what's new

•   Chile Project: Toured sites in Chile to select two projects for first development phase.
•   SLH100: Most components are in the manufacturing process with first commercial delivery scheduled for Q2 2014.
•   Testing Progress: Fatigue and strength verification tests continue.
•   Controls and SCADA: New SCADA system on target for Q2 2014 SLH100 delivery.
•   Business Development: Natel wins $2 million DOE Advanced Manufacturing tax credit.

upcoming

The focus of activity in the first quarter of 2014 is to complete assembly of the SLH100 for delivery into the first commercial project in Oregon. In addition, work will advance on the next projects in Natel’s sales and commercialization pipeline.

01 project focus


Chile Project

Natel’s Director of International Business Development, Adam Atkinson-Lewis has ramped up work on the US Trade and Development Agency-funded market development effort with Wireless Energy in Chile. His recent trip there to investigate a range of distributed generation hydro sites reaffirmed the promise of this project. He confirmed that many of the potential project sites are solid candidates for development, and gathered data to support the selection of two sites to take forward for development in the first phase.
Adam visited 18 sites and met with 11 additional districts and local entities. The ongoing work includes compiling and analyzing the large volume of site data collected, developing the commercial frameworks for the first-phase projects, and implementation of the sites eventually selected.

02 product development

SLH100

November and December 2013 were filled with intense work between the team and Natel’s suppliers to receive and inspect the majority of components for the first commercial SLH100 deliveries in 2014. Inspections so far show good manufacturer compliance with our strict specifications.

 

On the left, President and CTO Abe Schneider and Senior Engineer Erick Davidson compare end finishes for the SLH100 guidevanes.

Testing

Erick also leads the ongoing fatigue and strength testing program which has focused on testing the major wearing and load-bearing components in both long-duration and ultimate strength situations. The program has put individual parts through millions of cycles with the longest running tests accumulating over 100 million cycles. New fatigue testing programs will exceed these cycles and test next gen parts.
Mechanical Engineer Joanna Noble conducts a deflection test on a guidevane, using a 3 point bending method on an Instron universal testing machine. Results of this test confirmed these parts' design, which was accomplished using finite element analysis.

Controls

hydroEngine™ owners will have comprehensive control of their sites remotely and on site through a sophisticated SCADA system interface. Natel’s SCADA hardware is supplied by high quality control systems supplier AMtec Industries, and the team inspects one of the first commercial units at right.
At left, Mechatronic Engineer Ian Tam configures the plant simulator system used in testing the PLC control system to confirm accurate control of the plant in a wide range of operating scenarios.

Ian and the team are also on target to have the customized industry-standard SCADA software ready for deliveries. This customization will give users and operators secure access to all the key operational data in a very user-accessible format.

03 business development


Funding
Natel was awarded a $2 million tax credit by the Department of Energy, as a part of the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit program. With the support of the tax credit, Natel will equip a production line in Alameda, CA, for the manufacture and assembly of 200 hydroEngines™ annually. The tax credit was awarded on a competitive basis and Natel was one of 12 recipients of the credits. Natel is moving to acquire and outfit the space.

04 media & outreach


Conferences

Natel Energy displayed at another successful conference, this time going to the biannual Association of California Water Agencies conference. Here, Eric Thompson discusses the displayed “SLH-mini” test rig with a conference attendee. These conferences are an important way of updating those who follow Natel’s progress on developments and of making key connections to grow the sales pipeline.

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