Dean Kamen Sees Stirling Engines Replacing Grid as Power Source Within a Decade

Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway personal transporter and numerous other devices (mainly in the medical field) is working on developing a generator that could help people say goodbye to the grid as we know it. Forbes has an article by Christopher Helman about a Stirling engine-based generator called the Beacon that can produce continuous power and can run on any heat source — natural gas being the typical one envisaged for domestic use in the United States.

Kamen is working with David Crane, CEO of US Utiligy NRG Energy to develop and eventually deploy the Beacon to customers served by NRG. The business plan is for the utility to lease, rather than sell the beacon to customers of the utility — a similar model that NRG is used to deploy rooftop solar to its customers.

Kamen is using a 10 kW model in David Crane’s basement for testing purposes, and has been running a 2.5 kW version of the Beacon in his home for four years. Helman writes:

Kamen’s contribution has been in engineering his Stirling with the most high-performance materials. He started off using skilled welders to put together key parts of the engine made out of exotic alloys. More recently he’s figured out how make those pieces with even more precision using 3-D printing. Crane says a key element in Kamen design was the perfection of a little plastic membrane that looks like a condom. The Beacon, which weighs about 1,500 pounds and is the size of a washing machine, also includes a battery system, which can be integrated with other distributed generation systems like solar panels.

Kamen is very optimistic about the future of the Beacon. He says that it will go into production in about 18 months — first with larger models that could be used in commercial settings and large homes. Later, as costs go down, he sees them being used ubiquitously throughout the United States — and worldwide. He states, “I’d say . . . ten years from today the probability that you are depending on wires hanging on tree branches is as likely as that you’ll still be installing land lines for telephones. Close to zero.”

The Beacon can run on any heat source — Kamen talks about using cow dung and olive oil as heat sources in some parts of the world. Here at ECW we understand the potential for LENR to be a low cost heat source, and it would seem to be a promising candidate to work with devices like the Beacon. Perhaps in 10 years time we will have seen the development of domestic LENR heaters that could be used to power the Beacon or other Stirling engine-based generators.

(Thanks to the Martin Fleischmann Memorial Project for the link to this on their Facebook page)

  • Alain Samoun

    “we’d not be able to live without the fission” If you are not talking of your job with Areva or another nuke enterprise,I have another argument for you:
    Without a certain super nova explosion, we would not be here now…
    Seriously, in last resort, our opposition to corporate nuclear fission industry is for the survival of our species.

  • Alain Samoun

    Of course TMI was nothing in comparison with Chernobyl and Fukushima, but when you say “hurt no one”
    “In Dauphin County, where the Three Mile Island plant is located, the
    1979 death rate among infants under one year represented a 28 percent
    increase over that of 1978, and among infants under one month, the death
    rate increased by 54 percent.” This unfortunately can be generalized for Chernobyl and Fukushima especially young girls: http://www.fairewinds.org/cancer-risk-young-children-near-fukushima-daiichi-underestimated/

  • Broncobet

    They keep trying but air powered cars are built super light as they don’t have much power and as noted waste the heat generated. Air storage for grids is a big deal and I read about a company able to capture the energy of the heat.

  • Omega Z

    I appreciate Dean Kamen’s efforts, But this is just another niche market product. Like the Segway.

    Electrical Energy producers have looked for ways to increase overall output efficiency even if it meant an overall reduced profit margin per Kilowatt produced.
    There is a reason they don’t use Stirling Engines. There not economical. Not even in Places like Hawaii where electricity costs about 40 cents per kilowatt hour.

    $10K is not the consumer cost. $20K is a more realistic number. Read the small print in the article. Doesn’t include R&D cost, Manufacturing facility costs and many more, then you’ll have the installation costs. I believe I read where these have a 5-6 year life cycle. Divide that into the $20K. This alone exceeds my present energy cost substantially & I still have to pay for the gas.

    But as I said, I Really appreciate Dean Kamen’s efforts. Sooner or later, someone will crack the nut & come up with a way to make it cost effective.

    Clean, Plentiful Energy is not that hard. Making it cheap enough that you can afford to use it is “HARD”

    Dean’s system falls to the same flaws as other devices. Use the heat for heating a swimming pool etc. Many others do the same with claims of 85% to 90% overall efficiency. Many Installers & their customers are strongly contesting these claims as many actually come in at an overall efficiency of 60% at best & usually far less. Dean’s Stirling Engine quickly becomes a niche product that works only for larger users who can utilize most or all it’s potential. It’s also dependent on cheap gas which is also a short term situation.

    Not to make light of this. Energy Production & how we utilize it is very complex. A Power plant running 35% efficient has to charge you 100% of the cost of the energy produced. Use it or lose it. We usually lose it. It becomes complex & expensive to try to utilize it efficiently.

    Theoretically, If I have such a plant & charge you 6 cents a kilowatt hour, Then stumbled upon a means to run that plant at 100% efficiency, I could immediately drop the price to 2 cents.
    Are You Happy. So Am I. My profits just hit the moon. I just eliminated the need to build 2 more multi-Billion dollar power plants & retain my profit margins over 3 times the original capacity of my existing power plant..

  • Alain Samoun

    Same answer: A thermodynamic machine using flow of heat energy to convert it to mechanical…
    Do watch Eric Chaisson anyway!

  • Alain Samoun

    In thermodynamic,they work the same way,because they use the energy flow coming from the difference of temperature between two sources. In the case of a cyclone: the difference of temperature between the poles and the equator. To be more precise,the cyclone is a dissipative structure due to the fact that earth is an open thermodynamic system. Thermodynamic laws apply to many systems, from biology to cosmology. If you are interested, start maybe with Eric chaisson in this you tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChAmeRD3b-I

  • Private Citizen
  • georgehants

    Mail on Line
    Car that runs on air: New Peugeot hybrid doesn’t need a battery and ‘is greener than its electric rivals’
    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2679990/Car-runs-air-New-hybrid-greener-electric-rivals.html#ixzz36VfaWUCM

    • Barry8

      Sounds efficient George, but still relies on gas (or petrol as you Brits would say) to compress the air.

      • georgehants

        Barry, I could not comment technically, just interesting with all the different power sources and drives that are in the air.
        Best

  • Pekka Janhunen

    Do you mean Areva building Olkiluoto-3 fission plant? The situation is unclear. It’s late, and there was reporting about half a year ago that workforce on site was reduced. The media hasn’t been digging very much. Statements from the orderer have been vague.

    • Alain Samoun

      Olkiluoto’s EPR was sold to Finland for €3 billion It will cost the French nuke industry – In fact the French tax payer – more than €9 billion. And it’s not even sure that it will ever produce electricity due to the complexity of the project….

      • Broncobet

        What a boondoggle. They should have ordered a AP1000, but China has built the EPR with no problem. This partly shows what a good deal nuclear is ,even with this massive cost, if it goes into service in 2020 and runs for sixty years they will have gotten a good deal.

        • Alain Samoun

          “China has built the EPR with no problem” Two years late and not working yet…
          TMI, Chernobyl, Fukushima, and more to come, nuclear weapons, radioactivity to get ride of or give to our descendants, the cost of the all thing in money and human suffering,
          WHAT A GOOD DEAL!

  • Allan Shura

    If they sell these units for 10K for 10KWh good. I am a bit leery about the idea to possibly lease them as this would take much of the benefit away from the average user, a strategy much like the e-cat shifting away from the domestic heating model. Fortunately it is not a new idea or so out of reach technologically speaking. It is peculiar this that type of Stirling application is not more commonplace. Though this model has a big capital proponent a small capital company, inventor or even an individual experimenter can build a similar generator and heater from scratch and not wait for years.

    • Omega Z

      They suffer what all these small home type units suffer.
      A Short Life-Cycle. You can get off the Grid, But you wont save on cost. In fact many cost more. Maybe that’s why they talk of leasing.

      It’s my hope that 3-D printing can turn out efficient(Home scale) turbines that are cost effective. There’s also a couple other technologies improving in abilities that may come about.

      Note: E-cat going Industrial before home systems aren’t all bad.
      2/3rd’s of the energy is used outside the home. Industrial-And you pay for that in everything you buy. Most of those savings will be passed on to the consumer. Not Immediately, But over time.

      When E-cats come to Industry, There availability will spur a LOT of interest in the technology advancements(Mentioned & needed above) that will make them economical for the consumer.

      • Allan Shura

        The input options are changing and becoming more cost effective. Components to a configuration provide better solutions moving in the future. The environmental impacts can be lower. In the event of a disruption there are costs to the affected area. Prices for natural gas or grid power can fluctuate.

    • Anon2012_2014

      Lease is a method to bury overcharging for the equipment.

      Same with rooftop solar — only morons would lease when you could save >30% if you buy it yourself.

  • georgehants

    The Guardian

    World’s energy systems vulnerable to climate impacts, report warns

    Generators from nuclear reactors to coal-fired power plants will feel the brunt of the weather changes
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/18/world-energy-systems-vulnerable-climate-impacts-report

    • GreenWin

      Guardian gets my vote for best “Gloom n’ Doom” journalism 21st Century. Funny how it’s the Brits and “Mericans dispense this buffoonery. Climate disaster now rivals NWO genius Dr. Paul Erlich of Stanford and his starving billions rants:

      “The Population Bomb was a best-selling book written by Paul R. Ehrlich in 1968. It warned of the mass starvation of humans in 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation and advocated immediate action to limit population growth”

      These “End is Near” alarmists have been wrong for centuries – yet rags like the Guardian continue to publish their rubbish in hopes of generating “fear-income.” It is the stock and trade of alarmist con craft.

      • Maxfield Q Norse

        In truth if you applied the statistical analysis used to predict herd collapse in animals, the human race was well past the point of collapse in the 1970′s.

        The environmentalists found this alarming. We are using another dynamic than the rest of the species on the planet. Much has been done since the 1970′s, you cannot look now and say “Well lookie here nothing happened, Nada.” Things are still getting progressively worse. They would be worse yet had we done nothing.
        Global warming and the greenhouse effect was accepted fact of science textbooks in the 1950′s. This is not some new fiction.

  • Allan Shura

    The HHO market has gone industrial in the far east and yet there are still no established manufacturers selling specifically designed HHO internal combustion engines. The sterling engine offers a simpler to prototype experimental engine for small generators and machinery.

  • Pekka Janhunen

    There are also leaks in gas pipelines, not all the stuff reaches the customer…

  • Barry8

    If you want to see a CF device powering a Sterling engine goto https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al7NMQLvATo at minute 2hr 44 min 50 sec. there are 2 Sterling engines, the one on the left (Mitchell Swartz’s right) was producing 3 COP (though in the vid he said 2 COP) The one on our right could not power the Sterling engine. This is historic footage videoed in 2005.

  • nickec

    It appears that the device will be leased. So you are a part of a grid in which you never own your source of power. Attachment to a second grid, the natural gas pipeline system, is also mandatory. I question the purported independence, the “off-grid” characterization, of this proposal, as it presently stands. I also find the cost inappropriate to the bulk of humanity. No disrespect intended toward e-catworld or toward Kamen and his partners.

  • GreenWin

    I am talking about max temps from natgas appliances – heat generated at the flame. Your water heater is set to low temps (~40C) and so uses far less gas and heat than a stove.

  • Jinny the Hun

    “Segway will be to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy.” — Dean Kamen, quoted in Time on December 2, 2001

    Dean Kamen is a true visionary. . .

    • Maxfield Q Norse

      Stirling Engines are not visionary. They are currently overpriced, underutilized, and emergent in the market.

      But you are so right about the the Segway!
      Kamen comes off as being a little needful at times.

      Stirling has a place, because waste heat recovery has a place.

      Mr. Kamen has always been a little marginal. I hope he finds a product or two which do good, and fare well. He seems to mean well.

      • LENR4you

        LENR and Stirling Engines are the dream team.
        Highly efficient method of converting LENR energy into mechanical energy in decentralized CHP or mobile small systems as range extender for EV: https://www.google.com/patents/DE102011103832A1?cl=en

        • Maxfield Q Norse

          It remains to be seen if modern steam engines like the Cyclone will defeat the Stirling for most markets. Please do not get me wrong, Stirling Engines will always hold a fascination for me. I hope they contribute because they are so elegant in their simplicity.

          • MasterBlaster7

            Wait…why didn’t that article contain an efficiency ratio. If I remember, the stirlings in solar application were like 32% efficient…that is pretty good. I want numbers!

            The segway is selling. It has niche applications. It is good tech. But, Kamen does have delusions of Steve Jobs/WOZ greatness in the electro-mechanical arena.

            • Maxfield Q Norse

              From Wikipedia
              “Their lower maintenance requirements make the overall energy cost comparable. The thermal efficiency is also comparable (for small engines), ranging from 15% to 30%.”

              I have seen mention of 31% efficiency from a Stirling.
              Gasoline engines are are about 25% efficient.

              The problem with Stirling is that it loses efficiency with with high compression, a Gasoline engine can compress in a small engine gaining power and keeping the engine small without losing efficiency.
              The Stirling to keep the compression low, must become a larger displacement engine. So they do not scale efficiently to large sizes.

    • GreenWin

      “Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.” President the Royal Society, Lord William T. Kelvin. Another visionary. At least Kamen’s prediction came partially true.

  • jousterusa

    Condoms and a washing machine? Doesn’t sound like something I need. I’m still hopingg that Rossi will get his head screwed on right and come out with the home E-Cat. Why sell 1,000 Hot Cats for $150,000,000 when he can sell 150,000,000 home E-Cats for $1.5 billion?

    • bachcole

      I am sure that Rossi can see this. It is the certifications that he needs to get screwed on (to the E-Cats) first.

      • Maxfield Q Norse

        Well it all depends upon the strategy of Tom Darden at this point, I believe that he is playing the role of Lord High Admiral Nelson to the administration.

        I hope they will go the route of licensing the technology to anyone who wants to utilize it. This is a pure profit, money printing machine for them, and free and open access to humanity in the shortest possible time.

    • Maxfield Q Norse

      I think you overpriced the Hot-Cats. Those were the first prototype prices. I surely hope the price will come down with manufacturing and competition.
      The first electronic calculator cost about $ 1000 dollars in 1958.
      By the late 1970s miniature versions with roughly the equivalent capacity were being given away as enticements when you bought business cards, and cost under a dollar. Far superior hand held models were being sold for around 100 dollars.

    • Omega Z

      Only 1/3rd of energy is used by individuals.
      2/3rd’s are used for commercial industrial.

      Sell to 1K consumers 1 at a time
      Or Sell 1K to 1 industrial Customer.
      Industrial/Commercial will pay more per Kilowatt. Business will be able to more efficiently utilize the output, both electrical & heat. This allows them to justify higher cost. These higher fees will pay for the manufacturing facilities. So when the product eventually becomes available to the consumer, they will be more affordable. Other technologies will advance during this time to where they are actually usable for the residential. Most of this does not exist today.

      Commercial/Industrial will be much easier for certification. Consumer products will take several years just for supplemental heating units.

  • ecatworld

    The heat does not have to be converted to motion, but apparently for safety’s sake the input is required to be independent of the output.

    Maybe in time systems can be built that can use the heat output of the e-cat, or another e-cat as a drive that are reliable and safe. It seems like it should be doable — but you have to satisfy the safety regulators.

    • clovis ray

      yep,once again i agree, all i meant by saying motion, was that temp alone is only so useful,motion in the stirling engines, and turbines , for generation of electricity, which moves the world,

      once more for clarity, the only bad thing that has ever happened is a few hydrogen explosion, which actually has nothing to do with the reactor. and one or two at the most melted down, and this only meant that the reactor just shut itself down, because after the nickel reaches it melting point the whole lenr process stopped. is this the way you see it?

      • ecatworld

        As far as I understand things, yes I agree with you on the safety issues for the most part. One thing Rossi said once was at very high COPs neutrons were released, and that could get very dangerous.

        I guess regulators and certifiers look at every possible thing that they think could go wrong, and put the safety standards very high. This is an unknown energy source, so I guess they are being extra cautious.

      • Omega Z

        After “the only bad thing” is spending a lot of money for replacement.

    • Maxfield Q Norse

      You do not want a feedback loop which causes amplification.
      Because adding a feedback loop is exactly the recipe for building an amplifier. Amplifiers like to run away from control, becoming ever louder until they burn out.

    • Omega Z

      Right Frank

      All power plants could be E-cat powered feeding off each other. That covers the requirement. just feeding itself is an issue as when it becomes unstable so does it’s power source.

      • clovis ray

        hi,
        I thought that the cat reactor,was producing lenr, by the catalyzing, micro powered nickle, and when melt down occurs , the process, stops, and then shut down,
        Is this the way you guys see it. meltdown/shutdown .

        • Omega Z

          “meltdown/shutdown”
          Correct. That is my understanding.
          What I was referring to is if the E-cat supplies it’s own electricity directly that any instability would likely cause it’s electrical supply to also become unstable. Leading to a “meltdown/shutdown”
          On a regular bases, this would get quite expensive & unsustainable.
          There may also be other safety issues that We are not aware of.

          With 2 E-cats supplying each other, this becomes less a problem, but still an issue. 3 E-cats improves the stability & each additional system enhances dependability. You quickly reach today’s state of stability.

  • bachcole

    We need all of the greenhouse gases that we can get. Today is July 3rd, and I am still sleeping under blankets, and my wife is still complaining about the cold. We are 2000 years overdue for an Ice Age.

  • ecatworld

    Hi Clovis, If LENR needs a power source to drive it, I suppose we’ll be using whatever makes most economic sense, even though it may not be ideal.

    But I hope it won’t be too long before e-cats can self loop and drive themsleves, or be used to drive other e-cats in a safe manner. Then the secondary source of power will become irrelevant.

    • Maxfield Q Norse

      Plug a few into a grid or micro-grid or campus or whatever; and there you have it. Powered by and powering. No magic required.

  • Maxfield Q Norse

    A well made stirling engine can last 100 year. There is extremely little to go wrong.
    There is only the friction to deal with. There are 1920′s Stirling Engines recently operating in the jungles of South America, where they were used as candle powered room cooling fans.

    • GreenWin

      Absorption chiller cooling uses excess heat to cool air and refrigerate food. This is the next component to add to a small micro-CHP system. http://www.gasairconditioning.org/absorption_how_it_works.htm

      • Maxfield Q Norse

        Thank you it is nice to have help catching up to this century. :-)

        • GreenWin

          You’re doing just fine Max. Keep up the good commentary.

  • Fibb

    Bloom Energy who?

    • Maxfield Q Norse

      It doesn’t make energy, it converts fuel to electricity.
      The Energy in their name is a misnomer.

  • Gerard McEk

    If you want to use Dean Kamen’s Sterling engine with the Hot Cat (stand alone), then you need to know the efficiency of the Sterling engine @ 600 C. Is that data available?

    • GreenWin

      Natgas stoves & water heaters generate heat above 1100C. Presumably the DEKA Stirling is most efficient around that temp.

    • Maxfield Q Norse

      Gerard, I am fairy sure the data is easily available.
      But this data alone will not tell you the efficiency of it’s use in a process.

      If it is displacing some other heat source, then fuel which was once wasted becomes a plus toward the relative efficiency.

      It is also possible to use different stages of heat for different purposes, gaining efficiency with each new stage.

      You can also run Sterling Engines in stages, progressively tapping off the residual heat in the exhaust, by scaling the engines down in steps.

      • Gerard McEk

        According to Dean Kamen, a 2 kW Sterling generates 1/5th of the power, so he runs it at 20%. If you have 2 hot-cats (total of 20 kW heat energy) in series both heating the single Stering, you can generate 1.6 kW electrical, but I am sure Kamen runs his Sterling at higher temperatures and as Alain Samoun above explains the higher the temperature difference the higher the efficiency. I do not believe the hot cat is ready to generate electrical energy yet. You need higher temperatures (say 1000 C) and higher COP’s for the E-cat.

    • Alain Samoun

      The Carnot efficiency is the ratio between the work W produced and the heat Q furnished to the system: e= W/Q
      It is also identical to the difference of the temperature (TH-TC)/TH Where TH is the temperature of hot reservoir TC temperature of Cold reservoir:
      In this case: TC~ 300 TH~900 efficiency= 600/900 ~66% maximum

  • Pekka Janhunen

    What would be the point of replacing the electric grid by a natural gas pipeline network? Pipelines must be buried underground, they are less safe (gas explosions bringing down whole apartment blocks occur every now and then) and they are explicitly bound to a single source. In some parts of Eastern Europe they have such system and are trying to get rid of it; also the war in eastern Ukraine is partly due to the dependence on gas. I’m probably missing something fundamental.

    • GreenWin

      All reasons why nat gas is a relatively easy transition to distributed energy generation. Elimination of enviro-hazards coal, oil, fission electric generation, and far more secure (from weather e.g.) underground pipelines, plus lower cost of home energy generation make this a viable business plan.

      Crane and Kamen may even anticipate a new heat source for the Beacon10, and modularize the heat component. This would allow a swift upgrade from gas heat to E-Cat heat.

      • ecatworld

        Where I live we have a propane tan to supply our heating need. No gas pipeline here so a truck delivers the fuel. Should work fine with one of these Stirling engines.

        Natgas and propane could also be handy if IH or someone else ever puts out a gas-driven domestic unit. That could make the heat source for the Stirling even less expensive.

        • Kneebiter

          I live within a mile of two Marcellus wells and cannot get NatGas. They got permits for eleven more wells on those two pads.

    • US_Citizen71

      This is likely meant to be a US centric solution. Most homes in the US have a natural gas hook-up and the rates for natural gas are very low with a large increasing supply due to fracking.

      • Maxfield Q Norse

        There is a reason they call it fracking mother nature.

    • Warthog

      Higher efficiency. This captures the waste heat to use for space heating or AC. Central power station generation has MANY sources of loss that reduce efficiency. Where there is no natgas, a pellet stove should work fine as a heat source.

    • deleo77

      There is a strong natural gas infrastructure already in place in the U.S. It does need to be maintained, but it is less prone to damage than power wires that can be knocked out in storms etc.

      I think Kamen and NRG are on the right track, as is Solarcity, with the idea of leasing this equipment and then selling the excess power back to the grid. The micro-grid concept seems like a good idea as well. Of course an e-cat with a huge COP sitting in the garage trumps them both, but we will have to wait and see how it all plays out.

      • Robert Ellefson

        That ‘strong’ natural gas infrastructure you mention has killed many, many people over the years. One notable recent incident occurred a few years ago in Burlingame,CA, right near the San Francisco airport. Among the fatal victims who lived in the neighborhood that was entirely destroyed was a woman who worked for the Public Utilities Commission board that was in charge of regulating pipeline safety. Natural Gas is great except for being expensive, polluting, and very dangerous. I’m looking forward to seeing it made obsolete.

        • Alain Samoun

          Natural gas grids are a lot less expansive to run than electric grids. Five time less if I remember.

          • Pekka Janhunen

            Five times price ratio sounds surprising. Electric grids can be air wires or underground, underground being clearly more expensive. With gas there is only the underground option. To some extent, corrosion is a problem in pipelines (partly caused by space weather related geomagnetically induced low-frequency currents; in the past our institute made some research of the phenomenon for power companies).

            In Finland we have a sparse gas pipeline network which serves mainly industrial users. Home use is not common. Meanwhile electric companies are slowly digging their wires underground to reduce vulnerability to weather in the countryside. If one asks about our energy policy, I think there is none or at least the answer depends on who one asks.

            • Omega Z

              Gas lines & the distribution system can easily last 50 plus years. Their less expensive due to life span.
              Utility poles are replaced on average of 10 years & cost $1000′s each plus expensive labor & equipment every time. You also have to maintenance trees in the vicinity on an annual bases.

              I think the issue of underground wires is it requires a more expensive casing. That and people notoriously cutting them when servicing other underground utilities. Gas, Water, Sewer. The trunk line to our city for internet service gets cut 1 to 3 times every year. Imagine what would happen to those service people if that line carried several 100K volts.

        • Broncobet

          You are right , but this is our old friend and foe, fire. We are used to this danger,as well as the electricity flowing all around us. What is the danger of dying in a pipeline explosion? It’s has to be less than a billion to one. Gas line don’t lose as much energy on the way to your house. There are lots of wealthy people in places like India where the power outages, are frequent. This is quieter and more efficient than diesel.

    • Alain Samoun

      In Germany: Natural gas is the fossil fuel considered the bridge into a new era and a resource to complement renewables for as long as necessary.goal of generating 100 percent with renewable energies by 2050.
      Natural gas grids are a lot less expansive to run than electric grids.

    • Omega Z

      In the U.S., Most of those N-gas lines are already in place.

  • Bernie777

    One more nail in fossil fuel coffin, energy tech is converging at an amazing rate. The only question is the timing when thinking of shorting fossil fuels.

    • GreenWin

      I wouldn’t short nat gas so quickly – which is where fossil companies will take refuge. Natural gas is the network that Kamen and Crane rely on to fuel the Beacon 10. At least to start with. It is important to have an established bridge technology in major transitions such as New Fire.

      As coal and fission centralized generation shuts down, some of that load will be met by new NG-powered distributed, district generation. This means thousands of new jobs in design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of millions of micro-grid/micro-CHP systems.

      • Bernie777

        Yes, I agree, the first to go is coal then oil, then natural gas, the trick is, when investing, is to put a “when” for each one.

        • bachcole

          I don’t disagree completely. Immediately before LENR becomes obvious and accepted, that will be the only “when” that anyone can depend upon. After that, all hell is going to break loose with the markets.

          • Maxfield Q Norse

            Markets are very good at anticipating future value.

        • Pekka Janhunen

          Agree otherwise except I would reverse order of oil and gas. Reason: existing cars, trucks, airplanes, ships.

  • GreenWin

    The article also mentions a test fleet of some 20 devices being used in field tests. Wouldn’t it be fascinating if Dean Kamen and AR met and discussed ways to work together?

    • Bernie777

      That would be an excellent question for Dr. Rossi, if no one else asks it, I will.

      • Omega Z

        It’s been pointed out to Rossi.

    • Fortyniner

      I have a sneaking suspicion that Kamen is fully aware of LENR and may have this power source in mind for his ‘beacon’ device, but prefers to keep that to himself for the time being. Converting NG to electricity via a Stirling engine and alternator doesn’t seem to make much sense when fuel cell technology is far simpler and more efficient.

      His thoughts are clearly US-centric, and talk of fuelling these devices on twigs, cow dung etc. strike me as a smokescreen intended to obscure his real target market. In parts of the world where these are the only fuels, they are much more valuable for cooking than for making electricity. If NGOs want to provide a means of power generation in such areas, the natural choice would probably be photovoltaics feeding into batteries.

      • GreenWin

        Agree with your suspicion 49er. Early design specs suggest the Beacon can manage PV via storage for meeting some household load. The NG/Stirling kicks on to recharge batteries and provide hot water/space heat and likely some of the load.

        SOFC fuel cells are good competition in micro-CHP.

  • Paul

    It is not a completaly new idea, see for example (if I well remember) Stirling used for home cogeneration pushed some years ago in Japan by an utility provider, but the problem of such devices – when put on the market for purchase from general public – has always been the too high price. So, the ket for this “revolution” is a mass production of the Stirlings and a very low proce; after all, they are so simple devices…

    • GreenWin

      The NRG Beacon10 will likely be leased which establishes a whole new revenue stream for utilities engaged in energy business. The lease fee will decrease if NRG can use excess electricity to service other customers. Since the market for “home energy appliances” is in the hundreds of millions+, mass manufacturing will reduce costs dramatically over ten years.

      Kamen and NRG have strong competition however. From fuel cells and other micro-CHP. The startup from Clevland OH, Nirvana Energy Systems has a NASA designed thermo-acoustic Stirling engine (TAPS) that produces 2-3kWh and has essentially no moving parts. http://www.nirvana-es.com/technology.html

      THIS is revolutionary tech that if combined with a miniature E-Cat heat source would produce a heat, hot water, electric generator in a mini-fridge form factor.