Eneco Details Revolutionary Power Chip Page: 1
Source: Green Business Week
Speaking in a hotel conference room near Tower Bridge late last week Dr Lew Brown, president and CEO of Eneco, is trying to convince a roomful of sceptical investors that its new chip technology will revolutionise the way we generate electricity. It has to be said that he is doing a pretty good job.
"This chip compares with the invention of the transistor, or the TV, or the first aircraft," he says. "It is a genuinely disruptive technology." Now if a claim like that won’t get investors' attention I'm not sure what will."
Eneco is a development stage company that claims to have invented and patented a "solid state energy conversion/generation chip" that will convert heat directly into electricity or alternatively refrigerate down to -200 degrees celsius when electricity is applied. As one potential investor who has flown all the way from Scotland for the two hour presentation confides: "I had to come, it just sounded too good to be true."
So is it too good to be true? Will it work? Well, on first impressions it just might. And it could have a massive impact on how IT equipment, and in particular laptops and other mobile devices, are designed and powered. The chip is based on the principles of thermionic energy conversion whereby the energy of a hot metal over comes the electrostatic forces holding electrons to its surface. These free electrons then pass across a vacuum to a cold metal and in the process create an electronic charge that can be harnessed.
The main difficulty with exploiting this process at a commercial level has been in creating the vacuum between the two metals. But Eneco has overcome the problem by replacing the vacuum with, what the brochure describes as, "a properly selected semiconductor thermoelectric that is thick enough to support a significant temperature differential between the emitter and the collector in order to achieve efficiencies of practical interest". The result is a solid state energy conversion chip that can operate at temperatures of up to 600 degrees celcius and deliver absolute efficiencies in terms of how much heat energy is converted to electricity of between 20 and 30 percent.
Initially Eneco plans to target the "low-hanging fruits" found in the existing thermoelectric market. The company says the technology would suit off-grid energy generation environments, such as pipeline monitoring stations and space craft, where its promises to outperform existing thermoelectric products. The company also
expects to have its first order in this area from the US military soon.
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