Unsung Energy Players Revealed

12 Oct

On my other blog, at Renewable Energy World, I wrote about IU Physics professor Ben Brabson and his career as an energy physicist and renewable energy activist.  I asked readers to send me notes about other “unsung” people working on energy-related projects, and received a dozen or so very interesting responses. Thanks to everyone who wrote me, and thanks for your very interesting work and research.

I’ve copied the notes below …


You wrote; “I’d love to hear about other unsung people doing important work in renewable energy.”

I’m working in the field of advancing distributed energy via developing and linking small scale distributed biorefineries with other sources of renewable energy such as wind energy.

See attached for more.

Best Regards;
Les Blevins
Les Blevins
President AAEC
1207 N 1800 Rd.
Lawrence, Kansas 66049
http://aaecorp.com/ceo.html LBlevins@sunflower.com

Hi Jeremy,

A group of my colleagues in our German office have developed a process to reduce CO2 emissions associated with the production of pipe and tube.  The reduction is dramatic, e.g. equivalent to the elimination of about 50,000 cars from the road…. for EACH installation where this induction technology is installed.  The cummulative effect over the next few years should be equivalent to the eliminate of several hundred thousand cars from the roads.  Would this story be of interest for your Unsung Players blog?

Best regards,

George Burnet
General Manager
SMS-Elotherm North America
210 W. Kensinger Drive Suite 300
Cranberry Twp. PA 16066

I’d like to offer my own role in the energy world – my position in the attached power point presentation.  I’m a retired program manager/system engineer who spent most of my career on weapons development and retired from the program office of the Super Collider when it was cancelled.
Since then, uncompensated, I have tried to be a voice (without a big soapbox) on energy issues.  I have had op-ed pieces and letters in major newspapers and participate in meetings as I can spreading my “gospel” on geoengineering, coal-to-liquid and central solar and geothermal.
Sol Shapiro
Aurora, Colorado

I am the inventor of a wind power system using static airfoils.  Power Towers can demonstrate that wind power is the way forward and knowing the effort that you are placing on wind power, this project may interest you.

I envision these twin slender skyscrapers size towers that can used as both habitable structures and power generating towers. They would have a kidney airfoil shape and produce 50 MW of power.  These slender towers would be wild life friendly and will use 1/10 the land needed by horizontal turbines.

I have discovered a means of producing electric power from the wind that is many times more efficient then the horizontal turbines now in use. My patent pending wind machine will power the 21st. Century! Imagine a 50 MW wind power plant that is operational 100% of the time.  There will not be need to cover Michigan with thousands of ugly wind turbines.

The cost of wind electric energy must be reduced to below $.03/ kWh. and made more reliable in order for wind power to become competitive with coal.  My discovery is an innovative machine using static airfoils.  Rotors produce power proportional to the diameter squared. My patent pending invention produces power from the wind not by increasing rotor diameter to immense sizes but by increasing the wind velocity, and since power is proportional to the cube of the velocity you immediately see the advantage.

You may be able to help me find funding for a wind tunnel testing model or for a small demonstration project. A wind tunnel test is planed for spring 2010 semester at University of Michigan.  This test will confirm my calculations, and provide data to direct my next steps. If you are able to assist me please do. The importance of this project can not be minimized.

Imagine how the world will change if the world knew what I know about wind power and its abundance.

Frank Grassi

Dear Jn

You mentioned “I’d love to hear about other unsung people doing important work in renewable energy.  If you have a good story or tip”

You could look at Dr Roger Bentley in the UK.  He was an academic who spent a number of years researching peak oil and its implications for the future. He is now a directror of Whitfield Solar.  Their newly launched product is a concentrating solar system.  This was for many years a dream in the mind of Roger and Professor George Whitfield of Reading University in the UK.   The result is a product design focussed on less cost, less material use and less embodied energy   George Whitfield died a number of years ago but the start-up company was renamed in his honour.  Roger is an academic through and through but he decided that action was needed.  He spent a number of years trying to get indusrty and government in the UK to take peak oil serioulsy.  He eventually gave up on that and decided it was time to start making things not talking about them.  Thier new product looks great but there is a lot of research, a lot of commitment and a lot of time behind it

Good luck in researching this.

Donna Munro

Nice post on Prof. Brabson.  I’d never heard the name before.  I was inspired by Prof. Jose Martin at UMASS who left nuclear engineering to renewable energy enegineering in the 1970’s.  He is currently at U of Texas.  I currently own and operate a very small solar and wind design and install company.  Contrary to popular belief I make very little money and take great risks(roof work is exceeded only by mining in danger).  What about a post on the guys in the trenches?


Charles Nadel
Advanced Energy Systems Development

Dear Mr. Shere;

The whole field of ocean alternative energy is basically unknown, and hence there are an awful lot of people who have been working on specific technologies, etc. without any mention, for decades in some cases (for example, OTEC people).  Robert Cohen comes to mind, initially; http://www.robertcohen.org.  Dr. Michael McCormick is another (in the US: http://oceanenergysys.com/home/problem.html) and is Dr. Stephen Salter (in the UK) for wave energy conversion.

Let me know if you are interested in this.  I also have an overview paper on ocean energy that might be interesting.  It will be published at the SNAME annual meeting in Providence in a couple of weeks.


Christopher D. Barry, P.E. (WA, CA)
Co-Chair, Ad Hoc Panel 17, Ocean Renewable Energy
Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, http://www.sname.org

I may be a bit bias since I work with the guy but Klas Haglid, of Building Performance Equipment <http://lowkwh.com> , has worked for may years to develop what I believe is a fundamental building block in energy efficiency, a highly efficient and very durable Energy Recovery Ventilator. The X-Type unit’s simplicity and efficiency is its beauty. It is truly state-of-the-art and it can be universally used for any building. You should check him out, he’s quite a personality too.


John Wabel


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