Wednesday, November 22, 2006

They're claiming what?

MacRumors tipped readers to a new company with a very "1998 template looking" website called Eneco. Eneco is claiming that they have developed a chip that turns heat into energy. Certainly a revolutionary concept ... but nothing special. But the real claim to fame Eneco makes in the article below is that the chip has a 30% efficiency. Now, my understanding of physics/thermodynamics is very minimal but from what I know ... 30% is a bold claim and is nearly as efficient as high grade gasoline. If this were true, this would truly be the invention of the decade, if not the century as it would have many many applications such as more efficient automoblies. More importantly though, are the applications for increasing the efficiency of alternative fuel sources such as solar photovoltaic and bio fuels/ fuel cells.

Eneco is said to be in talks with Apple Computer about the technology.

Chip produces *energy from heat at 30% efficiency

Energy promises really scare me because it's the buzz word of the moment. Energy this ... Energy that. The energy and energy efficiency business is one of the most corrupt and questionable businesses out there ... if any of you are smart and know the full history of this website, you'll know how I know that first hand.


Jack Campbell said...

Glad you asked, as I have been muttering, "yeah right... yeah right..." over and over to myself since seeing this pop up in the news. ANyone wanting a primer on the Peltier Effect cooling properties or Seebek Effect electrical generating properties claiemd by these twirps can start diggin here:

Basically, these devices have been under intense development since about when electricyt was discovered, with the smartest/largest companies and programs on earth only recently approaching a gross 10% thermal conversion efficiency factor (in Peltier mode, less than 5% still in Seebek mode). So, when I see an unsubstantiated/unexplaiend raw number like "thirty-percent" splattered out to the world ina press release, I get a wee bit suspicious.

To make matters worse, the "information" they post on their site about the technology is little more than reconstituted boilerplate from a hundred textbook descriptions of Peltier devices. The construct of their thermocouple pile looks little different form anyone else's. So, costs would be the same as anyone's. At three-plus times the efficiency of the prevailing technology, the whole tech and indsutrial world would be banging down the doors at this Utah facility, wanting to buy product.

So, send me a note later if I turn out to be wrong. But, I am pretty confident we'll not be hearing of any major licensing deals for this new gadget. It looks like hype-ridden marketing overclaims to me. And, believe me, I'm an expert on the topic. :-)

fixyourthinking said...

Side note: Jack has worked in the energy efficiency business ... I knew he would be able to comment. Thanks.