Month: November 2016

CONCENTRATED SOLAR POWER

Concentrated solar power (also called concentrating solar power, concentrated solar thermal, and CSP) systems generate solar power by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight, or solar thermal energy, onto a small area. This is a scalable technology, however, the larger production appears to be the most efficient use of the related technology.

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Basics

Many power plants today use fossil fuels as a heat source to boil water. The steam from the boiling water spins a large turbine, which drives a generator to produce electricity. However, a new generation of power plants with concentrating solar power systems uses the sun as a heat source. The three main types of concentrating solar power systems are: linear concentrator, dish/engine, and power tower systems.

Linear concentrator systems collect the sun’s energy using long rectangular, curved (U-shaped) mirrors. The mirrors are tilted toward the sun, focusing sunlight on tubes (or receivers) that run the length of the mirrors. The reflected sunlight heats a fluid flowing through the tubes. The hot fluid then is used to boil water in a conventional steam-turbine generator to produce electricity. There are two major types of linear concentrator systems: parabolic trough systems, where receiver tubes are positioned along the focal line of each parabolic mirror; and linear Fresnel reflector systems, where one receiver tube is positioned above several mirrors to allow the mirrors greater mobility in tracking the sun.

A dish/engine system uses a mirrored dish similar to a very large satellite dish, although to minimize costs, the mirrored dish is usually composed of many smaller flat mirrors formed into a dish shape. The dish-shaped surface directs and concentrates sunlight onto a thermal receiver, which absorbs and collects the heat and transfers it to the engine generator. The most common type of heat engine used today in dish/engine systems is the Stirling engine. This system uses the fluid heated by the receiver to move pistons and create mechanical power. The mechanical power is then used to run a generator or alternator to produce electricity.

A power tower system uses a large field of flat, sun-tracking mirrors known as heliostats to focus and concentrate sunlight onto a receiver on the top of a tower. A heat-transfer fluid heated in the receiver is used to generate steam, which, in turn, is used in a conventional turbine generator to produce electricity. Some power towers use water/steam as the heat-transfer fluid. Other advanced designs are experimenting with molten nitrate salt because of its superior heat-transfer and energy-storage capabilities. The energy-storage capability, or thermal storage, allows the system to continue to dispatch electricity during cloudy weather or at night.

There’s more than one way to make good use of the Stirling cycle. Just ask the engineers at Infinia, Kennewick, Wash. They use it in both their PowerDish, a device already on the market that turns sunshine into electricity, and StAC, an innovative air conditioner that has earned development grants from the government. Both exemplify energy efficiency and sustainability.

PowerDish

In the PowerDish, heat from the Sun drives a free-piston Stirling power generator, an external combustion engine. A 161.5-ft2 parabolic dish made of mirrors bonded to curved sheet-molding compound reflects incoming sunlight onto a concentrator at the dish’s focal point. The mirrors are currently made of un-coated high-reflectivity glass and Infinia engineers see no need to add costly coatings at this time. Sunlight gets concentrated in an 800-to-1 ratio, which would raise the temperature at the heat-resistant nickel-alloy concentrator to 2,000°C if the Stirling generator didn’t extract heat from it and keep it at about 650°C, says Tim Talda, Infinia’s director for system electronics and controls.

You can learn more about this technology at: http://machinedesign.com/energy/infinia-uses-stirling-cycle-solar-power-and-air-conditioning. The company was bankrupted but the technology is still viable.

Solar Trough

A parabolic trough is a type of solar thermal collector that is straight in one dimension and curved as a parabola in the other two, lined with a polished metal mirror

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technologies use mirrors to concentrate (focus) the sun’s light energy and convert it into heat to create steam to drive a turbine that generates electrical power.

CSP technology utilizes focused sunlight. CSP plants generate electric power by using mirrors to concentrate (focus) the sun’s energy and convert it into high-temperature heat. That heat is then channeled through a conventional generator. The plants consist of two parts: one that collects solar energy and converts it to heat, and another that converts the heat energy to electricity. A brief video showing how concentrating solar power works (using a parabolic trough system as an example) is available from the Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Web site.

Within the United States, CSP plants have been operating reliably for more than 15 years. All CSP technological approaches require large areas for solar radiation collection when used to produce electricity at commercial scale.

CSP technology utilizes three alternative technological approaches: trough systems, power tower systems, and dish/engine systems.

Trough Systems

Trough systems use large, U-shaped (parabolic) reflectors (focusing mirrors) that have oil-filled pipes running along their center, or focal point, as shown in Figure 1. The mirrored reflectors are tilted toward the sun, and focus sunlight on the pipes to heat the oil inside to as much as 750°F. The hot oil is then used to boil water, which makes steam to run conventional steam turbines and generators.

These are utility scale solar power systems. They require land, permitting, grid management, employees, taxes, insurance and all the usual conditions for a mid-level business structure. There are many of these projects underway and ready for new investment capital and expansion and it makes perfect sense to join with existing businesses in this area.

Another very promising species of this concept is the use of concentrated solar with photovoltaic power generation. The global market for concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) systems is on the verge of explosive growth, with worldwide installations set to skyrocket 750% between 2013 and 2020, according to a report published on Tuesday by market research group IHS.

IHS is a global information company with world-class experts in the pivotal areas shaping today’s business landscape: energy, economics, geopolitical risk, sustainability and supply chain management. It employs more than 8,000 people in more than 31 countries around the world.

In the new IHS Report, Concentrated PV (CPV) Report – 2013, IHS predicts CPV installations will rise to 1,362 MW in 2020, up from 160 MW in 2013. Indeed, installations are expected to expand at double-digit percentages every year through 2020.

CPV technology employs lenses or mirrors to focus sunlight onto solar cells. While this allows for more efficient PV energy generation, the use of additional optics for focusing sunlight has also driven up the cost of CPV compared to conventional PV installations, limiting the acceptance of concentrated solar solutions.

The situation is changing rapidly, however, as advancements in CPV technology are reducing costs.

“What is happening in today’s CPV market is very similar to that of the overall PV space in 2007, beset by high costs and an uncertain outlook,” said Karl Melkonyan, photovoltaic analyst at IHS. “However, the CPV market in 2013 is on the verge of a breakthrough in growth. Costs for CPV have dropped dramatically during 2013 and are expected to continue to fall in the coming years. Furthermore, when viewed from the perspective of lifetime cost, CPV becomes more competitive with conventional PV in large ground-mount systems in some regions.”

Prices for CPV are retreating as manufacturing processes progress down the learning curve.

Average installed pricing for high-concentration PV (HCPV) systems are estimated to have decreased to $2.62 per watt in 2013, down 25.8% from $3.54 per watt in 2012. Rising volumes and improved system efficiencies are driving the decline, according to the report, which adds that prices will slide further at an annual compound rate of 15% from 2012 to 2017, falling to $1.59 by the end of 2017.

Taking lifetime costs into account

In the conventional PV market, cost analysis predominantly focuses on the module price-per-watt and the total installed cost-per-watt, IHS points out. When comparing the installed cost-per-watt of conventional PV to CPV, the cost of conventional PV is significantly lower.

“This is mainly due to the higher panel cost of CPV, given that CPV suppliers have yet to achieve the economies of scale, as well as a better balance of system and installation cost, because of the required tracker system,” IHS says.

“To be sure, conventional PV has a lower upfront cost and appears to be a more attractive option based on upfront system costs. However, this does not take into account the overall cost of the system over its lifetime, nor does it consider the energy yield of the system.”

Instead, the report adds, it is important to compare the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). The LCOE estimates the cost of generating electricity at the point of connection, dividing the total lifetime system costs by the total energy produced over the system’s lifetime.

“Such a calculation is also necessary in order to compare the competitiveness of PV and CPV with that of conventional power generation.”

Using the LCOE, IHS predicts that system costs for HCPV will remain low enough to compete with conventional PV for large commercial, ground-mount systems in target regions. These are the areas with hot, dry climates and high daily irradiation at more than 6 kilowatt-hours per square meter of direct normal irradiation.

Power generation with solar tracking systems : CSP vs CPV vs Flat PV

Manfred Armoureux Blog

The following is a comparison of CPV (concentrated photovoltaic) to CSP (concentrated solar power), more properly called concentrated thermo-electrical solar power to flat PV with solar tracking.

CSP (concentrated solar power), more properly called concentrated thermo-electrical solar power

 

and flat PV panels with solar tracking

First, I should make clear for you that each one of those categories actually encompasses different sub-technologies. Solar tracking may be along one or two-axis. In particular, the CSP technologies show a great deal of variety between Fresnel, parabolic trough, parabolas and central receivers (there is plenty of literature available around there). CPV systems are usually not as well known but there is also very different systems : inflatable parabolas (Cool Earth Solar), Fresnel lenses (Concentrix solar), parabolic trough (Exosun), panels of small parabolas (Solfocus) and I am probably missing many other companies.

Notwithstanding these differences, I chose to distinguish only the 3 categories  mentioned above.

Flat PV vs CPV

We start with the easiest comparison.

Cons of CPV compared to Flat PV:

  • you only capture the DNI (direct normal irradiation)

Pros :

  • Price per peak watt, given that your concentrating systems costs less per unit of surface than the PV cells.
  • If your do cogeneration of heat using the (absolutely required) residual heat of cooling system, it is much easier to achieve significant temperatures (i.e. 60ºC)

So choosing CPV instead of flat PV can be summarized in two short questions :

  • How much radiation do I loose because of diffuse radiation and how much cheaper per unit of surface is my CPV compared to flat PV ?”
  • Could I use most of the residual heat ? Does it have an economic value for me ?”

CPV vs CSP

CSP systems are great toys for engineers : they are complex and require a very multidisciplinary knowledge. However, that engineers enjoy working on them is not what will make them successful on the market.

The main advantage of CSP compared to CSP is its capacity to produce also during night time (using thermal storage). Unfortunately, as far as I know, there is no country giving any special incentive for this. Thus, to the investors, it is irrelevant.

The other advantage is that, at the present time, big CSP power plants are able to produce electricity at a cheaper cost than CPV. However, CPV systems are more recent and prices may go down in the future as experience is gained.

Cons of CSP compared to CPV :

  • Not very scalable (although some organizations are working on the smaller end of the power range)
  • More maintenance leading to more O&M costs for small plants.

Pros :

  • Lower costs if you can reach  a size big enough.
  • Capable of operations during night (but as stated earlier, it may not be valued economically).
  • Possibility to do co-generation with higher temperatures (above 100ºC). This has not been exploited much so far, but there has been enough research suggesting that industrial applications are possible.

PV generators are quite uninteresting for engineers : it is almost too easy. But that is exactly what makes the beauty of it. The cost PV also already decreased seriously these last years and will carry on. On the other hand, that cost decreases are possible in CSP is not yet a clearly established fact .. but many companies are betting their money on it.

You can see more images of these and related devices by searching google.com for the term “image of concentrated solar pv”.

Third attempt for Dish-Stirling, Infinia’s Tooele plant goes ahead

By CSP World on 12 June, 2013

Infinia Tooele Dish-Stirling plant

Infinia Corporation has announced it has begun commissioning the first of seven commercial-scale PowerDish™ installments currently underway at the Tooele Army Depot, a U.S. Army installation in Utah, USA.

This project is likely to be the third attempt to commercially deploy the Dish-Stirling technology. The 1.5 MW solar power plant that includes 429 PowerDish units will be the largest Concentrated Solar Power plant to use the Dish-Stirling technology, after the decommissioning of the Maricopa Solar Project, a 1.5 MW Dish-Stirling plant developed by a consortium made of Tessera Solar and Stirling Energy Systems.

The Dish-Stirling technology has always been seen as the most vulnerable of the Concentrated Solar Power technologies to falling prices of photovoltaic modules due to its similarity with it, in terms of intermittent generation and non availability of cost competitive energy storage system. Despite of this, Tessera Solar built the 1.5 MW Maricopa Solar Project as a demonstration project for further planned large-scale plants of nearly 700 MW. Unfortunately, Stirling Energy Systems filed for bankruptcy, the pilot project was decommissioned and auctioned and the planned projects were turned to photovoltaic plants or withdrawn.

Another attempt occurred in Spain, Renovalia tried to deploy this technology with a pilot plant and up to seven commercial plants announced. After the decision to change its technology provider, Infinia, to another company -a fact that was announced as ‘the 3rd generation CSP is here’-, and expected changes in the regulatory framework of Spanish CSP sector, the company withdraw the projects.

Infinia has deployed, in a small-scale so far, its PowerDish product at numerous locations around the globe and is currently involved in two NER300 projects awarded by the European Commission. The Cyprus/Helios project includes a 50 MWe transmission-scale PowerDish deployment near the city of Larnaca where each of the 16,920 dishes will supply electricity to the national grid. The Greece/MAXIMUS project in the Florina region will have a total installed capacity of 75.3 MWe. The plant includes 25,160 PowerDish units composing 37 distribution-scale power plants, each connected to the grid via a single connection point.

“We are excited to mark this milestone in providing the Tooele Army Depot with a long-term, dependable clean energy solution,” said Infinia President and CEO, Mike Ward. “Given their need for secure energy, high performance and reliability, our PowerDish is ideally suited to help them optimize their sustainable energy goals and provide them with 30% of their electricity requirements.”

PowerDish is a parabolic dish with a unique free-piston Stirling generator that converts the sun’s heat into grid-quality AC power at 34% efficiency. The PowerDish uses no water, and can be deployed faster than other concentrating solar thermal technologies.

“Infinia has been a leader in free-piston Stirling technology for more than 25 years,” said Jos van der Hyden, Infinia Chief Commercial Officer. “The maturity of this technology combined with our lean manufacturing expertise creates a compelling message that resounds with our customers and is setting the tone for our expansion in the European solar market.”

The European Commission’s strict eligibility criteria for awarding these projects is similar to the high standards Infinia is required to meet for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and includes proven innovative technology, scalability, and on-time delivery. “We are confident our free-piston Stirling technology will help create a lasting impact as we move forward to help the EU meet its aggressive renewable energy goals,” added Van der Hyden.

STIRLING ENGINE AND RENEWABLE APPLICATIONS

Heat of Your Hand Stirling Engine

The elegant MM-7 is a beautiful conversation piece for your home or office. It will run indefinitely on your warm hands, or on top of any electronic device that generates sufficient heat. It will even run on the bright sunlight shining through your window. It only requires a 7.2°F (4°C) difference between the top and base plates. The MM-7 makes a unique gift for that special person who has everything. Amaze your friends, your family, your co-workers, or just yourself!

The Stirling engine

The Stirling Engine (from the name of the inventor of the first example built in 1816, Rev. Dr. Stirling) is an external combustion engine.

Its operational principle is extremely simple: a constant mass of gas is contained inside of the cylinders, which when heated expands and when cooled contracts, pushing the piston with alternating force or upwards or downwards. As a function of the cylinder displacement, the speed with which the thermal exchange takes place and the temperature differential between the maximum heat and the minimum cold the power produced varies (these are only some of the variables at play).

Stirling Engines may be divided into three main categories:

1 – ALFA: engine with two 90° opposed cylinders, one cold and the other hot;

2 – BETA: engine with one power piston and a displacer piston in the same cylinder;

3 – GAMMA: engine with a power piston and a displacer piston in two different cylinders.

The main features that make the use of Stirling Engine advantageous are:

Any heat source may be applied to it: gas (even if produced by biomass) coal, wood, waste heat (i.e., produced by cooling plants), concentrated solar heat, etc., and also any of these combined;

Emissions are easily controllable and far less toxic than those from an internal combustion engines;

The engine structure does not require complicated maintenance procedures;

Noise emissions are extremely contained;

Residual heat, which is not used for the production of power, may be recovered and reintroduced in the water heating cycle, in this manner, increasing the total efficiency of the system.

In short, the Stirling Engine is quiet, user friendly and practically needs no maintenance. It may be powered by a broad variety of energy sources whilst it produces easily controllable emissions if any at all.

All of these features make it usable in any location and by anyone. Nevertheless, at nearly 200 years from its invention, this technology has found application only in very specific circumstances: it has been used for example by the NASA space agency on occasion of the most recent United States space missions; the Norwegian Navy has installed Stirling Engines on three submarines due to their particularly quiet operation; and finally some American companies have applied Stirling Engine prototypes to solar concentration energy production plants. Naturally these prototypes are not usable in the normal consumer market due to their elevated realization costs.

Possible applications

Anyone who needs to produce heat has above all the need to produce it efficiently (economically). To be able to produce electrical energy at the same cost and without the need to increase the power of the furnace with which heat energy is produced, without a doubt increases the efficiency of the plant.

Our market is therefore represented by all of those small or medium concerns that need energy: energy that these firms, either totally or in part, produce on their own and which in and of itself represents a significant cost and a critical resource.

There are situations in which none of the technological alternatives currently available on the market may be advantageously applied to the work being carried out. Furthermore, even compared to other forms of renewable energy production, the advantages of a range of Stirling Engines are evident: from the environmental and landscape impact, being basically null, to the lack of any long bureaucratic authorization procedures for the facility, going on to the certain economic return for anyone who intends on making the initial investment, given the quantity of energy produced.

Today, alongside the large power stations and the traditional distribution lines, ever more small, localized systems are working. These, combining the production of heat energy with that of electrical power, represent in many situations an efficient solution both from the economic point of view as well as that of energy availability.

The Micro-Cogeneration market is being extended and established, favored also by the new regulations surrounding it regarding the liberalisation of electrical energy production and in favour of micro-generation plants, making this type of technology ever more desirable compared to the traditional furnaces able to produce only thermal energy.

There are very many settings in which micro-cogeneration finds optimal conditions for application: practically all of those situations in which there is a need to produce heat energy for a prolonged number of hours over the year, such as, for example:

Swimming pools and sports centres, private health care facilities and hospitals, community centres, restaurants and hotels, rest homes, schools and dormitories, supermarkets, mountain community water purification plants, farm holiday centres, nature parks and reserves, ecology oases, mountain pasture retreats, mountain refuge cottages, green house farms, agro-food industries, dairies, pasta factories, tanneries, chemical-pharmaceutical industries, textile industries, wineries, distilleries, dye houses. In addition there are all of those concerns that may be found in areas that are under-developed in regard to the traditional power lines service such as, for example, isolated houses.

Stirling Engines may be combined with existing technology, or in any event, with those technologies available on the market, to transform them from a mere heat sources to co-generation plants.

The best example of the most recent utility scale application was by Infinia, and it’s use of the Stirling Engine with concentrated solar in a parabolic dish. I’ve detailed this technology in the next chapter.

PLASMA REACTOR GENERATOR (FUEL PROCESSOR)

 

In this plasma reactor, or “fuel processor”, the incoming fuel goes in the opposition direction to outgoing exhaust in a chamber that surrounds the fuel, heating up the fuel. In the middle of this exchange chamber is a rod of a certain composition and length, which takes on magnetic polarity. Supposedly as the fuel encounters these conditions, by the time it exits past the rod, it turns to a plasma state, at a relatively low temperature, and the fuel molecules are broken down into their most elemental state, creating a new fuel state.

This new state burns more completely, with little or no emissions. Its properties are different than what petrol products (i.e. implosion rather than explosion). It’s this plasma phenomenon that explains why a wide range of substances can be fed into the reactor as fuel, such as wasted cooking oil or wasted engine oil. This engine will also operate a crude oil, yes, unprocessed oil from an oil well. It’s similar to what a plasma arc does in a municipal waste-to-energy plant, except this operates on a very small scale. Specifically, a converted generator can produce between 5kW and 250kW.

The following is an image of the conversion kit components:

Fuel Processor Kit

The kit comes with all parts needed to make a basic reactor including the rods for all three application positions. They are constructed of 304 Stainless Steel. Laser cutting assures precise joints and machine welds means solid joints. After the fitting is complete, it’s only necessary to drill four 4 holes and make 11 spot welds to have a lightweight heavy duty plasma reactor.

The following is a diagram of how the technology functions.

There are of course limitless applications for this system. Consider what the oil industry has created in terms of opportunities for new technology or new uses of the same technology and fuel from sustainable sources. Furthermore, once the modifications are completed, on a standard generator for example, there are little or no pollutants that require the system to operate outside or in a well-ventilated area. In fact, this system can operate in small cement enclosure where noise pollution can be greatly reduced.

It seems best to operate this system at the same locations where there is a steady supply of waste oils, such as near restaurants.

The following is an illustration of how a lawnmower would be retrofitted:

TechNavio’s analysts forecast the global diesel and gas generator market to reach $16.5 Billion by 2016. One of the key factors to this market growth is the increasing concern over the energy deficit. The global diesel and gas generator market has been witnessing the development of the next-generation generators. However, the need to comply with government regulations and guidelines could pose a challenge to the growth of this market.

It is possible to purchase basic generators at very low cost, but moderate volume, and have them modified using the plasma reactor. One supplier is alibaba.com and you can find a range of generators at: http://www.alibaba.com/showroom/generic-gas-generators.html

The wood gas generator market is present mainly in the United States and Canada in North America; Finland, Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom and Sweden in Europe; Japan and Korea in the Asia Pacific region; South Africa and Brazil in the Rest of the World.

The increasing demand for energy, lesser emission as compared to the petroleum fuels and uneven distribution of oil and gas reserves are the major drivers for the wood gas generator market. The problems associated with the transportation and storage of the woods and charcoals are the major restraints to the wood gas generator market. The large amount of forest cover in the untapped market of South American and Central African countries can act as opportunities for the wood gas generator market.

Wood gas generators may be a competitor for the fuel processor. The increasing demand for energy has created concerns for the government to supply life line energy to all its citizens. Presently, the scientists are working on either developing or designing such systems that can convert the waste, timber or charcoal into useful energy sources with lesser carbon emission. These systems will not only generate energy but will also help in achieving the goal of reduced global carbon footprints. The wood gas generator is a type of generator that meets the above requirements. The wood gas generator can be used to convert the charcoal or timber into wood gas or syngas. The wood gas that is formed by the help of wood gas generator is a type of a syngas consisting of carbon monoxide, nitrogen, hydrogen and methane. The increasing temperature due to emission of green house gases coupled with the increasing demand for energy can have positive impact on the wood gas generator market.

In my opinion, this only helps to create acceptance for the fuel processor/plasma reactor modified generators.

Industry Analysis by Country

Mexico

There are no threats to new entrants. NAFTA has paved the way for smooth trade with Mexico. Additionally, Mexico’s electricity industry is booming. The Mexican government estimates the need for total investment in the industry to be $50 billion over the next ten years. They estimate the need for an additional 26,000 megawatts over the next eight years. One advisor to Mexico’s Energy Secretary said that over 50% of the investment in the industry over the next 10 years is expected to come from the private sector. He added that reforms to be put before Congress this fall may increase that number significantly.4

In this fertile market, firm rivalry will be significant. This industry is growing rapidly and Mexico’s market is ready. It will be important to get in first and establish a market share. There will be numerous competitors, primarily from the U.S. and Canada. In the beginning as companies follow slightly different lines of development, there will be some product differentiation which will taper over time.

Threats of substitute products include other form of energy production including wind, solar, and grid supplied power. With utilities being privatized, grid power may pose a serious threat to general consumer acceptance of this product limiting the market of this product to critical systems and rural applications. In the rural applications wind and solar power may provide formidable competition.

Brazil

Brazil is currently having a major energy crisis due to the most severe drought in seventy years. Over 90% of Brazil’s power comes from hydroelectric dams. Reservoirs that should be over half after the rainy season are instead only a quarter full. The government is requiring electricity consumption cutbacks of 15-25% and doubling rates charged for electricity. Violators who fail to cut back will be punished with fines of up to 200% of utilities cost and subject to having power cut for up to six days. This amid unreliable, overtaxed grids leading to random blackouts. This has likely served as a wake up call that will inspire many Brazilians to look beyond the dam for other sources power. In fact many companies in Brazil are generating their own power.

Due to the intensity of the electricity shortage, there is stiff competition in Brazil. EnergyWorks, a division of Iberdrola S.A., a Spanish utility, has been engaged by several companies. EnergyWorks builds 5 Megawatt mini-powerplants on company grounds. They are expensive and require a commitment to buying electricity for 16-18 years. In view of recent economic instability in Brazil, many companies are not willing to make such a long term commitment.

Threats of substitute products include alternate means of power supply. Brazil has existing electricity supply to combat the current shortfall however there is no infrastructure in place to carry the excess supply to the heavily populated urban areas where the shortfall exists. In view of the current situation, Brazil has plans to create that infrastructure. Officials estimate that it will take about two years to close the gap between existing power supply and high need areas.

Thailand

Thailand is experiencing an electricity glut. While worldwide electricity reserves are required to be at 15% by international standard, Thailand’s reserves are at 40%. The Electricity Generation Authority of Thailand (Egat) is asking independent power providers who have not yet signed contracts to postpone supply until 2007. They had been planning to provide power starting in 2004. Egat claims that reserves are sufficient to last until 2006 and that is without considering power that Egat is obliged to purchase from plants in Laos and Malaysia.

Despite the electricity glut in Thailand, there is still a market for power generation in critical systems. However, recent economic hardship and underdevelopment make rural customers in Thailand unlikely.

The overzealous power grid in Thailand poses the greatest single threat to sales of on-site systems. With an abundance of electricity the need for on-site generation will appear to be minimal.

Greece

As a part of joining the European Union (EU), Greece has been forced to abolish its state run monopoly on the production and distribution of electricity. Additionally, in an effort to meet the objectives agreed to in the Kyoto Treaty, the EU requires that no later than 2010 a minimum of 12% of electricity will be produced using renewable energy. In fact, renewable energy is the main focus of Greece’s energy policy. In 1998, Greece approved 10 wind-energy projects and 25 hydro-electric projects and forecasted a 400% increase in the amount of electricity produced using renewable energy sources. Also, as part of the EU effort to create a single integrated infrastructure, Greece and Italy have recently joined their respective electricity grids by way of a high-voltage DC cable under the Adriatic Sea.

In Europe there is much emphasis on unification between EU countries. This would likely lead to preferential treatment being given to EU based competitors. In a separate study of the aerospace and defense industry an example of this behavior was cited where Raytheon lost a contract for air-to-air missiles to an unproven start-up cross-border European missile company.

The greatest threat is by alternative methods of producing electricity. Greece seems to have sound energy policy as it plans its use of renewable energy sources and its integration with other EU countries.

Some issues such as the bargaining power of buyers and suppliers are common in all countries.

The bargaining power of buyers is significant with large buyers such as the government or universities with medical and computing centers. These buyers would likely be sensitive to price.

The bargaining power of suppliers will relate to companies that emerge as industry leaders and are able to achieve economies of scale. There are currently many companies in the development stages in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Eventually, the number of competitors will decrease and the product will move toward being a commodity. There are already signs of that happening with the PEM component as Dupont and 3M enter the market as major production players.

Country Selection Summary

During the market research phase it became apparent that this product will serve a niche market. Unlike fuel cells used to power cars, stationary power generation units serve essentially two markets. The first is where reliability is paramount such as in hospitals, computer facilities, and emergency services. Secondly is the market of eclectic cabin dwellers far from any grid. All of the countries have the former while probably none have much of the latter. So what rationale is best in selecting only two of the countries? One investment publication put it this way:

“All it would take to stir up a frenzy for fuel cell stocks is a cold winter, a further increase in oil or natural gas prices and/or a major conflict in the Middle East. Any sign of the oil/utility markets having serious turbulence would make the nascent fuel cell industry seem like a quick-fix solution, when in reality it remains a long-term potential play.”6

This analysis of investing in the industry is helpful in determining which markets are best for this product. Using the same logic, the market with the most turmoil around the electricity industry, where electricity is either scarce or unreliable would make the best place to enter the market. Emotion is an unavoidable and even useful part of the buying process. Emotion is the main differentiating factor in looking at the needs of customers in the four countries. While all critical applications need on-site generation, a sense of urgency toward purchasing such a system will be strongest in areas with troubled power supply.

Thailand can be ruled out first because there is an abundance of electricity and no indication of it being problematic.

Second to be ruled out is Greece where increased integration with EU neighbors will strengthen their grid which at this time shows no signs of stress. Additionally, growing ties with European neighbors would likely make competing more difficult.

Among the four choices Brazil is currently the country with the most severe electricity supply problems. Despite economic problems, the crisis around the sector will create more potential buyers. In fact, on-site power generation with PEM based generators may provide sufficient supplementation to grid power while serving as backup for critical systems. And the cost would be significantly less than the alternative 5 megawatt mini-powerplants provided by EnergyWorks.

Finally, Mexico’s proximity to the U.S. and unity under NAFTA make it a good choice. Mexico’s open invitation to investment in the sector is also a plus. Mexico has seen the power woes of its close neighbor, California, and will likely try anything to avoid the same fate.

Having considered such things as the current electricity supply situation and surrounding emotional factors as well as barriers and competition, Mexico and Brazil seem the better choices as target markets.

GREEN STEAM ENGINE

There are many ways to generate energy outside of the standard energy/electrical grid. This presentation is limited to one device but provides a list of examples as to how it can be used in a business and investment model. I’ve chosen the “Green Steam”, Steam Engine as a means of producing energy on a community scale.

The reason I chose this is because it’s already in production. It was not in production when I first began studying it so this is really good news and unusual from what I’ve seen for similar devices in recent years. Please take a moment to review the manufacturer’s website: http://greensteamengine.com/

The basics of the invention is that it’s an axial piston fluid engine having single-acting cylinders incorporating swivel-joint attachment of the cylinders to rotary control valves wherein straight-line piston movement is established for the elimination of side forces on the pistons. The pistons and the control valves are connected to a common wobble drive member and arranged in geometry of lever positions to co-actively time the drive fluid into and out of the cylinders intermittently.

A basic mid-size engine could start at a suggested price of $499. to $1500. depending on the size. Added accessories could fill out a complete system that could sell for between $2500. to $10,000. depending on the size. The accessory package could include a generator, a water distiller, an inverter, a battery, a pump, a boiler and a choice of burners that use different fuels. A steam engine electrical generating system is exactly the same as a windmill system, therefore, no new technology needs to be developed for that part of the system. Boilers are very old well established products. However, new, small boilers dedicated to steam engine technology will need enhanced designing and updating. Simple and inexpensive boilers are prolific on Youtube and the Internet.

The steam engine can be assembled by people with little training. We can use this example for a business plan in order to prepare some of the elements of the plan for our purposes, and notice that the example plan involves the assembly of a renewable energy device. We just have a different one. http://cbetmodel.org/documents/PV-Module-TOC.pdf

The system I’m wanting to build includes a boiler and a solar concentrator such as a Fresnel Lens mounted in a frame that tracks the sun with a heliotrope. The heat can be absorbed into a heat exchanger to produce hot water and pressured guided into the boiler. The heat can be regulated enough to produce heat energy to power the steam engine and generate electricity and hot water.

Cash flow could come from leasing the apparatus to communities and maintenance agreements. One very possible parts supplier is Alibaba.com who can deliver items we need in high volume/low cost. We will need a marketing plan to go with a completed business plan, and we should decide on financing at some point. Maybe we can put the cash up front, but it’s still a good idea to obtain financing.

A Green Steam Engine system can offset the electrical and heating needs (reduce the load) of a small community, business, or small group of homes, such as in groups of 4 or 6 for each system. This system can also produce hydrogen for energy storage to be used during periods where there is little or no sunlight.

 

DEFECTIVE ENGINES GET LESS THAN 100 MPG

Your car engine is defective if it’s getting less than 100 miles per gallon. There is vacuum and other technology, that is fairly old, which has been excluded from today’s engine manufacturing so that people will need to buy more fuel and pay for more maintenance on their car engines than necessary.

The fuel injection technology was developed by the car manufacturers when people began discovering that the carburetor could be modified to give engines an efficiency of more than 1,000 miles per gallon. In fact, it was the car manufacturers that discovered this through their own research. Yes, that is more than one thousand, not just one hundred. I’m not going to discus this because the vast majority of cars people are using now have fuel injection and the carburetor research is fairly easy to find.

The fuel injection system we use today involves a “throttle body” and this along with the spark plug specifications and the positive crankcase ventilation or “PCV” valve can be modified (upgraded) to give gas engines, at least double the efficiency they are now getting. We should be getting at least 100 miles per gallon by simply correcting what the manufacturer deliberately did not build into the engine.

I’ll bet you never thought that your car engine was manufactured defectively, but I’ll bet it will really set your head spinning when you realize that it was deliberate. I’m not technically inclined on this subject, so I must include a detailed explanation from one of the inventors himself, Ron Hatton. Here is how he explains it.

In March of 2009, while speaking with a pilot who holds several records for fuel efficiency in flight who was describing the turbulence over his wings, I had an idea. If I could make that kind of action occur inside an engine, something good would happen. Almost immediately, the shape and location popped inside my head, accompanied by an energy that made it impossible for me to do anything but apply this modification.

Beginning with a 2000 Land Rover, we began to find it working to enhance combustion characteristics across all gasoline engines. Now, more than three years later, this technology has spread to more than 20 nations and is in almost every state in the union.

Basically, what we have discovered is the shape or a “groove” that I call “The Gadgetman Groove”. It has a profound effect on the naturally occurring pressure curve inside the intake manifold in such a way as to reduce the pressure available as the fuel is delivered to the cylinder. This reduction in pressure has the added effect of increasing the quantity of fuel that is in vapor state at the point of ignition.

Fuel that is normally burned in the exhaust (so-called “Waste Fuel”) is given what it needs to burn inside the engine, enabling tremendous increases in fuel efficiency and all that means to an engine AND the environment.

The normal process of the intake cycle generates a condition of reduced pressure inside the intake manifold. This is called “Vacuum” and represents anything below normal atmospheric pressure and is measured in Inches of Mercury (Hg). As an engine ages, the seals that create this vacuum deteriorate (ring wear, broken lines, dried and cracking diaphragms). As the vacuum drops, so does the efficiency of your engine.

This is because of a little considered scientific law called The Law of Standard Temperature and Pressure” or “The Ideal Gas Lawwhich, simply stated, is “At a standard pressure and a standard temperature, fluid X requires Y amount of BTU’s to change states.” As it applies to us here in the world of fuel efficiency, if you reduce the pressure on a liquid, it will vaporize at a lower relative temperature.

Why is Pressure Important?

Gasoline is a liquid. Oxygen is a vapor. You cannot mix the two under normal conditions. They must both be in the same state to blend (liquid to liquid, vapor to vapor). As you will never see the amount of pressure inside an engine necessary to liquefy oxygen, you can forget that approach. BUT! Since there is already a vacuum present, you CAN enhance the wave already present, providing the conditions appropriate for blending the fuel with the oxygen, a prerequisite for combustion.

What’s a “Normal” Vacuum?

Normal engine vacuum is considered “ideal” at about 17” Hg. But, as we discussed earlier, this is just a figure, and all engines will have different values here, as will the temperature-to a greater or lesser degree. It is the vacuum (in conjunction with the manifold temperature) that causes some of the fuel vaporization, enabling the fuel to burn faster at the point of ignition. These vapors, when ignited, then supply the BTU’s the rest of the fuel compounds require to vaporize, so they may complete the combustion process. Combustion will continue until either the fuel or the oxygen is depleted to the point it will not support further combustion. Unfortunately, the fuel we are given today to run our engines burns so slowly that most of it is consumed in the catalytic converter.

The raw (un-combusted) fuel is held up there, coming into contact with certain heavy metals which, when heated, allows the fuel to burn (or catalyze) leaving compounds less harmful to the environment than the raw fuel. In summary, the catalytic converter burns what is considered to be “Waste Fuel” (the fuel the engine can not consume -under “normal” conditions.)

Therefore, if you want to increase the rate of combustion (and clean up your emissions!) you have to be able to reduce the amount of fuel in the exhaust. The best way to do this is to change the conditions on which the computer bases its fuel delivery. Simply, burn more of the fuel (and the oxygen!) in the combustion chamber. The only way to do that is to get it to mix better with the oxygen, and the BEST way to do that: vaporize more of the fuel!

The core problem is that liquid fuel must evaporate to burn completely. Combustion happens so fast that the fuel cannot evaporate completely, resulting in un-combusted fuel being sent to the catalytic converter. This is where the emissions are processed, and where the computer takes most of the information which it uses as the basis for its calculations to determine the fuel requirements.

He is not specific here, but this involves modifying the throttle body. The throttle body is the part of the air intake system that controls the amount of air flowing into the engine, it looks something like this:

Once you’ve modified the throttle body, you will want to further increase your engine’s efficiency by capping off the positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve and then modifying your spark plug gaps beyond the manufacturer’s specifications.

I’m going going to get into all of that detail, you can read it for yourself via this link:

http://gadgetmangroove.com/index.php/gadgetman-land/documents/category/1-gadgetman-groove-documents

My point is writing this article is to explain that the corporations that are supposed to serve people, have instead by serving their owners at our expense. We can stop this, and we can do it in a way that everyone benefits, even the owners and their customers (us).

It’s not enough that, for example, the throttle body isn’t made properly, but there are mechanisms in your car that deliberately help to waste fuel, such as the O2 sensors. These sensors prevent you from improving the gas mileage using a technique such as modifying the throttle body, or changing your spark plug gaps. In fact, the specifications for spark plug gaps also keep your spark plugs from operating in the most efficient way possible. Of course I’m not a mechanic and people will criticize what I’m saying here, but at least check it out for yourself and don’t take my word for it.

NO FUTURE FOR RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE TITLES

Titles to real estate are the mark of a feudal economic system. In other words, if we rely on titles to land to identify ownership, then we can never own the land because it is truly owned by the tax collector and other lien holders.

We are moving more deeply into a society where the tax collector and banking system have become the gatekeepers for people who want to pay for and use the land for productive purposes. But it’s all connected to the fact that the cultural norms in our society are built upon transferring a clear title to land when we buy and sell. Insurance is based upon it, tax liabilities are based upon it and the perception of property rights and liabilities are based upon the title.

Imagine selling the “exclusive right of possession” to someone who wants to use your house? How is it your house? Well, it’s not, but because your name is on the title, the statutes give you the exclusive right to use it. This has made us slaves to the banking system and taxing authorities. What if you conveyed the title of your home into a limited liability company? Give it the same name as your street address, for example, a home at 123 Elm Street, is now titled in the name of “123 ELM STREET, LLC”. You then add a standard lease agreement into the LLC operating agreement and then “lease” the property to the next occupant.

But what about equity and appreciation? We must break this cycle, this is what makes us slaves to the banking system, we think we can gain money from holding title, when it’s all a fraudulent scheme conducted by the banking system to keep us running in circles. Forget about “equity” and forget about the title, once conveyed into an LLC, it will forever remain and only the terms of occupancy will change within the operating agreement, from one occupant to the next. As more people do this, less and less people will need to have mortgages as prices on real estate plummet.

As this trend continues, the prices of real estate will return back to the costs of construction plus labor and a contractor’s premium for building the home. The prices will not rise and fall with the banking system or the crooked “fed rate” system. No one will be concerned about selling the title anymore because no one will need a title to enjoy the occupancy of a home (or any property for that matter). But what about the property taxes and foreclosure?

Foreclosure for Taxes

Yes, the property tax collector can still foreclose if the property taxes are not paid. The foreclosure would transfer the title to a buyer of the tax lien debt (whether deed or certificate), so the title would change. And if the occupant could not work out a debt with the buyer of the tax debt, it would allow him to foreclose. But because there is little invested, no expectation of any windfalls from equity or appreciation, it would be just as easy for that occupant to find another deal just like it with another property, a new LLC and enter into the operating agreement just like before, the only loss being the costs of moving.

It would also allow the new tax lien buyer to hold the title in his own LLC and just continue like everyone else, sell occupancy and jointly control the title. This new arrangement would work for everyone. How would the occupant protect his interests in the property with insurance?

Insurance

We can take steps to mitigate risks without insurance, as used in the traditional sense.

Structural damage

Your house should be located and constructed properly. Don’t build in a dry river bed or below sea level, and build it well so it can withstand the appropriate level of weathering. Even with all of these precautions, there will still be some risk to structural damages, but you will have greatly minimized this risk with planning, building and re-building.

Personal liability

Because your name is not on the title, you won’t have any personal liability. If anyone were to sue the owner for a physical injury, he would have nothing more than a judgment lien (assuming he won because there was no need to defendant against the claim) and the lien would eventually expire or be severed in another foreclosure (it would be uncollectible).

Contents (chattels)

A renter’s policy would work perfectly to cover the contents of your home, it’s a lease agreement, nothing new. But you could install an appropriate security system and use vaults for certain items and locks on drawers, etc.

Generally

While steps can be taken to greatly reduce known risks for your property, they cannot be totally eliminated. But your need for traditional insurance should be greatly diminished accordingly, or it should be diminished enough to where you would be willing and easily able to set aside enough money to cover them yourself. These remaining risks can be covered in the operating agreement by all parties as well, not just the tenant or the co-party tenant.

Foreclosure for Mortgages

Using residential homes in this way would eventually eliminate the need or usefulness for mortgages. In fact, in the near future, as these ideas are adopted, I believe mortgages will be seen as a “very stupid idea”.

However, let’s say there is a mortgage, where the borrower is the LLC. It would likely a short term mortgage, more like a 7 year term, and a hard money loan (not from a bank). If the terms of the mortgage are not met, well, we already have laws in place to protect the lender. And look at the interests of the tenants, it would not be several hundred thousands of dollars in equity at risk, just some moving costs. In fact the costs of foreclosure, even uncontested, might be more than the value of the mortgage or the property.

I see this as a trend, people are already realizing that we can use property this way. Maybe we will be recording these operating agreements on the blockchain, but that’s another subject.