Martin Nix, Seattle: I am a solar energy inventor.
What I am finding from venture capital firms is a very hostile
reception. Myself and others who have patented devices are finding
it impossible to locate capital funding for mass production
of solar devices.
My solar cooker invention for example is now used in refugee
camps world wide. (fat chance Oil and Gas Journal will report
solar cooking competing with propane!). Solar has the potential
to give many energy independence. Excuse the preaching, but
it is solar inventions like this that are not getting funding.
One device here in the northwest is a system of triangles that
can be folded into a parabolic solar collector, so that you
can make steam for a home. Another device uses the light from
a natural gas burner to heat a home and make electricity at
the same time. None of these devices are in mass production.
Manufacturing is very different than retail, often requiring
big upfront expenses. With this preamble I pop the question
"what will it take to get the big investors to open investment
capital for mass production for new solar energy devices?"
Ned Ford, of the Sierra Club's Global Warming Committee,
responds: There is no question that large-scale production
of many existing devices would substantially cut costs, improve
the products and make it possible to bypass the fossil era for
people of all nations. There is also no question that some of
the many ideas that have moved to the patent stage or beyond
are important, while many others are not all they are advertised
If there is a good answer, it is that increasing the market
for renewable technologies by limiting carbon will turn the
roadblock into a postive flow. Other legislative changes, regulatory
changes and public education efforts can do so as well, but
with more limited impact overall.
BP, for example, could make a difference here but so could
a lot of other companies. Congress could create or expand existing
programs to help speed up the development of products like solar
cookers, and could do more to recognize that energy and economic
savings anywhere benefit the U.S.
Choose another topic
Up to Top