Info & News
Energy "miracle" to go commercial
A New Zealand company that has developed an energy “miracle” to solve the world’s climate change problems is seeking investors to commercialise the product.
Christchurch-based IndraNet Technologies (IndraNet) is seeking six million dollars from investors to commercialise its revolutionary nGen Systems that will see businesses and individuals reach 100 percent solar sustainability at costs lower than current electricity prices without government subsidies, carbon taxes or tradable carbon credits.
Founded in 1998, IndraNet has had the support of about 3100 shareholders who have invested NZ$18.8 million for product development.
“This has been spent wisely by allowing us to create a technology package that we find breath-taking. In our view, it can address squarely the world’s problems of diminishing oil reserves and climate change. We see the potential as limitless” says IndraNet Chairman, Russell Fitts.
nGen Systems aim to deliver on their premises the energy streams that customers require, including electricity, process heat, hot water, air conditioning, chilling, freezing, recycling waste heat, and grey water, with energy storage as an option where required. nGen Systems are intended to be deployed stand-alone or integrated to power grids to form highly distributed Intelligent Power Networks in the longer run.
“We are confident to deliver Sustainable Energy Services, based on our nGen Systems that will be competitive with fossil fuel based legacy energy services and at costs that will be a lot lower than electricity generated with other renewable energy technologies.” says Mr Fitts.
“Applications include industrial site, commercial centres, hospitals, schools, "green" sustainable buildings, residential homes, and eventually transport (by retrofitting compact nGen Systems to existing vehicles),” says Mr Fitts.
“We do not do miracles”, says Managing Director, Dr Louis Arnoux. “We simply do rigorous science, solid engineering and robust market intelligence. It has been hard work over the last 11 years, often in precarious conditions. However, we now have a solution that delivers on what Bill Gates and increasingly many others call for in the wake of the failed Copenhagen Climate Change Summit,” Dr Arnoux says.
Bill Gates believes the most important innovation required to avoid climate change will be a way of producing electricity that is cheaper than coal and that emits no greenhouse gases.
"What we're going to have to do at a global scale is create a new system... So we need energy miracles,” Mr Gates says.
“We now have that miracle Mr Gates talks about and it’s a kiwi company that’s developed it. It’s an exciting time for our company,” Dr Arnoux concludes.
Interested investors can find the Offer Documents (Prospectus and Investment Statement) at www.indranet.co.nz, applications for shares can be made on the form contained in that document.
What are nGen Systems?
nGen Systems are not engines, or mere cogeneration or tri-generation units. Instead they are just that – systems. They are made of individual modules that can be integrated on site in a variety of ways to match specific customer demands. These individual modular components of nGen Systems are well proven. Some are commercially available “off-the-shelf” while others can be readily manufactured based on well known existing designs and techniques.
The fundamental innovation in our technology is in how those components are specified and integrated into an nGen System in order to supply end user requirements at costs and efficiencies that legacy infrastructures simply cannot match.
nGen Systems are based on the well known recuperated Brayton Cycle (see Figure 1 and Insert 1).Most engines in the world are compressed gas engines. The compressed gases are used to push mechanical devices such as pistons or turbine blades (generically called “expanders” because the gases that push them do so by expanding from high pressure to lower pressure). What makes these engines largely inefficient in the specific context of meeting on-site customers’ demands is the combustion of a fuel inside the engines as the means of primary energy input.
After over a century of development this approach has reached its potential efficiency limits. It is generally recognised in the co-generation domain that the best diesel engines currently achieve only 45% efficiency 1. Gas turbines can achieve higher efficiencies but only at very large sizes (e.g. central power station sizes), well beyond most on-site requirements (and in central power stations most of the waste heat remains unused). At on-site scales (typically from 3kW to about 1 MW) gas turbines are significantly less efficient than the positive displacement expanders used in nGen Systems. Furthermore, in cogeneration or tri-generation installations based on reciprocating piston engines or gas turbines, the heat and electrical power outputs remain closely linked rendering difficult variations of individual energy streams.
In nGen Systemsthe primary energy input takes place outside the mechanical devices. This move enables substantial increases in mechanical and overall efficiencies. It also opens the way to use in modular fashion component technologies with low operation and maintenance cost and that have been in use for over 100 years. This same move to external combustion or heat supply frees up energy sources. Where internal combustion engines can use only one type of fuel (e.g. petrol, diesel or natural gas), an nGen System can be switched from fuel to fuel with only minor adaptations. This opens the way to being able to choose lower cost fuels as markets evolve.
The high efficiency capability of nGen Systems is a direct function of operating temperatures at the level of the positive displacement expander. While a wide range of operating temperatures is feasible from above 100oC upwards, at the present stage, operating slightly over 1,000oC enables using readily available materials and achieving approximately 55% electrical efficiency.
nGen Systemshave few moving parts and no valves (unlike piston engines). The core components for the compressor and expander modules have been in use in other industries since the 1940s. They have required very low maintenance and are known for their longevity.
See for example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_generators indicating that “a modern diesel plant will consume between 0.28 and 0.4 litre of fuel per kilowatt-hour at the generator terminals”. With about 38.1 MJ/litre of Diesel fuel, this translates into efficiencies of 25% to 36%. In our experience, 45% efficiency corresponds to best practice at optimal operating regimes for the best commercially available equipment