By Allan Maurer
BALTIMORE, MD – In the not too distant future, companies may spray the world’s tiniest solar cells on office and residential building windows to generate electricity. New Energy Technologies, (OTCBB: NENE), a Baltimore-based firm that is developing the SolarWindow technology, is also working on a MotionPower system that grabs kinetic energy from cars, trucks and buses as they decelerate to enter maintenance facilities, parking areas or drive-in windows.
The company has developed successful prototypes of its technologies. It tested MotionPower, for instance, at a Burger King, a Holiday Inn Express, and a Four Seasons Hotel and is looking for additional test sites with high bus or truck traffic in and out of a facility.
Its SolarWindow technology not only works with sunlight, but also with artificial light, says John Conklin, who recently took the helm as CEO of the company.
The company changed its name and trading symbol to New Energy Technologies from the Octillion Corp. (OTCBB: OCTL) in January 2009.
New Energy engineers envision that wasted kinetic energy from the movement of an estimated 6 billion miles travelled and 250 million cars on America’s roadways could serve as a potentially viable source for generating valuable electricity.
The MotionPower system is designed to be installed in locations where hybrid, next-generation electrical, and conventional fuels-driven vehicles decelerate or stop, thus ensuring that vehicles are not ‘robbed’ of energy they would otherwise use to accelerate.
Instead, MotionPower devices assist vehicles in slowing down, and in the process of doing so, capture the vehicles’ motion energy before it is lost as brake heat, and creatively convert that energy into clean ‘green’ electricity.
“It’s designed so that there will be minimal if any effect on the driver,” says Conklin. “There’s no wear and tear on the vehicle.” As a vehicle drives over the system, fluid or mechanical systems convert its kinetic energy into electricity.
Conklin notes that it could produce a significant amount of clean electricity at sites such as drive-through restaurants and municipal bus or truck maintenance garages.
“We’re seeing extreme interest from public and private sectors in the Northeast,” Conklin says.
Tests of the company’s ultra-small solar cells for use in its transparent SolarWindow have demonstrated superior performance over current thin-film and solar photovoltaic technologies at generating electricity from artificial light – an important advantage over conventional solar technologies which are limited by their capacity to function well where exposure to direct sunlight is available.
Both technologies required a number of engineering advances and the company has patents pending. They originated at the University of South Florida.
Counting its various research centers, the company has about 14 employees, two fulltime at company headquarters and 12 in technical support staff. Conklin says the firm would like to attract smart institutional or industry specific dollars to provide some long term security as it advances toward commercialization and increasing its patent portfolio.
He adds that the company is looking to partner on joint ventures with firms that might want to brand its technologies.
Testing is continuing on both technologies throughout 2010 and likely into 2011, although Conklin is reluctant to put a date on when the company will move into commercialization.
“We’re on the cusp of changing the way people look at renewable and alternative forms of energy,” says Conklin.