Disruptive Energy Technologies.
William has now built on his earlier research and design work, adapting it for digital inkjet printing and laser firing fabrication (on hard-anodized aluminum or stainless steel substrates) of 71 micrometer thick triple-junction, multi-silicon alloy and quasi-perovskite thin film. We are at TRL 2 now. Extensive modeling lets him target 42% efficiency in low-volume laboratory production (TRL9), and 47% in a high-volume pilot plant within 2 years, with a cost well under 10 cents per Watt.
That means you can more than double the electricity you get per square foot of building-integrated solar system (roof and walls, as you mentioned) — and on PV canopies over parking and driveways, which both shade refrigerated trailers and can stand high wind loads.
We start both products by mixing a number of formulas of powdered, commodity ceramic minerals. For the solar thin film, they will be made into inks that can flow through specially made inkjets.
The solar thin film will be printed roll-to-roll, and fast-fired using lasers. We expect to gradually increase production speed from a few seconds per square meter produced to less than one second. That will likely drive levelized cost of electricity below one cent per kilowatt-hour, and thin film production over 100 gigawatts (100 million kilowatts) DC peak capacity per year per line.
The modular factories will be comprised of multiple lines in parallel, with materials handling and ink-making equipment leading up to them, and inspection, packaging, staging and shipping following.
Solar Production Goals
Our plan is to reach a minimum of 1 Terawatt DC Peak of solar per factory per year in around 3 years. 4 factories with at least those capacities and about a million square feet of floor space per factory, could provide enough solar thin film to power the global vehicle fleet and the buildings it serves, fast enough to slow global warming and hold it to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels by 2030. Multiples of 4 Terawatts per year can help bring global sustainable prosperity.
William started thinking about batteries about 38 years ago. About 11 years ago he started full-time saline battery development. The latest evolution of his designs and formulations surpasses all that have gone before. This is our milestones chart:
Proof of Concept: TRL3 800 Watt-hours per kg (Wh/kg)
Laboratory Production TRL9 1,700 Wh/kg
Early Pilot Plant 2,000 Wh/kg
Order Full Production Plant 2,500 Wh/kg
Foreseeable future: 9,000 Wh/kg
2,000 Watt-hours per kilogram in the Pilot Plant is far above NASA’s 700 Watt-hours per kg estimate of the tipping point to go beyond hybrid battery aircraft, to full battery electric commercial passenger aircraft (reference: direct communication with head of Small Business Innovation Research for the Aeronautics Division).
We may reach a wholesale battery price of $60/kWh in the Pilot Plant, and $45/kWh in the Full Production Plant. Since we will use a North American supply chain and factories in the United States, the Inflation Reduction Act should subsidize us by $45/kWh, for effective sales prices of $15 and $3 per kWh.
We start both products by mixing a number of powdered, commodity ceramic minerals. The battery electrodes and semi-solid state interfaces will be made in ceramic tile factories that can make 50 million square feet of ceramic mini-tiles per year, per line. The tiles will be formed in stamping presses, and fired in 400-foot-long, precisely controlled roller kilns that reuse their heat.
The firing can be done electrically: our solar panels can heat special conductive fire bricks to over 1,800 degrees Centigrade, they heat air which goes through air-to-air heat exchangers, heating the air that goes into the kiln and heats it to 1000 degrees centigrade in the central firing zone. The conductive fire bricks can stay extremely hot for days at a time.
Battery Production Goals
Our plan is to reach a minimum of 1 Terawatt-hour of batteries per factory per year in around 3 years. 4 factories with at least those capacities and about a million square feet of floor space per factory, could provide enough batteries to switch the global vehicle fleet and store enough solar and wind energy to charge the fleet and power the buildings, fast enough to slow global warming and hold it to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels by 2030. Multiples of 4 Terawatt-hours per year can help bring global sustainable prosperity.
We are also developing concept designs for some of the applications our technologies support, including all sizes of on-road and off-road vehicles, ultra-light transit to heavy trains, boats and ships of all sizes, and all sizes of aircraft.
Our first major order of business is to provide solar charging faster than most utilities can do it, so fleets of school buses, transit buses, and trucks and vans of all sizes don't have to wait 1 to 7 years (depending on the changes that need to be made to the grid to accommodate them) to get the electricity they need to charge.
Right behind that is batteries that store enough charge per kilogram or per pound that full-size (Class 8) trucks can carry a full payload over 500 miles without needing to stop to recharge – without violating their Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.
We see a path by which our technologies may power everything that flies, from drones to large passenger and freight aircraft.
The applications include everything related to production, distribution and self-use of electricity, such as:
Batteries for transportation in many sizes, including:
Batteries for stationary storage, especially to both power buildings and recharge all the vehicles associated with them. This applies to all buildings. Even energy-intensive industries like steel and cement can be powered by harvesting energy beyond their property lines — on adjacent properties or beyond.
Wind energy conversion systems, aka wind turbines and windmills, both onshore and offshore (in both shallow and deep water)
Stationary storage at each end of transmission lines to maximize their daily capacity. A classic example is the transmission line system from wind farms in Northern Germany to load centers in Southern Germany. The lines do not have enough capacity to carry the maximum output of the wind farms, so much is not used where it is most needed.
The solution will be to put large amounts of battery storage at each end. Now ‘excess’ electricity in the North can be stored with the wind turbines that generated it. When the wind is low, that stored energy can be added to the amount the wind turbines do produce. In the load centers in the South, batteries can store surplus electricity at night when demand is low, and add it to distribution when demand exceeds transmission capacity.
Surplus wind energy storage systems for sailing ships, in the form of propellers or ducted fans using the power of water flowing past to turn a generator, which stores electricity in the batteries. This is activated when the energy in the wind is greater than what is needed to get the ship up to hull speed, which is when it takes much more energy to gain a little bit more speed than it does at lower speeds. Sailing ships will come back in a big way, once breakthrough designs are developed and the first ships using them are launched.
Sails can also be covered with thin film solar PV to generate electricity directly from the sun and store it in the batteries.
Power right through the Doldrums!