We hope this short overview of N2Solar will give a good sense of what we are about, can accomplish in the markets, and the needs to get there. We welcome your questions and look forward to discussing the merits of our projects and how outside financial participation could benefit..


Chris Lucas

EarthToys Renewable Energy Article
We hope this short overview of N2Solar will give a good sense of what we are about, can accomplish in the markets, and the needs to get there. We welcome your questions and look forward to discussing the merits of our projects and how outside financial participation could benefit..
N2Solar Introduction
Simple Approaches To Complex Problems.

Chris Lucas, N2Solar

At N2Solar, we look at alternative energy a bit differently. Rooted in holographic technologies, our ‘focus’ has always been about working with the light wave. We capture it, we divide and multiply it, we fold it, and if it could be spindled we would do that as well. We believe that the ‘light’ put out by the Sun has much more to offer than many believe, and by working with that most prominent light source, solutions exist to not only make existing technologies work better, but also create new uses that will improve the lives of many people.

To date, literally billions of dollars have been invested to create photo-reactive materials that can absorb every available scrap of Sun sent light waves to convert to power, yet we still have a few years to go to reach a state called ‘grid-parity’, where Solar PV costs are relatively equal to cost of power produced by fossil fueled sources. We have had a major move forward for CPV; yet current paths of concentration still work the entire light wave, most of it detrimental to the end purpose. Most PV modules still cannot track the incoming wave to get the best cell alignment from a fixed position, and mechanical tracking mounts add greatly to overall PV costs, leaving nearly one third of the module’s potential output unused. These and more current states of the PV ‘art’ leave what might be called the optimum path for reducing electrical grid demand at the most convenient point of grid contact both under utilized and an overly expensive alternative. These are the ‘gripes’ we at N2Solar think we can solve, and create an entirely new ‘aftermarket’ for PV modules.

We are in the DOE grant review process to create two new paths for PV modules and arrays:

For the first path, we know there is a way, via the use of holographic optical elements, or HOEs, to create powerful and benign concentration, whereby we select and amplify a narrow portion of the visible range of the wavelength, a sweet spot so to speak in the 500-800 nanometer range, that is prime for PV cell and PV material power conversion. At the same time, we reflect out both a majority of the IR and UV portion of the spectrum, that only bring heat and degradation, neither beneficial either to the operating performance nor lifespan of the PV module, and in fact very negative. The goal is an end product that can be externally mounted to most types of PV modules, which will near double their combined efficiency and output hence net kilowatt hours, while reducing their operating temperature by a large degree, restoring substantial thermal conversion losses.

Made from all plastic, durable and inexpensive, this would be the best end result case. The worst case would be creating a whole new platform and approach for integrated CPV, allowing comparable or higher efficiency levels, vastly reduced operating temps, and the opportunity to use much less heat tolerant and costly PV materials, resulting in a large per watt reduction in cost. Either end result means a meaningful leap forward for improving PV-based cost and performance at the demand site, whether grid connected or not.

The second PV path will absolutely work for all forms of PV, and this is an ‘actively tracking’ HOE, that we have a patent pending for. This HOE duplicates the results of mechanical ‘passive’ tracking mounts. It is long proven that moving the module to best receive the incoming light results in a >30% increase over a fixed position panel. These mounts can add costs per module of more than $2 per watt, none really work for sloped roof placement, as found on most homes, and the added tracker cost can be a ‘deal breaker’ for most if not all commercial installations, and generally only practiced at the utility-scale PV installation and for CPV as a rule.

Also constructed of plastic to be externally mounted to the PV module, our active tracking HOE will work both in places where mechanical passive trackers can or won’t ever, and at much more palatable cost per module. This product not only is appropriate for new installations, yet can be retrofitted to existing installations of less efficient and more costly modules, that may have a decade, or two, of useful life remaining.

Our technical experience in holography R&D and production, as well as market volume potential, are topics for another discussion, yet both are present in abundance.

Our third path for N2Solar concerns the power grid production side of the mix, and we believe we have a new approach to offer.

The ‘gripes’ for grid production and alternative energy are less about grid-parity (or ‘cost-parity’) and more about useful locales/environments, and while no one wants to be building new fossil fueled power plants, save those who build them or supply the raw fossil resource, the cost per megawatt is still a factor when new installations are planned.

On a per megawatt basis, wind is likely the most ‘bang for the buck’ option in today’s terms. It actually costs less per megawatt than coal or natural gas at about $1.5 Million per megawatt, has a fairly small space/maintenance need, and can work in a number of locales where constant winds are present at a level considered ‘utility scale’ during daylight hours.

For more arid climates, the prime choices to date are variations of solar thermal power, where the heat of the Sun via concentrating mirrors is the fuel. Costs per megawatt for CSP/STE plants, whether new or augmenting existing steam turbine NG/coal driven power plants (sic), range anywhere from future projections of 2 to 3 Million USD to actual costs of 4 and 6 Million USD; require 5 plus acres per megawatt; and have very substantial continuing operation costs due simply to the huge number of mirrors and moving parts required that need continual monitoring and service.

These solar thermal power plants also create steam as an end product to run existing power generating turbines (as mentioned), and super-heated water and steam bring their own host of ‘plumbing’ maintenance issues. With these characteristics noted, solar thermal energy (STE) is still viewed as more cost effective than using PV, in any form, and projects to provide thousands of megawatts globally of concentrator solar thermal power (CSP/STE) are either under construction or in planning. It is this alternative energy approach we want to compete with.

We have designed, and have been granted a provisional patent for, a solar thermal heated updraft power generator, using time-proven methods, that may be capable of generating one megawatt power, using less than 2 acres of ground, a minimum of moving parts, and the capability to run solely off wind in nighttime hours, in areas where the wind resource is present, but not so much during peak demand hours, to create a 24/7 power supply, for fast growing populations centers in arid climates, and peak and off-peak power needs.

We believe that this one megawatt version both can and must cost less than 2 Million USD to the end-user inclusive of an acceptable profit margin. This is our approach and value proposition for utility scale end-users, in the optimum solar climates, with all the scaled-efficiency features, which include the cost, land area requirement, and the dramatically reduced maintenance costs for the life of our product.We can indeed be a strong competitor for the solar-fed, grid-scale power supply market.

As with the HOE development project, there is work to be done to find the best fashion for each process element to function yet - as also present in the development for this solar thermal generator - it is not a question of whether it will work, only that of how well, and how soon.

For both these energy side applications, we believe the time-frame to have working and commercially ready versions is less than 12 months, and completely dictated by available capital to complete all the aspects of both technical directions.

We are of a mind that each side will require less than 2.5 Million dollars to bring to commercial production ready state, so call it $5 Million. Full market participation/presentation/production will entail a 2nd funding stage of a projected $20 Million USD..

We hope this short overview of N2Solar will give a good sense of what we are about, can accomplish in the markets, and the needs to get there. We welcome your questions and look forward to discussing the merits of our projects and how outside financial participation could benefit.

On behalf of the N2Solar partners and Redline Energy Solutions Queue, LLC

Chris Lucas lucas1@infonetz.com

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag

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