Vortex Green Energy, and Tripac Systems, have created a national energy service plan that creates significant energy and cost savings to utilities who implement Phase Angle Synchronization (PAS). Our efforts to bring this energy-saving technology to market have faced several challenges that we thought were unique to our endeavor. However, we recently saw nearly the same dynamics, market resistance, and triumph play out within the energy sector and realized we needed to share how PAS technology is like “fracking”.
A Quick Primer On Hydraulic Fracturing and The Technological Impact In The Energy Sector
Recent articles in the Wall Street Journal and Vox have showcased how hydraulic fracturing, or “Fracking” along with developments in horizontal drilling techniques have single-handedly created an energy boom that both helped the economy grow, drove consumer prices down, and lowered emissions, all while creating over 700,000 jobs and making the US the #1 oil-producing country in the world.
It’s not like geologists didn’t know where the oil and gas were stored (in shale formations), it’s that the industry knew it was locked up in tight crevasses but did not have a way to economically access it. One oil company partnered with the Atomic Energy Commission in September of 1969 and set off a nuclear bomb about a mile underground in Colorado known as Project Rulison. They were trying to access the estimated 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Using nuclear bombs to access natural gas was ultimately abandoned since the project cost $82 million and on the best calculation, they might only recoup about 40% of that investment and shelved the program in 1973.
From our vantage point in 2020, it is hard to fathom that the robust oil and gas industry ever had a history of an uncertain future. A quick trip down memory lane helps us remember OPEC’s 1973 Oil Embargo that quite nearly tripled the price of oil, and the severe winter of 1977 and how the country was admonished to “wear a sweater” and keep thermostats turned down to 65 degrees.
The short supply of natural gas had lawmakers concerned too, as was reported on in the book, The Boom, by Wall Street Journal reporter Russell Gold: “Natural gas was in such short supply that Congress passed a law in 1978 that essentially outlawed the construction of new gas-fired power plants.”
The problem to solve was how to extract the oil and gas from the hard shale rock in an economical way. And the reality was it was not the major oil companies like Exxon or Mobil or Chevron that figured it out. The majors gave up efforts of solving that problem because it appeared that the money they invested in finding a solution would never produce enough oil and gas to pay for itself.
Instead, one very determined independent named George Mitchell was able to solve the problem after years of persistence, as told in Russell Golds, The Boom. Mitchell had bought up mineral rights by the 1990s when the majors had all given up finding the solution to access the oil and gas in the hard shale. In 1998, after continuing to look for solutions, one of Mitchell’s engineers suggested dropping the expensive gel and using even more water in addition to the sand and some chemicals (referred to as “slickwater”) and it worked.
But the industry was still skeptical, and thought, “Why would Mitchell Energy be able to crack the code that Exxon and Chevron could not?” Devon Energy passed up a chance to purchase Mitchell (at a cheaper price than the $3.5 Billion they ultimately paid a few years later) because they didn’t think the fracking would work. However, they could not ignore how Mitchell’s production numbers that continued to rise.
A pair of technological advances, namely slickwater hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, have transformed the US from energy-uncertain to energy-dominant and only in the last few decades. And it was a small, independent group–and not a major company–that solved the problem.
The Allegory to Understand the Potential of PAS Technology to Impact the Energy Sector
The reason this story resonated with us is it almost exactly mirrors the problem at hand, the solution we have uncovered, the resistance we currently face in the market, and the certainty we know we can show.
The problem is that electricity is wasted as it is consumed, and the industry has known that the inefficient consumption of electricity (also known as power factor) to be a problem for more than 100 years in the industry. Simply put, an electric motor always wastes electricity due to inefficient consumption ($3 Billion in generation costs are wasted each year in California alone from this problem). The industry created a solution that makes consumption more efficient, but it takes more energy to solve the problem than it saves (recall the nuclear bomb example above). And like George Mitchell above found a way to access an untapped resource, Bob Widner and his family found a solution that accesses an enormous resource of wasted electricity and makes use of it. The skeptics abound asking why the major electric companies haven’t found a solution (just like Chevron and the major oil companies, they cannot invest in tinkering for years to find a solution–they must invest in known returns). And all it will take is the irrefutable data we know the pilot program will produce (which will be too hard to ignore, much like Mitchell’s production numbers).
We believe PAS technology will bring certainty to the electrical industry. That it will help convert electric utilities from facing insolvency to being solvent and strong. And finally, that it will further expand our energy resources since it will reduce how much of any given resource (natural gas, wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, gas, or diesel) will be needed to supply the electricity demanded and needed for a robust economy.
It has been with this certainty that we have sought out the final investment to finally launch a full-scale pilot program to quiet the skeptics, create the data, and generate the value to all of our supporters and investors who share our vision. We expect to be making announcements on this final investment in the coming weeks.
Until then, you are welcome to look back on the last few years with us and see the tremendous progress we’ve made in explaining the technological miracle of the PAS in energy and cost savings to investors, supporters, and industry stakeholders. visit www.vortexgreenenergy.com/news to review our past press releases, interviews, and other news coverage.