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/2013/07/17/9602341_MicroPower-Eneco_Launches_Thermal-Electric-Power-Chip_Crowdfunding/
You are here:
PureEnergySystems.com > News > July 17, 2013

MicroPower (Eneco) Launches Thermal-Electric Power Chip Crowdfunding Project in Association with Texas State University


MicroPower Chip


"Our project is to create the world’s most efficient semiconductor chip that converts waste heat directly to electricity three times more efficiently than ever before. One that helps reduce waste heat in many industries, saving energy, reducing harmful emissions, and conserving natural resources worldwide." Potential computer applications discussed.

by Sterling D. Allan
Pure Energy Systems News


The thermo-electric chip technology we used to know as "Eneco", now MicroPower, has been making great strides on their chip that is claimed to be 3x more efficient than what is presently available, making waste-heat recovery more practical.

I can't help but think that this might be a good technology for harvesting LENR heat, such as from the lower-temperature E-Cat.

MicroPower has a strong relationship with Texas State University, and on the 15th, they launched a crowdfunding page to increase awareness about their progress; and so far, the support for that has been strong, pulling in nearly $20,000 in the first two days.

They have a great promotional video for the fundraiser.

I chipped in, and I hope you will too.

Further below, I've added some correspondence regarding potential computer applications of this technology.


Dr. Dedigama depositing a barrier using the Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) tool.


Brief History with PESN

On Nov. 23, 2006, we first reported about Eneco, a development stage company that claims to have invented and patented a "solid state energy conversion/generation chip" that will convert heat directly into electricity or alternatively refrigerate down to -200 degrees Celsius when electricity is applied.  I was able to visit their lab near the University of Utah, and for a time, we listed them in our Top 100 Clean Energy Technologies.

On Jan. 11, 2008, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

In May, 2011, I received an update email from Tristan Lewinsohn, VP of Business Development for MicroPower Global of Texas, and we published a story saying that MicroPower had purchased the IP from the bankrupt Eneco, and has secured relationships with Texas State University to test and perfect the technology so it can be brought to market in order to harvest waste heat energy via a solid state chip.

Then, on July 10 (Tesla's B-day), Tristan sent the following message:

Hi Sterling,

It’s been quite a while, but I just wanted to touch base and let you know how we’re getting along as we work to bring our heat conversion technology to market.

We’ve been working hard at the facilities provided by Texas State University since we were last in touch and recently moved into a manufacturing facility built by the University, which will be equipped with an early production tool also provided by Texas State – see the attached press release. We’re also working with the US Army Research Laboratory, CEMEX and a handful of other partners both large and small on an array of different applications, while around 20 big names are simply waiting for us to deliver samples – I should also have a release on this finalized in the next day or so.

We’ve been deliberately quiet on the PR front in the last few years as the absence of major funding has meant we’ve had to work more slowly and therefore take longer to perfect the technology than we would have liked, but we now want to push ahead on all fronts – we’re even pursuing a crowd funding campaign to raise awareness and enable ordinary people to back what we think is a worthy cause, as well as pursuing more traditional forms of fundraising to allow us to accelerate the commercialization process.

Thanks,

Tristan Lewinsohn
Director of Business Development
MicroPower Global 
Tel: +44 7948 219 807
www.micropower-global.com 


Here is the first Press Release text:

Press Release I:

MicroPower Plans for Future Production – New Agreement with Texas State University

(July 9 2013) – San Marcos, Texas – MicroPower Global today announced a new agreement with Texas State University granting the company exclusive use of a Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) system. In due course, this will enable the company to commence production of its advanced semiconductor chips which convert heat directly to electricity three times more efficiently than ever before.

The MBE tool, a V100 system which has two operating chambers, will continue to be owned by the University with MicroPower paying a monthly fee once operational. Total production capacity using both chambers would be approximately 1.3 million cm² worth of MicroPower Chips annually, double the initial capacity that the company had projected.

With assistance from University professors Dr Tom Myers and Dr Ravi Droopad, it is expected that the MBE tool will be moved by the end of the summer, from its present location on campus to the company’s premises at Texas State’s new Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Park.

In addition, MicroPower has also agreed terms with the University for the operation of a new research chamber which is due to be installed this month on the development MBE system in the Roy F. Mitte science building on campus, which is currently used for the growth of ”barriers” on MicroPower Chips. This will significantly accelerate development capabilities.

“These agreements provide us with a great opportunity to accelerate our development, and in the near future to move seamlessly into production with much less capital expenditure than is typically associated with the transition to manufacturing,” commented Max Lewinsohn, MicroPower’s Chairman.

“There is significant demand for our energy conversion technology,” he added. “Our key challenge at this stage is to secure the necessary funding to enable us to ramp up our operations and be able to cater for the high level of interest we are experiencing.” “We are pleased to continue our relationship with MicroPower as the company enters an exciting new phase,” added Dr Bill Covington, Chief Research Officer for Texas State University. “The level of commercial experience on offer to students is important to us, and several of our graduates have already become full-time MicroPower employees – as the company grows we very much hope this trend continues.”

As well as pursuing traditional forms of financing, MicroPower is also planning a Crowdfunding campaign, to give members of the public, who are interested in energy savings and reducing emissions, the opportunity to support the venture. The company plans to launch this campaign on Kickstarter on July 15th.

[END] PRESS RELEASE

About MicroPower

MicroPower Global is a private company which is developing the next generation of thermoelectric devices for use in the areas of energy conservation, energy harvesting and refrigeration. The new MicroPower semiconductors (“chips”) can efficiently and cost-effectively convert heat, including waste heat, directly into electricity, leading to significant energy savings in a number of industrial and consumer applications.

A MicroPower chip builds on standard thermoelectric principles in a novel way to deliver breakthrough levels of efficiency. The original discovery was made in 2000 and good progress on developing the technology was made over a number of years before MicroPower acquired the IP in 2008 and the prospect of commercial products became a reality, with recent work enabling significantly greater efficiency, a broader temperature range and a low cost manufacturing process.

The ability to harvest heat at temperatures ranging from 200°C to 600°C will make MicroPower chips the new thermoelectric standard for waste heat recovery. The current thermoelectric market is relatively small at approximately $300 million annually but MicroPower will be able to open up already identified new global markets worth many billions annually. Its cutting-edge technology has been patented internationally and independently verified.

MicroPower first formed a working partnership with Texas State University in 2009 to develop prototype chips at the university’s Multifunctional Materials Laboratory building in San Marcos.

For further information, visit our website at www.micropower-global.com  at, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MicroPowerGlobal  or follow us on Twitter @MicroPower_News.

Contact: Tristan Lewinsohn, Director of Business Development. Email: tristan@micropower-global.com  Telephone: +44 7948 219 807

About Texas State University’s STAR Park

The Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Park is a 38 acre site which hosts Texas State’s first building, STAR One, dedicated to the University’s research and commercialization efforts. STAR One, a 20,000 square feet facility, serves as a technology accelerator for start-up and early-stage businesses, and provides tenants access to secure wet labs, clean space, conference room, and office space.

The Incubator Program is designed to foster the development of new commercial ventures related to Texas State technologies in applied research. This building houses 'spin-offs' from research conducted and intellectual property generated by University faculty, and 'spin-ins' from companies that want to strategically work with the University.

The overall goal of the Incubator Program is to provide space and infrastructure to expedite research and commercial development of promising technologies in the context of viable, well managed, start-up companies.

By bringing together a critical mass of university and private sector specialists, the Incubator Program becomes a magnet for scientific expertise, novel problem solving, and successful commercial ventures. The Incubator Program is particularly interested in supporting companies which have established research relationships with Texas State, or which have an interest in, and potential for, initiating such relationships.

For further information, see www.txstate.edu/starpark 

On July 17, Tristan sent a second press release about the Kickstarter campaign. This is an excerpt from that. (Slightly edited.)

(July 15 2013) – San Marcos, Texas – MicroPower Global today launched a crowdfunding campaign on the popular Kickstarter website (see https://kck.st/1anvCDY), targeting a minimum of $250,000 that would enable the company to produce 100,000 samples of its energy efficient chips for potential end users.

Crowdfunding is a relatively novel way of funding a specific project, typically via established websites, to gain the backing of many individuals, each of whom pledges a small sum (anything from $1 to $5,000) towards the project in return for a modest “reward” – usually something that enables them to feel part of the project, and that they would not be able to find anywhere else.

“We have a great technology that can have a major impact on the world in terms of improving energy efficiency and reducing harmful emissions,” said MicroPower’s Chairman, Max Lewinsohn. “We’re also now at a stage where our technology is ready to enter the commercial world – the efficiency of our MicroPower Chips is at a level that is suitable for early applications, and all we need is additional funding to allow us to ramp up our operations so that we can create thousands of samples for the many people in industry who are patiently waiting for us to deliver.”

Having been privately funded to this point, the company felt that the time was right to appeal to a wider audience. Generally, ordinary people are unable to invest in or back small private companies because of investor regulations. Crowdfunding provides an alternative route by which they can do just that.

“The second reason for launching on Kickstarter is that now is the right time to spread the word about our technology and the role it can play, and a crowdfunding campaign is an excellent way of letting people know what we’re all about,” added Lewinsohn. “Hopefully, some of the people who learn about our project will be connected to organizations who could really benefit from working with us, and that can only be a good thing.”

Kickstarter is the largest and most successful crowdfunding platform, which means it will enable MicroPower to get the word out to as many people as possible. Though many of the successful campaigns on Kickstarter have been creative, it also has a great track record for technology/design projects, with a few attracting more than 50,000 backers, and support close to $10m. This tendency to support worthy technology projects, combined with MicroPower’s mass appeal to those who care about making the world greener and more energy efficient, should prove a winning combination.

MicroPower’s minimum target on Kickstarter is $250,000 which would enable it to make 100,000 sample chips – enough to distribute to a whole range of potential end users from automotive manufacturers and power companies, to battery makers and consumer goods producers. On Kickstarter, if the target is not reached, none of the money is drawn from those who pledged support (via debit/credit card), but the company’s hope is not only to reach the target, but go well beyond it, enabling it to accelerate towards commercialization in all kinds of other ways.

Of course, crowdfunding is not the only approach that MicroPower is pursuing to raise the necessary funds to commercialize. “To date, all of our investment has come from private placements, and we continue to pursue this avenue via discussions with further private investors and family offices,” explains Lewinsohn. “We’re also looking at other avenues – such as strategic partnerships by industry or geography, each of which allows us to reach a different audience, but hopefully all of whom share the same sentiment and vision as our existing backers – that this is an exciting technology with the ability to do real good.”

“As our Kickstarter slogan says, Energy Savings Now. Reduced Emissions Tomorrow. A Safer Planet For Our Children.”

To view MicroPower’s Kickstarter page, go to https://kck.st/1anvCDY 


Potential Computer Applications

After publishing this story, on July 17, 2013, 10:01:07 AM CDT, I got the following email from a NASA contractor, showing the response he got from MicroPower Global regarding potential computer applications. He asked: "What if you put your device on the CPU of laptops and smart phones and cycle the power back to charge the battery. It would greatly extend battery life."

Hi Clay,

Thanks for your message.

We’ve actually spoken to a number of laptop and phone manufacturers over the past couple of years, and they certainly have an interest in our technology. As well as generating more power for the battery, using the heat from the CPU has additional benefit of getting rid of heat you don’t really want there as it would be slowing performance. Given our technology can also work in reverse and generate cooling using an input of electricity, these manufacturers also have an interest in using cooling chips, though we haven’t been able to develop these chips yet as they would require a different type of base material. 

The other types of application the manufacturers are interested in is an alternative power source that could charge and eventually replace batteries. By combining our chips with a deliberately generated heat source such as a microburner/micro combustion device, we’re currently developing a battery charger for the US Army, and we plan to eventually roll out that out for consumer applications, and ultimately turn it into a simple battery replacement rather than charger. When our devices get to 20% conversion efficiency, we’ve estimated that, combined with a microburner, they could deliver enough power to run a laptop for 14 hours which I think a lot of people would appreciate. And the time it would take to recharge would simply be however long it takes you to refill the fuel cartridge, which would be about as long as it takes to refill a cigarette lighter.

Unfortunately, these types of application will take time to develop, due to the engineering work required and the safety issues associated with consumer products, but the interest is there. We just need time and money to develop solutions working with the relevant manufacturers.


In Other News

Speaking of waste heat harvesting, I just found this article over at PhysOrg: 

  • New thermocell could harvest 'waste heat' - A small team of Monash University researchers ... has developed an ionic liquid-based thermocell (abstract). The new thermocell could be used to generate electricity from low grade steam in coal fired power stations at temperatures around 130C. (PhysOrg; July 16, 2013)

# # #

See also

Page composed by Sterling D. Allan
Last updated July 30, 2013
 
 

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