[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 94 (Thursday, May 15, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 27774-27778]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-11213]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

10 CFR Part 430

[Docket No. EERE-2014-BT-NOA-0012]
RIN 1904-AD21


Energy Conservation Standards and Test Procedure for Battery 
Chargers: Availability of Data

AGENCY: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of 
Energy.

ACTION: Notice of data availability (NODA).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has completed testing of 
new battery chargers to supplement its earlier analysis presented in a 
notice of proposed rulemaking from March 2012. DOE has compared these 
test results with data reported in the California Energy Commission's 
(CEC) ``Appliance Efficiency Database and has found some 
inconsistencies. To ascertain the reasons for these inconsistencies, 
DOE is publishing data from its own testing to solicit feedback from 
manufacturers on whether there are potential ambiguities in the Federal 
test procedure with respect to how certain battery chargers are tested 
when determining the energy usage ratings of these products.

DATES: DOE will hold a public meeting on June 3, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 12 
p.m. in Washington, DC. The meeting will also be broadcast as a 
Webinar. See section V, ``Public Participation,'' for webinar 
information, participation instructions, and information about the

[[Page 27775]]

capabilities available to webinar participants.
    DOE will accept comments, data, and information regarding the NODA 
before and after the public meeting, but no later than June 30, 2014. 
For details, see section V, ``Public Participation,'' of this NODA.

ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held at the U.S. Department of 
Energy Forrestal Building, Room 8E-089, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC 20585. For those planning to attend, see section V, 
``Public Participation,'' of this NODA for additional information.
    The docket, EERE-2014-BT-NOA-0012, is available for review at 
www.regulations.gov, including Federal Register notices, comments, and 
other supporting documents or materials. All documents in the docket 
are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. However, not all documents 
listed in the index may be publicly available, such as information that 
is exempt from public disclosure.
    A link to the docket Web page can be found at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EERE-2014-BT-NOA-0012. The 
regulations.gov Web page contains instructions on how to access all 
documents in the docket, including public comments. For further 
information on how to review the docket, contact Ms. Brenda Edwards at 
(202) 586-2945 or by email: Brenda.Edwards@ee.doe.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Direct requests for additional 
information may be sent to Mr. Jeremy Dommu, U.S. Department of Energy, 
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies 
Office, EE-5B, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. 
Telephone: 202-586-9870. Email: battery_chargers_and_external_power_supplies@ee.doe.gov.
    In the office of the General Counsel, contact Mr. Michael Kido, 
Esq., U.S. Department of Energy, Office of General Counsel, GC-71, 1000 
Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585- 0121, (202) 586-8145, 
Michael.Kido@hq.doe.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Please note that foreign nationals visiting 
DOE Headquarters are subject to advance security screening procedures. 
Any foreign national wishing to participate in the meeting should 
advise DOE as soon as possible by contacting Ms. Brenda Edwards at 
(202) 586-2945 to initiate the necessary procedures.

Table of Contents

I. History of Test Procedure and Energy Conservation Standards 
Rulemaking for Battery Chargers
II. Results and Analyses Summary
    A. Overview of the Test Data--Multi-Voltage, Multi-Capacity 
Battery Chargers and Multi-Voltage, Multi-Capacity, Multi-Chemistry 
Battery Chargers and Battery Energy
III. Request for Information
    A. Testing of a Unit With a Battery Used Exclusively for Back-Up 
Power
    B. Testing of Wireless Battery Chargers for Dry Environments
    C. Adaptive Charging
    D. Rated Charge Capacity Versus Measured Battery Energy
IV. Issues on Which DOE Is Seeking Comment
V. Public Participation
    A. Attendance at Public Meeting
    B. Procedure for Submitting Requests To Speak
    C. Conduct of the Public Meeting
    D. Submission of Comments

I. History of Test Procedure and Energy Conservation Standards 
Rulemaking for Battery Chargers

    On December 8, 2006, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) adopted a test 
procedure to measure the efficiency of battery chargers. 71 FR 71339. 
DOE amended the procedure on June 1, 2011 to measure all modes of 
charging and added provisions for measuring the energy recovered from 
the battery during discharge. 71 FR 31750. Using this procedure, DOE 
proposed to establish Federal energy conservation standards for battery 
chargers and external power supplies (BCEPS). 77 FR 18478 (March 27, 
2012). These proposed standards for battery chargers were based on the 
approach laid out in DOE's test procedure. The proposal was also issued 
after the California Energy Commission (CEC) had finalized its own 
standards for battery charger systems on January 12, 2012. The CEC 
standards took effect on February 1, 2013.\1\ The standard levels and 
accompanying battery charger classes contained in DOE's proposal and 
the CEC standards overlapped in some, but not all, respects. 
Additionally, DOE's proposed standards differ from those issued by the 
CEC, with some being more stringent and others being less stringent 
than the CEC standards. In spite of these differences, both sets of 
standards (finalized and proposed) rely on the same test procedure. See 
10 CFR Part 430, Subpart B, Appendix Y.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ http://www.energy.ca.gov/appliances/battery_chargers/.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Pursuant to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, as 
amended (EPCA), DOE performs a robust analysis to determine whether 
potential new or amended energy conservation standards that DOE 
proposes to adopt for certain products, such as battery chargers, are 
designed to achieve the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that 
is technologically feasible and economically justified. (42 U.S.C. 
6295(o)(2)(A)). While the analysis performed in support of DOE's March 
2012 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) tentatively determined that 
the proposed standards would achieve the maximum improvement in energy 
efficiency that is technologically feasible and economically justified, 
DOE is interested in determining if revisions to its analysis are 
necessary now that more stringent standards than DOE proposed have been 
in effect in California for over one year. As part of its examination 
of this situation, DOE is particularly interested in whether certain 
aspects of its test procedure require clarifications or revisions to 
ensure that the measurement of energy usage under the procedure is both 
accurate and repeatable.
    Additionally, DOE is interested in whether its tentative decision 
to defer the regulation of certain types of battery chargers, including 
those that are designed to charge consumer products wirelessly (e.g. 
inductive battery chargers designed to operate in dry environments) 
remains a viable approach. To this end, today's notice solicits 
comments from the public regarding how DOE's current test procedure 
impacts (if at all) the testing and potential future regulation of 
these types of products.

II. Results and Analyses Summary

    As of February 2013, compliance with the California standards for 
battery chargers was required when distributing those products in 
California. To better understand the impact of these standards on the 
battery charger industry, DOE has been obtaining products from retail 
merchants and testing them in accordance with the DOE test procedure. 
This process has enabled DOE to examine the types of technologies 
manufacturers are employing to meet the California standards.
    While investigating these issues, DOE compared the results from its 
own testing activities to the publicly available energy efficiency 
ratings for the same units reported in the CEC database and found 
inconsistencies between these two separate sets of data. (The CEC 
database is available online at: http://www.appliances.energy.ca.gov/.) 
Because the values obtained through DOE testing and the values reported 
to

[[Page 27776]]

CEC should have been obtained through use of the same test procedure 
(found in Appendix Y to subpart B of 10 CFR Part 430), these 
inconsistencies have raised a question as to whether these differences 
have arisen from an ambiguity in the DOE test procedure.
    DOE is publishing its test results to solicit feedback from 
interested parties, especially manufacturers, on any potential 
ambiguities in the DOE test procedure with respect to how certain 
battery chargers are tested in order to determine their energy 
efficiency ratings. Specifically, DOE has been unable to obtain ratings 
consistent with those found in the CEC database for multi-voltage, 
multi-capacity battery chargers and multi-voltage, multi-capacity, 
multi-chemistry battery chargers. DOE would like to ensure that the 
test procedure is clear and being administered as intended, and may use 
the responses to this notice to support potential revisions or updates 
to the test procedure for battery chargers. DOE's test results are 
available online at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EERE-
2014-BT-NOA-0012.
    Additionally, DOE is seeking comments and requesting information 
from interested parties on how to test (1) battery charging units that 
are equipped with a battery that is used exclusively for back-up power, 
(2) wireless battery chargers, and (3) battery chargers capable of 
performing adaptive charging. DOE is also interested in how the rated 
charge capacity of a given unit, versus the measured battery energy, is 
being interpreted in terms of test procedure requirements.

Overview of the Test Data--Multi-Voltage, Multi-Capacity Battery 
Chargers and Multi-Voltage, Multi-Capacity, Multi-Chemistry Battery 
Chargers and Battery Energy

    DOE tested several battery charger models capable of charging 
either multiple batteries at different voltages and capacities or 
charging batteries of different chemistries as well as different 
voltages and capacities. According to Table 4.1, ``Battery Selection 
for Testing'' found in section 4.3 of DOE's test procedure, at 10 CFR 
430, Subpart B, Appendix Y, a battery charger that is capable of 
performing multi-voltage and multi-capacity charging must undergo 3 
tests. Those tests include the following:

1. Of the batteries with the lowest voltage, use the one with the 
lowest charge capacity. Use only one port. [BATTERY 1]
2. Of the batteries with the highest voltage, use the one with the 
lowest charge capacity. Use only one port. [BATTERY 2]
3. Use all ports and use the battery or the configuration of batteries 
with the highest total rated energy capacity. [BATTERY 3]

    DOE applied the battery selection method as outlined above, and the 
battery discharge test per Section 5.8 codified 10 CFR 430, Subpart B, 
Appendix Y of the DOE test procedure, to several units and used several 
battery configurations, but could not obtain the results listed in the 
CEC database for those same models. The results from DOE testing of 
these models are detailed in the test report, Section 3. DOE has 
docketed this report, which is available at www.regulations.gov.
    In general, DOE's results from these tests differ from the publicly 
available data submitted to the CEC for these models. Collectively, 
these differences lead DOE to question whether there are ambiguities in 
the test procedure surrounding how multi-voltage, multi-capacity and 
multi-voltage, multi-capacity, multi-chemistry battery chargers are 
tested. Specifically, DOE seeks feedback on how the test procedure is 
being applied to multi-voltage, multi-capacity and multi-voltage, 
multi-capacity, multi-chemistry battery chargers. To the extent that 
there are differences in how these different categories of battery 
chargers are being tested in the field, DOE is also interested in 
whether the current test procedure needs to be modified to ensure that 
testing is performed in a consistent manner that obtains the most 
accurate measurement of a given unit's energy consumption.

III. Request for Information

    In addition to feedback on how to test multi-voltage, multi-
capacity battery chargers and multi-voltage, multi-capacity, multi-
chemistry battery chargers, DOE is soliciting feedback on several 
products that have become more prevalent in the market since the test 
procedure was published in 2011. Those products include: (1) Battery 
chargers equipped with a battery used solely for back-up power, (2) 
wireless chargers for dry environments, and (3) adaptive chargers. 
Additionally, DOE seeks comment on the definitions of ``Battery 
Energy'' (found in Section 2.7 of 10 CFR 430, Subpart B, Appendix Y) 
and ``Rated Energy Capacity'' (found in Section 2.21 of 10 CFR 430, 
Subpart B, Appendix Y) as they relate to multi-voltage, multi-capacity 
battery chargers and multi-voltage, multi-capacity, multi-chemistry 
battery chargers.

A. Testing of a Unit With a Battery Used Exclusively for Back-Up Power

    DOE tested a unit with an integral battery charger and battery that 
is used solely for back-up power during loss of main power. In this 
case, the battery charger operates in active mode to recharge the 
battery only when back-up power has been used; otherwise, the battery 
charger operates only in maintenance mode. The model that DOE selected 
for testing lacks a power switch, which meant that the additional 
functions not related to battery charging could not be turned off 
during the test. Based on the specifications of the battery, the energy 
consumption measured was much higher than that measured in comparable 
battery chargers that exclusively charge batteries of the same voltage, 
chemistry, and capacity. These results suggest that the current test 
procedure, which is intended to measure battery charging energy 
consumption, may be unable to isolate and measure that energy usage of 
these particular products. DOE seeks input on whether the test 
procedure can be applied or modified in a manner that would ensure that 
the final results more accurately reflect the true energy use of this 
type of battery charger and that those results are repeatable whether 
measured directly by a manufacturer or in a third-party laboratory 
without the use of proprietary test fixtures or discharge software that 
are available only to the manufacturer. DOE seeks feedback on whether 
the current procedure is sufficiently detailed in enabling a 
manufacturer or testing laboratory to measure the energy usage of these 
products in a consistent and accurate manner or whether specific 
changes are needed in order to accommodate their unique characteristics 
while testing.

B. Testing of Wireless Battery Chargers for Dry Environments

    DOE also seeks input on wireless charging stations (i.e. inductive 
battery chargers) that are specifically designed to operate in dry 
environments. The wide range of devices (including battery charging 
pads or charging mats), technologies, charging configurations (such as 
placement on a charging mat or a magnetic charging dock), number of 
batteries a device is capable of charging, and the type of batteries 
that can be charged by these systems, create some ambiguity regarding 
the ability of the current battery charger test procedure to produce 
accurate, meaningful and repeatable results for these products. DOE is 
interested in receiving information on the type of wireless

[[Page 27777]]

battery charger technologies that are currently available or may become 
available in the future, and comments on how manufacturers are applying 
(or would apply) the test procedure to these products. DOE is also 
interested in the applicability of the outputs that are currently 
measured or calculated in the battery charger test procedure to 
wireless battery chargers, and whether additional measurements should 
be conducted. Finally, DOE is interested in how the current procedure 
could be used to generate different measurement results for these types 
of products and whether modifications are needed to help ensure that 
the test procedure produces accurate and repeatable results.

C. Adaptive Charging

    DOE has become aware of charging systems that communicate with 
power supplies. These types of charging systems create an adaptive 
charging environment where the power output varies based on the 
particular conditions encountered by the charger. DOE is interested in 
those systems that vary charging rates based on which power supply is 
connected during charging. DOE is particularly interested in how these 
products deliver varying outputs and how they are currently rated (and 
advertised) according to the applicable standards for voltage and 
current reporting. Additionally, DOE seeks input on how manufacturers 
are applying the test procedure when measuring the energy usage of 
these products.

D. Rated Energy Capacity Versus Measured Battery Energy

    During its testing, DOE encountered several instances where it 
could not replicate the manufacturer-reported test procedure outputs of 
certain battery chargers. The nature of some of these reported ratings 
leads DOE to suspect that at least some manufacturers may be reporting 
the rated energy capacity (as defined in section 2.21 of the test 
procedure) values instead of the measurements required by the DOE test 
procedure when reporting battery energy. Specifically, there are cases 
where the reported battery energy is greater than the 24-hour energy 
consumption, a result that is not possible when following the test 
procedure since the maximum measured energy use is based on a 24-hour 
period. Under the prescribed procedure that manufacturers must follow, 
section 2.7 of the battery charger test procedure, codified in 10 CFR 
430 Subpart B, Appendix Y, defines battery energy as ``the energy, in 
watt-hours, delivered by the battery under the specified discharge 
conditions in the test procedure. . . .'' The output of the battery 
discharge test would then be used to calculate the battery charger Unit 
Energy Consumption (UEC) of both the unit under test and the proposed 
conservation standard level that the specific battery charger would be 
required to meet under the NOPR. DOE seeks feedback on whether 
clarifications to the existing test procedure are needed in order to 
eliminate any ambiguities associated with how the battery energy is 
derived.

IV. Issues on Which DOE Is Seeking Comment

    DOE welcomes comments on all aspects of this notice of data 
availability and request for information. DOE is particularly 
interested in receiving comments from interested parties on the 
following questions related to the test procedure for battery chargers:
    1. How is the test procedure being applied to multi-voltage, multi-
capacity and multi-voltage, multi-capacity, multi-chemistry battery 
chargers that are capable of being tested with multiple battery 
configurations?
    2. How are the results of the battery discharge test being reported 
when multiple battery energy values are obtained by testing with 
multiple battery configurations?
    3. Is the test procedure sufficiently detailed to to ensure 
accurate and consistent results are obtained when testing multi-
voltage, multi-capacity and multi-voltage, multi-capacity, multi-
chemistry battery chargers or are specific modifications necessary in 
order to accommodate testing of these type of battery chargers?
    4. How is the test procedure being applied to those applications 
that are equipped with both an integral battery charger and batteries 
that are solely used when main power is lost (i.e. back-up batteries)?
    5. Is the test procedure sufficiently detailed to to ensure 
accurate and consistent results are obtained when testing applications 
that are equipped with both an intergral battery charger and batteries 
that are soley used when main power is lost or are specific 
modifications necessary in order to accommodate testing of these type 
of battery chargers?
    6. Can the current test procedure be applied to wireless battery 
chargers (i.e. inductive chargers) that are designed for dry 
environments to ensure accurate and repeatable results? If not, what 
changes to the test procedure, if any, are required to ensure that 
these types of battery chargers can be tested in a repeatable manner 
that produces accurate results?
    7. DOE seeks information regarding what types of wireless battery 
charger technologies are currently available or may become available in 
the future, and how manufacturers are applying (or would apply) the 
test procedure to these products. (In this context, DOE is referring to 
inductive chargers designed to operate in dry environments.)
    8. DOE is also interested in how the outputs that are currently 
measured or calculated in the current battery charger test procedure 
apply (or would apply) to wireless battery chargers, and whether 
additional measurements should be conducted as part of the test in 
order to ensure that the measured results are accurate and repeatable. 
(In this context, DOE is referring to inductive chargers designed to 
operate in dry environments.)
    9. DOE is interested in both whether and how the current test 
procedure could be used to generate different measurements for wireless 
battery chargers and whether modifications are needed to help ensure 
that the test procedure produces accurate and repeatable results. (In 
this context, DOE is referring to inductive chargers designed to 
operate in dry environments.)
    10. How are adaptive (or smart) external power supplies being rated 
(and advertised) according to the applicable standards for voltage and 
current reporting?
    11. How should the test procedure be applied to battery charging 
systems with adaptive external power supplies? What changes to the test 
procedure, if any, would be needed to ensure the repeatability and 
accuracy of test results?
    12. Are the current definitions of ``battery energy'' and ``rated 
charge capacity'' in the test procedure sufficiently clear to enable 
manufacturers and testing labs to consistently produce repeatable, 
certifiable results as was intended by the DOE test procedure? If not, 
what changes to these definitions, if any, would be needed to ensure 
the repeatability and accuracy of test results?

V. Public Participation

A. Attendance at Public Meeting

    The time, date, and location of the public meeting are listed in 
the DATES and ADDRESSES sections at the beginning of this NODA. To 
attend the public meeting, please notify Ms. Brenda Edwards at (202) 
586-2945. Please note that foreign nationals visiting DOE

[[Page 27778]]

Headquarters are subject to advance security screening procedures. Any 
foreign national wishing to participate in the meeting should advise 
DOE as soon as possible by contacting Ms. Brenda Edwards at (202) 586-
2945 to initiate the necessary procedures.
    In addition, you can attend the public meeting via Webinar. Webinar 
registration information, participant instructions, and information 
about the capabilities available to webinar participants will be 
published on DOE's Web site at: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/product.aspx?productid=84. Participants are 
responsible for ensuring their systems are compatible with the webinar 
software.

B. Procedure for Submitting Requests To Speak

    Any person who has an interest in the topics addressed in this 
NODA, or who is a representative of a group or class of persons that 
has an interest in these issues, may request an opportunity to make an 
oral presentation at the public meeting. Requests should be emailed to 
Ms. Brenda Edwards at Brenda.Edwards@ee.doe.gov. Persons who wish to 
speak should include their contact information and an attached file 
that describes the nature of their interest in this NODA and the topics 
they wish to discuss. DOE requests persons selected to make an oral 
presentation to submit an advance copy of their statements by May 30, 
2014. DOE may permit persons who cannot supply an advance copy of their 
statement to participate, if those persons have made advance 
alternative arrangements with the Building Technologies Office. As 
necessary, requests to give an oral presentation should ask for such 
alternative arrangements.

C. Conduct of the Public Meeting

    DOE will designate a DOE official to preside at the public meeting 
and may also use a professional facilitator to aid discussion. The 
meeting will not be a judicial or evidentiary-type public hearing, but 
DOE will conduct it in accordance with section 336 of EPCA (42 U.S.C. 
6306). There shall not be discussion of proprietary information, costs 
or prices, market share, or other commercial matters regulated by U.S. 
anti-trust laws. A court reporter will be present to record the 
proceedings and prepare a transcript. The public meeting will be 
conducted in an informal, conference style. DOE reserves the right to 
schedule the order of presentations and to establish the procedures 
governing the conduct of the public meeting. DOE will present summaries 
of comments received before the public meeting, allow time for 
presentations by participants, and encourage all interested parties to 
share their views on issues affecting this NODA. Each participant will 
be allowed to make a prepared general statement (within time limits 
determined by DOE), before the discussion of specific topics. DOE will 
permit other participants to comment briefly on any general statements.
    At the end of all prepared statements on each specific topic, DOE 
will permit participants to clarify their statements briefly and 
comment on statements made by others. Participants should be prepared 
to answer DOE's and other participants' questions. DOE representatives 
may also ask participants about other matters relevant to this NODA. 
The official conducting the public meeting will accept additional 
comments or questions from those attending as time permits. The 
presiding official will announce any further procedural rules or 
modification of these procedures that may be needed for the proper 
conduct of the public meeting. After the public meeting, interested 
parties may submit further comments on the proceedings as well as on 
any aspect of the NODA until the end of the comment period. DOE will 
make the entire record of this proceeding, including the transcript 
from the public meeting, available on the DOE Web site.

D. Submission of Comments

    DOE welcomes comments on all aspects of this NODA and on other 
relevant issues that participants believe would affect test procedures 
and energy conservation standards applicable to Battery Chargers. 
Interested persons are encouraged to submit comments using the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments. Alternatively, interested persons 
may submit comments, identified by docket number EERE-2014-BT-NOA-0012, 
by any of the following methods:
     Email: To BatteryChargers2014NOA0012@ee.doe.gov. Include 
EERE-2014-BT-NOA-0012 in the subject line of the message.
     Mail: Ms. Brenda Edwards, U.S. Department of Energy, 
Building Technologies Office, Mailstop EE-5B, Revisions to Energy 
Efficiency Enforcement Regulations, EERE-2011-BT- STD-0005, 1000 
Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585- 0121. Phone: (202) 586-
2945. Please submit one signed paper original.
     Hand Delivery/Courier: Ms. Brenda Edwards, U.S. Department 
of Energy, Building Technologies Program, 6th Floor, 950 L'Enfant Plaza 
SW., Washington, DC 20024. Phone: (202) 586-2945. Please submit one 
signed paper original.
    All submissions received must include the agency name and docket 
number or RIN for this rulemaking.
    After the close of the comment period, DOE will begin collecting 
data, conducting the analyses, and reviewing the public comments. These 
actions will be taken to aid in the development of a test procedure and 
energy conservation standards Final Rule for Battery Chargers.
    DOE considers public participation to be a very important part of 
the process for developing test procedures and energy conservation 
standards. DOE actively encourages the participation and interaction of 
the public during the comment period in each stage of the rulemaking 
process. Interactions with and between members of the public provide a 
balanced discussion of the issues and assist DOE in the rulemaking 
process. Anyone who wishes to be added to the DOE mailing list to 
receive future notices and information about this rulemaking should 
contact Mr. Jeremy Dommu at (202) 586-9870, or via email at battery_chargers_and_external_power_supplies@ee.doe.gov.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on May 8, 2014.
 Kathleen B. Hogan,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency and 
Renewable Energy.
[FR Doc. 2014-11213 Filed 5-14-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P