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The world of invention as we know it, is the challenge of finding solutions for the future so as to assure a sustainable global dynamic. Most of us are somehow intrigued and fascinated with the phenomenal advancement of technology in this day and age, but what are the challenges of the future, and what could we possibly expect. Although we see developments as profound as artificial intelligence, I am of the opinion that it will be the natural elements of sun, wind, water and gas that will be our surviving life-source of future technology.

Independently they are diverse in the manner in which they can be harnessed, but if one looks a bit further you will find them more formidable as well as versatile when combined to compliment each other. I like to call this, ‘The Age of Hybrid’
I salute visionaries such as Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, as well as all those unknown but instrumental contributors to the future of technology, and urge them to continually pursue pushing the boundaries so as to assure a positive future for the continued existence of the human race, although I form a miniscule part of contributing to this sector, I nonetheless have been an avid pursuer of working within the parameters of developing off-grid renewable technology. This led to the research, design and development of a revolutionary technology named the ‘Solar Hydro-Gen Generator’ which I believe will have considerable impact in the renewable energy sector.

The initial influence for me having chosen to consider this specific technology was the all to familiar load-shedding and power failures or blackouts, as well as continual electricity tariff increases experienced in South Africa, but also, due to the environmental impact of fossil fuels.

We are all to familiar with various technologies based on solar, wind, hydro and/or gas which are well and truly significant contributors in different ways, but when I considered all of these as a whole I found that they can be harnessed in more diverse ways if combined to compliment each other, thus, the combination of elements , likeable to hybrid technology , not only for electrical purposes , but also for automotive propulsion. The culmination and results of this research and development was the excessive number of solar panels used, as well as the initial cost of infrastructure of battery banks required for storage, and as such it seemed more sensible to store hydrogen in tanks in excess, which is far more cost effective to produce, quicker and easier to convert to electricity, as well as far quicker to load for automotive propulsion purposes. Thus, I sat with the dilemma of finding the unique balance of the best possible solution and this is formulated in the revolutionary ‘Solar Hydro-Gen Generator’ technology.

Although the systems are presently limited in terms of generation capacity, one has to consider all the influential factors that must be integrated for optimal results, but also, the lifespan of such a system to consider it a viable and safe investment for the future, but it must conform to stringent parameters. This was mainly based on household and small business energy consumption statistics as well as automotive, being either, electric, hydrogen or a hybrid of both or otherwise. One has to consider limitations of solar, perfect storms, daily, weekly and monthly demand estimations, size and weight of system for installation purposes, noise decibel factoring, rate and load capacity, and so many other critical and influential factors.
This all considered became a challenge of epic proportions and the creative as well as sometimes absurd limits were pushed to the extreme, which at times tested the accepted dynamics of engineering complexity, but finally a solution was achieved that will fascinate most in this industry. The fusion of various technologies as well as certain hybrid modifications within the system, form an inspirational combination of processes which when manipulated even exceeded my very own expectations.

One will ask, ‘But is the system reliable and safe enough to go totally off-grid’? , and the answer is a resounding ‘Yes’! The system is designed with state-of-the-art management and power intelligence technology, so that should a malfunction occur, the systematic safety will automatically engage, but continual functionality is assured even in the event of a main generation shut down. The versatility of the system is as such, that the primary supply for both property and automotive demand is maintained with a backup sufficient for a period of atleast 3 days.
The client/s aswell as the consulting technician allocated that system will automatically be notified of the impending situation and arrangements can be made for a conveinient hour in which to resolve the problem as such.

Furthermore, one may say, ‘But I would like a larger capacity supply and backup’, say in terms of a hotel, residential complex, or a multi-unit facility. This can be achieved at present by combining multiple systems in series so as to suit the required demand.
The options for using this technology are as follows:

1) To be used as a backup to an existing supply, or

2) As a primary supply, with an existing power supply as backup, or

3) As the sole off-the-grid power supply, for which it is actually intended and specifically designed.

In South Africa we have various forms of power/energy supply, but what do they cost in terms of rands and cents, and how does this technology compare in comparison to existing tariffs:

Nuclear 130 – 152 cents
Fossil 105 – 187 cents
Solar 87 cents
Wind 76 cents
SHG 1 14 cents
SHG 2 12 cents
SHG 4 11 cents

These figures are calculated per kilowatt hour (kWh). Thus, one can clearly see the comparable savings, although Eskom regularly seeks tariff increases which are even higher than inflation. The major portion of the tariff is derived from the calculation of the municipal water tariff which can be reduced or even eliminated depending on one’s water supply source, such as borehole, river or dam, etc.
The minor portion of the systems tariff is derived from a service and maintenance plan which is included in the initial purchase price of the system, for 3 years, after which a nominal fee is charged for this service.
The water usage is minimal to average and varies depending on individual usage statistics but is far better value for money in the long term. One might also consider the fact, that in future one can offset excess power back into the grid for benefits.

In terms of hydrogen, the costs in comparison to petrol or diesel are astronomically so much less. We must however look at the downside of the system, and that is, that the system is water reliant, but if one considers the overall factor of sustainability the long term effects and rewards are by far much more positive and will outweigh the negative. We need to, as a global society, assure water security for the future and forget about unsustainable nuclear energy for this purpose.

The systems will initially be installed with no-maintenance deep-cycle battery banks as opposed to lithium-ion alternatives, this due to the fact of making the systems as affordable as possible, although those wishing to pay for lithium-ion will be accommodated. Lithium-ion is considerably more expensive at present but as time goes will become more affordable and most probably will become the medium of choice in the future.

When one thinks of the term ‘ Generator’ you would usually associate it to a noise-producing, fuel-burning, non eco-friendly contraption, but the ‘ Solar Hydro-Gen Generator’ is not the norm. It is engineered to standards that oppose the generalities of a generator as such. Whereas normal solar technologies are restricted to generation mostly during daylight hours, this technology can function at any given time day or night.

The significant question of all, is, ‘What will these systems cost’?
The costing estimates are presently as follows:

1) SHG 1 R166 400-00
This system generates a capacity of 100kWh per day and 70 kg of hydrogen

2) SHG 2 R240 400-00
This system generates a capacity of 200kWh per day and 140 kg of hydrogen

3) SHG 4 R391 440-00
This system generates a capacity of 400kWh per day and 200 kg of hydrogen

These costs include the supply and delivery of the system within SA, cabling, mounting structures, earthing kit, one point supply and installation, a 15 yr guarantee, and a no-questions asked parts replacement policy, as well as a 3 yr bi-annual service and maintenance agreement. The lifespan of these systems is estimated at 20-25 yrs although this would still have to actually be proven over time.
In terms of recovering one’s investment, it would be between 3-5 yrs depending on one’s consumption and optimal usage statistics.
Financing and lease options will be considered once the technology is launched.

At this stage I cannot divulge more technical detail, not until the final prototypes are complete, the patents and trademarks are registered, pct. applications are submitted and finalised, standards testing, approval and certification obtained, and the technology has been launched and exhibited.

Any contributions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

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