It is not often that one hears of a groundbreaking new technology with the ability to significantly change the status quo. Specifically, if someone were to tell me that a self-contained box weighing between two to three kilograms is capable of generating 5kW of completely clean power, I would have called them out immediately for making such a ridiculous claim. Try to tell me that the box can deliver the power continuously without any need to refuel or recharge for years, and I would dismiss you as being crazy.
Well, my perspective of clean energy generation certainly changed after a representative from NRGLab contacted me late last month. A science-driven company, the Singapore-based company researches and develops alternate-energy technologies to provide electrical power that is clean, reliable and affordable.
At the moment, the company’s portfolio include technology to boost the performance of gas turbine generator performance, as well as projects that entail recycling waste materials into usable diesel fuel. What caught my attention though, was a self-contained product called a “SH box” that the company says offers power generation that is environmentally friendly, efficient and affordable.
SH stands for Semiconductor Thermogenerator Module, and the poly crystal inside the SH box essentially makes use of the thermoelectric effect to exploit ambient temperature differences to generate an electric voltage. Because no fuel is required, NRGLab claims that SH boxes will enable the price of producing electricity to go down to just $0.03 per kW. As a comparison, my latest SP Services bill tells me that I’m being billed at a rate of $0.2670 per kWh.
I asked for, and was granted a visit to the company’s factory compound in Tuas, where I met up with NRGLab director Sergey Sorokin and Ana Shell – one of the discoverers of the crystal technology. They filled in the blanks on the technical aspects of the technology as well as showed me around the premises. While I did not see a working SH box on my visit, NRGLab has convinced me that it has indeed created a working room-temperature thermoelectric generator.
I will be writing more about SH boxes, as well as other alternative-energy technologies from NRGLab in the weeks to come. For now, you may want to watch the YouTube video below. It showcases an auction that was conducted at the Raffles Hotel Singapore on Feb 5 earlier this year, and shows the crystal being created and being stress tested in extreme conditions.