The Gas Technology Institute, a Des Plaines, Ill., nonprofit research and development organization serving the natural gas industry for 70 years, has launched a North American industry collaborative to drive the deployment of energy-efficient emerging technologies and solutions.

GTI developed the Emerging Technology Program to meet the varying needs of utilities, energy efficiency programs and ratepayers.“Our intention is to fill a missing gap and explore technologies and program solutions that show the most promise for gas utilities and energy-conscious consumers,” says Ryan Kerr, GTI’s manager of emerging technologies, who will head the program.

ETP, which focuses on accelerating the commercialization and adoption of the latest end-use and energy-efficiency technologies, will help companies identify and evaluate the most promising products and integrated solutions, and assess their suitability for future use in the marketplace. According to GTI, the collaboration will leverage the collective intelligence, expertise and funding of members from the natural gas industry to help deploy new technologies.

In the past, many technology solutions did not have the market impact that stakeholders felt was possible.

“We saw a lot of good R&D happening, but less of a concerted effort to take that technology into the marketplace,” Kerr says. “With the collaborative approach, we’ll be able to approach national manufacturers and big-box retailers with a larger voice, representing utilities across the U.S. and Canada.”

ETP projects will assess energy use, costs and benefits, marketing opportunities and barriers, and energy-savings potential for various products and processes. Plans are to conduct field demonstrations to validate the performance, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of new technologies and program strategies.

“We need larger demonstrations to collect and understand market data, while developing market infrastructure to support eventual technology deployments,” Kerr says. “A key part of developing the market will be building consumer awareness about a given technology within a region and building contractor capacity so that we can establish consumer confidence.”

Project opportunities for 2012 include a boiler retrofit technology that promotes significant energy and water savings for the commercial and industrial sectors.

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