SHEC Energy Corporation beats estimates in achieving an 89% cost reduction in solar energy collection, making base-load solar power competitive against coal.
Saskatoon, SK August 13, 2013
A government granting organization recently completed a month long technical due diligence of SHEC Energy's new Ultra Lite solar technology, demonstrating a materials cost reduction of 89% over its previous generation technology.
The company estimated over a year ago that it may be able to reduce solar collection costs by 75%. The material reduction costs achieved to date are 89%, which is very significant. Although the labor component of the manufactured product is not known until the production line is complete, the company expects similar saving in labor.
SHEC Energy has developed a Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and thermal energy storage technology to allow the production of renewable electricity 24 hours a day. This recent breakthrough will allow for the production of renewable power at a cost that is competitive with fossil fuel power generation in much of the world.
Traditionally, solar power has been very expensive and governments around the world had implemented Pay In Tariffs (PITs) to heavily subsidize the industry. Many countries are now phasing out PITs and consequently, many companies can no longer remain profitable.
Although photovoltaics (solar panels) are popular for rooftops, they are not a practical solution for large utility scale power generation, typical for powering entire cities. Also, adding electricity storage, like batteries, is very expensive. A great deal of investment is going into energy storage, particularly lithium battery technology. The issue with this is the limited supply of lithium in the earth's crust at only 0.0017%. Lithium is used in batteries for laptop computers, cell phones and in electric cars. A great deal more lithium would be required for utility scale power storage. Some projections indicate that demand for lithium will outstrip supply as early as 2015.
SHEC Energy uses a thermal based energy storage medium. Tom Beck, CEO of SHEC Energy, said "When we undertook our technology development pathway analysis, we took into account sustainability. I don't mean sustainability in terms of renewable energy, although our technology achieves this, but sustainability to grow the company long into the future. This means not running out of raw materials, like lithium. Part of our design criteria was to determine the abundance of materials available into the distant future to assure our sustainability and economic advantage. We have designed our system to use abundantly available materials long into the future, as a matter of fact, enough to power all of humanity long into the future."
Government Technology Validations
SHEC Energy has had a number of independent technology validations through its various technology developments. Some of these were by government granting agencies. A government just completed a one month long due diligence review on SHEC Energy's technology. Beck said "When a government examines a company for a potential grant, they do an in-depth technical assessment. I find it a real pleasure working with the technical assessment teams. These are really smart people that understand the technology and its ramifications." SHEC Energy has been awarded conditional grants from two such governments now, pending obtaining matching funds. Most, if not all, grants require matching funds and reimburse about 50% of the funds spent.
SHEC Energy has greatly reduced energy collection costs with unique product design and by inventing new manufacturing processes. Beck said "Our new technology largely cannot be manufactured by traditional manufacturing process, so we had to invent, design, and build the machines to produce the product. Our superior economics are achieved with a combination of technology and proprietary manufacturing know-how.
SHEC Energy's technology has application beyond utility scale power generation. Power systems can be made small enough for towns but not individual homes. Other applications of the technology include process heating, absorption cooling, water distillation and enhanced oil recovery.
There are many applications for process heating such as dry wall manufacturing, industrial autoclaves, thermochemical processing, etc.
Absorption cooling is ideal for industrial, community or city central air conditioning. In hot climates when the sun is shining–that is when you need the air conditioning the most. New developments can be planned for centralized heating and cooling.
Drinking water is quickly becoming a major issue in much of the world. Energy intensive distillation or expensive reverse osmosis systems are being used to purify water for towns and cities throughout the world. Bottled water can be as expensive as gasoline. This technology can economically produce distilled water.
Enhanced oil recovery is an energy intensive process that creates a great deal of greenhouse gas emissions. More energy can be used in the production of oil than is available in the oil itself. It will take time to transition to a renewable energy society, so we have to work with existing fossil fuel based infrastructure in the meantime. We can, however, use solar produced heat instead of fossil fuels to lower our carbon footprint in this industry.
Beck said "We have the technology to become a predominant renewable energy company. The Power industry alone will double to 30 trillion watts over the next 40 years. That market is projected to generate $382 trillion in revenues over that timeframe. In addition to that is the non-power applications of the technology. Our vision is to change the world. Unlike the fossil fuel industry with its finite reserves that have a relatively short life cycle of a century or so, our technology can offer a long term clean energy solution to humanity's energy needs far into the future, and do so cost effectively."
About SHEC Energy
SHEC Energy was incorporated in 1996 with the mandate to produce renewable energy cost competitively with fossil fuels. SHEC developed advanced, highly efficient solar collection technology for the production of hydrogen.
The company repurposed its technology for power generation starting in 2008 and developed complementary energy storage and related technologies for energy transport and related hardware and software controls.
The company is now completing its pilot production line and investment to match its government grants and establish large scale manufacturing capacity.