the energy associated with commercial lighting costs businesses on the order of $25 billion per year and accounts for about 26 percent of the total annual commercial building energy consumption. The DOE work in this program over the years was conducted largely through subcontracts to industry and R&D firms and in-house research at LBNL. From 1977 to 1981, DOE supported the development, evaluation, and market introduction of electronic ballasts into the U.S. marketplace. The fluorescent lamp electronic ballast that emerged from this work in 1983 impelled industry to proceed with large-scale commercial development and has become arguably the most successful initiative in the entire DOE energy efficiency portfolio. In the early years of the program, DOE established contracts with three small businesses to develop and test prototypes. Interestingly, those contracts were the result of a competitive solicitation that received no responses from the major ballast manufacturers. One of the small businesses developed into a significant, independent ballast manufacturer. In the 1970s, either before or shortly after the establishment of the DOE R&D program, all of the major firms in the ballast industry had considered but rejected introducing an electronic ballast into their lighting products businesses. The principal reason for this rejection was the strong disincentive to produce solid-state ballasts: a substantial capital investment would be required and the existing unamortized infrastructure for manufacturing magnetic ballasts would have to be retired early and replaced. Moreover, at the time, the market for magnetic ballasts was highly concentrated, with nearly 90 percent of it dominated by two firms. One of these firms actively sought to prevent the introduction of the electronic ballast by acquiring the technology from one of the small R&D firms DOE had supported and then preventing its dissemination. In 1990, after 6 years of litigation and a $26 million damage award, control over the technology was partially reacquired by the originating small business. Accompanying the DOE-initiated path of electronic ballast technology development, the state of California promulgated the first efficiency standards for fluorescent lighting ballasts in 1983. Other states followed suit: New York in 1986, Massachusetts and Connecticut in 1988, and Florida in 1989. However, it turned out that the standards could be met by improved conventional magnetic ballast technology, so they did not spur further development or more widespread use of the electronic ballast. As a result, without the DOE program for research and demonstration of the electronic ballast technology, it is unlikely that manufacture of elec-

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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 tronic ballasts would have taken place as early as it did or even at all. As the technology develops, however, the benefits of the electronic ballast have become so compelling that all major lighting manufacturers have been obliged to adopt and continue to develop the technology. Funding and Participation Over the years since the lighting program was introduced in 1977, sponsored activities have covered a wide range of energy-saving opportunities in lighting. In recent years, the overall strategy and individual activities have been organized into three distinct program thrusts: (1) light sources, (2) lighting applications (lighting design, fixtures and controls), and (3) lighting impacts. Light sources accounted for approximately half of overall program funding. Total funding for the electronic ballast program from 1977 through the early 1980s was $3.2 million in current-year dollars, or about $6.0 million in 1999 dollars (Table E-6). The research was cost-shared with industry through a competitive solicitation for development of a reliable, efficient, and cost-effective ballast. As mentioned above, three small firms won the solicitation, and these awards served as important catalysts for DOE’s early cost-shared program with industry, even though it was terminated in 1983. Ultimately, as the technology became proven through these early joint DOE-industry efforts, industry was satisfied the technology had a bright future. Indeed, the successful deployment of the technology in the marketplace required very large capital outlays by ballast manufacturers, which they would not have made had they not been so confident. While no data are available on the magnitude of these investments, they have been quite substantial. Results Fluorescent lamp electronic ballast technology has produced a permanent and fundamental change in the lighting TABLE E-6 DOE Funding for the Fluorescent Lamp Electronic Ballast Program (thousands of dollars) Fiscal Year Current $ 1999 $ 1977 345 802 1978 560 1215 1979 727 1457 1980 457 833 1981 389 652 1982 411 649 1983 274 400 Total 3163 6009   SOURCE: Office of Energy Efficiency. 2000f. Letter response to questions from the Committee on Benefits of DOE R&D in Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy: Electronic Ballast for Fluorescent Lamps Program. December 12. marketplace, both in the United States and worldwide. In some sense this development is not surprising, since its adoption did not require any significant change to the fluorescent lamp itself. Electronic ballasts can be used in retrofit applications easily and are now routine in most new commercial and industrial lighting applications because the life-cycle cost savings are so substantial given the very low incremental capital costs over magnetic ballast alternatives. As the technology continues to develop and penetrate residential markets in both retrofit and new applications, the nation’s energy saving benefits will grow even more. Moreover, as significant as the efficiency savings are, the dimming and other control features of the technology can also enhance the quality of lighting applications and accelerate adoption of the technology even when energy prices are low. Even though electronic ballasts entered the market in the late 1970s, they did not achieve substantial sales until 1985, largely for the market intervention reasons described earlier. However, after a slow start, market penetration has now reached about 40 percent of all ballast sales and is expected to be 50 percent of sales by 2005. Moreover, as a result of the recent DOE-proposed minimum efficiency standard, nearly all ballasts will probably have to be of the electronic type by 2010. Benefits and Costs The DOE work on electronic ballasts derives from the work of the lighting research group at LBNL that began in 1976. Two small companies that won a solicitation from LBNL did the research on ballasts, and prototypes were field-tested in 1978 and 1979. Substantial energy savings of about 25 percent were demonstrated, but reliability and other problems remained to be worked out. In addition, the major manufacturers of magnetic low-frequency ballasts actively resisted the electronic high-frequency innovation. It was not until 1988 that the new ballasts began to penetrate the market, and now they have captured about a 40 percent share (Geller and McGaraghan, 1998). Electronic ballasts have the added advantage of electronic control, including dimming. The efficiency of magnetic ballasts has been improved, and they are the next-best technology. They are also cheaper per unit, but the difference in cost has been decreasing. The capital investment involved in manufacturing the electronic ballasts on a large scale is considerable, which is another reason for the delay in penetration. The DOE provided a spreadsheet analysis of the benefits of the electronic ballasts calculated from its sales, the energy savings per unit, and the average hours of use per year of fluorescent lights in commercial buildings. DOE’s number, 3200 hr/year, is now thought to be an underestimate by 500 hr/year, so this is a source of underestimation for energy savings.

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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 R&D. There is no final value, since the program is still in progress, and in any case it will always be difficult to determine, since the net benefits (positive and possibly negative) are ill-defined. However, the total potential environmental and security benefits are immense, and to the committee they seem well worth the cost of the program to date. The current annual cost of PNGV-related R&D is made up roughly of the total federal and industry funding, $240 million per year plus $980 million per year, plus the $130 million supplier industry contribution, totaling $1350 million. DOE’s contribution to PNGV might be taken as the 50 percent matching with industry that was planned when PNGV was formed. However, the potential benefits of PNGV (environmental and security) are more nearly the result of the total program costs, so perhaps a better ratio for DOE’s contribution to the benefits is 130 divided by 1350, or 10 percent. Figures are not available to match DOE’s funding with the specific degrees of success and failure in the benefits matrix chart, but DOE’s funding was specifically aimed more at basic enabling research than at product development, and 10 percent might be considered a typical percentage for basic research in any major R&D effort. On the other hand, DOE’s contribution is much more than its dollar input. The government involvement in PNGV certainly served as a catalyst to accelerate industry’s R&D on fuel economy, and the expertise of the national laboratories has a value beyond dollars. On these bases the committee believes that the potential benefits of PNGV measure favorably against the expenditures of DOE since 1993. STIRLING AUTOMOTIVE ENGINE PROGRAM Program Description and History The transportation sector is the dominant user of oil in the United States, accounting for more than 60 percent of the nation’s oil demand and using more than is domestically produced. Passenger cars are the most energy-intensive subsector of the transportation sector, consuming over one-third of all transportation energy; they consumed 8743 trillion Btu out of the total 24,411 trillion Btu consumed in the transportation sector in 1997. These data are taken from the 1999 Transportation Energy Data Book, which is published annually by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and DOE (Davis, 1999). DOE’s Office of Transportation Technologies (OTT) worked for many years to develop Stirling engines for automotive applications. The rationale for this work included the potential for high average thermal efficiency, multifuel capability, low maintenance requirements, smooth operation, and low emissions. None of the efforts to date has resulted in the development of a commercial product in the intended use or other uses. The first DOE Automotive Stirling Engine program was initiated in response to the energy crisis of the mid-1970s. The OPEC action spurred the examination of a wide range of alternative propulsion systems for autos. At that time, it was felt that the Stirling engine was attractive for an automotive engine because it offered high efficiency and multifuel capability, the latter point being particularly attractive because of the gasoline shortages and price volatility of the time. The Stirling engine was actually invented in 1816. In the late 1930s the Phillips Company in the Netherlands revived the engine and continued independent development for the next 20 years. In the late 1940s, General Motors started research on the engine and in 1958 signed a formal agreement with Phillips for cooperative R&D. By May 1969, GM had accumulated over 22,000 hours of operation on Stirling engines from 2 to 400 hp. Because the Stirling engine uses an external continuous combustion process, it can be designed to operate on virtually any fuel. Several automotive concepts were developed and evaluated along with the Stirling engine. The second foray into Stirling engine development came about as a result of the PNGV program. OTT worked with Mechanical Technology Incorporated (MTI) from 1978 until 1987 to develop an automotive Stirling engine. The goals of the program included a 30 percent fuel economy improvement, low emission levels, smooth operation, and successful integration and operation in a representative U.S. automobile. At the culmination of the program, the engine was demonstrated in a 1985 Chevrolet Celebrity, meeting all the program technical goals. The Stirling engine was never put into production for a number of reasons, including commensurate improvements in Otto cycle engines, high manufacturing cost, and lack of interest from the mainstream automobile manufacturers. Subsequent to DOE’s involvement, NASA supported further development of the MTI Stirling engine for a few years but then eventually abandoned it. From 1993 until 1998, General Motors teamed with Stirling Thermal Motors (STM) to develop and demonstrate a Stirling engine for hybrid vehicles as part of the PNGV initiative. The engine was designed to drive a generator in a series hybrid configuration. Six engines were eventually built by STM, and three were delivered to General Motors for testing. By the end of the program, the Stirling hybrid propulsion system was integrated into a 1995 Chevrolet Lumina. The Stirling hybrid vehicle failed to meet several key requirements. Specific shortcomings included lower-than-expected thermal efficiency, high heat rejection requirements, poor specific power, and excessive hydrogen leakage. The engine did meet its emission target, demonstrating half the ultralow-emission-vehicle (ULEV) standard. There are no plans for further development of the Stirling hybrid concept with GM or any other auto manufacturer. STM is working to commercialize a small Stirling-powered generator for commercial use.

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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 TABLE E-34 MTI Stirling Engine Development Project Budgets (millions of constant 1999 dollars) Year DOE (estimated) Cost Share 1978 18.00 0 1979 22.77 0 1980 20.90 0 1981 20.88 0 1982 22.96 0 1983 18.84 0 1984 22.65 0 1985 24.99 0 1986 25.74 0 1987 16.68 0 Total 214.41 0   SOURCE: Office of Energy Efficiency. 2000r. OEE Letter response to questions from the Committee on Benefits of DOE R&D in Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy: Stirling Automotive Engine Case Study (failure) Program. November 29. TABLE E-35 General Motors STM Stirling Engine Development Project Budgets (millions of constant 1999 dollars) Year DOE Funding General Motors Cost Share 1993 0.28 0.28 1994 2.75 2.75 1995 3.74 3.74 1996 5.25 5.25 1997 4.85 4.85 Total 16.88 16.88   SOURCE: OEE. 2000r. OEE Letter response to questions from the Committee on Benefits of DOE R&D in Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy: Stirling Automotive Engine Case Study (failure) Program. November 29. Funding and Participation The initial automotive Stirling Engine program was generously funded from 1978 through 1987 as a result of the oil embargos (see Table E-34). The second program, in which the Stirling engine was an alternative prime mover, was funded as part of the PNGV, which has enjoyed government and industry support (OEE, 2000r)33 (see Table E-35). PNGV required a 50 percent cost share from industry. Most of the work in both programs was applied research. Both programs focused on developing specific engines meeting prestated requirements. Results Both programs eventually reached the demonstration stage, when they were demonstrated in driveable passenger cars. However, both had significant technical and market barriers that prevented the technology from reaching commercial success. The MTI Stirling engine was supported and further developed by NASA for several years after DOE ended its project. The NASA effort did not result in any commercial or government applications. MTI initiated a program called APSE (Advanced Production Stirling Engine), which was funded within MTI and which utilized the capabilities of the United Stirling and Riccardo Consulting Engineers. The team also included MASCO, a broad-based manufacturing company with automotive product lines (and a major MTI shareholder). It attempted to design a cost-competitive engine. Although it potentially improved the manufacturability of an automotive Stirling engine, it could not come close to being a true competitor to the Otto cycle, even on paper. The STM Stirling engine is currently under development as a generator system. STM is on the verge of forming a joint venture with an industrial partner to assist with this commercial application. The generator will use an engine block different from the DOE hybrid Stirling engine, but some of the research on hydrogen containment, engine kinematics, and control will be embodied in the generator if it reaches commercial success. Benefits and Costs There have been no realized economic environmental or security benefits since no commercial products or spin-offs have been developed or introduced into the marketplace (see Table E-36). For MTI Stirling engine program, it is likely that none of the research and development would have occurred had there been no funding from DOE. MTI would not have had the means to carry out a research project of this scope for so many years without DOE support. After DOE support was discontinued, NASA continued to work with MTI for a year or two but eventually abandoned the project as well. MTI tried in vain to interest the natural gas industry in providing funding to support further development for other applications. No further work on the MTI Stirling engine was performed. For the STM Stirling engine project, the answer is essentially the same. STM is a small R&D firm that does not have the resources to independently support a project such as the one DOE funded. Although General Motors cofunded this project with DOE, it is unlikely that even those funds would have been expended on this technology had DOE not agreed to share the costs and the risks of the project. 33   All budget data came from DOE in response to the committee’s requests for information (OEE, 2000r).

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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 TABLE E-36 Benefits Matrix for the Stirling Automotive Engine Programa   Realized Benefits/Costs Options Benefits/Costs Knowledge Benefits/Costs Economic benefits/costs DOE R&D costs: $231 million Industry costs: $17 millionb No benefits resulted, since no commercial products were developed Minimalc Minimald Environmental benefits/costs None Minimale Stirling Thermal Motors (STM) is currently attempting to commercialize various applications of the DOE technologyf (unlikely to happen) Benefits are indeterminate: substantial R&D progress made, but overall the program was not successful Developed improvements in Stirling engine technologies Alternative engine concepts were developed and evaluated along with the Stirling engine R&D on the Stirling hybrid vehicle project as part of the PNGV program Some technology spin-off to NASAg Security benefits/costs None None None aUnless otherwise noted, all dollar estimates are given in constant 1999 dollars through 2000. bThis represents General Motors’ cost share for the period 1993–1997. cDOE contends that, as a result of utility deregulation, the market for small (30- to 100-kW) generators is expected to increase to several hundred million dollars annually by 2005 and that STM could compete for a share of that market if it is successful in commercializing the Stirling generator. However, the committee is skeptical of the Stirling generator meeting the efficiency and emission levels of equipment currently on the market by 2005. dIf the knowledge derived from this program ever results in a commercial automotive Stirling engine, the economic benefits would probably be negative, and any resulting benefits should be classified as environmental. eEE notes that STM is working with a commercial partner to commercialize Stirling generators for distributed power systems. However, the potential success of this venture is uncertain. fAlong with the technical and economic shortcomings of the automotive Stirling engine, the automobile industry has so much plant and equipment devoted to the manufacture, service, and sale of gasoline and diesel engines that incremental improvements in competing technologies do not justify the enormous cost and logistical difficulties of introducing an entirely new engine type, such as the Stirling engine. Potential gains under programs such as PNGV could be large and would be implemented in the appropriate circumstances. gHowever, the MTI Stirling engine was eventually abandoned by NASA as well. Lessons Learned The committee finds it should have been clear to DOE from the beginning that the Stirling program was a high-risk backup technology that had only a small chance of commercialization but that had considerable benefits if its problems could be solved. The engine had a history of unsuccessful efforts to commercialize that went all the way back to its invention in 1816. With this understanding, there should have been several critical go/no-go points where cancellation could occur, based on technical progress. As an assist to the contractor, the contract should have had a comprehensive cancellation clause that would have allowed at least 6 months for ongoing research to be completed and documented. This was not done, and competition for budget by proponents of the Stirling engine led to continuation of the program over many years, even though there was minimal progress against several serious technical barriers. If the R&D had focused on progress on critical barriers, including hydrogen containment and engine kinematics, instead of on engine design, build, and testing, the go/no-go decisions might have been easier. After a second run at the effort with minimal matching funds from industry, a no-go decision was finally made by PNGV in 1997. The chance for a radically different power plant like the Stirling engine to displace the internal combustion engine in the automobile industry is small unless the new power plant brings a dramatic improvement in performance, fuel economy, convenience, or cost, or meets a severe new social requirement unattainable by conventional means. The auto industry has so much plant, equipment, and experience devoted to the manufacture and service of gasoline and diesel engines that incremental improvements by competing technologies do not justify the cost and logistic difficulty of introducing an entirely new engine type. In addition, the internal combustion engine is a moving target since it has dramatically improved in power density, fuel consumption, and emissions over the past 20 years and continues to do so. All this does not mean, however, that the auto industry and

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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 the DOE should not continue to fund R&D on promising alternative power plants and implement them if the potential benefits are appropriate. PEM FUEL CELL POWER SYSTEMS FOR TRANSPORTATION Program Description and History The Transportation Fuel Cell Power Systems program focuses on polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) —also sometimes referred to as proton exchange membrane—fuel cell technology for automotive applications. Projects within the program focus on removing technical barriers that limit or inhibit PEM technology commercialization in the transportation market. A complete description and progress report for each project in the program is contained in the 2000 Annual Progress Report (OTT, 2000c). The mission of the R&D program for PEM fuel cells for transportation power systems is to develop technology for highly efficient, low- or zero-emission automotive fuel cell propulsion systems. DOE has selected PEM as its leading fuel cell technology candidate because of its high power density, quick start-up capability, and simplicity of construction, attributes that closely match the requirements of an automotive power plant. The program supports the PNGV program (see the PNGV case study), which has targeted PEM fuel cell power systems as one of the promising technologies for achieving the objective of an 80-mpg automobile (a threefold improvement). It is the next generation of technology after the frontrunner, the CIDI, or diesel engine in a hybrid configuration. The fuel cell is considered not quite ready for prime time because it still requires a major R&D effort aimed at primarily cost reduction. The program focuses effort in three major areas: (1) fuel cell power systems development, (2) the fuel processing subsystem, and (3) the fuel cell stack subsystem. Fuel cell power systems development efforts consist of activities to integrate component technologies into complete systems, including systems modeling, cost analysis, and systems control. Fuel processing subsystem activities address key barriers to the onboard processing of conventional and alternative fuels to produce hydrogen of PEM fuel cell stack quality. Fuel cell stack subsystem development activities address the development of critical stack component technology such as advanced membranes, bipolar plate technology, and electrode catalyst development. Funding and Participation General Electric developed the PEM fuel cell for NASA about 40 years ago. GE sold it when NASA needs declined, and the PEM fuel cell did not seem to have any immediate TABLE E-37 Funding for Transportation PEM Fuel Cell Power Systems Fiscal Year Funding (millions of current $) Funding (millions of 1999 $) 1978–1989 0 0 1990 3.1 3.84 1991 5.8 6.9 1992 7.5 8.62 1993 10 11.3 1994 17.5 19.2 1995 20.7 22.1 1996 21.5 22.6 1997 21.1 21.5 1998 23.5 24.0 1999 33.7 33.7 2000 37 37a 2001 41.5 41.5a Total (rounded) 243 252 aNo deflation applied. SOURCE: OEE. 2000s. OEE Letter response to questions from the Committee on Benefits of DOE R&D in Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy: Transportation Fuel Cell Power Systems Program. December 12. place during the energy crisis of the 1970s because it was too costly. DOE initiated work on PEM fuel cells in 1990, and this rekindled interest. The budget history is shown in Table E-37. The growth in budget from 1990, when it was approximately $3 million, to FY 2001, when it is $41.5 million, is due to five factors: EPAct explicitly authorized DOE fuel cell R&D. The early and continued success and rapid development of PEM technology demonstrated consistent progress in becoming commercially viable (early work was conducted largely at Los Alamos National Laboratory and funded at a very low level by the Electric Vehicle Battery Exploratory Technology Program. PEM technology was included in the PNGV program in 1993 (a decision made jointly by the government and USCAR representatives) and subsequently selected (by joint industry-government recommendation and approved by the PNGV Operating Steering Group) in 1997 as one of two candidate technologies capable of achieving 80 mpg in a PNGV-class vehicle (this decision was influenced by the third PNGV NRC peer review and commended in the fourth review) (NRC, 1998; NRC, 1999). Early success led to growing industry interest and heightened legislative visibility. There was increased need for domestic manufacturers to compete with foreign auto manufacturers. Approximately one-third of the work effort takes place at national laboratories (no cost share). The remaining two-

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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 thirds takes place under cost-shared contracts with industry partners. The cost share for these efforts varies between 20 and 50 percent (average cost shared is estimated at 25 to 30 percent). In addition, in the last 3 years both the auto manufacturing and fuel cell supplier industries have initiated large R&D fuel cell efforts that include no government cost share. Negative budget growth from FY 1995 to FY 1997 can be attributed to general tightening of federal spending during that time to achieve a balanced budget. Results DOE R&D investments in PEM transportation applications have led to tremendous interest in the stationary power area (residential and small commercial buildings). Early demonstrations of the technology are under way, and announcements of commercialization efforts have been made. At least three U.S. companies (Plug Power, International Fuel Cells, and Honeywell) have announced intentions to commercialize the technology. Each of these companies was supported early in its development of PEM technology by DOE and would not likely be poised for commercialization without DOE assistance. The committee expects that fuel cells will increasingly become part of the heavy-duty vehicle market, including urban transit buses and service vehicles. U.S. automobile manufacturers are heavily involved in PEM development due to early DOE interest and support. In January 2000, General Motors unveiled the Precept, its fuel cell concept car, at the North American Auto Show in Detroit. (The car shown was not operational, but it demonstrated packaging of the fuel cell stack in the space generally occupied by the internal combustion engine). It is fueled by hydrogen stored on board as a hydride. When he introduced the Precept, Harry Pearce, vice chairman of General Motors, said, “It was the Department of Energy that took fuel cells from the aerospace industry to the automotive industry, and they should receive a lot of credit for bringing it to us.” This is an unusually strong endorsement of a government-supported technology and reflects both the potential of the program as well as the key role DOE has played as a catalyst for industry activity. DOE has had a major role in the development of PEM fuel cell technology. Therefore, it is likely that significant differences would be noted in the absence of the DOE program: The U.S. industry base would be virtually nonexistent. Companies such as: Plug Power, Energy Partners, and NUVERA exist primarily because of early DOE solicitations and support. Other larger U.S. companies such as 3M, International Fuel Cells, and Honeywell have instituted PEM programs primarily because of DOE R&D support. For example, in 1992 DOE funded Arthur D.Little to perform a fuel chain analysis and identify appropriate reforming technologies for fuel cells. This work led to a partial oxidation (POX) research effort at Little funded by DOE where previously there had been no work. This work was successful and grew (almost exclusively funded by DOE) until Little spun off a separate company, Epyx, to continue work in the area. DOE continued to fund Epyx and urged it to form a partnership that involved a fuel cell stack technology company, which it did in 2000, when NUVERA, a joint venture between Amerada Hess, Little, and DeNora Fuel Cells, was formed. It should be noted, however, that foreign companies were excluded by DOE rules from competing for DOE contracts even though such companies represented the state of the art at the time. There would probably be no U.S. automotive programs in PEM. For eample, early work with General Motors established that company’s PEM fuel cell program (approximately $28 million in DOE funding). A large General Motors program continues today without DOE funding (see General Motors’ statement above regarding the importance of the DOE work in fuel cells). The DOE effort established PEM as an early PNGV technology, helping to promote automotive industry interest. If it had not been part of PNGV at the inception of the program (including PEM as part of PNGV was a joint industry-government decision), PEM technology would probably never have been included in PNGV due to the aggressive timetable of the program. Overall, DOE estimates, if PEM were not part of PNGV, the current performance of the technology would be set back approximately 10 years, significantly delaying the introduction of the technology into early market areas such as portable and stationary power and subsequently delaying the emergence in the automotive application. The DOE impact has been significant because it concentrated on high-risk barriers that are often not addressed by industry. For example, 8 years ago, the concept of reforming gasoline onboard the vehicle was not thought possible. It was extremely unlikely that industry would have devoted the required resources to solve this technical challenge. Because of DOE success in this area, multiple industry programs now exist to refine, package, and lower the cost of gasoline reforming systems (General Motors, International Fuel Cells, DaimlerChrysler, etc.). It should be noted, however, that the development of PEM for vehicles is an international endeavor. For example, the involvement of Ballard, a leader in the field, came through funding from Canadian governments (central and provincial). Xcellsis, the firm created by the partnership between Ballard and DaimlerCrysler and later with Ford, depends on a European subsidiary for advanced onboard reformers. In discussing the DOE technical contributions with people from the fuel cell companies, it is clear that the work on platinum catalyst loading, air bleed to control carbon monoxide (CO) catalyst poisoning, and onboard gasoline reforming by partial oxidation are all significant. These gave momentum to the private sector developments. Now that the

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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 momentum is under way, what is needed are policies by DOE and DOT that will stimulate the deployment of fuel cell vehicles. Benefits and Costs Fuel cell vehicles have the potential to reduce harmful emissions and the consumption of nonrenewable energy sources because they are clean and efficient. Fuel cells are a technology that could, if economically developed, power automobiles with little or no tailpipe emissions, provide energy to homes and factories with virtually no smokestack pollution, and use renewable, domestic energy at high efficiency. Fuel cells may provide significant energy, environmental, and economic benefits at the national, regional, and local level. These benefits include the following: Reduced dependence on foreign oil; Reduced local, regional, and global environmental impacts of transportation while maintaining a high level of mobility; Fuel cell technology leadership that will help domestic automotive companies and their fuel cell suppliers capture larger market share not only in international markets but also in markets for electricity generation in buildings and industry. Accelerating the growth of stationary fuel cells through shared technology development, leading to system reliability through distributed power. Because fuel cells in vehicles (or stationary applications) are not yet commercialized, there are no realized benefits yet (see Table E-38). Also, because fuel cell systems are still undergoing intensive R&D, the committee does not consider the technology as being commercially available. Therefore, there are no option benefits at this stage. This conclusion is arguable, but it is what the committee believes is the current state of the development, despite the fact that fuel cell-powered buses have been demonstrated in various cities, there are experimental fuel cell cars, and stationary sources are being tested. For the purposes of this discussion, the benefits are classified as knowledge benefits (see Table E-38). The principal advantages of the PEM fuel cell are its cleanliness and its efficiency even at part loads. Its disadvantages are its cost and the infrastructure costs associated with hydrogen (and methanol) production, distribution, and fueling. Fuel cell vehicles using gasoline, methanol, and hydrogen have been compared to other advanced light-duty vehicles in three recent studies (Wang et al., 1998; Weiss et al., 2000; ORNL, 2000). The Clean Energy Future (CEF) study (ORNL, 2000) looked at market penetration most extensively. In that study it was concluded that the fuel cell light-duty vehicle would not penetrate the market substantially before 2020. However, if much more intensive R&D can make the fuel cell learning curves substantially steeper than is assumed for the business-as-usual and moderate scenarios, then substantial penetration of the market is projected to occur by 2020, i.e., up to 2 million new vehicles out of 14 million. For this to occur, the cost of the fuel cell vehicle must be equal to or less than the cost of a standard evolved internal combustion engine vehicle. The MIT study indicates that this is unlikely, but it is possible. Even with favorable economics—for example, lower life-cycle costs—policy is often needed to initiate market penetration, allowing manufacturing scale-up and allowing the technology to move along the learning curve. Why is this possibility important? If a situation develops in which constraints on greenhouse gases are required, then the fuel cell with onboard hydrogen is the only alternative (except electric) that is free of carbon emissions. This implies that the hydrogen will have to come from electrolysis using electricity free of carbon emissions or from the reforming of fossil (or biomass) fuels with carbon capture and sequestration. In such a situation, the fuel cell vehicle can be thought of as an insurance policy for lowering the cost of meeting the greenhouse constraint (see Box 3–6). There is one other future situation that may be important. If the CIDI (diesel) engine (in either a hybrid or conventional vehicle) turns out not to be able to meet tier 2 standards, then the fuel cell vehicle becomes more important. The CEF study considered this case. The result of stripping diesel from the mix of advanced technologies was that fuel cell vehicle penetration increasing from 2 million to 2.8 million new vehicles sold in 2020 under the advanced (i.e., steep learning curve) scenario. The gasoline internal combustion engine hybrid takes up the rest of the slack. This is in qualitative agreement with the cost ranges reported in the MIT study (Weiss et al., 2000). The one technology not considered was a compressed natural gas hybrid vehicle, which may be the best of all. Recent progress on controlling diesel emissions indicates that this situation may be remote. One further point should be made. Stationary applications may be commercialized before vehicle applications. The stationary source must have much longer life under continuous operating conditions, but the constraints on reforming and capital cost per kilowatt may be relaxed. Stationary applications will benefit from the development of higher-temperature membranes that will make combined heat and power applications more prevalent. Lessons Learned An important lesson is that systematic and repeated peer review pays off. The project benefits from this continuity, as measured by the ability of the program and its projects to prioritize and focus. The DOE transportation program’s PEM is part of the yearly peer review process of the PNGV program. The Na-

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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 TABLE E-38 Benefits Matrix for the Transportation PEM Fuel Cell Power System Programa   Realized Benefits/Costs Options Benefits/Costs Knowledge Benefits/Costs Economic benefits/costs DOE R&D costs: $210 million Private industry R&D cost share: $54 millionb Industry is now investing much more on this technology than the government for both stationary and mobile applications There are no realized economic benefits to date as the technology has not been commercialized Likely minimal, depending on circumstancesc Substantial—see below Environmental benefits/costs None realized to date, since the product has not been commercialized Minimal since R&D is ongoing Benefits are potentially large, because fuel cell vehicles have very low emissions (much lower than tier 2 EPA emission limits (1/100) for gasoline-fueled PEM The DOE program contributed importantly to the acceleration in PEM fuel cell technologyd Various fuel cell prototype vehicles from cars to buses have been tested: e.g., GM introduced an experimental prototype of its Zafira concept minivan in 1998 and the Precept concept car in 2000 and R&D is ongoing on reduction in size and weight, reduction of manufacturing costs, improving rapid start and transient performance, increasing durability and reliability, achieving higher-temperature membranes, and improving fuel processing, including further development of fuel-flexible fuel processing and better on-board storage of hydrogen, although there is no breakthrough yete Stationary PEM fuel cell systems are being developed for building applications by a variety of companiesf Security benefits/costs None since the product has not been commercialized Minimal since R&D is ongoing Benefits are potentially large since fuel cells can use a variety of fuels (including hydrogen from natural gas and coal reformation and electrolysis) as substitutes for oil derivatives. Transportation accounts for 67% of oil consumption, and PEM fuel cells can substantially increase the energy efficiency of a vehicle using alternative fuelsg Potential option for distributed generation and creation of electricity on the demand side of congested T&D linesh aUnless otherwise noted, all dollar estimates are given in constant 1999 dollars through 2000. bEstimated on the basis of information provided by EE indicating the portion of the work effort conducted at the national laboratories (about one-third) for which there is no cost sharing and the average cost share of the remaining two-thirds of the R&D effort, where the average cost share by industry is about 28 percent. cNone of the fuel cell technologies will have significant economic benefits to the consumer until the cost of a fuel cell vehicle can be brought down to the level where the life-cycle cost (including fueling costs) is less than that of advanced ICE vehicles. The benefits will be almost exclusively in the environmental and security areas. Under some circumstances, i.e., the regulation of greenhouse gases, the advantages of the fuel cell may cause it to be the least expensive way of dealing with the constraints imposed. The CEF study indicates that it is unlikely fuel cell vehicles can achieve the necessary low costs before 2020 without very significant success in RD&D. The MIT 2020 study indicates the possibility of such success is within the range of uncertainty estimates, however. Under those circumstances, the fuel cell vehicle and the stationary source fuel cell may have economic benefits. dThese contributions include reductions in cell stack costs, size reductions, harsh environmental operability, research on partial oxidation, advanced membranes, bipolar plate technology, and electrode catalyst development. Early work on minimizing Pt catalyst loading, control of CO poisons, and gasoline partial oxidation reforming is due to or benefited greatly from the DOE program. It is fair to say that the DOE program has catalyzed the interest of many firms. eEE estimated that fuel cell hybrid vehicles running on gasoline with on-board conversion to hydrogen could achieve up to 80 mpg; hydrogen fuel cell vehicles running on stored hydrogen could achieve the equivalent of 110 mpg. fThese would use natural gas reforming to supply hydrogen. The systems are very clean, with little or no NOx or SO2 and with less CO2 emissions, because of higher efficiency on a total fuel cycle basis. Stationary systems may reach the market before vehicles. gThe CEF study does not indicate much penetration of fuel cell vehicles by 2020 unless R&D is very successful at bringing down costs and other policies are invoked to stimulate the learning curve progress and buy-down costs. Without such policies, a realistic estimate of new car fuel cell sales in 2020 is probably only about 200,000. Finally, although the potential benefits of fuel cells are large and the promise is fairly good, the R&D is not complete, and large barriers remain. There may well be prototypes in a few years and field demonstrations, and buses may be even sold (at a financial loss) to clean city environments, but passenger car fuel cells cannot currently be classified as an option according to the definition used in this study. It is impossible to predict 20 years in advance what the market for these vehicles will look like. However, oil market volatility, environmental pressures, policy changes, and other factors will all strongly influence the evolution of vehicle markets. What is clear, however, is that these technologies have the potential to significantly reduce oil consumption. hHigher-temperature membranes, currently the object of intense investigation, may also enable PEM fuel cell systems to provide combined heat and power for some applications.

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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 tional Research Council’s Standing Committee to Review the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles performs this review and publishes its findings (NRC, 2000). DOE has found this external peer review process helpful and has typically responded to the findings of the committee through changes in the program. Most recently, the NRC PNGV committee recommended that DOE focus more on high-risk, long-term PEM R&D and less on systems development activities. DOE agreed with this assessment and responded in the current R&D solicitation by eliminating full-scale systems development work and emphasizing more fundamental R&D, such as the development of a membrane that operates at higher temperatures. Within the PEM program, specific projects are brought to conclusion when targets have been met or when progress is insufficient to justify continuing the effort. One example of success has been DOE’s work with the Institute of Gas Technology to develop composite bipolar plate technology for fuel cell stacks. This project no longer requires research into basic plate properties or composition, and work has progressed to the point where it focuses only on the development of high-volume production techniques. An example of termination of effort is the work in fuel cell air management, in which four different technologies were investigated. This air management work was the subject of a peer review convened by DOE to evaluate DOE work in the area and make recommendations for future activities. Based on the recommendations of the review committee, DOE will downselect to retain one or two development efforts in this area. This downselection was partially completed by allowing two existing projects to terminate; it was to have been completed in the spring of 2000. Another example of termination of effort is work that was supported for direct ethanol fuel cell technology. This work was terminated and has not been continued by other government or industry organizations. It was terminated for lack of progress in demonstrating adequate power density and catalyst activity for the automotive application. Approximately $200,000 was spent on the program in 1997 and 1998. There are no instances in which elements of the DOE transportation program’s fuel cell were continued after first commercial sale since no true commercial sales have yet occurred. However, it is the general strategy of the program not to pursue areas of R&D that are being adequately pursued by industry. One example of this has been the decision to eliminate systems integration activities to demonstrate full-scale, integrated PEM power systems. During the last 2 years, industry initiated a number of projects in this area, eliminating the need for DOE financial participation. Instead, the program is focusing more on R&D areas that are high risk, high payoff. DOE has significantly increased the efforts to develop a high-temperature membrane. This membrane is needed to solve three problem areas for fuel cells: (1) greatly increase tolerance of the fuel cell stack to carbon monoxide poisoning, (2) eliminate the need for stack humidification, and (3) significantly improve system heat rejection by increasing the temperature differential between the fuel cell operating temperature and the ambient temperature. Conclusion DOE’s PEM fuel cell program has been very effective. It has been a leader in the technology development and at kindling the interest of the automotive companies and the many other firms that now invest more heavily than the government. Are the public benefits (or potential benefits) worth the government investment? 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