I was very curious about Blacklight Power’s progress on both the SunCell & CIHT Cell (which is a type of Fuel Cell that uses water as fuel instead of hydrogen), so I sent a couple of questions to Randell Mills and received the below answers back. In summary, progress on the SunCell prototype is continuing unabated with no foreseeable hindrances to commercialization. In fact, the SunCell will work so well it is expected to have a lifetime guarantee of no less than 10 years. As for the CIHT Cell, it is no longer the focus due to it’s low power densities & corresponding high cost.
Interestingly, Blacklight Power raised $16M in the last few days and is now receiving so many new offers for substantially more investment but declining them all. Good for them.
Question: Concerning BLP’s licensing strategy, you seem to focus solely on an Apple-type licensing approach wherein OEMs manufacture units for sale to BLP, why not also pursue a Microsoft or ARM strategy based on royalties, allowing OEMs to make CIHT Cells for sale to their own customers?
Randell Mills: Patent issues and less profitable.
Question (continued): This will also assist poor countries to benefit from your technology by establishing manufacturing industries around it & achieving energy independence while also paying BLP the agreed upon royalties. I see this as a win-win licensing strategy.
Randell Mills: We intend to give SunCells to the distributors. Can’t get any lower upfront cost than that.
Comment: To be honest i’m really disappointed by BLP’s licensing strategy. It seems to focus more on revenue generation at the expense of market share & penetration. Yet the former cannot succeed without the latter.
Question: Please provide me the latest images & photographs you have of the CIHT Cell. This for my blog, http://www.newenergytreasure.com.
Randell Mills: We are not publicly releasing info other than what is on our website. We raised $16M, $6M more than we set out to raise. We have offers for substantially more investment that we are declining. So, we will likely make demonstrations to industry going forward for the next month or so.
Questions About The SunCell
Question: How much progress has been made with prototype development by the engineering company mentioned on your website?
Randell Mills: We are on schedule.
Comment: Click here for the countdown to the SunCell Prototype.
Question: Has a solution been found for heat management and noise reduction?
Randell Mills: That is not an issue.
Question: What is the expected durability of the SunCell.
Randell Mills: The PV typically has a 10 to 25 year warranty. Pumps, motors, etc typically have a warranty of at least 10 years. The expected durability is about that of the parts.
Questions About The CIHT Cell
Question: At what stage of development is BLP with up-scaling the CIHT cell, i.e. making the 1.5 KW prototype.
Randell Mills: We are focusing on the SunCell that produces the excess power in the form of light that is converted to electricity using photovoltaic cells. The SunCell produces 1 billion times the power and 1 trillion times the power density as the electrochemical CIHT cell.
Question: The CIHT Cell technology seems pretty simple enough to commercialize. Why has it taken so long? What are the main obstacles?
Randell Mills: Some limitations to the CIHT cell are power and power density which affect cost and applications.
Question: Fuel Cells normally use expensive Nafion Catalyst Coated Membranes (CCMs) from companies like Dupont. Are BLP’s CCMs also costly and complex to produce?
Randell Mills: The CIHT cell has no membrane.
Question: Is the CIHT Cell electrolyte in solid or liquid form?
Randell Mills: See papers: LiOH-LiBr molten eutectic salt
Question: Is it possible for the CIHT Cell to work with light metals such as aluminium vs the heavy steel/graphite bipolar plates commonly used in today’s fuel cells?
Randell Mills: Aluminum would corrode. The CIHT cell and conventional cathodes are NiO. The anode of the CIHT cell may also comprise Ni.
8 of your questions out of 11 were about a technology you state in your introduction is obsoleted by the SunCell. Why did you do that?
There isn’t much to ask about the SunCell to be honest, I’m sure when the prototype is out we’ll have more questions to ask. Also the business questions apply to both CIHT & SunCell. As for the CIHT, Blacklight Power’s website mentioned that they’re working on up-scaling the device from 10 W to 1.5 KW and that they’ve managed to overcome all roadblocks so far.
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