Thursday, January 22, 2009

Israeli piston-less turbine engine; Revolutionized by a new kind of compressor

Pulling out the pistons for 100 miles to the gallon
By Karin Kloosterman
January 22, 2009

Americans love their cars, and own more of them per capita than anywhere else on earth -- some 765 for every 1,000 people. But turbulent financial times threaten both the automotive industry and the ability to put gas in the tanks of our favored mode of transportation. 

Electric cars offer promise, but switching over still has limits: infrastructure is lacking, new cars need to be built, and the electric car just doesn't have the same "muscle" as the petrol-fueled machines that Americans love. 

An entirely new solution may come by way of an Israeli company - Agam Energy Systems -- which has developed a piston-less turbine engine, featuring a new kind of compressor that the company hopes will revolutionize the automotive industry. 

American automakers are already taking notice, the company reports. 

Agam's chief technology officer and visionary is Dr. Gad Assaf, a physicist in energy and thermodynamics, who worked for the successful alternative energy company Ormat. According to Ofer Spottheim, the business development manager at Agam, Ormat considers Assaf to be one of the most creative minds in the business. 

Consumes 1/5 of the fuel, releases 1/10 of the emissions 

And while Agam's engine has passed feasibility studies, it's still in R&D. It could be ready by 2012 if a significant investment is made: "All the western world probably wishes it were ready right now," Spottheim tells ISRAEL21c. 

Now in touch with one of the world's biggest manufacturing companies, Agam is hoping for the stars to align so that it can get the strategic partner it needs to shift into high gear. 

"We have a prototype ready of the crucial part of the engine," says Spottheim. "The breakthrough is the compressor, which is now working according to expectations." 

Agam's turbine engine could be fitted into a regular car with some gear modifications, such as a Toyota Camry, and offer 100 miles to the gallon, the company boasts. This compares to about 21 miles to the gallon of today's average car. Road efficiency in cars is about 10 percent, says Spottheim, while Agam's engines promise 55% efficiency. 

And of course Agam's engine is good news for the environment too: It consumes about the fifth of the petrol of a piston-based engine, and emits one-tenth of the CO2 fumes that contribute to global warning. 

A ring around the engine 

While the motor industry today revolves around piston engines, Agam's engine is based on a two phase (liquid gas) turbine-like engine. Previous attempts to create a turbine-based engine have failed, the company believes, because of the energy needed by the turbines to run the compressors. 

Agam says it has solved the problem by creating a revolutionary liquid ring compressor that achieves a much higher mechanical efficiency. 

"The current engines are working with pistons and haven't really changed in the last 100 years," Spottheim explains. "Even with small improvements efficiency has been increased by 1 or 2%. On average, that amounts to about 10% efficiency if we consider the energy used at stoplights, and while accelerating." 

Up until now the company, which has been operating for nine years, and commercializing other products such as a solution to reduce humidity and heating costs in greenhouses and pools, has financed the new development, along with an investment of $1 million from an Israeli entrepreneur. Israel's Office of the Chief Scientist has recently pledged $125,000 to go towards more R&D. 

Agam is based in Hod Hasharon, Israel and currently employs five people. The new engine, the company adds, is designed not just for vehicles but also for industrial machinery and power plants.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Israeli's simple solution is set to revolutionize dye-sensitized solar cell (DSC)

From toothpaste to solar energy

Dr. Jonathan Goldstein, founder of 3GSolar holding a full-size prototype dye cell.
January 13, 2009

While searching for an ingredient to make toothpaste flow more easily, an Israeli chemist came across a novel way to produce inexpensive, clean solar energy. 3GSolar, the company born of that serendipitous discovery, is now poised to light up the developing world.

"There are maybe a billion and a half people living without electricity," Dr. Jonathan Goldstein, the British-born inventor and battery scientist who founded 3GSolar in Jerusalem in 2003. "Many governments of developing countries are keen on bringing people forward to improve their living standards."

Goldstein's deceptively simple solution is set to revolutionize dye-sensitized solar cell (DSC) technology, invented in 1988 by Swiss scientist Michael Graetzel. The cells are photovoltaic (PV), meaning they convert radiant energy - such as sunlight -- into electricity with the help of a layer of semiconductor.

"As a battery scientist, I saw why nothing commercial had come out of the invention: Cells were tiny and nobody knew how to scale them up to be something practical," Goldstein tells ISRAEL21c.

He knew that if he were able to make a larger DSC, it could be a cheaper and more available alternative to silicon, the relatively expensive and scarce semiconductor currently used in most solar-energy panels. Silicon solar panels are also costly to produce.

Here's where the toothpaste tinkering came in handy. Goldstein had invented a toothbrush with toothpaste preloaded in its handle. In looking for ways to ease the flow of paste to brush, he learned about a cheap white powder called titanium dioxide - and discovered that it not only solved his toothpaste problem but also had a track record in DSC technology. If treated with an absorbable dye, titanium dioxide becomes sensitive to light.

"You can easily screen-print thin layers of titanium dioxide on surfaces and churn out plates of this material and then oven-bake the layer on firmly - it can even be baked on in the air, with no need for expensive equipment," he explains.

Extracting generated current

Goldstein's low-cost current collector enabled building tablemat-sized cells and extracting the generated current.

Initially, 3G was funded by an Israeli government incubator program. In its second year, it caught the attention of New York-based venture-capital fund 21 Ventures. With a staff of 18 scientists working on the project, the concept quickly took shape.

"We're on schedule for pilot production in early 2009, with initial plant production in Israel in 2010," says Goldstein, adding that 3GSolar is on track to be the first PV manufacturer in Israel. It is also soon to become the first Israeli company on the Toronto stock exchange.

Government officials in Senegal and India are eagerly awaiting the first panels. "There is a lot of interest because PV is clean energy and it's always there on the roof if you get a blackout," says Goldstein. "People like to have that security."

He has an ambitious yet prudent business plan. "We will build ourselves up slowly within those [developing] markets and then move to industrialized countries in our second generation," he says. "These countries may buy just one or two panels per family -- not for air conditioning, but for the basic needs of someone who might have electric light in his home for the first time."

The glass-based titanium-dioxide-treated panels are expected to debut at half the cost of similarly sized silicon panels. "We believe as we make more plants, that will drive our cost down even more," says Goldstein.

He envisions maintaining a plant, and R&D facility in Israel, as well as licensing the technology to countries that will be using the panels. "The manufacturing plants can be put in anywhere because all you need is a screen-printing machine and some sort of oven," he explains.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Geothermic vs. Geothermal Energy - cheaper electricity

December 22, 2008

Geothermic Energy Could Power All Nations

by Peter Gawain, SIREX

A new renewable energy technology could truly revolutionize the way energy is produced around the world for a fraction of the cost of what we all pay for electricity now. There are zero emissions, zero heat loss to atmosphere, and this energy can last indefinitely into the future with no damage to local or larger ecosystems. It is called "GEOthermic Energy" (as opposed to Geothermal) and it uses the deep crust (lithosphere) heat.

It works by utilizing a new coring technology that employs dynamic forces that can be adjusted to the different rock materials breaking point. This means that it can easily bore through the various layers efficiently and effectively in a 10-foot diameter vertical tunnel Sirex Vertical Tunnels (SVT), making it possible now to go as deep as 12 miles down to reach the hot rock zone.

This tunnel is built robotically, is ringed with re-enforced casing, equipped with periodic horizontal platforms to act as locks and pressurized with an inert gas to stabilize the tunnel and subterranean earth movement. Then through an adiabatic recycling process — nitrogen (not water) — is heated from the earth's deep, solid rock heat reserves, and used to turn turbines/generators and produce an inexhaustible, clean energy source.

One of these SVTs will produce 2,000 megawatts (MW) of power. The boring equipment can be scaled up or down, depending on the project, and can be used for numerous other applications as well.

The Conventional Technology

Conventional drilling methods are restricted by extremely long and overstressed extensions used to rotate the drill-bit down in the hole, and this ordinary deep-drilling does not allow chiseling, hammering or roto-hammering through the hardest rock formations on earth.

To rotate the drill-bit these sensitive extensions must be pulled out regularly in order to replace the scraping, scratching and slowly inefficient operating grinding tools when they become dull, broken or not effective anymore. To remove all extensions, exchange the drill-bit, assemble the extensions and send it all back down the hole each time is a time-consuming and an expensive procedure.

Depending on the increasing weight of these extensions, the diameter of the bore-hole must be reduced telescopically to protect the extension-shafts from rupturing or breaking by gravity and their own weight. The difficulties associated with casing or building protective walls against contamination of the production medium is another severe obstacle of ordinary deep-drilling.

Our Technology

In stark contrast, SVTs can penetrate down to depths where the temperature is about 500º C from anywhere on land around the globe. This is more than twice the current depths with varying diameter bore tunnels and with SVT's it is done much more efficiently and with far less wear on the equipment.

The world of mining has changed. The efficient harvesting of high temperatures on a large scale with large bore-diameters is now obtainable, eliminating the need for a fuel source, emitting no pollution and creating zero waste heat or toxic waste. The chart below shows where GEOthermic diverges from Geothermal:




1. The view

white steam clouds escape

subsurface - invisible NO EMISSIONS

2. The location

restricted to irregularities

obtainable at all locations in the earth crust

3. Electricity costs

US $0.03 - 0.06 / kWh

US $0.02 - 0.03 / kWh

4. Permanent operation



5. Emission-free



6. Power production-rate

minimal - low


7. Temperature

250 ºC

500 ºC

8. Reheating required



9. Power plant capacity [GW]


2.0 - 8.0

10. Efficiency



11. Interference with landscape and environment



12. A balanced subsurface



13. Available in earthquake prone locations



It's visionary inventor, German physicist, Dr. Helmut Sieke Ph.D. lives in the Prescott, Arizona area. After working with his good friend and colleague Dr. Werner Von Braun on the ram-jet system over 35 years ago, he is credited with many innovations to his name; the pulse-generated coring technologies and his own version of a compressed-air powered vehicle technology to name just a few.

Providing clean, sustainable, inexpensive and virtually inexhaustible energy to power our world is the best way to provide a stable economic platform for all nations on which we can build a civil society. Using compressed-air vehicles can all but eliminate greenhouse gases (GHG) and man-made heat being released into our atmosphere.

Further, it will be possible to build manufacturing plants, government buildings, and super-structures on top of the SVT and underground Geothermic Energy Power Plants (GPPs), making it virtually unknown to the eye that it even exists.

Several southeast Asian countries have either approved funding and permitting or are in various stages of commissioning GPPs and the word is spreading.

Peter Gawain is the new U.S. Marketing Director of SIREX PHS, Inc. and President of RDI Energy Plants, Inc.; a renewable energy company primarily focused on Waste-to-Energy and Biomass technologies. You can watch a video of SIREX at . The website, which is currently under construction, will be available at