CEWA Technologies, Inc., Bethlehem, is installing its revolutionary new solar dish in its first commercial application. The structural base for the prototype was erected on the rooftop of the Flat Iron building in Southside Bethlehem on January 14 as its initial test site. This solar dish represents a technological breakthrough because it provides thermal energy at prices that are less than existing technologies, and that are competitive with fossil fuels without relying on government subsidies.
CEWA designs and manufactures point concentrator solar dishes. By using existing materials in new ways and employing a unique design, CEWA’s toroid solar collector prototype can provide 30kW of energy with far greater efficiency than existing solar collectors.
The solar dish is easy to install, operate, and maintain in a wide variety of applications and terrains, and can be aligned much faster than competing dishes. The product can be used for space or process heating, HVAC, or electricity generation. It will be sold to industrial, institutional, and utility customers.
“CEWA’s solar dish will dramatically accelerate the use of solar power throughout the world,” said J. Paul Eisenhuth, Chief Executive Officer of CEWA Technologies. “Our proprietary technology allows solar energy to be cost-competitive with other energy options without government support.”
CEWA received a $146,000 investment from the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Development Program in 2010, another $49,000 Ben Franklin investment through the U.S. Department of Energy in 2011, and is a resident company of Ben Franklin TechVentures®. The company has also received support from the Southside Bethlehem Keystone Innovation Zone and The Stone House Group, Bethlehem. The Stone House Group owns the Flat Iron Building, where the solar dish will be installed, and has provided substantial financial support to the installation.
The KIZ funded CEWA with two $15,000 Technology Transfer Grants, supplied interns, and brokered the deal with the Stone House Group as the first prototype installation. The KIZ also supported the project through testimony before the Bethlehem Historic Preservation Commission and Bethlehem City Council.
“The CEWA project is the first visible step in the development of The Stone House Group's Zero Carbon Neighborhood initiative,” said Larry Eighmy, Principal of The Stone House Group. “We specialize in building stewardship, which includes sustainable design, energy management and renewable energy project development. Future initiatives include a tri-generation system and a biomass co-generator and variable-flow refrigerant HVAC system.”
Ben Franklin clients Dynalene, Inc., Whitehall, and Keystone Automation, Inc., Duryea, are also involved in the project. Dynalene provided a heat-transfer fluid, based on a chemistry derived from renewable materials, which is thermally stable at high temperatures. Keystone Automation, a designer and contract manufacturer of specialized automated equipment, developed and fabricated the mast for the solar dish, which is its supporting structure.
Lehigh University Professor Sudhakar Neti received two grants of $49,500 each that supported research on dish construction and its reflective surface that must perform despite exposure to the elements. These grants were provided under Lehigh's Energy Research Seed and Commercialization Grant programs in collaboration with Lehigh Professor Wojciech Misiolek. The programs were funded by the Commonwealth’s Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority to support application of university talents and technologies in development of Pennsylvania businesses. Neti is a CEWA co-founder, and chairs its board.
“This is an outstanding example of cooperation among companies, economic and community development organizations, higher education, and government to grow local firms that address real market needs,” said Eisenhuth. “These partnerships will allow CEWA to pioneer a game-changing energy technology that will create sustainable jobs right here in Bethlehem.”
About CEWA Technologies, Inc.
CEWA is an acronym that stands for Clean Energy and Water for All, which reflects the vision of the founders to develop products that can bring affordable energy and clean water to the needy areas around the globe in addition to the developed markets. With this vision, CEWA Inc. (cewatechnologies.com) was established as a non-profit foundation in 2007 and design of a solar concentrator dish began. Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Technology - CSP Technology uses the sun’s rays to generate energy by concentrating them into a receiver near the focal point. Engineers at CEWA-Tech have developed a low-cost CSP point concentrator dish that is capable of providing approximately 32 kW of thermal power. The solar thermal power from the CEWA-Tech dish will compete favorably with fossil fuel costs and can be used for electric power generation in the form of a solar field or for industrial process heat and with HVAC systems. The CEWA-Tech dish is easily scalable and can accommodate power needs in the range of 15 MW to 100 MW.