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You are here: > News > May 9, 2012

NEST Lines up Grid-Parity Solar

The first success story of the New Energy Systems Trust (NEST) seems to have already commenced with us lining up a breakthrough grid-parity solar company with an order for 4500 one-megawatt systems in India. SHEC Labs is a likely vendor of the biomass-to-H technology, if not using their solar thermal storage breakthrough.

SHEC CEO, Tom Beck
Photo by Kevin Hogarth, Enterprise Now

by Sterling D. Allan
Pure Energy Systems News

Last Friday, I was contacted by Nirmal Khanna (Vinny) who is a principal in a New Jersey, USA-based renewable energy company, We (PES and the New Energy Systems Trust [NEST]) were recommended to him by a friend who heard me on a radio show, and was sure we would be able to help them with their projects, which include deploying a wide range of renewable energy modalities.

I told Vinny that we specialize in "maverick" types of technologies, thinking that this might chill him off a little, but that seemed to make him more convinced that we could help.

He said he has orders in India for 4,500 systems of at least 1 MW each that use solar and wind power to electrolyze water. The hydrogen is stored in tanks to then be used in a fuel cell to generate electricity when and how much it is needed by the community it serves -- around 600 homes. Thus it is a distributed, base-load paradigm for power, using renewable sources. 

I wondered if this could be done cost effectively given the challenge of storing hydrogen as well as the still expensive price tag on fuel cell systems.

Another project they're involved with entails providing renewable power for some 20,000 Indian villages in which a large portion of the capital expenditure required to install them would be provided by the Indian government.

They're also involved in helping source an alternative power solution to the near half a million cell tower installations in India presently run by diesel generators, whose subsidies run out at the end of the year, requiring a switch over to another power source. These would be 60-70 kW systems. 

While Vinny says he already has the components sourced for the solar/wind-to-hydrogen storage-to-fuel cell system, he has about a 2-3 week window of time to consider other possibilities that might be superior, though the hydrogen storage and the fuel cell portion of it are already under contract.

I told him that with all the people who watch our news who are involved in hydroxy/HHO research, which involves electrolysis, that it is likely that several of them have developed methods of producing industrial grade hydrogen very efficiently; and could possibly be adequately engineered to go into production.

Of course, if there were already some of the more exotic free energy technologies ready to go, then Vinny would consider them, but for now, we'll have to go with something that is already established in the more conventional end of the spectrum of free energy.

Grid-Parity Solar

So I thought I'd give the people at Solar Hydrogen Energy Corporation (SHEC) Labs a call to see what the present status of their solar hydrogen technology is. Back when we at the New Energy Congress were considering all things free energy, conventional and non-conventional, in our Top 100 listing, we had SHEC near the top (position #3).

When I called yesterday, Tom Beck, CEO of SHEC, told me they had shelved the solar hydrogen approach a few years ago because there wasn't enough of a market for it; and they've been pursuing other concepts. Their solar hydrogen technology converts biomass to hydrogen, rather than extracting hydrogen from water, which process wasn't as efficient. India has plenty of biomass.

Though they could pull that technology off the shelf, it turns out that SHEC has just recently come upon a major breakthrough which, if it materializes as they envision, could put them in the #1 spot for solar worldwide, bringing solar into grid parity, with a price point comparable to nuclear or fossil-fuel-based power. The U.S. Administration had a goal for solar to achieve grid parity by 2015. SHEC claims to already have a way to do it.

They have figured out a way to create a thermal flywheel, storing excess solar energy as heat, to be used as needed later, thus making solar base-load capable in a cost-effective way -- possibly as much as ½ the price of usual utility-scale solar.

They would need some kind of back-up in case there were several cloudy days in a row. Perhaps one of the LENR groups could beta test their system to serve as back-up to this solar design, kicking in to keep the thermal storage above a certain point. This could help introduce LENR into the market and prove it as a reliable power source.

Matching Vinny and Tom

I told Tom about Vinny, and ended up putting them together in a conference call. Vinny is now scheduling a flight to go visit SHEC's lab in Saskatoon, Canada, later this month when he returns from a trip to India.

# # #

This story is also published at Examiner.


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Page composed by Sterling D. Allan
Last updated May 24, 2012 


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