Published on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 by McClatchy
Patent Filing Claims Solar Energy ‘Breakthrough’
by Greg Gordon
WASHINGTON — In a U.S. patent
application, a little-known Maryland inventor claims a stunning solar
energy breakthrough that promises to end the planet’s reliance on fossil
fuels at a fraction of the current cost – a transformation that also
could blunt global warming.
Ronald Ace, photographed at his home in Laurel, Maryland, May 4, 2013,
said his flat-panel “Solar Traps,” which can be mounted on rooftops or
used in power plants, will shatter barriers that have stymied efforts to
make solar energy cheap, clean and reliable. His claimed discoveries,
which exist only on paper so far, would represent such a leap that
they’re sure to draw skepticism. (Photo: Mary F. Calvert/MCT) Inventor
Ronald Ace said that his flat-panel “Solar Traps,” which can be mounted
on rooftops or used in electric power plants, will shatter decades-old
scientific and technological barriers that have stymied efforts to make
solar energy a cheap, clean and reliable alternative.
“This is a fundamental scientific and environmental discovery,” Ace
said. “This invention can meet about 92 percent of the world’s energy
His claimed discoveries, which exist only on paper so far, would
represent such a leap forward that they are sure to draw deep skepticism
from solar energy experts. But a recently retired congressional energy
adviser, who has reviewed the invention’s still-secret design, said it’s
“a no brainer” that the device would vastly outperform all other known
Ace said he is arranging for a national energy laboratory to review
his calculations and that his own crude prototypes already have
demonstrated that the basic physics for the invention work.
If the trap even comes close to meeting his futuristic vision, its
impact could be breathtaking: It could reorder the world’s energy
landscape, end the global economic drag of soaring energy costs, and
eventually curb greenhouse gas emissions that are blamed for climate
That all might sound rather rosy, since the previously undisclosed
invention has yet to be constructed and fully tested. But John Darnell, a
scientist and the former congressional aide who has monitored Ace’s
dogged research for more than three years and has reviewed his complex
calculations, has no doubts.
“Anybody who is skilled in the art and understands what he’s
proposing is going to have this dumbfounding reaction: ‘Oh, well it’s
obvious it’ll work,’” said Darnell, a biochemist with an extensive
background in thermodynamics.
“Ron has turned conventional wisdom about solar on its head,” he said. “He thinks outside the box.”
An independent inventor working from his home outside the nation’s
capital, Ace said that his filing culminated years of research into ways
to efficiently capture and store solar energy.
In recent interviews and redacted excerpts from his patent
application, he said that his invention can be used to retrofit
conventional nuclear- or fossil fuel-fired power plants to produce
electricity at about 2 cents per kilowatt-hour. That alone would be a
staggering advance, slashing the average wholesale cost of power by
two-thirds and the cost of solar energy by up to ninefold – estimates
that Ace called conservative.
But that’s just the beginning…
Read the full story at McClatchy here .
Read a supplemental report about Ron Ace’s work here .
Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/05/08/190683/patent-filing-claims-solar-energy.html#storylink=cpy
© 2013 McClatchy Newspaper
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