Thursday, April 5, 2018

Does Khosla Finally Have a Winner in Etagen?

You all know how little I think of Vinod Khosla’s knowledge of energy.  I have called him a serial ecoloser and a Thermodynamic Cretin.  I have asked the SEC to bar him from ever being involved in another energy company.  His voodoo science gangrene companies include Cello, Range, Kior, Lightsail, Calera, Gevo, Amyris, Stion, Bloom, and Lanzatech among others.  These cost taxpayers a lot of money.

But he may have a winner in Etagen

One of Etagen’s managers contacted me about a year ago because of my exposure of the Bloom Energy Bloomdoggle.  After I told him I could not spend too much effort on Etagen because of Khosla’s involvement in his company, we have had no further conversations.

Based on my knowledge of thermodynamics and published patents and technical papers on Etagen my guess is Etagen has a device with an efficiency (HHV of natural gas of between 35 and 40%).  It has a device that cost approximately $2,000 per kilowatt.  It has a device that will have almost zero NOx.  It will not have the hazardous solid waste that Bloom, FuelCell Energy and Doosan have.  There is no need to desulfurize the entering natural gas and there are no catalyst wastes.  It will have a device that does not consume water.  It will have some SO2 or other sulfur air emissions.  It will cost one fifth the cost of a Bloom Box for the same output of kilowatts

But hold your hats before we declare Etagen a winner.   Caterpiller has a device that costs half as much as Etagen ($1,000 per kilowatt not $2,000).  The Cat Gen Set will emit NOx and will have a similar efficiency to the Etagen device.  Both will emit around 1,000 pounds CO2 per megawatt hour.  The question therefore is will customers pay twice as much for a Etagen device to save on the NOx emissions?

In California this is important.  Therefore, will Caterpillar come up with a NOx abatement system that is less expensive than the added $1,000 per kilowatt?  I believe that Caterpillar could come up with such a solution. 

Etagen may have a learning rate and could bring down the cost of their device as they manufacture more of them.  At least Etagen is not voodoo science like Range and Kior.  It is also not an expensive ripoff like Bloomdoggle Energy.

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