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November 26, 2012 Issue

The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information


Bring to market their Flow-to-Wiresm Energy Recovery System that Converts Excess Pressure in Water Pipe Lines into Clean Electric Power, Rentricity Inc. is allowing Water Utilities to Recover Energy that can be used at their Treatment Plants, Pump Station or Integrated into an Electric Grid

About Rentricity Inc.
Rentricity Inc. is a renewable energy company that uses unique energy recovery configurations to transform the untapped energy in various man-made processes into electricity. The energy recovery systems called -- Flow-to-Wiresm – convert excess pressure in water mains and other similar pipes into clean electric power. A single Flow-to-Wiresm system produces between 30 and 350 kilowatts of electricity. Since this electricity can then be sold onto the grid, Rentricity gives its generating partners an additional source of revenue and a way to offset rising electricity rates.

Rentricity is also developing Sustainable Energy & Monitoring Systems (SEMSsm), a set of pre-packaged, pre-engineered, modular, skid mounted energy recovery systems that will extend the Flow-to-Wire product line to the 5-30 kW range. The new SEMSsm product line will be “plug and play” and equipped with an integrated set of water quality sensors, providing the owner/operator with a self powered water monitoring station. SEMSsm will use a portion of its generated clean power to operate its integrated sensors.

Rentricity Flow-to-Wiresm systems have no environmental impact and represent a new class of clean, renewable hydrokinetic energy. As the Company installs thousands of units worldwide, Rentricity will produce hundreds of megawatts in aggregate.

Rentricity Inc., established in 2003, is based in New York City with offices in New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Founder and President Frank Zammataro welcomes the opportunity to discuss the technology and business model with interested parties.

Frank Zammataro
President & Co-Founder

Mr. Zammataro has over 25 years of operating experience with large and small organizations primarily in the development and marketing of emerging technology. Prior to co-founding Rentricity, Mr. Zammataro served as the Chief Marketing Officer of w-Technologies, a wireless software company, where he drove the global market and product strategy, business development, and corporate communications activities.

At Merrill Lynch, he served as FVP/ Managing Director of Investments and Alliances in the Private Client Division, where he maintained overall responsibility for technology related strategic alliances, investments, marketing, and sales.

Mr. Zammataro has been a contributing columnist, spoken frequently at leading industry events, and participates in various industry, municipal, and academic organizations. After graduating from St. John's University with a B.A. in Political Science and Communications Arts, Mr. Zammataro attended New York University pursuing a Master's in New Media. Mr. Zammataro also completed the Executive Leadership Development Program at The Wharton School.

Photo on the left: MAWC Pump Station Installation, Photo in the center: Keene NH Water Treatment Plant Dual Turbine Installation


Clean Technology

Hydrokinetic Energy


175 Varick Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10013



Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published –November 26, 2012

Rentricity is the industry leader in providing energy recovery solutions for water systems. Would you tell us what you do?
Mr. Zammataro: Rentricity very simply recovers energy; untapped energy that is found in our drinking water pipeline that water utilities manage. What water utilities do is reduce or regulate the pressure, because water is typically delivered from a higher elevation reservoir to a lower elevation, and when they use pressure reduction valves to dissipate the pressure, it just simply becomes wasted energy. What Rentricity deploys is a reverse pump as a turbine generator with a control system to manage the pressure while spinning that turbine and making a clean form of energy. The water utilities can use that energy either right at a treatment plant or at a pump station, or it can be integrated with our electric grid to offset carbon footprint.


CEOCFO: Would you explain to those of us who are technologically challenged, how it is producing energy?
Mr. Zammataro: Yes, very simply, water is travelling downhill from a reservoir at a high elevation; it may be 200 feet above the city that it is serving. Water utilities use that elevation to help move the water. It literally just goes downhill, and as it is coming down in a solid pipe, it is gaining speed. When it gets to the bottom, or near the city, water utilities have to deploy a valve, which is a device that stops the water, literally just causes the water to slow down by closing the valve. It creates friction at that point and that friction causes wasted heat or wasted energy. That is the point in the water system where Rentricity can deploy its’ Flow-to-Wiresm technology, actually spin a wheel that has been connected to a generator, which creates clean electricity.


CEOCFO: Have water companies typically recognized the wasted energy? Have they tried to do other things about it, or is this a fairly new concept?
Mr. Zammataro: It is really a new concept for smaller pipes. Hydroelectric has been around a very, very long time, and in fact, there are some water utilities that have deployed hydroelectric facilities at their reservoirs. The best example of this would be Boulder, Colorado. They have actually a full-time hydroelectric manager there, and they have installed hydroelectric facilities at their damns, at their reservoirs, and a few in their distribution pipelines, because obviously, Colorado--high mountains, a lot of elevation difference, there is a lot of pressure reduction that is required. It has traditionally been recognized, but what Rentricity is doing is bringing it together in a turnkey package, and we are pricing it at the right level to make this project feasible; which can be controlled by a typical operator, without all of the typical headaches that come along with classic hydroelectric projects.


CEOCFO: Would you explain why it is simpler; what you figured out that allows it to be done easily?
Mr. Zammataro: There is a control package with turnkey components and services. Rentricity basically brings together: piping, the valves, the turbine generator, and the control system--all together, and we actually deliver this out to a site, all ready to be installed within that pipeline. Rentricity, also, because we are a turnkey service provider, we will in fact do the electrical design, the mechanical design, and there is some permitting that is required with our federal regulatory commission when the power goes on the grid. We bring together all of the entire turnkey package for this installation: the equipment, design, the permitting if required, and the commissioning and startup.


CEOCFO: What is the potential market and does everyone know about Rentricity yet that should?
Mr. Zammataro: When Rentricity looked at this from a perspective of how much power is actually potentially available, and how does it help this industry? The water and wastewater industry uses approximately 4% of all the energy generated and consumes in the United States. That means that all the power generated, 4% is associated with water operators treating that water, delivering that water, and wastewater operators processing and cleaning that water. It is a huge number! In fact, in the state of California, 20% of all the power generating in that state is associated with water and wastewater processing. Do not forget, there are investor owned or publicly traded water utilities, there are municipal governments and there are quasigovernmental authorities that manage water. They all are looking to be energy efficient; this is a large pain point. In fact, we are starting to see energy costs very, very close to the cost of staffing. It is right now the #2 cost of doing business in water.. We see this as a great opportunity to bring this package to this marketplace, and to provide them with a basis for lowering their electricity costs.


CEOCFO: Does the industry know about Rentricity, by in large?
Mr. Zammataro: Rentricity has been commercial since 2008. We have, in fact, installed three different units at different locations around the United States, and our largest--350 kilowatt, which is about 270 homes, of powers going live this year with the California Water Service Company in the Los Angeles area. Our City of Keene, New Hampshire project has been highlighted because American Water Intelligence, [a leading industry research firm] has nominated it as the Technology Project of the Year for their American Water Summit event in Chicago this year. We installed two Rentricity turbines in parallel, so that Keene could manage the difference in flow during the day, and in fact, the City of Keene’s water treatment plant is now the very first carbon neutral, water treatment plant powered by its own inflow of water. That is why I believe it is getting that recognition. The company is in fact creating the standard in the marketplace with this very installation, and its name is getting better known in the industry. We are happy that we are getting that recognition. 


CEOCFO: When you are able to speak with a potential customer, when do they get it? What do you say to them to produce the ‘aha’ moment like, “Of course we should be doing this!”?
Mr. Zammataro: What it comes down to is finding a water operator who wants to step outside of their typical operations. Water utilities are required by law to provide you with pressurized, quality drinking water. That is their primary mission. Rentricity brings something that is a discretionary project to the table. Typically, when we find that water utility operator or manager who has a little bit of a green or sustainability bug and wants to be something in the energy efficiency area, we find that the sale cycle moves very, very fast; but this is not a requirement. Ultimately, any new pipeline project in the United States should have some kind of energy recovery review mandate, and we are hoping that in the future that will become as typical as when water utilities design a new pipeline, or new regulator volt, or some new infrastructure project. It comes down to identifying that water operator who wants to do something in the energy efficiency area or has that green or sustainability bug that they really feel they want to give something back to their local community.


CEOCFO: How do you find potential customers?
Mr. Zammataro: Rentricity does a number of things. We will typically inform a mailing list of people who have said, “Can you please let me know what is happening with Rentricity on different events that are taking place, and different successful projects?” That is one form of marketing. The most important one is really getting out to the conferences. There are a variety of water events that take place both regionally and nationally that Rentricity participates in. We will go to regional American Water Works Association events. In fact, as I mentioned, we are going to be presenting at the American Water Summit in Chicago and we will be presenting our Keene project. These events really give Rentricity the opportunity to meet face-to-face with the leaders in the water systems around the country.


CEOCFO: Development and commercialization is typically an expensive process; does Rentricity have the funds to continue the effort or do you need to look for investment or additional means of revenue to keep going?
Mr. Zammataro: Indeed we are. Rentricity has been funded by its’ founders to initially get our Flow-to-Wiresm technology developed, and more recently, was able to get a grant from NYSERDA, which is the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority located in Albany, and to actually build a smaller, skid mounted system that we can ship out to customers as well. That has allowed us to continue to develop or expand our product line. Rentricity initially started with the founders’ money, we have been able to win some grant money from New York State, and now we are looking to raise approximately $3.5 million in equity in order to continue to grow the business, and continue to ramp sales and marketing and have regional reps at the locations around the United States. The other important aspect of what we would call in-pipe hydro, is the ability to fund projects. Let me dive a little deeper into this concept of projects finance: Rentricity builds at site around a known-flow of water, and known pressure differential or pressure regime, the predictability of your cash or predictability of generating energy is very, very high. The capacity factor associated with an in-pipe hydro is much, much superior to a solar or wind project, which might have the capacity factor of 15% or maybe 25%, whereas a Rentricity in-pipe hydro has the capacity factor of 70-80% with a very, very strong predictability of cash flow. Therefore, not only does Rentricity see equity to help prop the company up and help ramp our sales efforts, we are also looking for smart money investors in the project finance realm, who want to actually finance a project and become an owner of the generating assets. We can find that we can pay these projects back in a five year timeline and create superior economic value and crafting internal rates of return, unlevered, after tax, at about 12-30% range depending upon the subsidies that are available. It is a very good story from both an equity perspective to prop up the business, but also the project finance opportunity is another way, another avenue of growing business as well.


CEOCFO: Are there competing technologies or ideas to do what you are doing that you are aware of in this industry?
Mr. Zammataro: There are. We are finding that some of the large engineering firms in the United States are in fact looking at this kind of energy recovery opportunity tied to various pipeline projects that might be underway. The problem that they are having is that the larger entities have a higher price-point for service, and therefore, their ability to build those projects economically is greatly challenged. We are hopeful. In some cases, we have received a phone call where we become their subcontractor for those projects. There are one or two other new technologies that are being developed both internationally and domestically that are attempting to target pipeline energy recovery as well. Right now, we are not necessarily sure that they are competitors per say, because the technologies may be included along side Rentricity technology in different parts of a water distribution network.  We feel very strongly that our reverse pump technology is really the winning solution, because it is pump technology used in reverse that water utility operators understand and it does not have to be proven. We feel very, very strongly that Rentricity’s positioning as an applications solution provider with this turnkey ability to bring the project into design, and into commissioning and startup is the right solution right now. I think this emerging competition is representative of the energy recovery space getting more attention, and I think it will in fact help validate the industry in the future.


CEOCFO: Do you feel that your industry or subsector are in favor with investors, of interest to investors, or really just not much on the radar screen and that is something you need to work on?
Mr. Zammataro: It depends upon your perspective: “Is Rentricity a clean tech company, or is Rentricity a water tech company, or are we something in between?” I think we are a hybrid.  We provide a nuance to the way water utility operators will consider the development of future pipeline projects, and we bring a clean form of electricity. I do feel that even while the clean tech industry has taken a bit of a hit of late, Rentricity will find investors who really see the water industry has a very, very safe haven for their investment dollars, because it is just a critical component to what we do every single day and what we need to do to survive and live on this earth. That is really the positioning, we are really a cross between a clean tech company and a water tech company, and I think we will definitely find investment interest.


CEOCFO: Why should investors and people in the business community pay attention to Rentricity today?
Mr. Zammataro: You are dealing with a large, worldwide marketplace. We have already identified 23,000 locations in the United States. That is a $2.4 billion market just in the U.S. It is a $10 billion marketplace worldwide. Rentricity has proven technology, and a proven management team that has developed the different commercial installations in different parts of water infrastructure, and is now moving towards larger installations and has also established strategic relationships to build new technology. In addition, the company is focusing on a very attractive project finance opportunity, and we believe that the mixture of both equity and project finance coming together in a unique way will in fact be a differential approach to creating investor value.  


CEOCFO: Final thoughts?
Mr. Zammataro: Again, I think the water tech framework is very, very important. I think we take water infrastructure for granted in this country. I believe there is an enormous opportunity for building a smart and sustainable water grid. Many people focus on the electric grid, but there is a water grid as well. Rentricity is at the beginnings of articulating all of the various solutions. To bring not only a clean form of electricity, a different part of water infrastructure, but using that electricity to power up sensors of flow, and pressure sensors to identify leakage, and even potentially disinfection devices that could improve the water quality within our water pipelines in this country. We feel very, very strongly that building a smart and sustainable water grid will be a wave of the future.


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“Rentricity very simply recovers energy; untapped energy that is found in our drinking water pipeline that water utilities manage. Our City of Keene, New Hampshire project has been highlighted because American Water Intelligence, [a leading industry research firm] has nominated it as the Technology Project of the Year for their American Water Summit event in Chicago this year. In addition, the company is focusing on a very attractive project finance opportunity, and we believe that the mixture of both equity and project finance coming together in a unique way will in fact be a differential approach to creating investor value. We feel very, very strongly that building a smart and sustainable water grid will be a wave of the future.”- Frank Zammataro


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