New Technology Demonstration Program
June 1, 2002
Three previous articles on FEMP's New Technology Demonstration Program have discussed how new and emerging technologies may be used to make significant progress toward achieving Federal energy reduction goals. However, as with all things new, there are risks.
As noted in the first article in this series, some risks are minimized by evaluating new technologies on a limited basis before they are deployed on a larger scale. Demonstrations and pilot projects allow Federal sites to "look before they leap." From case studies, one site may learn from the lessons of others.
The purpose of the FEMP New Technology Demonstration Program publications is to get information about new and emerging energy efficiency, water-conserving, solar, and other renewable energy technologies into the hands of Federal energy managers and to encourage them to consider technologies that may assist them in achieving their energy goals.
Within the FEMP New Technology Demonstration Program, only the demonstration reports are based on measured and verified findings. Unfortunately, metered demonstrations are expensive and take a long time to produce results. For the other publications, including Federal Technology Alerts, Technology Installation Reviews, and Technology Focuses, the program does not independently verify performance data provided by manufacturers or obtained from literature reviews.
All of the program's publications are for informational purposes only. Neither DOE nor DOE National Laboratories are implying endorsements of either the technology or the technology provider. Those who claim DOE, FEMP, or DOE National Laboratory endorsement are misleading the public. Furthermore, program publications are not substitutes for sound engineering or due diligence on the part of the reader. (The program does, however, strive to be accurate and responsible. Remember, the program's objective is to help Federal agencies achieve their energy management goals.)
New and emerging technologies are also subject to change. It is important to note the date of the publication. New Technology Demonstration Program publications offer a snapshot of a technology at a given time. As time passes, technologies, costs, maintenance recommendations, and even manufacturers change. In many cases, this can be a good thing. In the case of the Natural Gas Fuel Cell Federal Technology Alert, the manufacturer made numerous improvements to the equipment as more was learned about the technology. However, there may be other changes. New manufacturers may develop the product line that may not have been in that business when the report was published. Other manufacturers, which were known at the time of publication, may relocate, merge, consolidate, drop the product line, or even go out of business. Readers must do their homework.
Federal energy managers and facility staff need to be wary: Caveat emptor, let the buyer beware, definitely applies. FEMP is aware that some New Technology Demonstration Program publications have been altered, without DOE consent, and distributed as genuine DOE reports. There are web sites that have copied FEMP's Federal Technology Alerts from FEMP and DOE National Laboratory web sites. Some are honest, others have purposely been altered either to make the technology appear more positive or modify the list of technology providers. If the web site you are reading does not have a ".gov" web extension, then caveat emptor.
Again and unfortunately, the problem of altered DOE publications is not limited to the Internet. FEMP is also aware that some Federal Technology Alerts have been purposely modified and reprinted to make the technology and vendor look more positive. In some cases, it is very difficult to determine which publications are genuine and which have been altered. (One method that can be used to identify an altered New Technology Demonstration Program publication is to look at the section that lists manufacturers or suppliers. Unusual arrangements of white space, cover ups, or other unusual print marks, may indicate that the document may not be genuine. Be cautious, other statements throughout the report may also have been altered.) If you have any doubts whether the FEMP publication you have is genuine, visit the FEMP web site to view the publication or to request a copy from DOE's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse at 800-363-3732 or www.eere.energy.gov/femp/ordermaterials.html.
Technologies are continuously evolving. Efficiencies are improving, controls are improving, maintenance is being simplified. New and emerging technologies can be used to help the Federal energy manager achieve and surpass energy and cost reduction goals. Trying something new may not be easy or risk free, but the New Technology Demonstration Program is doing its part to help clear the way.