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Invention concept by Richard Dickson would be a new type of enclosed hydroelectric dam that works off pressure differentials in sea or deep lake water at great depths. Dickson claims it would generate up to 500 Megawatts of continuous, non-polluting, renewable energy out of sight in oceans or deep lakes.
- Analysis Result
- No working prototype has been attempted. A look at the math show gaping holes. This is a perpetual motion attempt with no usable input energy source to harness, and is therefore an unworkable idea. (Sterling D. Allan; Nov. 18, 2006)
Richard M. Dickson is awarded "honorable mention" from the History Channel and Invent Now.
"Honorable Mention in the 2007 Modern Marvels Invent Now Challence for an exceptional invention idea: Hydrosphere."
See History Channel's Modern Marvels page.
- Modern Marvels
- "Celebrating ingenuity, invention and imagination brought to life on a grand scale, MODERN MARVELS tells the fascinating stories of the doers, dreamers and sometime-schemers who created everyday items, technological breakthroughs and man-made wonders."
Invent Now, Inc. is a division of the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation.
December 1, 2006
A Canadian firm is showing interest in the invention.
November 28, 2006
Dickson has been contacted by a Canadian firm, which sees the potential of the concept with some revisions, including: (1) Putting the snorkel pipe at the top of the Hydrosphere, and allowing a high fill volume and longer cycle for the wind and buoy generators before direction change. This may increase maintenance cycles by reducing the frequency of direction change for both the buoy and air generators. (2) Running the snorkel pipe to land, which allows ships to pass over the Hydrosphere without problems and resolves hazardous weather issues. The air turbine could be placed on land, and could be sized larger to accept snorkel pipes from a "farm" of Hydrospheres. (3) Changing shape (more oblate than round)/increasing size of the Hydrosphere to accept 4 Tesla pumps and generators at the bottom of each hydrosphere in order to increase electrical power generation output. (4) Increasing the number of water input channels and primary generators in the hydrosphere to feed the 4 Tesla pumps proposed above.
The firm finds the Hydrosphere concept appealing, mainly because of its lack of fuel requirements and no emissions. The proposed changes to the Hydrosphere design mentioned above would increase the power generation output, thereby reducing the area required for Hydrosphere farms (i.e., groups of linked Hydrospheres), and achieve a more flexible maintenance schedule.
The Canadian firm also has contacts with British Commonwealth West Indies island nations, which are seeking sea-based renewable energy electrical power generators to replace expensive fossil fuel plants; and one or more of these small countries may be interested in developing the concept further.
Dickson's earlier contacts/promulgation efforts, included: the Oregon State University, the Nobel Foundation, the World Renewable Energy Council, IdeaLab, and others have been contacted for further evaluation and possible prototype development.
- Rebuttal to Dickson's Earlier Contacts
- A unilateral "contact" does not constitute consent or approval of the concept.
Dickson's Comment: I actually visited OSU's Wave Energy Lab, and held discussions with an Asst. Professor there. Also, I contaced OSU Ocean Renewable Energy Head, Prof. Von Jouanne, by email and received a reply. Mr. Andrew Friendly at Idealab also corresponded with me via email. These are not unilateral contacts. However, the Nobel Foundation and World Renewable Energy Council did not reply to email contacts about the hydrosphere; but comprehensive explanations and drawings were transmitted.Additionally, repersentatives from the Oregwan environmental network were contacted and engaged via email in discussions about the hydrosphere.
U.S. patent filed two years ago (as of Nov. 2006). Patent office refused first version due to "perpetual motion" provision. Presently in "continuation in part" phase, with revised claims.
How it Works
The invention works primarily off hydrostatic pressure, or the weight of water itself, and uses five independent energy inputs. It also utilizes a unique disequilibrium principle, never before seen in an electrical power generator. Currently, ocean or lake renewable energy devices have been confined to wave, tidal, currents, salinity and temperature differences. No inventor has previously thought to use water pressure as a potential source of generating electrical power. As such Mr. Dickson's invention represents breakthrough technology, as it is more of a unique energy conversion device than a traditional electrical power generator, which could someday be exploited to bring cheap, abundant, renewable electrical power to many nations of the world without generating greenhouse gases. Mr. Dickson claims the "Hydrosphere" can be used to generate power in any ocean of the world and deep lakes, except the extreme polar regions; and at various depths.
Dickson claims that the technology would dramatically lower the cost of generating electrical power worldwide, and help significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Scoop; Jan. 3, 2006)
Dickson claims that: "The concept was previously validated by the German firm of Howaldsdeutschewerke (HDW AG) of Kiel, Germany and Florida Hydro, Inc. of Palatka, Florida USA." (Scoop; Jan. 3, 2006)
Reply from HDW AG via email after evaluating Dickson's calcs and invention:
"Nelte, Hans-Christian" <CHRISTIAN.NELTE@hdw.de> wrote: Dear Mr. Dickson,
we now have finished our examinations about your invention S.H.P.S. Our engineers have proved it seriously and it seemed to b e an interesting solution for them. But finally we can´t see any use for our projects in the nearer future. We feel sorry for this negative reply and wish you all the best for your further marketing activties.
Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG
Abt.: MK-Patente Tel.:+49 431 700 3744
Werftstr. 112-114 Fax:+49 431 700 2021
24143 Kiel &nbs p; E-Mail:email@example.com
- What is being called "validation" turns out to be rejection letters for collaboration, with a polite mention favorable mention of the endeavor, but without any reference to mathematical analysis and approval of the math. -- Sterling D. Allan
- Here is one of the two letters, to illustrate this point.
See Discussion page
Sea Solar Power Profile
This company was considering the technology but is no longer interested. (Nov. 18, 2006)
"Sea Solar Power International of Baltimore, Maryland, a division of the Abell Foundation, was evaluating Portland, Oregon resident, Richard M. Dickson’s U.S. patent pending ocean powered hydroelectric generator invention for possible prototyping and eventual production." (Scoop; Jan. 3, 2006)
Inventor: Richard M. Dickson
Dickson has been involved in the Navy, and is very aware of the forces exerted out at sea.
Piezo Electric Sea Power Generator
Another technology that Dickson has come up with is a method of embeding an array of piezo electric crystals into areas where undulating water pressure could result in electrical generation. While such a method is sure to work, the question is one of feasilibity. It would likely be expensive to build, and even more expensive to maintain, driving the price point far above other, more affordable renewable energy solutions such as solar or wind and other wave/tide harnessing methods, etc.
NEW DEVELOPMENTS-FEBRUARY, 2008
The Hydrosphere, despite energy balance problems, garnered an honorable mention award in the History Channel's 2007 "Modern Marvels" invention contest.
Mr. Dickson is currently working on a variant of the hydrosphere, utilizing normal water lines in a home, apartment, condo or any building to generate hydroelectricity by cross-utilizing water under pressure, air pressure, and gravity.The device uses elements of the hydrosphere, especially the internal float generator to create what Mr. Dickson terms an "AWG" or "Air-Water-Gravity" electrical generator. The device is provisionally patent pending, and a drawing is posted below. Essentially, the AWG is an efficient, linear water piston,which has few moving parts and has a much higher efficiency rating than a conventional turbine or blade driven mechanical hydroelectric generator.
Also, Mr. Dickson has revised his hydrosphere design to be more like the AWG described above. In fact he terms both inventions, "AWGs" now. The larger, commercial power-producing AWG is shaped like a cylinder with a central columnar stator and float generator rotor, which has a central hole and moves up and down the columnar stator like a free-moving piston, flush with the cylinder walls. Air in the cylinder, above the piston rotor, is at normal surface atmospheric pressure (1 ATM or 32 PSI), while the water outside the cylinder is pressurized, the PSI, depending upon the depth of the cylinder. A siphon is connected to the bottom of the cylinder, which is anchored to the lake or seabed, and oriented vertically. The siphon allows outside water at pressure to enter the cylinder, and immediately fills a small vacuum chamber below the piston rotor, and could conceivably also pass over a hydroelectric turbine (Pelton or other turbine configuration)in the siphon first. The pressurized water enters the base of the cylinder forcing the piston rotor to rise rapidly up the straight columnar stator, generating electricity as it rapidly rises. It compresses the air ahead of it and eventually reaches a metal stop, calibrated at the point where the water cannot pressurize the air any further. At this point, either by mechanical lever device, activated by the rising piston, or by electrical operation, a valve closes on the siphon, preventing water from entering into the cylinder, and another valve opens at the base of the cylinder, allowing the water to exit out under high pressure (from the force of the pressurized air on the piston, and restoring the vaccuum chamber). The water is forced by the de-compressing air to exit out the snorkel at the surface of the body of water, where it forms a geyser. The snorkel is held above the surface of the body of water via a floating buoy. Once the piston rotor reaches a metal stop at the bottom of the cylinder, and the water has been forced out of the cylinder, the process begins again, as the bottom valve closes and the siphon valve opens to allow water into the cylinder again, forcing the rotor up the stator column once more. The process is very much analgous to the operation of pistons inside cylinders in an automobile engine; and indeed the cylinders could possibly be designed to even be linked with a kind of crankshaft and flywheel to generate even more electricity via a conventional mechanical generator at the end of the crankshaft, although this would be more difficult to design, and might reduce efficiency somewhat.
The important improvements the AWG has over the original "hydrosphere" concept are deletion of the need for both a Tesla pump and water re-pressurizer to evacuate water from the device. The Tesla pump and water re-pressurizer used up too much of the electricity produced by the hydrosphere in operation compared with the AWG concept. The AWG utilizes compressed air as a byproduct of the initial process to evacuate depressurized water through a closed snorkel pipe, containing air at normal atmospheric pressure, and then to the surface of the lake or ocean. Thus, no electricity is used for water evacuation from the cylinder, and the water inside the cylinder does not have to be re-pressurized prior to evacuation, since it is now being evacuated at the surface of the lake or ocean where pressure conditions are at 1 ATM.
An additional important feature of the AWG is its ability to desalinate water as a collateral benefit of salt water being forced out of the snorkel pipe under pressure. By inserting an osmotic membrane in the snorkel pipe, and a floating collection tank platform on the surface in lieu of the snorkel pipe buoy, fresh water can be produced and collected during the downstroke of the AWG linear generator. Electrical power produced by the AWG can then be used to power pumps in the floating platform to pipe this freshwater ashore. This could be of great importance to desert regions, such as those in the Mideast, Saharan and Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern California, Mexico and Australia. Indeed, the Australian Academy of Sciences was contacted about this AWG application, but no response was received.
'I believe my AWG is the world's first true perpetual motion machine, which could open up the world's oceans and deep lakes to electric power production and cheap desalinization. I invite scientists and other inventors to critique its operation. I am designating the process of converting ocean pressure to electricity as OPEC (Ocean Pressure Electric Conversion), since it is similar in basic principles to OTEC (Ocean Thermal Electric Conversion) in that it utilizes differentials. OTEC uses water temperature differentials, while OPEC utilizes water and air pressure differentials to operate.''''
The drawings below show how the AWG concept works (the distance to the surface of the body of water is much less than it would be in reality. The drawings are for conceptual purposes only). It is an improved version of the original hydrosphere concept:
A revised AWG schematic is provided below. It uses a venturi pump to increase water pressure exiting the riser pipe:
Kinetic Energy Electrical Generator
Mr. Dickson has also pioneered a unique, simplified patent pending kinetic generator, which works off body motion, or asymmetric vibrations in the environment. It utilizes a very unusual split rotor with an orbiting, satellite component. See "Dickson's human kinetic energy generator" on this website. The device could be used to power small, trickle-cell battery chargers worn on the wrists or around the legs of people and pets, or even integrated directly into portable electronics devices, such as Ipods, radios, etc. which could be strapped to the wrists or worn strapped to the legs with velcro. Larger versions could be used on airplanes, motor vehicles, and ships to harvest ambient vibrating motion from the environment and convert it to electricity.
In the News
- Ocean Powered Hydroelectric Generator Invention - (Scoop; Jan. 3, 2006)
http://www.beyondfossilfuel.com; Interview with Rick Dickson,AWG Inventor; 3/11/08)
Richard M. Dickson
3430 SE Harrison Street, A-1
Milwaukie, Oregon 97222 USA.