If you’ve ever visited my Website,
you know that I’m an inventor with
some radical new ideas. One
of these is a new kind of solar energy not
requiring large arrays of expensive solar
collectors. It can nonetheless produce tremendous
amounts of power, operating day or night
and in cloudy weather.
its potential to revolutionize the solar
industry, this technology can also be used
for desalinization plants, alleviating a
growing shortage of fresh water around the
world. Such facilities could produce virtually
unlimited amounts of potable water using
the sun’s energy.
concept is as simple as it is revolutionary.
It involves tapping solar energy stored
in the Earth’s atmosphere. Like the
airplane, which was presaged by natural
flight of birds and insects, conversion
of solar energy stored in the Earth’s
atmosphere is possible because storms already
do it. The secrets of flight and reliable
solar power were both on display in the
natural world a long time before humanity
finally took notice.
technology is no pipe dream. Over a long
developmental period I built and tested
many of the critical components needed to
harness this new source of power. Out of
necessity, theoretical models were developed
and experimentally verified to facilitate
engineering of components and systems. Independent
experts evaluated certain applications of
the technology, concluding that the devices
are scientifically sound and can be built.
the way, I coined the term “aerosolar”
to describe the process of harnessing airborne
solar energy. This word, an amalgam of the
Greek “aer” meaning “air”
and the Latin “sol” meaning
“sun” (literally; “air
sun”), is a descriptive term for a
concept that is enormously broad in scope.
Aerosolar technology embraces fixed plants,
portable systems and even mobile power sources.
And like other forms of solar energy, this
power source has no carbon emissions and
can greatly reduce dependence on fossil
most inventions that are limited to a single
genre of use, there are literally hundreds,
if not thousands of different applications
for this new technology. It can be used
in cars and trucks, airplanes and trains,
ships and electric generating plants and
more. Aerosolar power can be used alone
or in hybrid systems embracing conventional
technology. There is hardly any area in
industry and commerce where this technology
can’t be applied.
the high stakes of the current economic
and environmental situation, you’d
think there would be a path to my door worn
3 inches deep in my concrete sidewalk by
potential investors. Unfortunately, the
only visitors seem to be chirping crickets.
If you’ve looked at some of the other
articles I’ve linked to, you’ll
see that the traditional pattern of disbelief
and refusal by capital sources to fund radical
new technological invention is being woven
all over again.
evidence documenting the folly of dismissing
this kind of innovation is overwhelming,
the lessons of history are time and again
ignored and dismissed as “irrelevant”.
Each new case is treated as though it is
unrelated to nearly identical mistakes made
over and over throughout recorded history.
Again and again the events play out as before,
each time without the benefit of any consideration
of these well-documented mistakes of the
progress has been made with very small amounts
of money thus far. This was achieved by
targeting developmental areas where large
sums of money were not required. A small,
low-cost research program pursued over many
years has yielded enormous cumulative results.
there comes a time when adequate development
capital is needed and nothing an innovator
can do will mitigate the requirement for
funding. Sooner or later every invention
reaches the point where absence of funding
becomes the main obstacle to success. In
spite of all I’ve been able to do
with very little funding, the time has finally
arrived where it is necessary to find a
source of developmental funding to move
the technology into the industrial mainstream.
people subscribe to the mistaken notion
that a truly good idea will win through
to final success, regardless. The truth
of the matter is that only those inventors
who are somehow able to raise capital will
succeed. The rest fail, not because the
technology they have is no good, but because
there is simply no money to reach the point
where the idea can no longer be suppressed.
is instructive to examine the role of patents
in some detail because this is one area
where the absence of funding can guarantee
suppression of new innovation. Without a
patent, there is no financial incentive
to invest in or deploy a technology and
what’s the big deal? Just file a patent
application and move on, right? Wrong. From
my own experience and research conducted
by John Seabrook, the cost of obtaining
a single patent will range between $20,000
to $30,000. (“ANNALS OF INVENTION
- The Flash of Genius”, The New Yorker
January 11, 1993 and “FLASH OF GENIUS
and Other True Stories of Invention”,
St. Martin's Press, 2008, both by John Seabrook.)
Expenses of this magnitude are often more
than a typical innovator (who is already
burdened with ruinous technology development
costs) can spare. And that sum is just the
cost of one patent, not the many needed
to fully cover a broad concept and other,
even greater expenses.
corporate interests and those who prey upon
them have hijacked the patent system in
the United States and other Western countries.
Defense of a new patent against infringement
by those who would wrongfully appropriate
the technology out of arrogance or greed
can each the seven to eight figure range.
And the time scale of such litigation can
exceed the twenty year span of the patent
itself. Corporate predators and individual
pirates ply their trade in a court system
that seems specifically designed to promote
multinational corporations and their patent
attorneys have learned how to pervert the
patent system quite effectively, constructing
intellectual property thickets consisting
of thousands of incremental patents in a
process known as “patent flooding”.
These patents exist for the sole purpose
of attacking any new patent to force either
its invalidation or a cross-licensing deal
favorable to the attacker. Many incremental
patents are technically ineligible for issuance
because they don’t satisfy the test
of obviousness but are granted because skillful
corporate patent lawyers exploit flaws in
the patent examination process.
as if an innovator did not have enough to
worry about with corporate intellectual
property thieves, wily patent pirates also
troll for information to help them lay their
traps. The resulting patents are often referred
to as “paper patents” because
they are not intended to build new technology.
Such patent applications are not based on
innovative creativity but on assessments
of tends in technology. Their purpose is
to extract money from unwary companies or
order to protect an invention during the
early development phase, it becomes necessary
to adopt a stringent policy of secrecy while
the technology is brought to the point where
commercial application is imminent after
which patent costs can be accommodated.
This means that most early-stage investment
is prevented because the first thing that
is demanded by a would-be funding source
is unrestricted disclosure of the technology.
only viable course of action open to an
inventor is to construct scalable prototypes
that are designed to provide spectacular
demonstrations of the capability of new
technology without the necessity of revealing
how it works. At that point even the most
conservative investor can see that something
is going on which cannot be duplicated by
investors, like most people, are motivated
by greed and fear, once the lure of profits
overcomes concern that the technology won’t
work, funding is much more likely. But to
get to that point requires exiting the early
low-budget development phase. Funds must
be secured in order to construct prototypes
that can obviously be commercialized in
order to break the deadlock. It is a classic
chicken and egg problem.
me, I’ve tried virtually every way
possible to get investment funding to make
this transition. Nothing short of a working
production prototype that scares the hell
out of the industry it is applied in can
break this logjam. The single biggest barrier
to successful innovation is this transitional
funding problem. It is so well known that
it even has a name. In the venture capital
industry it is referred to as the “valley
“Valley of Death”
is a funding mechanism that has the potential
to provide enough money to break the innovation
funding deadlock! Using this method, an
inventor might well be able to raise enough
money to build that all-important watershed
with yawns from funding organizations and
given the importance of getting aerosolar
technology out into the world where it can
help with problems like energy, water shortages
and climate change, I felt I had no other
choice but to try this approach.
precautions had to be observed, of course.
The recent economic debacle on Wall Street
has inflamed passions to the point where
a beggar with a tin cup could well be at
risk of being hauled off to share a cell
with the likes of “Bernie" Madoff.
But donations over the Internet are a well-established
method of raising money – at least
among politicians, so it seemed reasonable
to pursue this option.
taken me more time than I ever thought it
would to finally reach the point where I
am finally ready to begin to make my case
to the world at large. I don’t know
as I start just how successful (or not)
this effort will be. Whatever the outcome,
I plan on documenting progress towards the
first scalable aerosolar prototype by means
of future articles in this blog. While I
can’t publish everything for obvious
reasons, I can share enough to illustrate
progress as it occurs.
the end, aerosolar technology must be commercialized
to make it profitable enough so that large
companies will want to take up the concept
and deploy this technology. That means the
project has an unavoidable business aspect.
But in the long run, more environmentally
benign methods of producing energy, fresh
water and reducing fossil fuel emissions
are beneficial to civilization at large.
is no going back, recapturing a simpler
time. We can only go forward into an uncertain
future. Do we continue on the current unsustainable
path, or do we take another way? We face
a choice at this moment in history. If we
choose wisely, the benefits will be “paid
forward” to generations of human beings
yet unborn as well as all the other inhabitants
of this small blue planet.