The Great Energy Transition: Another Milestone for the SunCell

April 14, 2017 4:47 PM0 comments

Brilliant Light Power recently posted an update to their website describing a significant milestone they have reached on developing their SunCell power generation system into a commercially viable device. As some of you will recall, the SunCell, which uses only water as a fuel and emits no dangerous waste, has been under development for several years. The company plans to have prototypes ready for testing by potential customers and partners later this year.

Until recently SunCells could only be operated under manual control with technicians monitoring the device and making adjustments to keep the reaction stable. In the manual mode, the carbide sphere in which the reaction takes place could not be sealed thereby allowing it to operate for only 15 minutes or less during which the streams of liquid silver used as electrodes would vaporize and escape from the device depleting the silver supply.

To turn the early prototype of the SunCell into a commercially viable device which could be made available for outside testing, it was necessary to automate the cell’s operation so that it did not require constant monitoring and the device could be sealed preventing the escape of the silver inside. Once the reaction was taking place in a sealed chamber, the device could, in theory, run for extended periods unattended. The announcement that the firm has achieved automated control of the molten silver levels in the reservoirs and automated control of the SunCell’s thermal profile indicates that a major developmental goal has been reached and that an energy-producing device can now be operated continuously.

In the posting, no mention was made of extended trials; however, Brilliant Light did say that the company is optimizing designs and integrating this new technology into the first “thermal field trial” unit that is currently being built. The use of the word “thermal” in the announcement suggests that engineering of the photovoltaic cells and the accompanying photovoltaic temperature control system is not yet ready for installation on the device. Giving the large amounts of energy that will be radiated from the reaction inside the carbide blackbody sphere, control of temperatures is critical to keeping the device operating for extended periods.

At least in the initial prototypes, only a small percentage of the energy created by the reaction can be converted into electricity by the photovoltaic cells and removed from the device as electrical energy. The remainder must be carried away by an elaborate cooling system and radiator somewhat akin to what is used to cool an automobile engine. Without a properly engineered system, an operating SunCell would overheat and fail.

However, the recent posting indicates that the company is still on track to begin sending out prototypes for field testing by outside laboratories in the second half of 2017. While some may deride the SunCell technology until it is producing the electrical energy it was designed to produce, the laboratories that are likely to be testing the new devices certainly will be able to appreciate the potential of the technological breakthrough they are testing even if it is not as yet complete. Concentrated photovoltaics is already a well-understood technology and adapting it to produce electricity for a SunCell pales in comparison with the importance of the underlying science and technology that allows unprecedented amounts of energy to be created in a volume the size of a teacup.

Brilliant Light’s technology is simply too innovative to be accepted as valid by the scientific community, governments, or the mainstream media without considerable outside testing and verification, but this could change within the next year or so. The recent announcement and the prospect that prototypes will soon be undergoing testing by respected independent laboratories suggest that a paradigm shift in the way earth produces its energy may not be far away.

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