GULF STREAM TURBINES LLC

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

PRODUCING CONTINUOUS LOW-COST ELECTRICITY

 FROM OCEAN CURRENTS

 

John H. Robson Chairman and Inventor

1167 Lomond Drive

Mundelein, IL 60060

847 566 6947

robson1167@att.net

 

The Gulf Stream, which is produced by the earth’s rotation, contains an enormous amount hydrokinetic energy.  To tap into this immense source of renewable energy to produce electricity will require submersible power plants that can operate for extremely long periods without servicing.  The Gulf Stream Turbine can do this because of its failure-proof design that depends on the laws of physics and has few moving parts.     

Advantages of the Gulf Stream Turbine  

  • Powered by a steady ocean current that is produced by the earth’s rotation 
  • Unlike wind, tidal, and solar, can generate 24-7 to fill base-load requirements
  • Capacity factors of comparable to those of many fossil-fuel plants
  • Capital costs between $2,000 and $2,500 per kW of generating capacity  
  • Owners eligible for 2.1 cent per kWh production tax credit subsidy
  • Electricity costs will be 2.7 to 4 .1 cents per kWh with the 2.1 cent PTC subsidy  
  • Operation and maintenance (O&M) costs will be very low due to simplicity
  • Silent and invisible   
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by replacing electricity produced by fossil-fuel plants      
  • Slow turning rotors will not harm marine life    
  • Constructed of non-corroding materials      
  • Easy to mass-produce
  • Depths can be changed by remote control 
  • Easy to install and recover
  • Stability is built into its design – will not tip, yaw, or pitch
  • High capacity factor will produce low-cost power during amortization period    
  • Substantial profits assured by high capacity factors and production tax credits   
  • Large additional revenues would be produced by cap and trade 
  • Steadier energy produces 2 to 6 times the electricity of other renewable energy

Elegant Simplicity

The Gulf Stream Turbine relies on the relative locations of its centers of buoyancy and gravity to obtain its great stability and on a unique method of leveraging opposing forces to balance the lifting forces produced by the hydrofoils against the downward vector forces produced by the horizontal drag acting through the downward-angled anchor line.  Because of their simplicity and lack of moving parts, they can generate electricity for extremely long periods without servicing.

The patents cover a self-supporting structure that allows the turbines to be positioned at those depths where the current can generate electricity at near the turbines’ design capacities.  The actual conversion of the water’s kinetic energy into electricity utilizes the same technologies that are used by the wind-turbine industry.  Unlike the wind turbines, the Gulf Stream Turbines will have very high capacity factors, extremely low O&M costs, and be able to produce usable power 24-7. 

Low Fixed Costs

Because there will be no fuel costs and extremely low O&M costs, the costs of producing the electricity will basically be the amortization costs, divided by the kWh of electricity generated.  The following tables show the amortization costs per kilowatt-hour for Gulf Stream Turbines that have capital costs of $2,000 and $2,500 per kilowatt of generating capacity.  They costs are based on a capacity factor of 85% and on the capital costs being amortized over the number of years shown and at the interest rates indicated.   

Costs per KWh for Gulf Stream Turbines

(The costs per kWh of the electricity that include the 2.1 cent PTC would be

valid only for the first 10 years after the machines were placed into service.)

Because there will be almost no operating costs, the costs of the electricity would drop to virtually zero at the end of the amortization period. 

Near Zero O&M Costs 

Unlike the winds that can vary from zero to hurricane velocities, the Gulf Stream’s velocities remain relatively constant, making it possible for the Gulf Stream Turbines to produce electricity without needing to be disconnected from the grid.  Following are a few of those reasons why the O&M costs for the Gulf Stream Turbines will be substantially lower than for the wind turbines:  

·       Unlike the wind turbines, the brakes should never need servicing because they will be used only very briefly as the turbines are slowed to get them synchronized with the 60 Hz of the grid;

·       If the stall-controlled rotors blades are used, they would eliminate those mechanical problems that occur with pitch-controlled blades;  

·       Gulf Stream Turbines will have no need for the yaw-control systems that are on the wind turbines and that often need repair; 

·       The current’s relative steadiness should prevent breakage caused by excessive current velocities;     

·       There will be no buildup of dust inside the nacelles that will need to be removed.   

Revenues from Electricity and the Production Tax Credit Subsidy

The wholesale price of electricity tends to follow the price of natural gas because the electricity prices include the costs of the fuel that is used to produce it.  Because the operating costs are the highest for the gas-fired power plants, it is the electricity that is produced with that fuel that determines the price. 

In the last few years horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies have made the production of natural gas from gas shale economically feasible.  However, because the costs of developing these unconventional wells are very much higher than those for developing the conventional wells, the incentives to produce this gas will be sensitive to the gas price.  Where a conventional well might cost $1 million, an unconventional horizontal well that has been developed in the same formation can easily cost $10 million. 

A Gulf Stream Turbine that is equipped with two 600 kW generators and operating at an 85% capacity factor would generate 8,941,300 kWh per year.  If the wholesale electricity price averaged 8.5 cents per kWh, the annual revenues from the sale of the electricity would be $760,010 and the 2.1 cent per kWh production tax credit would add an additional $187,767, which would total $947,777 for one year. If the machine’s capital cost were $2,000 per kW of capacity, then those revenues would produce a return on the investment of 39.5%.  

The following table gives the percent returns on investments of $2,000 and $2,500 per kW from the sale of the electricity at the prices indicated and from the PTC. 

     

Gulf Stream Turbine Can Reduce CO2 Emissions

Every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated with renewable energy can replace the same amount of electricity that is generated with a fossil fuel.  If the electricity generated with a 1.2-MW Gulf Stream Turbine were to replace that generated by a coal-fired plant, the CO2 emissions would be cut by about 13,000 tons.  If that electricity replaced that generated by a gas-fired turbine, those emissions would be reduced by about 5,900 tons. 

During off-peak periods, the electricity produced by the Gulf Stream Turbines can replace the fossil-fuel-produced electricity, produce hydrogen for fuel-cell-powered cars, and recharge the batteries of plug-in hybrids and electric cars – all of which would further reduce the CO2 emissions.          

Income from Sale of Carbon Permits Can be Huge 

It is impossible to predict the additional incomes that might result from the sale of the carbon permits because the prices of those permits will be determined by auction and the supply will be controlled by those government officials administering the program. 

A number of economists have estimated that the carbon prices will probably range between $20 and $40 per ton.  With a carbon offset commodity futures price of $30 a ton, the owners of a 1.2-MW Gulf Stream Turbine could potentially receive an additional income of $390,000 per year – based on the 13,000 tons of CO2 that would be emitted by coal-fired plants producing that same amount of electricity. 

With a wholesale electricity price of 10 cents per kWh, the revenues from the sale of the electricity and the PTC subsidy would be $1,081,897.  Adding the $390,000 from the sale of the carbon permits would increase it to $1,471,897.  That $1,471,897 would produce a return of 61.3% on an investment of $2.4 million ($2,000/kW) and of 49% on an investment of $3 million ($2,500/kW).  

Licensing Company Will Get a Third Patent

The company that licenses the two existing patents will also get a third patent that will extend the patent coverage on a major improvement for 20 years from the date of its application.  Because this patent will be totally dependent on the first two patents, no one else can patent it.        

We Are Determined to Get the Gulf Stream Turbines into Production

Though we will consider joint ventures and other business arrangements, our first choice would be to license the patents to an established manufacturing company that has sufficiently deep pockets and engineering talents to successfully develop the invention and get them into production.   

We will also consider working with a university that would apply for federal grants to fund the engineering, the building and testing of a prototype.  Another option is for Gulf Stream Turbines LLC to continue to apply for federal grants and contact companies that have previously worked with the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense. 

We might also find an effectual individual, corporation or venture capital company willing to fund the development of the prototype in return for a percentage of future profits or royalties.  We have received an estimate that an initial investment of $750,000 to $1 million will be required for the finalization of the Gulf Stream Turbine’s R&D costs, tooling and design.  We have also received a cost estimate to build and test a full-size prototype has been between $8 and $10 million. 

www.gulfstreamturbine.com

 

John H. Robson

Inventor/Chairman

847 566 6947

robson1167@att.net   

 

 

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