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Thursday, February 6, 2014
New Energy Congress -- Technology Review Criteria
The following are criteria used by New Energy Congress in reviewing and assessing claims to clean energy technologies.
These criteria are prioritized and weighed. All qualifying technologies will be considered for review.
This is an early draft, and is sure to be upgraded over time. The first draft, archived elsewhere, was unanimously approvedwith one abstention by NEC on Feb. 4, 2006. This page is a working draft for continual modification and improvement.
Some of these main criteria headings have sub-headings or sub-areas for which it is appropriate to note scores. The sub-area scores will be factored for a composite overall score for this heading.
These criteria will be what are used both in pre-screening, and in carefully analyzing technologies during and following critical examination.
When a person or group submits a technology to be considered by the Congress, they will "self-score" their submission based on these criteria, as a starting point for our triage process. If the person submitting the technology for review is the inventor, their self-score will be considered very carefully.
Some terms relate to the overall process and thus are not a "criterion" by themselves:
Grammar Note: "criterion" is singular, while "criteria" is plural. Like the analogous etymological plurals agenda and data, criteria is widely used as a singular form. Unlike them, however, it is not yet acceptable in that use. (Source: Answers.com)
Extent to which energy source is replenishable or inexhaustible
- Feasibility of recycling of components composed of rare elements
- Non-depleting energy source
- Ubiquitous energy source
A composite score for this criteria will take the following into consideration. The device score weight will be proportional to its longevity and efficiency of energy generation. The more efficient and long-lasting, the less its "renewable" aspect will be factored in this criteria. The question here is one of net renewability.
Energy Source Scoring
- 0 = Consumes a significant amount of rare, irreplaceable elements.
- 5 = Replenish rate is equal to usage rate.
- 10 = Taps inexhaustible, ubiquitous, ever-present energy.
- 0 = Device is highly inefficient, and utilizes non-recyclable, rare elements.
- 1 = Device requires non-renewable, scarce materials in its composition or manufacture but does not consume them.
- 3 = The device has some rare and irreplaceable materials, but recycling is feasible, to facilitate replenishment.
- 5 = The device is not composed of rare materials, but the manufacturing process involves the consumption of fossil-fuel-based energy.
- 8 = While the device or manufacturing process does involve some rare elements, the energy generation efficiency is extremely high, so the impact is negligible compared to the amount of energy produced.
- 10 = Its manufacturing, installation, operation and service do not deplete any rare elements.
Scoring for 'fossil-fuel'-based technologies
- 0 = Less efficient than the average fuel-based system currently in use.
- 1 = Equivalent to average fuel-based systems used in North America at present
- 2 = Efficiency is in the top 25% of petrol-based system.
- 3 = Efficiency is in the top 10% of petrol-based system.
- 4 = Efficiency is in the top 5% of petrol-based system.
- 5 = Efficiency is comparable to the top 2% of petrol-based systems now in use.
- 6 = Comparable to the very most efficient petrol-based system presently available (which would be 5-20% more efficient than the average petrol-based system).
- 7 = Improves mileage by at least 30% beyond the average
- 8 = Improves mileage 2x or more beyond the best available in current year
- 9 = Improves mileage by 5x or more beyond best on the market in current year
- 10 = Uses an infinitesimal amount of fossil fuel
II. Environmental Impact
Environmental impact -- not just of the device, or of the energy generation process, but of the manufacture, distribution, deployment, operation, and decommissioning; as well as in the case of mishap.
- duration, e.g. half-life of radiation, biodegradable
- CO2, NOx and other emissions
- EMF radiation
- caustic, toxic, poisonous
- strip mining, scarring of land
- impact on animals
- visual impact
- 0 = Profoundly deleterious to the environment, or potentially so in the case of mishap, irreparably polluting to levels uninhabitable to most life forms across a wide area (e.g. 10 or more square miles), and for a period of many years (e.g. 10 or more years).
- 1 = Poses substantial risk to the environment.
- 5 = Level of environmental impact is comparable to the average of conventional energy technologies.
- 10 = No detrimental impact on the environment.
- Considering the number of variables, and the various types of environmental impact, in order for this criterion to be more objective, in order to more fairly differentiate the top rung technologies, we will need to work up a more rigorous scoring on the question of environmental impact. The scoring will be fairly subjective on this point until this is done.
- Do the benefits of renewable energy sources stack up? - Do the overall efficiencies of renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal add up in terms of their complete life cycle from materials sourcing, manufacture, running, and decommissioning? Researchers in Greece have carried out a life cycle assessment to find the answer. (PhysOrg; Aug. 13, 2007)
III. Cost (cents / kw-h)
- Device cost
- Manufacturing and marketing costs
- Pre construction costs including studies and obtaining permits
- Installation / construction costs
- Commissioning and testing costs
- Fuel costs (should be zero for "Free Energy" devices; is replacement or refurbishing of catalytic agents really distinct from adding "fuel"?)
- Servicing/Maintenance costs
- Replacement parts costs
- Decommissioning and disposal costs
- Environmental costs
All costs considered, the score will be assigned according to an average over five years. (Eventually we will want to also provide comparative numbers for spans of one, ten, and maybe 25 years)
Scoring for non-fossil-based systems
(Note that instead of using a fixed "cents/kw-h" value, we use a relative standard. Hopefully the baseline comparison of "grid power" will gradually go down as more clean, affordable energy technologies go online. A high "cost" score will thus mean that the technology is able to deliver energy at a price far less than what the grid's traditional sources can provide.)
For comparative purposes, let us define grid power (end user) to be 7 cents/kW-h or comparable horsepower.
- 0 = 100x more expensive than grid power
- 1 = 50x more expensive than grid power
- 2 = 10x more expensive than grid power
- 3 = 5x more expensive than grid power
- 4 = 2.5x more expensive than grid power
- 5 = 1.5x more expensive than grid power (e.g. close to wholesale grid price)
- 6 = same price as grid power
- 7 = 2x cheaper than grid power
- 8 = 5x cheaper than grid power
- 9 = 10x cheaper than grid power
- 10 = 50x cheaper than grid power
Note: It is conceivable that a device that is low weight and size but which costs an exorbitant amount might be of interest to rare applications such as space craft or unmanned remote stations, where longevity without need for servicing is the primary consideration, not cost.
Scoring for fossil-based improvement systems
[To do: Need to provide an "average" number for comparison. This should only account for the portion that improves the mileage, not for the entire vehicle or engine.] savings on fuel consumption, once device cost is factored...
- 0 = costs more
- 1 = no savings; comparable to fuel system without the device added
- 2 = 5% savings
- 3 = 10% savings
- 4 = 20% savings
- 5 = 30% savings
- 6 = 50% savings
- 7 = 75% savings
- 8 = 2x savings
- 9 = 5x savings
- 10 = 10x savings
Some devices might not be close enough to market readiness to be able to determine these numbers with accuracy, but we should try to come as close as we can in estimating.
IV. Credibility of Evidence
This is not a question of how well the technology works, but of how credible the claims are as to its level of functionality.
- Is the underlying principle sound?
- Is it well proven?
- How much data are there to support the underlying principle?
- How solid is the extrapolation to full optimization
- Number of independent replications
- 0 = No credible evidence.
- 6 = Inventor/company claims a functional device but does not release information for proprietary reasons; inventor/company has established credibility in other technologies it has produced.
- 8 = Laboratory prototypes are working, independent testing is corroborative.
- 9 = Alpha or beta testing has been run on at least 10 units and/or extensive independent verification.
- 10 = Demonstrated over time (e.g. 5 years) through extant worldwide use and/or rigorous experimentation in a wide range of tests and environments, thoroughly documented with multiple replications of results by credible entities.
V. Stability / Reliability
- Device performance
- Life expectancy
- Energy source availability (24/7/365) [e.g. solar and wind are transient, unless tied to a reliable storage system]
- 0 = does not work at all
- 1 = does not last more than a few seconds, breaks down
- 2 = barely works for a few minutes; lots of bugs to work out
- 3 = works for up to an hour, but delicate; any operator mistake can cause failure
- 4 = works only at high setting or "overwork" level, will wear itself out within days.
- 5 = works as claimed, but requires monitoring and competent operator able to make repairs
- 6 = works as claimed for up to months at a time; self-monitoring equipment emits alert if any systems need attention.
- 7 = works steadily at normal settings, with monthly maintenance; lasting at least five years
- 8 = will last at least ten years, with semiannual maintenance
- 9 = able to run three to five years without maintenance
- 10 = runs for 10+ years without maintenance, and without operator intervention, idiot-proof
Principle: Economic viability. Feasibility of high volume production, or of wide-scale do-it-yourself implementation.
- Manufacturing Logistics (feasibility)
- Production of scale (low and high feasible)
- Resources Required - materials and tooling availability
- Ease of Installation
- 1 = essentially impossible to manufacture due to shortage of rare elements or design too complicated
- 10 = manufacturing is straight-forward, installation is easy by amateur, plug and play, can be applied to a wide range of uses, easy to service, easy to decommission.
VII. Safety/Danger to Persons
...during manufacturing, transport, install, operation, servicing, disassembly, potential accidents or sabotage
- Could it be modified into a weapon of mass destruction?
- Electrocution hazard
- Irradiation, etc.
- EMF radiation (non-ionizing)
- Environmental emissions
- During Operation
- Output to environment
- Input fuel source
- Transport of fuel
- During Operation
- 1 = Extremely dangerous, highly unstable
- 8 = no danger except in the case of accident or sabotage, in which case any damage can be confined to the immediate geographical zone.
- 9 = no dangers as long as reasonable precautions are taken, no possibility of explosion or chain reaction
- 10 = no danger, cannot be sabotaged
VIII. Politics of science
There will be one composite 0-10 rating which will take the following factors into account.
Factors, with Scoring
- 0 = Documentation exists to show that the technology under review is actually owned by another party.
- 1 = Tied up in disputes over patents and/or emotional hostilities, even known sabotage incidents and imprisonments
- 2 = Owner of ideas determined to take secrets to grave (and has made enough enemies to send him there)
- 9 = Patents secured (individuals may purposely avoid U.S. Patents due to 'national security' absconding)
- 10 = All relevant technology rights are clearly secured, either through patents or trade secrets; or, in the case of open source, the technology is full public domain.
- Key Personality and Associates
- 1 = own worst enemy - impossible to work with
- 2 = once burned, twice shy; inventor's trust abused by previous contacts seeming to be helpers but who stole or sabotaged efforts
- 5 = Neutral or reserved personality, cautious, but capable of working with others if he can bring himself to trust them.
- 10 = friendly and mutually-supportive teamwork attitude, easy to work with, also astute enough to detect untrustworthy infiltrator
- Motivation foundation: Continuum of Greed to Good of Humanity
- 1 = No price high enough to slake greed factor, investors receive threats from unknown persons
- 2 = Exaggerated claims of profitability to lure investors, but no registered company or valid share documents
- 3 = Questionable track record in business, under investigation for tax evasion or other activities
- 5 = healthy desire to earn income from inventions, but willing to share any returns on investment
- 6 = company on legally-sound footing with board of directors who have clean track record
- 9 = track record of integrity in personal and business life, business plan founded on realistic expectations
- 10 = in it for mankind's benefit willing to make any sacrifices including personal profit if necessary to bring this into the world
- Involved team - primo talented, experienced, team compatibility
- 1 = no technically-competent or experienced persons involved
- 2 = only self-taught, only persons trusted are of same type, no respect for other engineering approaches
- 3 = staff with modest qualifications able to cope with basic conventional electrical engineering tasks, some spiky personalities
- 5 = involved persons with varying schools of technical education and/or self-taught in quantum physics, tend to believe own ideas
- 5 = some personality-type differences, but team members willing to negotiate and listen to each other
- 6 = flexible enough to admit when too demanding, open to rebuttal and logical persuasion if well backed up by data
- 8 = engineers who hold common goal more important than individual being right, so any differences resolved quickly
- 10 = primo talented, experienced staff with specialized knowledge of area of relevance, psychologically healthy personalities
IX. Open-Source conducive
(In the spirit of the "copyleft" of the GNU Free Documentation License found on mediawiki websites like Wikipedia and PESWiki).
- 0 = All facets are highly proprietary; key mechanism is secured in a self-destruct box in the device. No hints given whatsoever which could help other researchers attain similar results and improve on them.
- 2 = All facets are kept proprietary.
- 3 = Technology is patented, which allows replication for experimental purposes, but prohibits (without permission) commercial development. Patent is purposely obtuse to prevent replication.
- 5 = Technology is patented, patent description is adequate to reproduce the technology, which is permitted on an individual basis for one's own use.
- 6 = General principles are shared, while specifics of the key mechanism and its efficiencies are kept proprietary.
- 7 = Unambiguous plan publication and replication is permitted and encouraged, but any commercial applications must be licensed.
- 10 = Plans are clearly presented and available for all to replicate and use as they will.
A situation in which only the inventor knows all the key information, and thus takes the concept to the grave with him if he dies, should probably receive a low score unless this mistrust can be resolved. An exception would be in the case where progress is being made to change his/her mind about this tactic.
X. Stage of Device Development
- 0 = No working prototype ever (that anyone we know knows of). Idea only.
- 1 = No working prototype, but extensive theoretical modeling and preliminary experimentation toward proving key portions of theory.
- 2 = Claims to have had a working prototype at one time, but that it is no longer available. No data, photos, video to prove past prototype.
- 3 = One shaky (unusable, tenuous) prototype.
- 3 = One or two stable prototype(s).
- 4 = Several working prototypes including various sizes.
- 5 = Selling one-ups on a beta testing basis.
- 6 = Preparing production prototype, having ran, or in process of running, exhaustive alpha (in-house) and beta (guinea pig customer) testing.
- 7 = Refined production prototype exists.
- 8 = Assembly line manufacturing just got under way.
- 9 = Selling manufactured devices in the marketplace.
- 10 = More than a decade in the marketplace with at least 1,000 sold; and/or more than 1,000,000 total hours of operation time.
This case is a little different than the others. NEC will typically not be interested in reviewing well-established technologies, except to provide comparisons to other technologies. Our main emphasis is to foster deserving yet hitherto neglected technologies.
In some regards, we could say we favor technologies of a "lower" score for this criteria (between the score of 1 and 5 below). Technologies of a score 6 or higher most likely don't really need our help.
An exception to this rule will be to document what presently-available technologies are the most clean, affordable, reliable, etc...
Noted but not weighed
The following will be included in the report but not weighed in the technology score.
Private or Open
- The technology submission needs to be clearly marked as to its level of clearance. Certain portions of the submission might be open, while others (e.g. contact information) might be closed.
Financial Relationship to the Technology in Question
There needs to be disclosure by each respondent as to his/her personal financial relationship to the technology in question.
- 1 = I hold a patent on this invention
- 3 = I own shares in a venture-capital firm that is negotiating with this inventor
- 4 = I put a lot of money personally into helping this inventor create a working prototype
- 5 = I hold shares in a small-cap mutual fund that invests in this type of technology and may consider this one worthy of attention if it ever gets off the ground
- 10 = I have no financial ties to the technology other than the hope that its adoption will benefit all consumers including myself.
- Each technology will be measured against the same criteria.
- The wording of the criteria and scoring needs to be adequately general to cover the myriad of energy technology types.
- Though there are many criteria, for the sake of simplicity, let's boil them down to ten or fewer main aspects, into which all factors can be encompassed.
- Some criteria are more important than others, and thus should weigh more. A "weight factor" should therefore accompany each criterion. e.g. "renewable" has a 4x weight.
- Each criterion will carry a score of 0-10. If any of the criteria scores are "0" the technology will usually be deemed unfeasible for now.
- A score of "5" represents "average", or status quo. Less than "5" indicates worse than average. More than "5" indicates better than average.
- As a matter of a general guideline, NEC should endeavor as a body to spend about 50% of our collective attention and efforts on conventional renewable energy technologies, and the remaining 50% on non-conventional, or "fringe" clean energy technologies. (Approved March 10, 2006)
Attributes that must be present before a technology can even be considered for review by the congress.
- Working prototype (This does not necessarily mean the claim has been verified, for indeed that is a role of this Congress -- to verify once and for all, claims which have been made but which have not been taken seriously because they have not been adequately verified.)
- When no working prototype is available, a technically-detailed and convincing description of the technology, with strong supporting evidence of its underlying principles being demonstrated as "proof of concept" may be acceptable as a conditional or probationary status, but only in exceptional circumstances. The Congress will determine whether such an exception should be applied in special cases.
Each "criteria" score for a given technology should be accompanied by a "confidence level" rating, which refers to the person or group (e.g. FE Congress member) giving the score.
The Confidence Level is not for or against, but is to indicate the degree of certitude of the answer provided.
- How extensively have you read, investigated, associated with, or experimented with the particular technology in regard to the category at hand.
- Amount of data and other documentation or independent verification, and the credibility of those publishing that data.
- Completeness and clarity of the information.
- Negative reports you may be aware of, and their credibility.
- Positive reports.
- How familiar you are with the ideals pertinent to the criteria.
- 0 = "I have no idea."
- 1 = "I've heard it talked about, but I've never looked into it myself."
- 2 = "I heard a report about this from a friend who appeared to have sound knowledge on the matter."
- 3 = "I've skimmed through the materials available."
- 6 = "In theory this sounds practicable, but I have not been able to examine the experimental setup first-hand."
- 8 = "Based on some fairly substantial information to which I am privy and not allowed to disclose due to signed agreements, I feel that I am about 80% sure of my assessment."
- 9 = "Having critically examined a significant set of documentation on this subject, I am as satisfied as I can be without having built a test model myself. I'm nearly certain, but cannot state that it is beyond all doubt."
- 10 = "I am certain. No doubt whatsoever. And I am confident that my sources of deriving my conclusion are solid."
Note: When a score of "10" is given on the confidence level, you will be requested to provide notes about your sources and reasons for that confidence.
Example: You might give a particular technology a score of 4 for a particular criterion, with a confidence level of 6, meaning you rated the item a little below average for that criterion, and you're fairly confident of your assessment, but not really sure.
- Open Source Criteria - Ideals composed by Sterling Allan in March 2004 by which PES might consider possible funding of a project (assuming PES being funded).
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- Technology Score Calculation Formulas
- Congress:Technology Review Protocol - protocol for submitting and reviewing individual technologies.
- IT Blueprint - to enable implementation of process
- Standard Deviation Abberations in Voting for NEC's Top 100 Energy Technologies
- Global Top 100 Clean Energy Technologies
- Technology Ranking Criteria
- NEC Members
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