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Davis, CA, United States

Prabhakaran V.,Davis Energy Group
Power | Year: 2012

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a case against the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) that allegedly "abjectly failed to oversee the California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC) pipeline safety program or to ensure that federal pipeline safety standards are enforced. The complaint links these failures by the PHMSA to the natural gas pipeline disasters recently experienced in the Bay Area.The complaint also criticizes what it asserts to be ineffectiveness by the CPUC in regulating PG&E and other operators of natural gas pipelines. The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief directing the PHMSA to comply with its duty to oversee certified state authorities and to ensure that federal pipeline safety standards are enforced as required by the Pipeline Safety Act. It further requests that the court enjoin the PHMSA from improperly delegating their authority to do so to gas pipeline operators like PG&E.

Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 636.26K | Year: 2004

72200-Inadequate fresh air ventilation and poor indoor humidity control are two of the biggest problems in residential buildings. Both leaky older homes and more energy efficient newer homes often have problems maintaining adequate indoor comfort and air quality. Conventional air conditioning systems are not capable of providing the proper balance of cooling and dehumidification under varying outdoor conditions, and stand-alone dehumidifiers reduce overall system efficiency. This project will develop a cost-effective package of refrigeration components and controls that will provide the capability to meet changing latent and sensible loads, and provide fresh air ventilation, while using less energy than air conditioners with stand-alone dehumidifiers. The package will operate with conventional high efficiency furnaces, will be familiar to building trades, and will be easy to install. Phase I selected and designed key components (evaporator and subcooling coils), assembled and laboratory tested a prototype system to verify capabilities, and developed a system control strategy. Results indicate that moisture removal rates of about 51 to 55 liters per day during humid weather spells could be achieved, approximately two to four times more than a conventional single-speed central air conditioner. Phase II will further optimize the system for both cost and performance, package the components for ease of installation, develop integrated system controls, field test the system, and initiate technology transfer activities. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by awardee: The integrated system should be well suited for controlling indoor temperature and relative humidity, along with providing fresh air ventilation, in single-family and small commercial applications located in humid regions. Since over three-quarters of the U.S. population is located in climates with high humidity, the market is substantial. Preliminary energy savings estimates suggest that the proposed system can provide improved comfort while saving 20% (650 kWh/year) of typical cooling and dehumidification energy usage, resulting in potential cumulative national energy savings of 162.5 GWH per year. In addition, the system should reduce the potential for mold growth, thereby reducing insurance claims.

Agency: Environmental Protection Agency | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 69.99K | Year: 2006

This Phase I SBIR project addresses environmental problems associated with indoor air quality (IAQ) and energy consumption in residential buildings. As building envelopes increasingly become tight to satisfy energy efficiency requirements, health conditions that are correlated with IAQ, such as asthma and allergic diseases, are on the rise. The most effective strategy to improve IAQ is ventilation with outside air. Residential air conditioning energy consumption has doubled since 1978, and increased ventilation requirements will exacerbate this upward trend. This problem is unlikely to be addressed by improvements in conventional air conditioning equipment, as the technology is highly developed and faces diminishing returns for future improvements. High air conditioning electricity loads also correlate with poor outdoor air quality and force the operation of “peaker plants,” which are commonly dirtier than other plants. Another environmental threat posed by vapor compression air conditioning is the global warming potential of refrigerants, which is orders of magnitude greater than CO2 per pound. The amount of refrigerant leaked from a 14 seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) 3-ton air conditioning system charged with R410A is estimated to have a heat trapping effect equivalent to 1,800 pounds of CO2 over its expected lifetime. The technology described in this project combines proven night ventilation and advanced evaporative cooling technologies with a downsized vapor compression system to more efficiently provide air conditioning in residential building and improve IAQ. Once fully developed, Davis Energy Group expects that the technology will cost no more than alternative equipment and will eliminate the need for onsite refrigerant charging. The combination of improved IAQ, reduced operating costs, and little to no incremental first cost, provides the technology potential to set a new standard in the residential air conditioning marketplace. Relative to 13 SEER air cooled equipment, the technology holds the potential to reduce cooling energy consumption by more than 30 percent in Midwest and Northeast climates and 80-90 percent in Western and mountain climates. The proposed effort is structured to evaluate the feasibility of these cooling energy savings and assess the overall potential of the hybrid cooling strategy. To accomplish this, the Phase I project includes design, fabrication, and testing of a mockup, as well as refinement of operating modes and strategies. Test results will include ventilation rates, cooling capacity, and energy efficiency.

Davis Energy Group | Date: 2011-04-06

A device is provided for managing air flow in an air handling system. The device has a first movable air deflector and a separate second movable air deflector, each of which are movable between a first position and a second position. A linkage assembly is provided connecting the first movable air deflector and the second movable air deflector. The linkage assembly has a single actuator and is further configured to cooperatively move the first movable air deflector and the second movable air deflector between the respective first position and the second position for each of the first movable air deflector and the second movable air deflector, and to apply a sealing pressure to establish a substantially airtight seal around the each of the first movable air deflector and the second movable air deflector in the first position, around the first air flow deflector in the second position.

Greenwald S.F.,Davis Energy Group | Gray J.P.,Davis Energy Group
Power | Year: 2012

Sound energy policy is critical to enhancing employment opportunities. Public policy and investments advancing renewable energy must be based on sound economics. Regulators have discriminated against out-of-state renewable resources, rationalizing that such exclusionary practices will promote in-state green jobs. Promises and claims of green job creation ignore the fundamental economics of the energy industry. Energy production is capital intensive regardless of the fuel selected to generate power. Construction of a renewable power plant creates construction jobs and the associated multiplier effects in the local economy. However, these benefits are transitory and undistinguishable from the short-term stimulus any large-scale infrastructure project. In addition, green power plants offer only a minute number of long-term employment opportunities. The commercial growth of renewable power is expected to serve as a catalyst for employment in the development and manufacturing of the technological and physical components of generating facilities. However, there is no reason that these employment gains will be in geographic areas proximate to the renewable generation. The US will attract and retain jobs for producing wind turbines and solar panels based on the same economically circumstances that make the country attractive or unattractive for the production of silicon chips and mobile phones. The fact that a job is created by the green economy will not, by itself, overcome the cost, educational, and regulatory impediments that are inhibiting domestic employment in other technological areas.

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