AUSTINTOWN - A northeast Ohio man who invented a machine that produces free electricity by working off the natural gas drilling industry is bringing his invention to Warren today to show off how he says it could save businesses thousands of dollars in utility costs.
''We are getting a lot of interest, especially in the shale play states,'' Ohio inventor Ken Jackson said Wednesday.
Jackson was promoting his machine, the "Geovolt" as a completely green power source that can turn an average natural gas well into a personal power plant of sorts. The machine captures geo pressures emitted from natural gas wells to generate electricity.
''That pressure coming out of the earth is free. It's like a windmill inside a gas well that is blowing all the time,'' Jackson explained. ''It's totally green."
Jackson was to bring his invention, the ''Geovolt'' to a meeting of the Youngstown-Warren Inventors Club in Austintown on Wednesday and then to a demonstration at 12:30 p.m. today on Warren's Courthouse Square.
Youngstown-Warren Inventors Club member Bob Jadloski likened the electricity production to hydroelectric power plants.
''A hydroelectric power plant doesn't use the water, it just uses the pressure of the water going by it,'' Jadloski explained. ''It's not going to run a city, but it will help reduce the carbon footprint. ... It doesn't use the gas, it doesn't produce any waste."
The unit would work best at the well site, Jackson said, because that's where the highest level of pressure is, but it could be located anywhere there is a gas line or where there is a high amount of gas moving.
The machine would cost about $25,000, but the inventor believes it wouldn't take long to recoup those costs in energy savings.
''The thing will pay for itself within four years,'' Jackson projected.
Several local leaders and their representatives have expressed great interest in the technology.
''It looks pretty neat,'' said Rick Leonard, district director for U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan in Warren. ''There's going to be a lot of stuff happening with the oil and gas industry.''
Trumbull Commissioner Frank Fuda planned to attend today's demonstration with interest in exploring what the unit might mean for area businesses.
The inventors said test markets are being explored, and the first 100 to be produced will likely be test models.