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Tristan H Calasanz
Associate Lecturer, Ateneo de Manila University


click on any of the topics below to go directly to the detailed discussion section

= = = = = = = = = 1.0 • RATIONALE
= = = = = = = = = 2.0 • Proposed Legislation: "NEW ENERGY ACT OF 2009"
= = = = = = = = = 4.0 • RENEWABLES


= = = = = = = = = 1.0 • RATIONALE

I remember the time in the early '50s when the cost of electricity was so cheap that our engineering professor told us that it would be cheaper for a building to leave all its florescent lamps lighted, than to turn them off for the night. The engineering reason was that the heaters at the ends of the bulbs would be stressed so much as to shorten their service life. Obviously, the engineer who will say that today would be sent to the firing squad and that would be the end of that kind of wasteful thinking.

"New Energy" is used in this paper to distinguish this form of energy from those coming from minerals or matter mined from the earth. These later sources are exhaustible, while "new energy" is not. This inexhaustible nature of "new energy" makes it cry out for a national policy.

I want to highlight this concept of "new energy" because it clearly declares a break from the traditional concept of environmentally dirty fossil-based exhaustible energy.

Many impose the concept that "new energy" should be competitive with other fuels. I agree with this prescription. Then we should add costs to fossil fuels, as follows:

  • Environmental
  • Health
  • Global Warming
  • Continued dependence on fossil fuels that delays the development of alternative sources.

Alternative sources are CLEAN and do not have hidden costs.

Government Policy should, therefore, promote alternative sources through incentives that are of the value of the additional costs, above.

My YouTube presentation is for heating applications.

Obviously, this is not complete because there will also be electricity of 10 units. Taking this into account, we will add 10 units to the heating, drying, chilling, and freezing benefits of 288 units for a total of 298 units. This gives us an overall "coefficient of performance" at 2.98.

This means that an input of 100 units of energy will provide theoretical work to the extent of 298 units.

Click here if the YouTube controls do not load.

= = = = = = = = = 2.0 • Proposed Legislation: "NEW ENERGY ACT OF 2009"


2.1 • PROCESS of Drafting the New Policy as Basis for Legislation - Energy is of such a magnitude that legislation is the key to the pursuit of the national goals of energy self-reliance at an affordable cost to the citizenry. Such legislation will need to revisit the basic engineering assumptions used in the energy sector. And by choice, the main approach will always need to be the indigenization of technology, such that the more appropriate ones are encouraged by the law. Consultation will need to be with the whole energy sector. Among others, the group should consist of engineers and professionals from the whole gamut of the energy sector: starting from energy development, to energy utilization (manufacturing and non-manufacturing, such as buildings, hotels, hospitals), to power generation, to power utilization (manufacturing and non-manufacturing), to energy management, to renewable energy, to the Philippine Inventors Society, to the academe, to mention some of the sectors.

The agenda for these consultations should come from practicing engineers in the various industries. Inputs from the academe and from government agencies are counter-productive at this point, because they will serve to focus the discussions on the theoretical and on those aspects of energy that are already defined by existing policies.

These consultations should be "facilitated" by the "professional facilitators". I know for a fact that the Human Resources Division of San Miguel Corporation, and of the National Power Corporation, used to value and develop facilitating skills. This meeting is about generating inputs from the energy practitioners that are working with real situations within the context of the Philippine energy scene.

Let there be NO LAWYERS in this consultation, so that the engineers, technologists, and scientists will have a free reign to generate ideas. It is only AFTER the ideas have gelled that the work will be turned over to lawyers to draft the appropriate legislation.

2.2 • Legislation: "NEW ENERGY ACT OF 2009" - While we are waiting for the results of the consultation, the resources of the academe might do well to already perform preliminary studies along the following:

2.2.1 What are the energy resource inputs currently AVAILABLE, and will be available in time, in the Philippines?

2.2.2 What are their environmental impacts?

2.2.3 How do we construct a technical model that blends these resource inputs?

2.2.4 What are the technical and site-specific criteria that should apply so that these resources are developed as part of an energy system, in contrast to an energy island like Sta Rita / San Lorenzo / Ilijan Cogeneration power plants that burn natural gas?

2.2.5 The Philippines is currently importing 85% or so of its requirements for "industrial salt". I think the government should invest on additional facilities at these power plants in order that they can produce industrial salt instead of importing it. Remember that the exhaust gas to the smoke stack still carries high heat content.

2.3 • Investment Priorities Plan - This document is written to implement government policy. The section on energy should be written by engineers, who represent the Philippine Energy Sector, composed of the members from the group mentioned above.

2.3.1 • TOP OF THE LIST: Incentives to Innovators (These are the nation's Human Resources that replace oil wells, so to say.) The innovator is already bringing his equity investment to the table - and that is his INNOVATION. The approach of society should be to absorb all his risks and manage the market for his technology. He needs the assurance that his quality of life is improved. In short, we should remove the innovator from the administrative and financial cycles, in order that he can spend his time, exclusively, to technology.

2.3.2 • Incentives to entrepreneurs. The current thinking of putting these clean technology innovators and entrepreneurs on the same level as entrepreneurs using traditional technology IS downright WRONG, and IS counter-productive. The macro view of the process is that the former are helping clean-up, or at least slow down the degradation of the environment. The rational way would be to cost these out and credit them to the former.

Traditional technologies release so much pollution into the environment that they cause the spread of diseases and contribute to the increased release of green-house gases.

Never ignore these almost criminal effects. Worse yet these fuels tend to destroy the world's natural source of energy.

2.3.3 • Improved incentives for locally manufactured substitutes for imported items. It is clear that the incentives discussed above should also be extended to import substitution, in order to unleash the potential of local innovators, technologists, and entrepreneurs

2.3.4 • Rationalized reduction of incentives on imported items that have the potential for being substituted with locally engineered and manufactured items. In a regime of globalization, it is often said that we must provide a level playing field for all. While this is a valued dictum, care must be made so as to make sure that all the hidden costs are made transparent and placed on worksheets, and all undeclared benefits are also included in those worksheets

2.3.5 • Many so-called "energy experts" say that one kilowatt-hour generated from fossil fuels is the same as one kilowatt-hour generated from renewable sources? In pricing power generation, "experts" tend to compare the cost of producing the one kilowatt-hour from both sources, and conclude that energy from renewable sources are more expensive. They even use such terms as "parity with the grid". The saddest day is when the RENEWABLE ENERGY law of the Philippines says EXACTLY that they have the SAME value. This is reflected in its provisions on NET METERING. The law says that you can purchase electricity from the system, generate your own from renewable sources, and if you have excess, you send this excess back to the grid. You SUBTRACT the amount you purchased from the amount you sent back, and if the sum is positive, you pay the system. When the sum is negative (you sent back more than what you purchased), the system pays you at the SAME PHP/kilowatt-hour. NO! NO! NO! The great difference is that the former is DIRTY, while the latter is CLEAN. These dirty effluents must be given a COST.

2.3.5 • This is utterly WRONG!!! In reality, the renewable energy law IS AGAINST renewable energy. The production of one kilowatt-hour from fossil fuels will entail the pollution of the environment, the contracting of diseases by the populace, and the deferment of the development of renewable energy sources. These are criminal effects associated to the continued use of fossil fuels. Worse yet, do these fuels, somehow, contribute to the destruction of our renewable energy resources? The el nino cycle used to be on a cycle of 20 or so years. Then, it decreased gradually to 5 years, and in 1984 when I was managing the operations of NAPOCOR, it was down to three years. We have observed the gradual degradation of our hydro capabilities, and the inability of the water resources to provide irrigation for our farm lands, etc. Is there a connection?


3.1 • Energy Efficiency Program & Projects

3.1.1 My "YouTube" presentation shows a Theoretical Model for heating, drying, chilling, and freezing applications, using 100 units of energy from the fuel. At that presentation, I explained ways of recovering new energy, amounting to 288 units of work from an energy input of 100 units. (Click here.) If you add the work corresponding to electricity of 10 units, the total work that can be derived from 100 units of energy is 298 units. Take note we are already very happy to see a large traditional steam power plant operating at an efficiency of 35%. Then come diesel power plants that operate at about 48%, and the combined-cycle power plants that guarantee 54% efficiency.

3.1.2 I recommend legislation to allow governments to utilize its missionary function to cause the building of co-generation facilities according to this theoretical model as a starting point. From an energy input of 100 units, the "energy utilization benefits" are

  • Input           - 100 units
  • * electricity   -  10 units
  • * heating       - 193 units
  • * chilling      -  75 units
  • * freezing      -  20 units
  • Total           - 298 units

3.2 • Makati – An Sample Project, below: Any energy engineer who visits the Ayala Center is Makati will immediately see tremendous opportunity for the harvesting of "new energy" through energy-efficiency methods. Now let us see how:

Arial View of Ayala Center in Makati (downloaded from Google)

3.2.1 Hotels, Office Buildings, and Hospitals. Hotels and hospitals operate 24 hours a day. About 60% to 70% of its electrical consumption is in the air-conditioning and freezing requirements of the establishment. They also require steam for laundry and for cooking. Office buildings, on the other hand, has more lean hours than do hotels and hospitals, but their air-conditioning needs and consumption are similar.

3.2.2 THE OPPORTUNITY. The triangular lot enclosed by Ayala Avenue, Paseo de Roxas, and Makati Avenue could be an underground plant site. Let us call this Mr CoGen. The parking buildings that abound there may also become underground plant sites. The parking building behind the Hotel Intercontinental is also a good site. This is how it works: Let the participating establishments determine the level of their contracted load with the Manila Electric Company. This should be for their lighting demand, and their critical chilling and heating demand. They will buy the balance of their electricity requirements from Mr CoGen. Mr CoGen will generate electricity from high efficiency gas turbines, recover the hot exhaust into a "waste heat recovery boiler" (WHRB), and the steam to a steam turbine to generate more electricity. The price of electricity from Mr CoGen is expected to be lower than that of MERALCO. A feasibility study will show this. Mr CoGen will extract steam from its turbine and convey it to the nearby hotels, hospitals and buildings for their air-conditioning needs. MIND YOU, the steam that drives the air-conditioning systems was generated out of free energy from the exhaust of the gas turbine, and NOT from costly electricity. Of course, Mr CoGen will be buying oil. But that should not matter because his "overall thermal efficiency" would be double that of the best oil plant on the grid. By the time Mr CoGen is ready to operate, perhaps natural gas from Batangas would already be available. And his facility would be ENVIRONMENT FRIENDLY. By that time, the government might even have a scheme to give incentives to efficient energy users. And he will be willing to pass this on to his clients.

3.2.3 WHERE IS THE CATCH? - Since this looks rather good, there must be a catch to it. Yes, there is, and it will require a careful study. This will be the environmental compliance certificate, and public perception. Mr CoGen might just decide that the better scenario would be to put up his facility outside of the business district itself and pipe in the electricity and the steam into Ayala Center from there. What are the macro-issues? A project of this complexity will need legislation to make sure that conflicts between other legislations are resolved from the beginning. To be resolved by legislation should be the question of interconnection with the power grid. Will the law require electric generation and distribution utilities to accept all feed-in power generated from energy new energy, and at what rate? Will the law differentiate between "excess power" and other sources? Short project gestation period, say 3 years from the word GO. This should include 6 months for feasibility studies, 6 months for tender, and two years for construction and retrofit. For the financing to go well, a credible sponsor like the Ayalas and the Lopezes, should definitely be at the center of the project, with operational support by the Aboitiz/Lopez consortium. The inherent high efficiency of the project will result in the country would be importing LESS oil. This will result in the reduction of the foreign exchange requirements for importing fossil fuel. The savings would now be channelled to the developmental aspects of society.


3.2.5 Generate and store hydrogen, when there is excess electricity.


3.3.1 A Sample Project. In 1998, our group sought tenders for a co-generation facility, which was designed to operate at an overall thermal efficiency of 60%, using diesel fuel and eventually natural gas. Its outputs took two forms: 65 mW of electricity, and 42mW of thermal power for heating and chilling.

3.3.2 Recommendations for a National Energy Policy.

I am recommending legislation for a national energy "investments priorities plan" that provides incentives to the manufacturing sector that set up factories within specified "Energy Estates" throughout the country. The estates are a technical design platform where optimal utilization of fuels and renewable energy would yield a theoretical energy utilization of about 298 units of energy from an input of 100 energy units. This is approximately broken up into 193 energy units for heating and drying applications, 75 energy units for chilling, 20 units for freezing and 10 units for electricity. High efficiencies of this order of magnitude are attainable through the careful configuration of energy recovery systems and heat pumps. Energy inputs to heat pumps cause the harvesting of "new energy" from the environment. That energy is channelled back for purposes such as drying and preservation of food; and also for high-grade salt and potable water production. A potential emission reduction of 50% can be achieved for carbon dioxide (CO2) with such a system. Also, the harvested “new energy” is available without increasing the emission of pollutants. In its initial stages, the government will need to use its missionary function to provide the investments in infrastructure and incentives as the stimulant for development. The operation of such a legislated "Energy Estate" that puts together energy users around an energy source will result in a lower environmental impact compared to the current practice.

3.4 • Manufacturing – A Sample Project

Manufacturing plants usually need heating in one form or another. Heat can now be generated efficiently and will be supplied to the nearby manufacturing plants. For example, generating steam from one boiler will be more efficient than for each plant to maintain their own respective individual boilers. These are chemical manufacturing plants, and food processing plants, to mention just two manufacturing plants that usually have boilers.

= = = = = = = = = 4.0 • RENEWABLES

Governments and corporations have adopted the so-called "zero-based budgeting". In this concept, the budget is given a cut-off date, beyond which, everything is reviewed as if they are for new projects, altogether.

It is my personal belief that ALL, absolutely ALL, engineering assumptions for renewables should be subjected to the zero-base concept. For example, the wind assumptions used for the engineering design of wind turbines will vary from one location to another, even in the same country. I am, therefore, saying that an efficient wind turbine developed by CompanyXX for one location will not necessarily be beneficial for another location. A very efficient generic design for a windy area in Hawaii, or other parts of the world might simply become a tourist attraction of turbines that decorate the landscape, but run only a small percentage of the time.

4.1 • Engineering and Equipment Design Assumptions

4.1.1 What are the prevalent conditions for the most part of the year? Consequent to this question is the decision to aim at the most optimal "area in the duration curve", to optimize the harvesting of renewable energy.

4.1.2 This leads to the rule that I am breaking up into two parts. DO NOT DESIGN for SYCHRONOUS speed for "off-grid" or "decentralized energy systems". Provide "variable speed" generators that are able to span the range of speeds provided by "renewables". Off-the-shelf "automotive generators" are cost-effective solutions, because they operate from a low of 750 RPM and a high of 6000 RPM. Where needed, and to the extent needed, use inverters to drive AC motors. Where a choice is possible, my recommendation is to use 3-phase motors that are driven from 3-phase inverters.

4.2 Implementation of Renewable Energy Programs and Projects

The term renewable resources does not always mean renewable in its strictest sense. I like to give it a very broad meaning as those energy sources that do not come from fossil fuels.

Historical engineering practice often prevents us from developing these resources because we often forget the fact that fuel oil is a commodity that can be bought and sold. As such it is prone to manipulation as many geopolitical economies and forces leverage this commodity for higher and higher profit. As a consequence, renewable resources are really not taken very seriously until the tight energy squeeze comes.

Traditional engineering concepts like frequency, synchronous speed, grid interconnection, and the like have enclosed engineers around the world in a closed box. Engineers who dared think in terms of direct current stored in batteries and used directly or passed through inverters to provide alternating current for AC motors did not get much attention, let alone "funding".

They are told to follow engineering practice as preached by global consultants hired by utilities and confirmed by engineering textbooks and handbooks. They are told that the project carried a very high unit investment (US$ per kilo-watt of installed capacity), and the payback time of the investment is either too long, or non-existent.

I am proposing design changes and new configurations in the succeeding paragraphs.

4.2.1 Micro-Hydros Run-of-River

Hydro-Electric power plants are usually provided with an impounding dam to collect the water that will be sent to the hydraulic machine downstream to generate electricity.

Such dams are called "storage dams" when they are able to collect plenty of water, and "run-of-river", when they simply stabilize the water flow into the hydraulic turbine.

* Control Systems

Such machines are often rated as 60 Hz or 50 Hz, depending on the geographical region in the world.

The frequency thus severely restricts their shaft rotation to that which will generate the desired frequency, requiring sophisticated speed governors to control the frequency and automatic voltage controls to control the voltage and the power factor of the machine.

* Design Changes

In a new approach, there will be no need for a sophisticated speed governor, or a sophisticated voltage control system.

- The shaft will simply turn according to the water available, and generate whatever electricity is available from the power at the shaft.

- The alternating current generated here is rectified into pulsating DC.

- A less sophisticated "semiconductor-based switching" system provides high voltage charging current to large batteries.

- Power from these batteries is usable as they are, or it could be converted into alternating current for use in AC motors, as may be required.

4.2.2 Wind

The approach will be very similar to the one described for micro-hydros, above.

4.2.3 Tide

The approach will be very similar to the one described for micro-hydros, above.

4.2.4 Wave

The approach will be very similar to the one described for micro-hydros, above.

4.2.5 Ocean current at the Philippine Deep

The approach will be very similar to the one described for micro-hydros, above.

4.2.6 Solar Water Heaters for Ocean-Thermal and Air-Conditioning Applications

* Solar energy is collected using ordinary GI (galvanized iron) pipes.

* It is sent to a heat exchanger to send the energy to a client process

* Ocean-Thermal is one such process

* Absorption refrigeration systems for air-conditioning is another example of such a process

4.2.7 Ocean-Thermal

* This system assumes that it is environmentally sound to withdraw cold water from the Philippine Deep

* The energy from the solar water heater is made to evaporate a refrigerant medium, or a petroleum compound

* The vapor is used to drive a vapor turbine

* Like the steam turbine, the shaft of the vapor turbine is also coupled to a generator to generate electricity.

* The required energy gradient is provided by the cold water coming from the Philippine Deep, and it will cool the vapor in the turbine to condense it.

* After the water has condensed the vapor, its temperature would become close to ambient, and will now be sent to an oyster farm or fish-culture farm to deliver the abundant nutrients that it carries with it.

4.2.8 Binary Cycles for geothermal and solar applications

* These applications work in very much the same way as the Ocean-Thermal, with the exception that the cooling medium does not come from cold water from the Philippine Deep, but from a river, a deep-well, or a cooling tower.

* The fluids from the energy source, i. e., geothermal and solar are isolated by heat exchangers from the fluids that go through the vapor turbines.

* The heated medium will be converted into vapor to drive a vapor turbine.

* The vapor is condensed in an atmospheric condenser which derives its cooling from water from a river, a deep-well, or a cooling tower.

* In other words, replace the cooling medium here with water from deep in the ocean, and the system converts into an Ocean-Thermal installation.

* The finer points of differences would be the working pressures, temperatures and fluid media.

* The design will take cognizance of these.

4.2.9 Biomass

The technologies in vogue here are usually related to the combustion of biomass, such as,

* combustion of solid waste, rice hull, coconut husk, coconut shell, wood, etc.

* straight combustion of municipal waste (garbage)

* the incomplete combustion of garbage, coupled with a process to recover the resulting products and convert them into ethanol by a bacteria digestion process.

4.2.10 Bacteria Digestion

* Several different digestion bacteria have been collected by different entities.

* Some for the production of vinegar, others for the production of methane gas from human, animal, poultry, and vegetable waste.

* Some bacteria are able to digest hot toxic liquid waste at 60-degree Celsius from sugar centrals into methane gas.

* This gas is sent back to boilers or burned in other heating equipment.

* The effluent liquids and solids are sent to the fields to become fertilizer for rice crops and other plants.

4.2.11 Recovery of Deuterium at the Philippine Deep

* The Philippine Deep is said to have the largest supply of Deuterium in the world.

* This substance is used in the development of fusion reactors in New Jersey and other centers. Some extract Hydrogen from Deuterium and use the Hydrogen as fuel.

* Since the supply is within Philippine territory, the Philippines could potentially become the "supplier of choice" for Deuterium once the fusion reactors become commercialized.

* Deuterium may be sold in its raw form and packaged in such a way that it does not disintegrate into plain Hydrogen gas, while in transit.

* Another approach would be to set-up the facilities near the Philippine Deep and utilize Deuterium to produce Hydrogen and Oxygen gases to be exported for use in fuel cells around the world.

4.2.12 Deriving Ethanol from Municipal Waste

* A technology already exists that will burn municipal waste in a boiler, retrieve the gases of combustion and feed that into a digester to generate ethanol. The products will be electricity, ethanol, and exhaust gases that are more environment-friendly than those coming from traditional waste-to-energy technologies.

4.3 • Distribution Criteria

* Distribution will depend upon the clustering of the energy sources and of the loads.