WARREN - Northeast Ohio inventor Ken Jackson demonstrated his green energy invention the "Geovolt" to a small crowd that gathered Thursday afternoon on the sidewalk at Warren's Courthouse Square.
Jackson says the invention will convert the earth's geo-pressure given off in the natural gas drilling process into free energy by turning a turbine. The invention does not create any byproducts, thus its marketing as a "clean power solution."
"I explain it like a windmill inside of a gas pipe," said Jackson.
Jackson's timing and location outside Warren's fledgling Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center, or TBEIC, could not have been better, as TBEIC officials spoke with Jackson on the spot about forming a partnership.
Chris Mather, chief executive of National Initiatives for TBEIC, said a great example for understanding how the building will benefit the community is Ken Jackson's invention the "Geovolt," a green energy generator. Mather said TBEIC will coach Jackson through the steps of entreprenuership, provide access for him to safely connect the "Geovolt" to a power grid for testing purposes, and eventually help his invention to reach its way to the national market.
Jackson said he designed the turbine while working on several other energy-related patents in his Holmes County backyard, he said, "until it grew a life of its own."
The Geovolt will be tested for the next few months, according to Jackson, before it is introduced on the national level. So far the invention has been well received in South America and Canada, but the difficult step will be gaining the cooperation of gas companies who he said are, "reluctant to work with green energy."
The unit, with an estimated price tag of about $25,000, would pay for itself within three to four years, the inventor estimated. Still it would not be ideal for working on a residential level, said Jackson, because it requires a higher amount of gas pressure than a typical house receives.
Local inventor Bob Jadloski of iDK Technologies introduced Jackson to the crowd. He hopes that the Niles-based iDK Technologies will be able to produce a monitoring module for the Geovolt to track the amount of energy being converted.
Jadloski explained that the 25 KW Geovolt produces the equivalent amount of energy of a 20,000 square mile array of solar panels. For example, Jadloski said, if three or four Geovolts were used at V&M Star, "there would be enough energy to run all the lights in the building."
Bob Davenport of Struthers came to the demonstration after hearing about the invention Wednesday at a meeting of the Youngstown-Warren Inventors Club.
"It's a great concept, it just has to be accepted," said Davenport. "And I don't see why it wouldn't really take off ... Every gas well from now on should have these units."
Jim Shader, vice chairman of the Trumbull County Planning Commission, also came out to see the invention which he called a "very interesting concept that could be useful in many areas."
Shader said the Geovolts could allow the county to, "supply our own power locally to sustain our community."
He believes the distributed generation of energy also could help eliminate power outages.