Tom Darden of Cherokee/Industrial Heat Files Patent for Microgrid System

Thanks to Andreas Moraitis for finding this interesting patent application filed by Tom Darden (CEO of Cherokee Investment Partners and Chairman of Industrial Heat LLC) titled “Systems and methods for microgrid power generation and management”

It’s unclear to me whether this was filed with the E-Cat in mind because the application date is listed as September 28, 2011 which was before the formation of Industrial Heat, and I think long before there was any kind of relationship between Tom Darden and Andrea Rossi. The patent describes a distributed power management system that can employ a variety energy sources. Fuel cells, PV cells, diesel generators, microturbines are mentioned — however, the system described in the patent application could certainly involve E-Cat technology. From the description of the invention:

“The present invention relates to power generation and management systems and methods for microgrid applications, including selective, coordinated engagement of emergency power generation equipment, such as, by way of example and not limitation, generators.

“It is an object of this invention to provide systems and methods for microgrid distributed power generation and management using emergency power generation equipment that are selectively engaged to provide power supply for distribution and/or storage.”

microgrid system

The patent application mentions that this microgrid system could be be deployed on brownfield sites — cleaning up and repurposing these sties has been Darden’s focus with Cherokee for many years.

It is clear from this application that Tom Darden has been interested in distributed power for quite some time, and this probably explains his interest in the E-Cat which led to the eventual acquisition of the E-Cat technology and formation of Industrial Heat. This patent may also help explain why, as Andrea Rossi reports, that IH is currently putting their focus on combined heat and power systems. It looks like Darden and IH are thinking that the future of energy production is in distributed systems.

  • Omega Z

    Note that the 1Mw was also just heat production at around 100`C output. Not electric.

  • Hhiram

    Electricity is more versatile in its uses, but it’s easy to forget that heating alone is a huge component of energy consumption in western countries.

    Space heating and water heating are still close to 50% of home energy use in the United States, although the percentage has been falling in recent years due to rises in energy consumption by computers and electronics (mainly huge TVs). Similar figures for most commercial buildings.

    It makes sense for the E-Cat to be used in combined heat + power systems from the start.

  • Mr. Moho
    • Quiet Wine Guy

      It certainly fits with Rossi’s recent sharing about combining a Hot-Cat and jet engine.

      • Mr. Moho

        On that Cobraf forum thread about Rossi a user posted a cropped Rossi/IH social network graph, here: http://www.cobraf.com/forum/topic.php?topic_id=5747&ps=20

        it appears that GE might be more related to them than one would think: http://www.cobraf.com/forum/immagini/thumbs/R_123551139_1.png

        I guess the GE link came from this press release posted by another user: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ge-invests-in-power-generation-services-inc-242463781.html

        Darden’s daughter works there, apparently: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/elizabeth-wooten/10/782/52a (she got recently married and changed her last name to Wooten. Again, this info is from Cobraf and there’s a source for it: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/02/16/3626837/wooten-darden.html ).

        Furthermore, if you look at the bottom of the Thomas Darden patent linked here on ECW: http://www.google.com/patents/US20130076140

        And here too (as linked on Cobraf):
        http://www.google.com/patents/US20130079943
        http://www.google.com/patents/US20130076140

        You can see that the patent owner is “Causam Energy, Inc”. They (and its CEO Joseph Forbes, one of the listed inventors) own a number of patents on distributed energy generation.

        In their website here: http://www.causamenergy.com/

        They also list “GE Digital Energy” and “Power Generation Services, Inc.” as their customers.

        • Quiet Wine Guy

          Rossi’s decision to rebuff the likes of NASA and Defkalion and subsequently partner with Cherokee is showing itself to be profoundly astute.

          I believe, about a year ago, many pointed to GE as being a prime candidate for Rossi to work with due to: business capabilities (size & scope), finances, technological/engineering expertise, R&D capabilities, production capabilities, and political influence on par with the Energy industry.

          IMO, I now begin to think in terms of “fait accompli”

          • Andreas Moraitis

            That wouldn’t be necessary in this case. A press release from a global player like GE would be sufficient.

            • Quiet Wine Guy

              I agree. Further, I suggest the impact could be more profound . . . GE equates to pragmatism in business and excellence in technology.

            • Fortyniner

              A question that needs to be asked is how GE would benefit from a press release or any other publicity, prior to actual release of a product. They are big enough not to need outside investment in the project, and probably have a number of investments to shed and other preparations to make, before the knowledge that CF is a viable power source becomes widespread.

              I can’t see any advantage to them of making the public aware, as the public in general don’t buy distributed power systems – GE would simply contact their existing client base with details of whatever they offer first. It seems more likely that the upcoming report will simply be published with as little fuss as possible, and all players will remain quiet until they are ready to ‘launch’.

          • GreenWin

            QWG, the astute move was to dismiss orthodox science entirely and move to commercial product production. Commerce does not need science or academia to approve its products. Only the people need do that.

            • Quiet Wine Guy

              GW, assuming a positive result for the Hot-Cat report and development of an operational commercial device, the praise for Rossi, his life story, and the constellation of his critical decisions will pile high.

          • heath

            I’m thinking that this test is not to prove that it works to the skeptics, but to prove it to the patent offices, which Darden mentioned IH were working for.
            From the press release:
            “Since acquiring Rossi’s technology, IH has engaged in a broad-based effort to protect it by preparing numerous patent applications related to the core technology as well as associated designs and uses.”

            I think this is why all the number crunching that Rossi mentions–to prove the “Rossi Effect” with data in order to finally apply for a credible patent.

            GE makes perfect sense because of its work with engines to generate power (and it has a manufacturing plant in Ashville, NC) and its many clean initiatives.

            • Quiet Wine Guy

              I agree on the basics. I would expand the objective to include the attraction of additional investors and partners. For example, we project the benefits of working with GE. However, that would occur only if the Hot-Cat performed in a manner which would make GE’s LM6000 converted jet engine into a clear market winner.

      • Ophelia Rump

        Replace word, Jet with Turbine. I doubt they pulled the turbine off a jet engine for modification to steam. More likely they used a turbine designed for use with steam in the first place, since they already exist and are fairly sophisticated engineering.

  • GreenWin

    Since Forbes magazine fired its LENR/Cold Fusion writer Mark Gibbs last year, they’ve struggled to keep readers informed about impending change in the energy industry. Thinking behind this is to mitigate mass defection from the grid causing economic disaster for heavily invested income, pension and retirement funds. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2014/04/19/onsite-generation-can-utilities-rethink-their-business-proposition/

    “The Rocky Mountain Institute wants regulators to expedite the
    transition. But most utilities are resistant to any massive overhaul of
    the present system. That tug-of-war will continue until a breakthrough
    innovation emerges — or a reconciliation occurs, whichever comes first.”

    But the idea of preserving or expanding the century old system of energy transmission over distance is wasteful. Energy can be generated locally, wherever it is consumed. Giant wind and solar “farms” will be unable to compete with distributed formats. And solar/wind farms, like centralized fossil/fission plants, are enviro hazards.

    It is incumbent on PTB to inform banks, fund managers, and the Street of growing volatility in electric utilities. Before the “breakthrough innovation emerges.”

    • georgehants

      GreenWin, would I be wrong to suggest that just one honest report on the advances regarding Cold Fusion. in one of the premier scientific comics could change things dramatically.
      No good blaming the media or governments etc. if, well I suppose Cold Fusion would come under the scientific banner if allowed, the clever people who’s job it is to Research such phenomenon, run away and hide because remember, according to their “opinion experts” it is impossible.

      • GreenWin

        No George you would not be wrong IMO. Should either Science or Nature or more appropriately Physical Letters A, report on (or link to) the upcoming E-Cat validation, things would get dramatic. In which case journal editors should be reading Matts Lewan’s book, An Impossible Invention.

    • Ophelia Rump

      The size of the grid has zero to do with where the energy is produced.
      Small local production nodes can replace major remote production nodes on any grid,
      making the grid more resilient, and efficient.

  • Bernie777

    Interesting Exxon statement:

    “Exxon acknowledged the existence of climate change but said that any policy that would transition the economy into a low-carbon economy is unlikely given the negative economic impact. Exxon would appear to be making a bet that the affordability of energy is a higher priority than mitigating climate risk.” Motley Fool

    Exxon is on the top of my list when the time is right to short.

    • GreenWin

      Sure. If one’s vision extends to the end of one’s nose. It ain’t about climate change.

      • GreenWin

        Bernie, my derision is aimed at Exxon, not your reasoning to short their stock. :)

      • Bernie777

        Hi GreenWin: I will give you my standard reply to climate change deniers:

        Climate Change. I am not a climate scientist. The IPCC 2013 report on climate change is a thorough scientific report which must be respected. It was researched, written and reviewed by over 1000 scientists. If I am told by 95
        heart doctors that I need a heart bypass to stay alive, but also told by 5
        heart doctors I do not need a bypass, any reasonable person would opt for the bypass. Substitute the heart above for our planet. Any reasonable man would opt
        for actions to mitigate climate change.
        This is the most recent report from the IPCC. http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/IPCC_WG2AR5_SPM_Approved.pdf

        • georgehants

          Hi Bernie, could I just ask what percentage of “scientists” you think have denied and debunked and abused Cold Fusion.

          • robyn wyrick

            Hey George,

            I think that is an “exception that proves the rule” problem.

            In short it states: If I can name one instance where the vast expert research was wrong than everything they say is wrong, and there is no way to have public policy.

            It is right and good to rebuke the research/academic/policy establishment for their handling of CF/LENR and Pons/Fleischmann in particular. However, that doesn’t mean everything out of research or academia is off base.

            In specific, it is notable that the same economic players are advanced by denying Cold Fusion as are advanced by denying Climate Change. We know (because of excellent investigative reporting) that the big fossil fuel companies have fabricated enormous disinformation campaigns against climate science. It makes sense that they would. They have the largest fortunes in the world at stake. They do in fact have a vast conspiracy of efforts to rebut the climate science.

            But it is simply far less compelling that the world’s climate scientists would self-organize into a vast conspiracy to promote the message of climate change, and fabricate carbon numbers in hundreds of independent studies.

            • georgehants

              Hi, once again the name on the reply is jumping between GreenWin and robyn,.
              But in answer, I agree it is never good to compare one isolated fault with another possible success.
              Unfortunately science has and is proving itself totally incompetent in many more areas of science than just Cold Fusion.
              But I would never say they are not right, in that the World could be warming and it could just as easily be cooling and the man-made effect could be saving us from the next ice-age.
              They do not have a clue as to the underlying natural position.
              As usual competent, unbiased Research, would in time possibly give us that answer, if it where possible to find such a hen’s tooth in science.
              Best

            • GreenWin

              While I am dedicated to a good Cabernet, this investigative report causes dismay: http://www.21stcentech.com/headlines-beer-threat-climate-change/

            • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

              hum, about the mass of “disinformation campaign”, i start to see campaigne of metadisinformation (when you say that others critics are disinformation campaign)…
              with even psychiatry articles against climate skeptics…

              If there is a campaign… hum, i think the oil company are not the one doing it…

              what i see is the model prediction and factual results…
              I also see the methodes, the terror agains dissenters in Nature/science, and I see the same as agains cold fusion…

              so maybe they are right, but they use methods of bandits, disinformations, and metadisinformation, they have bad models that they publicly say are bad, that there is les and less reason to be confident in any prediction, that no extreme whether is neither observed nor predicted reliably, yet in the executive summary magically all is OK, and all is panic…

              anyway the problem is solved, so no reason to be violent…

              what I see today is discrete desire by the real power to be to step-back (including oil companies who supported AGW, funded renewable and nuke, and including governments, nuke companies) and desperate alarmism by the “mouse in the cheese” who control the press, the kid cartoons, the TV series scenarios.

              The current disinformation is grandiose… and not only on AGW… fascinating.

              with Cold Fusion you have an example of a clear disinformation campaigne, how it is launched, maintained, enforced, and how it resits to evidence…

              what will be funny is to see how they will invent a magic reason to admit cold fusion is real, while repeating theyr were all righet for 25 years…

              with AGW, their escape is that recognition that climate resilience is better than trying to control it. It is in line with the observation that it cannot be predicted, can change abruptly every few decades and do that for centuries… It push the “no-regret” solution that Judith Curry and Bjorn Lomborg have supported for long.

              swallow the crow, with a smile saying it is good roasted duck.

          • Bernie777

            Hi Georgehants: For arguments sake lets say it is 95%. There is no comparison; the 5% who believe in LENR have lab, experimental proof that LENR creates excess energy, unlike the 95% who do not believe in LENR, the 95% who believe in climate change have studied it for over two decades and have increasing proof their numbers might be too conservative.

            • Omega Z

              Follow the Money
              There is a dire need to increase Carbon Taxes, Because-
              There is a Dire need to increase World Funding to Developing & 3rd World countries by at least 100 Billion dollars a year to build Power Plants to provide these countries with energy in order to speed up there transition to 1st World Status. This amount to be increased in future years.

              Types of Plants to be built.
              Wind, Solar, Nuclear, Oil, Gas, & Coal…
              Just as I thought. World Wealth Redistribution.
              Had to Read it again.

              Types of Plants to be built.
              Wind, Solar, Nuclear, “Oil, Gas, & Coal???”
              Hmmm. Going to tax my CO2 so they can build more plants that produce CO2?

              • Bernie777

                So……..are you in favor of mitigating the ongoing climate change?

            • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

              I disagree, the real serious skeptics (ok, not the blog clown) are experienced climatologists, or side competence (I agree that some are not officially climatologist as the definition itself assume AGW today. others are fired).

              You can contact Judith curry. The things is that those critics participated the scam, they are insiders, and they gave details of what they did to protect the scam.
              Climategate is not fake (it was recognized by the authors, just minimized despite awful evidence of misbehaviors)

              The clown you describe deny even greenhouse physiccal reality.
              the real climatologist repeat the the cliamte sensibility is exagerrated, that model are broken and biased, that many WG2/WG3 theories are laughables scaremongering…

              Judith Curry herself agreed that she was in the 97% of pretended AGW supporters, because she does not deny evidences… 7
              serious skeptics are lukewarmers, denouncing an academic and political fraud to exaggerate a fact, ignoring massive uncertainties, and inventing data from void with wrong models.

              • Bernie777

                You said, “I agree that some are not officially climatologists”, if you want to believe your local weather man, go for it, I am not going to change your mind.

                • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

                  some are oceanologist, meteorologist (not weather man), geophysicists, historians…

                  On some WG2/WG3 there are economist, epidemiologist…

                  I would say that at least wheather know what is validating model, that is a strong point.

                  climatologist is a very recent speciality invented for IPCC. a cross between modelizer, oceanologist, geophysicist, expert in historical series…

                  It is funny that on a cold fusion site we don’t spot the behavior of climatologist, whose theory/model don’t work, who use the same weapon against dissenters than physicists used against chemist who replicated lenr.

                  The nasty comments you repeat against “weathermen” are so funny for someone having read cold fusion critics…

                  see the CV of judith curry… of Lindzen… Pielke…

                  And in both case billions are irrigating those scientific community, and politician have to be convinced to continue the irrigation.

    • AB

      I recall some relatively recent work by the UN claiming that avverting climate change would actually be quite affordable. Here is an article: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/13/averting-climate-change-catastrophe-is-affordable-says-ipcc-report-un

  • georgehants

    New blog post at Animpossibleinvention.com:
    A few more researchers who were never recognized
    http://animpossibleinvention.com/2014/04/20/a-few-more-researchers-who-were-never-recognized/

    • GreenWin

      Heroes all.

  • winebuff

    Lets have frank discussion. What happens after the test report is out? I’m not sure where they go from here? They could sell the exact. Develop it more then sell or take it all the way. I don’t see them taking it all the way they will need other expertise that a power developer doesn’t have or want. Who would be a good partner to take the next step? I’m curious.

    • Ophelia Rump

      They could:

      Build and operate a dozen electrical generation plants, returning profit on the investment in the first year, and demonstrating the technology to the public.

      Begin unrestricted commercial sales of industrial scale units.

      Reduce the industrial scale to individual hot-cats, so that micro generation can be utilized for small scale commercial uses, like heating commercial buildings and greenhouse, water desalination, etc.

      Begin to license the implementation of the technology to third parties for their development and integration.

      Sell research models to universities.

      Gain certification for the use in homes.

      • GreenWin

        From the look of the network of small companies IH/Cherokee has put together, your predictions are well-reasoned. Retrofitting one of many thermal, multi-stage flash desalination products would launch a whole new industry.

    • Quiet Wine Guy

      Winebuff,

      As part of an honest discussion, maybe you should present your thoughts as well so as to generate feedback.

      * Do you think Rossi has solved the problem of producing an operational industrial sized cold fusion driven Hot-Cat?
      * How do you think the existing energy supply & distribution industry sees the advent of an operational industrial sized Hot-Cat?
      * How do you think they might respond?
      * With this perspective in mind, what do you think Rossi’s & IH’s strategy looks like?
      * What do they need to help ensure success in their strategy?
      * Now, what do you think the consequences of a positive report would be?

      • Ophelia Rump

        All general success is a foregone conclusion, this is not the first test.

        Unsuccessful for this test would be where the device was unreliable, melted down, or did not produce sufficient sustained temperature or COP below the threshold to produce excess output energy after post processing.

        Most of those are already demonstrated in earlier tests, but this was a sustained test and therefore the bar was higher. The nervousness on the reliability question is demonstrated by the number of spare components provided being enough to build several more devices.

        Industrial is just a matter of plumbing together enough devices.
        Already done last year by Rossi.

        The world changes daily. Yet it goes on as usual. This will continue.
        There will be much denial and gnashing of teeth. Those people will fall behind.

        Lions will not roam the streets. There will be no signs and portents, business will go on as usual, deals will be made, and fortunes. Maybe the family will be allowed to benefit as well as the corporation, but history says otherwise.

  • jousterusa

    Koch Bros are trying to get living off the grid made illegal, state by state. Okla. was the first, and a Fla. judge just ruled to that effect. See
    http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-solar-kochs-20140420,0,7412286.story#ixzz2zTZiFWyD

    • Pekka Janhunen

      I read the story, but found nothing about off the grid being illegal. As I understood, the question is only at what price, if any, one can sell electricity back to the grid, assuming one wants to remain connected to it.

      OK, maybe you mean by “offgrid living” that one stays connected, but doesn’t pay anything on average if one sells back enough electricity. But if one uses the grid as an unlimited capacity electric storage mechanism, then that kind of service cannot be expected to be free.

      If one wants to live disconnected, one needs either an oversized E-cat which produces enough electric power even during peak consumption, or one needs to augment with batteries a smaller E-cat which suffices for average consumption. Or one uses solar panels with battery array and lives at a latitude without dark winter.

      • Billy Jackson

        with a few people selling energy back to the companies its not a big deal.. yay for the small timer who figured out how to beat the system.. that being said.. you cant expect the big energy companies to intentionally go broke buying energy back from millions through the excess produced from the e-cat.

        lastly the energy companies are not going anywhere because of this report. if they play their cards right they could be on the edge of an energy boom that causes sky high profits.

        do you really think that the power companies want to pay for the infrastructure to keep power-lines up?

        the cost of fuel to power the power plant?

        Maintenance of both?

        the e-cat stands to save them a fortune with almost no drop in usage in the future. as more and more devices go electrical were going to need more and more electricity. that’s not counting the millions of cars that will switch to electric. with overhead going down and usage going up.. I’m pretty sure that the power company CEO’s are rooting for the E-cat.. maybe not big oil but i don’t see them suffering for a while either as it will be many years before we have enough e-cats to start mass conversions.

        using http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_households
        just the top 10 countries have 606,232,994 households. (that’s not individual people but house holds)

        According to a report from Ward’s Auto released last week, the global number of cars exceeded 1.015 billion in 2010

        90 million companies in 214 different countries. that doesn’t count companies with multiple sites.. (aka McDonald)

        lets round that number and say roughly today we need more than 2 billion e-cats from a factory producing 100,000 of them a week.even if it was to produce a million a month that’s still 166.6 years to convert existing needs let alone future needs. (now i am mindful that more than likely as time goes on we will get more and more e-cat plants to meet the need) you would still have to open a new plant every month capable of putting out 1 million e-cats a month to significantly reduce that time.

        time frame
        Governments will get it first for their military’s
        Commercial Interests (power companies, utilities)
        Then Heavy/Light Industry. (factories, manufacturing companies, construction, agriculture)
        Heavy Equipment/Planes/semi-trucks/Ships
        Upper end homes
        Followed by your car and average home.

        if we get to the end of the list before 15 years.. ill be surprised. ill throw an estimate that says 20-30 years before saturation of the market hits. i think people will know about it world wide long before it hits availability to the common man.

        things that will adjust these numbers
        competition
        e-cat plant growth rate
        adoption rate by the public
        suppression/adoption by industry or government
        material/robotic advancements.
        e-cat advancement.

    • Ophelia Rump

      What no more hunting or fishing shacks, no more cabins in the woods, where will the NRA sleep at night?

      • GreenWin

        NRA types will carry an OffGrid Permit. Which will surrender only from their cold, dead fingers.

    • Omega Z

      Some do not understand that the Grid is not a storage device.
      Electricity produced must be used or it overloads the grid.
      So there can be no guarantee to accept the feed back if it exceeds what is used at the other end.

  • GreenWin

    Further details and General Electric investment added over on the Always Open Thread: http://www.e-catworld.com/2013/10/26/always-open-e-cat-world-thread/

  • Garry

    Whether patentable or not, this shows that Cherokee was already in the business of thinking about this kind of distributed grid. So, it just adds to the idea that they saw Rossi as fitting into a business model of which they were already supportive.

    • Fortyniner

      And vice versa I would think.

  • Rene

    That patent application will get whittled down to claims 20 & 21 as all the previous claims are demonstrable prior art. It is not until claim 20 “…predictive modeling of real time wholesale energy market price…” that perhaps something new is claimed.

    There are many micro-grids built well before this application in which different equipment is brought online as needed. These microgrids range from off-grid home systems with photovoltaics, batteries, fossil fuel generators, and wind to corporations who have opted out of the main electrical grid and use fuel cells, diesel generators, and peaking batteries (Apple) along with companies actively building out off-grid power generation (Wal-Mart, Safeway, Costco, Google). I would guess there are thousands of such systems throughout the united states.

    • Daniel Maris

      Agreed. But this does give the lie to the skeps who claimed IH had no experience in the energy field of business and innovation.

  • dawnpatrol

    I’m not sure why this is patentable. Seems like a complex system design, i.e. collection of existing parts, more than a unique and non-obvious invention. I would be surprised if they were the first to put something like this down on paper. Although it may be the most thorough such design ever published.

    This could be a purely defensive patent, so they aren’t locked out of such a development.

  • Ophelia Rump

    Does anyone know if it is unusual for an incubator to hold patents?

  • Alain Samoun

    Yes CHP is the first application for the E-Cat either as a new power source or as an upgrade to the current systems that are using mainly natural gas. Naturally microgrids or smart grids go with it.

  • Andreas Moraitis
  • Iggy Dalrymple

    Doesn’t seem a very novel patent, just looking at the graphic. eCats could replace all the other shown energy sources. Maybe keep the battery to smooth out demand spike but I bet the eCat can be throttled somewhat. The patent does show how Cherokee was interested in cleaner, more efficient energy delivery early on. Cherokee was probably watching Rossi closely at this early date.

  • Ophelia Rump

    Cherokee being what it is certainly has some resources to call upon.
    But that does make you wonder if they have bigger plans than just marketing the E-Cat.

    A big strength of theirs might be to bring together associated start-ups into a larger scope game of their own choosing.