|February 24, 2012|
South African Fuel-Free Generator Preparing for Market
|On February 11 and 12, I was able to witness a 5 kilowatt (enough to power a home without central air conditioning, conservatively) fuel-free generator in Johannesburg and to meet the inventor and some of the principle players in helping him bring this technology to market.|
As mentioned in my previous story on this matter, the South African company invited me to come see the technology first-hand so that I would not be making a statement along the lines of "they claim...", or "if this is real...", but so that I would be able to speak from personal experience after witnessing the technology in operation. They also offered to sell me a unit that I could personally test, promising to refund the cost if it did not perform as claimed.
I wish to thank all of you who stepped forward enthusiastically to donate funds to make this trip and procurement possible. The plan is to ship me one of the first 200 units.
The company, for now, wishes to remain off the radar. They don't currently have a website, but one is expected to be completed in about a month or so. They plan to make a big splash soon. For now, interested parties (as a result of this coverage), can reach them through me. So in this coverage, I will only refer to them as the "S. African Company", and their product as the "FFG", which stands for Fuel-Free Generator.
I do consider this technology to be a contender in our Top 5 Exotic Free Energy Technologies listing, due to its being close to market with a substantial, reliable output that is competitively priced to be more affordable than conventional energy sources, while producing no pollution, and being ready for rapid deployment through the setting up of licensees worldwide.
I was very impressed with the personnel involved in the S. African company. So many great technologies over the years have been hindered primarily by unworkable inventors or teams that can't work well together.
What I Saw
What I witnessed, along with three other scientists that I brought along -- all more qualified than myself -- was a 5 kW unit powered by four batteries, running for three hours continuous, driving a load of approximately 4 KW. According to the amp-hour rating of those batteries (102 Ah each), without being recharged from an external source, they should have lasted only 35 minutes before running down completely, no longer able to power the system.
The load was roughly 4 kW, comprised of:
- a two-burner stove, each burner consuming 1 kW (rated power according to manufacturer)
- a toaster that consumed 850 Watts (rated power)
- a pancake maker that consumes 1 kW (rated power)
- A 40-Watt fan (rated power)
The total output was as high as 5 kW, as long as the generator was turned at 3000 rpm, and there was sufficient load. (The generator only produces as much power as is used). One time we plugged in more load than 5 kW and it caused the system to shut down, as it should in that circumstance.
The system was comprised of a series-wound, brushed, DC motor (slightly modified) powered by one bank of two 12-Volt batteries (102 Ah) wired in series for a 24-Volt output. The company says the back-EMF is harvested into a second, identical battery bank, which is also wired in series. These two banks are periodically cycled, trading places in the circuit, and the net charge stays essentially the same, across both banks. The optimized cycling of power and storing of the back-EMF are all controlled by a proprietary circuit board and software developed by the inventor. The motor shaft is connected directly to the shaft of the AC generator, which spins at 3,000 rpm to produce 5 kW of power at 50 Hz, 220-V.
There was no external power cord or fuel going to the system. They lifted the table on which the system was housed, to show that no cords were run through the legs into the floor to a hidden power source. It is a closed system as far as physical devices are concerned.
We didn't have a way to detect whether or not electromagnetic radiation might be in use to power the system inductively or wirelessly; but we did see all around the room as we entered through the first floor underneath the lab, and we could see what was on the other side of three of the four walls, and we could see the roof as we approached the building, which didn't have anything on top of it. The unit was in the middle of the room, maybe 15 feet away from the fourth wall that we didn't look on the other side of.
Began with a Failed Demonstration
The above description was the second test that was done for us on that set-up. The first run didn't turn out as planned.
The batteries diminished, the motor/generator slowed, and after 38 minutes it stopped running. Note that according to lead acid battery specs, these batteries were nearly fully discharged at the start of the test. I don't know that the S. African group understood or appreciated this attribute of batteries -- that it is not a linear relationship of voltage to power capacity.
You can imagine the feelings of "Oh no; another dud!" that I was fighting as we watched this. But I should say that I was hopeful that the problem, whatever it was, would be identified and resolved.
It turns out that the previous test they had run had been for a client that had requested a control run that entailed running the system without the inventor's circuit, to see how long the system would go until it stopped. This damaged two of the batteries. Running lead acid batteries to zero is not good for them. Also, not all the batteries were fully charged at the beginning.
They replaced those batteries (including with one that wasn't fully charged) and then ran the test again, which gave the results I reported earlier.
40 kW Array
They also ran a 40 kW system for us that was set up the same way except with a DC motor suitable to turn a 40 kW generator; and 16 batteries, comprised of 4 sets of batteries in parallel in place of a single set of batteries in the 5 kW set-up.
It wasn't set up at the time for extended running, so we only saw that one run for about 10 minutes. It wasn't wired to the load bank (a ~$10,000+ piece of equipment with resistive coils), and the shaft connection wasn't properly aligned. It was running without a load.
The other prototype size outputs apparently are available at their manufacturing facility. They include:
5.5 kW single phase
8 kW single phase
12 kW 3 phase
16 kW 3 phase
40 kW 3 phase
42 kW 3 phase
Other Scientists that Accompanied Me
The three other scientists that came with me to this demonstration were Johan, Keith, and Henry, all from Johannesburg.
Keith is an electronics technician with many years experience in all kinds of gadgets. He wrote:
"I felt privileged to witness the future in person. I may be just a certificated electronics technician, but with more than 40 years field experience, I know enough to know that what I witnessed is no scam. I'm not sure how this process actually works, but it is most definitely working. It's one thing to read about things like this, and most reports are 'iffy' to say the least. To witness this in person and see that no extra power was being added, and the unit keeps on going way beyond what the batteries are capable of delivering, is completely mind blowing. The hairs on the back of my neck are still tingling! Thank you so much for arranging for me to witness this!"
Keith's friend, Henry has a degree in electrical engineering with 25 years experience in industrial electronic design, his specialty being electric motors and generators. He was primarily the one making measurements, asking questions, making observations, and, along with the rest of us, grinning at the end of the day. To be fully satisfied, he would like to see a longer run, with more careful measurement of the input and output, but he thought the device definitely looked promising.
The S. Africa Team
As mentioned above, I was highly impressed with the S. African company's team.
The inventor is actually very socially functional and not so eccentric he is impossible to work with -- a phenomenon I've seen far too many times over the years. Some of the best technologies are opposed the most by the inventor's inability to interact with those who seek to help.
The inventor has been successful as a technologist and manager for a large company. He's not the archetypal outcast of the fringe, as is often found in the free energy sector.
He came up with this invention in a round-about way, not starting out with a particular vision in mind. He was just tinkering, building a toy for his daughter, making one modification after another, tweaking, optimizing, until he ended up with design that powered his house for three weeks, which was when he brought it to a financier, who then powered his office with it for three weeks.
The company is privately funded, so they are not looking for investment.
They also have a lot of patriotism toward S. Africa. They are proud of the many milestone accomplishments of the country, and seem intent on having S. Africa be honored once again by being the birthplace of this technology.
They hope to get the distinction of bringing the first exotic free energy technology (of the home-power electricity variety) to the marketplace; and to be able to leverage the branding opportunities that will be associated with that. And after they have successfully launched the 5 kW FFG into the market, they would like to expand into a role of helping to incubate new breakthrough energy technologies -- to become the Siemens of Free Energy or of affordable distributed power.
One point of frustration for me was that I wasn't permitted to take any photos of any of the devices. Their reason wasn't for protection of proprietary information, because a photo wouldn't divulge such. Rather, their reason had to do with image. They want the first images the public sees to be professionally done, in order to present a good first impression.
I disagree. I think their set-up looked fine. Compared to most of what I'm used to seeing in this sector, their equipment looked great, especially their 40 kW system.
Plans for Roll-out
The company plans to focus at first on producing the 5 kW system. They have several customers lined up, including some multi-national companies with strong name recognition, who will be testing their first 200 units built, set to begin in March. They will continue to produce 200 units/month for the S. African market, increasing this to 500/month by the end of the year.
They showed us a cabinet with 200 circuits they have prepared to go into those first 200 units. The 5 kW system we were observing was actually a test system to make sure each of those circuits has been built properly.
After the customers have run those first units for thirty days, 1) they will purchase them if they are satisfied with their performance, and 2) they will publish a report of the performance of these devices, to be included in their promotional material, both for potential licensees (more detailed) and for the public (simplified).
If the outcomes of those tests are sufficiently positive, then the company will do a big press conference or launch event to announce the product to the world.
After the 5 kW system is proven, then the company will next focus on rolling out larger sizes.
Skipping Alpha Testing
This method of having the first customers be the ones to test the first manufactured units is not the way a product is normally rolled out commercially. Usually, the first testing of the device intended for market is done in-house (alpha testing). Only after thousands of hours of testing and receiving certifications, followed by extensive beta testing (by external parties in real-world environments) would the product be introduced to customers. Alpha testing would include stress tests under varying situations including heat, cold, vibration, running to destruction, determining optimums and margins; as well as toxicity and interference tests to show the device operation doesn't impact human health or electronics.
However, remember that this FFG system uses primarily off-the-shelf components that have already been run through the rigors of such tests.
The alternator, for example, will already have such testing, certifications, and approvals. As long as it is being turned at its rated speed, it will produce its rated output, whether the source of the rotating torque is hydro, wind, diesel generator, etc. A home warranty or insurance adjuster should only be concerned with the output of the alternator, which has the necessary credentials. So (I would think) the classification of this unit would be in the same group as a genset, which already has the needed UL or CE ratings.
Customers can buy off-the-shelf grid-tie systems that will sync the generator up with the local grid power, with automatic shut-off, in the case of a grid power failure, so that linemen are not jeopardized by the power coming from the device. A grid tie would be best, since the unit can puts out a constant 5 kW, and with net metering, most homes would come out well ahead at the end of the month; thus speeding up the payback time, in those states where net metering allows for payback for net excess energy generation from the customer's side.
What does this do to the Batteries?
One downside to minimizing a rigorous alpha-testing approach, as I see it, is that the company has not yet been able to study long-term performance results for the system.
The longest it has been run in one setting has been three weeks: once when powering the inventor's home; and once when powering the financier's office -- both for three weeks.
Alex Xanthoulis, CEO of Defkalion, said that he saw a system similar to this 1.5 years ago at a university in Greece. It worked short-term, but it hammered the batteries, so they only lasted a few days. Since the South African company has far exceeded that, it is probably safe to say that their circuitry is different, and doesn't have as much, if any, of a detrimental effect on the batteries.
The S. African company plans to have each country have their own manufacturing and distribution network, rather than have one primary manufacturer.
The licensee task will entail sourcing the off-the-shelf batteries, DC motor and AC generator (or other end applications for capturing that power from the DC motor shaft, such as a pump); manufacturing the cabinet to house the system; assembling the systems, and distributing them to customers; and servicing the customers.
However, one very important point is that in every case, the licensee will purchase the control system for each unit from the S. African company. That is both to protect the intellectual property and to provide a built-in way for them to get a royalty on each unit sold.
The up-front licensing fee is likely to be low, like a deposit or earnest payment on a property offer. The main revenue for the S. African company will be from sales of the control circuit, which only they will manufacture, containing the proprietary elements.
Potential Licensee Attributes
Usually, when a company talks about licensing a technology, they have all the alpha and beta testing done, with reams of data and spec sheets about the device(s) to be licensed.
In the case of the S. African company, though, potential groups coming in now to license will be early players, and will need to have a different threshold of willingness to assume risk, withstand skepticism, work through bugs, etc.
Potential licensees will need to be able to provide evidence of their capability to perform functions such as:
**Financial means to capitalize the project (capital expenses will not be that high, compared to other energy device manufacturing scenarios).
**Ability to source the best, most affordable, reliable, compatible off-the-shelf components.
**Ability to run installation, maintenance, repair, and other support services.
**Ability to properly market the device.
**Proper motivation: humanitarian, not greed-based.
**Ability to put up with and overcome skepticism, criticism, rudeness, and even overt suppression tactics.
Metamorphosis Rather than Usurpation
The arising of this and other exotic free energy technologies that are both clean and have the potential to render obsolete many energy modalities, might not go over well with those that are already involved in those sectors.
The S. African company hopes to make this transition as minimally disruptive as possible, while still addressing the planet's need for affordable, clean, distributed power, which empowers the individual while rendering obsolete the corrupt powers that be. Good riddance to the latter, but there are many sectors that aren't corrupt which could also be negatively impacted.
In order to minimize this collateral damage, the S. African company will seek to work with those companies to let them be part of this opportunity, rather than be put out of business by it.
Just a quick note on the side.
Thanks again for the donations that made all this trip and more possible. You people are awesome. Not one person who donated asked for their money back, even though there was a lot of criticism about how long it took me to get this report up. I will gladly refund any such requests. I promise to put those funds to good use.
I've put this technology up in #1 position in our Top 5, but I should say that they are neck-in-neck with Defkalion. It's close to a tie for first, being very close in terms of price point, closeness to market, quality of team, cleanness of product.
For you naysayers who immediately jump to the conclusion that anything involving "free energy" must be bogus or fraudulent, bear in mind that this company is not seeking money. In fact they spurn any such inquiries.
The company sent the following on February 22, 2012 3:48 PM, about 6 hours after we first posted the above story:
I appreciate your enthusiasm but need to pull the reins back a bit. I mentioned when you were here that we first want to trial with the corporates. This process needs to go ahead now and we will entertain licensees thereafter so let's hold off on the discussions with potential guys for now as we are being flooded and I don't want to distract from our strategy.....