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You are here: > News > August 2, 2005

IAUS Pushing Solar to Within Competitive Range of Grid Power

  • Coming into production in September, thermal solar panels from International Automated Systems will produce electricity at 3-5 cents per kilowatt-hour .
  • Bladeless turbine has wide range of waste-heat-harnessing applications. 
  • Methanol production technique will utilize CO2, drawing it out of the environment and recycling it.
  • New U.S. energy bill opens a financing method that will enable this technology to quickly become a foundational component of the energy-generation infrastructure.

    "A solar area of 100 miles square -- a size of land that equals only nine percent of the state of Nevada -- can generate enough electricity for the entire United States." -- IAUS

by Sterling D. Allan
Pure Energy Systems News Exclusive
Copyright © 2005

IAUS prototype solar panels have been on display in Mesquite, Nevada until just recently, when they were moved to the Salem, Utah headquarters, where they are being re-assembled.

SALEM, UTAH, USA -- Although solar power is a free energy source, until now it has not been competitive because the devices that harness that power are too expensive.  This has prevented solar energy from playing a major role in energy production in a world that is searching for clean alternatives to carbon-based processes that contribute to global warming as well as to conflicts over oil.

That will no longer be the case with a solar design coming into production this September by International Automated Systems (OTCBB: IAUS), the group that pioneered self-check-out lanes.

With a new energy bill passed last Friday by the U.S. Congress, IAUS is now given a means of providing a tax incentive that will sweeten the solar pot even more.

How it Works

There are two key factors in the IAUS technology that enable a cost-effective conversion of solar energy into usable power: their thin-film solar collectors, and their bladeless turbines, which have a much wider application than just converting solar thermal energy to electricity.

The company also will be combining this new development with existing catalytic technology to generate methanol fuel cleanly from carbon dioxide and hydrogen. All this can be done at a price comparable to gasoline, if not even a little less expensive, considering the present high price of gasoline.

The solar collectors do not operate as photovoltaic cells. Rather, the sun's rays focus onto a heat exchanger which then transfers the heat to a highly efficient turbine, which in turn hooks directly to a regular AC electricity generator.

Solar panels resemble magnifying glass lenses.  Approximately 1/8-inch thick, resilient material, withstands strong winds.

Though the panels resemble a magnifying glass, they are in fact composed of thousands of microscopic refracting lenses on a thin substrate that is only about 1/8th of an inch thick, and held in place by a frame. The "thin film" manufacturing process is far less expensive than the photovoltaic cell manufacturing process.

The prototype is rectangular in shape, with 15 panels on each half, each focusing on a separate heat exchanger that will reach around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, driving the turbine.

Mechanical Engineering Layout of production design; courtesy IAUS.
Click for larger image with labels.

However, the manufactured product will be shaped like an octagon, about 22 feet in diameter; and will focus all the rays on a larger heat exchanger, which could get as hot as 4000 ΊF.  That unit will put out about 6-10 kilowatts of AC power, enough to power a few homes.

If one of the panels were to be broken, only that section of the magnifying-glass-effect would be taken out, reducing the energy output by whatever the percentage of the pane's area is destroyed.  The remainder of the system would continue to function.  The pieces are modular for easy

The entire array is tracked to the sun to keep the sun at 90 degrees, perpendicular to the panels.

IAUS Turbine has far more thermal applications than just solar thermal.

Click for video
| low bandwidth
(Video shows the turbine atop a geothermal vent.  In the solar system, the water is recycled, not blown off.)

The turbine has several remarkable features.  There are no blades on the turbine: it runs on the principle of a supersonic nozzle.  This also enables these turbines to be manufactured at one-tenth of the cost of traditional turbines.  The ceramic shield thermally insulates the turbine and protects it from corrosion and sediment build-up.

A governor regulates the flow of steam through the turbine to prevent over heating.  As the steam exits the nozzles, it is immediately ionized, generating additional electricity, recovering up to 30-40 percent of what is typically lost energy in other systems.

The turbine can run on any quality of steam, or even on very hot water.  It doesn't have to be "dry steam", which is usually the case with comparable turbine systems; hence the IAUS turbine doesn't require an expensive boiler.  In the case of a malfunction, the panels are designed to turn away from the sun.

Having a wider range of operable speeds and driving temperatures, the turbine has a wider range of applications, ranging from cogeneration to geothermal tapping, to harnessing energy from landfill methane burn-off.

The turbine is completely scalable up or down in size; and its cost is proportionate to the scale -- in contrast to some systems that are only cost effective at a given scale or size.

The average efficiency of this array for converting the sun's energy to usable electricity, is around 20%, the highest being in the range of 30%.

Solar Energy Storage Breakthrough

IAUS has a novel solution to yet another typical solar short-coming: storage.  First, in the IAUS system, the turbine generates directly to AC, eliminating the expensive DC inverter step and the expensive storage batteries. IAS’s product operates on heat and produces heat as a byproduct. This energy can be stored using a chemical regeneration process based on a hydration-dehydration cycle. Thus when the sun is shining, excess energy can be dumped into the dehydration process.  Then, when there is no sun, the hydration process gives off heat to operate the turbine.  Finally, in this unique process we see a breakthrough to 24/7 solar power.

This process has not yet been refined by IAUS to include in a marketed package, but they have tested it and proven it to work.

Solar to Methanol -- Natural Gas

Another process that the company is capable of involves a method of producing methanol from carbon dioxide and hydrogen.  This technology is already developed and in existence elsewhere, but their apparatus will make it more economical, to the point where methanol could be made available at approximately the same cost as gasoline.

The UV energy from the sun will split CO2 (carbon dioxide) into CO (carbon monoxide) and O2 (oxygen). Then the CO along with hydrogen (H) bubbles through a catalytic unit containing copper and zinc powder suspended in a kind of oil. The CO and H combine into CH2OH (Methanol). The H is released through electrolysis from water.

The catalytic process requires about 600 psi, and 500ΊF. The heat from the solar collectors initiates the process, and once it takes off, it generates excess heat, which can then be used to turn the turbine, to create more electricity by which they can run the electrolysis.

The IAUS concept is to produce methanol fuel using carbon dioxide -- a primary greenhouse gas -- from the environment -- at a cost comparable to gasoline. The CO2 could come either from ambient air, or from a smoke stack, to help clean it up the atmosphere.

Being a very small molecule, methanol, or natural gas, burns much more cleanly and efficiently, resulting in less emissions when it is used as a fuel.

This method solves the Hydrogen transport problem as well.  The solar panels generate electricity to split off hydrogen from water, and rather than having to then ship the hydrogen, which is problematic, IAUS runs the hydrogen through this process to convert it to methanol, which can easily be contained and shipped.


After about five years of development and refinement by some of the leading experts in the world, the solar panels are now in process of going to manufacturing, with roll-out scheduled for September, 2005.  At first, the manufacturing capability will be 200 megawatts of installed capacity per year.  That rate will increase over time, of course.  Within three to six months, they will be able to manufacture 850 megawatts of installed capacity per year, equivalent to a larger power plant.

IAUS will not be targeting the home and commercial market at first, but will be focusing on installing for power plants, including governments and military contractors.  Those applications are much easier to administer for a quick rollout of a large number of panels, with less of the overhead that would come from dealing with many individual customers.

The smallest plant will consist of 200 units, and will produce in the megawatt range.

Source: Business Week

IAUS has acquired funding on the level of several millions of dollars, part of which has been spent in research and development, part in ramping up for production, with another part going toward underwriting the installation of the panels through an innovative financing arrangement.

When the solar panels go to market this fall, IAUS will be focusing exclusively on the power-plant application. They will be intimately involved in the first major installation, and will be highly selective in entertaining inquiries or contracts for the myriad of other applications until after this initial stage.

Financing with Tax Incentives

With the passage last Friday of the U.S. Energy Bill, IAUS is planning to utilize one of its provisions to propel their company forward.  They hope to have the details of their plan finalized within a couple of weeks after having cleared it with their CPA and tax attorneys.

The preliminary idea involves a 100% write-off for a given company buying a panel, which would be leased to a power company, who would gradually buy the panel through sales of the electricity it generates.  It would employ a myriad of sales persons, as it is such an easy sell to companies looking for tax alleviation, and it would finance the propagation of the panels into the grid. Even better, it will provide a return for the company and not just a tax write-off. Thus, gradually, fossil-fuel-based power plants would be replaced relatively painlessly.

About IAUS

International Automated Systems has been in business since 1987.  The company holds several patents on the solar-turbine designs, with several more patents pending.

Perhaps their most noticeable achievement has been the implementation of the ubiquitous self-check-out system for stores.  That patent has been bought and is now being administered by another entity, as IAUS wishes to home in on energy technologies.  Among their inventions are the automated restaurant in which customers order and pay without a cashier, and an automated fingerprint ID system for credit cards to prevent fraud, as well as a related technology for airport security.

# # #


  • Phone interviews with IAUS Marketing Director, Randy Johnson.
  • - Company website.
  • IAS Solar Breakthrough May Replace Gas - International Automated Systems Inc. of Salem, Utah, says they have a unique, thin-film solar panel design that they expect to have on the market by Sept. 2005 that will be competitive with fossil-fuel-based energy. (BusinessWire; July 27, 2005)


International Automated Systems Inc.
Salem, Utah, USA
Randy Johnson, 801-423-8132


Scuffle with the SEC

From: ***
Sent: Wednesday, August 03, 2005 10:57 AM
Subject: IAS solar power technology..., a hoax or a scam?

Regarding, the revolutionary solar power technology from International Automated Systems...

I have done some researching into this company and the Johnson family (Neldon, Randale et al) that run it, and I have a strong suspicion that the press releases on their new solar power technology are either a hoax or a scam.

This company has in the past been targeted by the SEC for issuing false press releases in an attempt to boost the stock price of IAS.

Check the following links to

* * * *

These are past issues that have been resolved satisfactorily

I phoned Randy Johnson regarding the above allegations.  There are basically two situations in the five links presented above.  One is an SEC situation that has been resolved, from 1996, and the other is a family dispute unrelated to the technology.  I was satisfied with the response given, and am awaiting permission from Randy to post a more specific response.  -- Sterling D. Allan; Aug. 3, 2005; 11:50 am MDT.

Latest 10Q filing by IAUS

"On September 23, 1998, the Company was notified by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of formal action against the Company, its president, and members of his family for possible securities violations. The action stems from alleged material misrepresentations by the Company and the Company's employees regarding new technology developed by the Company. The Company reached a settlement agreement with the SEC in the amount of $50,000 which has been finalized, paid and signed by the Court as of January 2005."

Follow-up Coverage

  • Site Secured for 1 MW Solar Power Plant - International Automated Systems to install first phase of solar power plant near Barstow, California.  Claims their solar-heat-turbine system will be competitive with fossil-based power. Biomass applications of turbine also progressing. (PESN; Oct. 5, 2005)

Close Competitor

See also

Page composed by Sterling D. Allan Aug. 2, 2005
Last updated December 24, 2014





"It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom." // "I'd rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right." -- Albert Einstein

ADVISORY: With any technology, you take a high risk to invest significant time or money unless (1) independent testing has thoroughly corroborated the technology, (2) the group involved has intellectual rights to the technology, and (3) the group has the ability to make a success of the endeavor.
All truth passes through three stages:
   First, it is ridiculed;
   Second, it is violently opposed; and
   Third, it is accepted as self-evident.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

    "When you're one step ahead
of the crowd you're a genius.
When you're two steps ahead,
you're a crackpot."

-- Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, (Feb. 1998)

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