A short while back, I posted an article which, in general terms, expresses the same kind degree of scepticism about claims made by a new company, Nikkogen, as expressed by Tim Worstall in this article, which came about as a result of Tim’s blog being spammed by Ray Jenkins, the commercial director of the company, as follows:
All the talk and written reports about; Climate Change, Carbon Taxes, Clean Coal, Carbon Capture and Storage, Nuclear’s back on the table – have probably contributed to the de-forestation of Norway and added a degree or more to global warming…lets stop talking and take action! One major item that’s running out and running out fast is time to do anything to put a stop to the damage we are causing.
Global warming and climate change are a major concern and action sooner rather than later needs to take place. Renewable energy sources are being taken up as an alternative; however, you need 300-400 wind generators to replace a small coal or gas power station. A company called Nikkogen based in the UK seems to have a serious answer to a lot of the issues mentioned above. They are looking to locally manufacture in the UK, and overseas in USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and China their zero-emission carbon free Power Systems that are scalable up to nuclear power station size. The website nikkogen.com is an interesting site and well worth a look; let’s hope we see these systems in place as soon as possible. Nikkogen’s website: www.nikkogen.com
Ray clearly doesn’t understand online etiquette, as he entirely omits any mention of the fact that he’s hawking his own company here and goes out of his way to pretend (badly) that he’s just an ordinary punter who’s happened across Nikkogen and thought, ‘fuck me, this is a good idea’.
More than anything else, what attracted Tim’s incredulity was this claim from Nikkogen’s website:
Our Zero-Emission Prime Mover Systems have been designed to work with electrical alternators generating clean electricity 24 hours x 365 days a year. With suitable electrical alternators, we can provide electrical outputs ranging from 40 Megawatts through to 240 Megawatts with almost zero ongoing running costs. A typical return on investment (ROI) if you purchase one or more of our Zero-Emission Power Stations is within two years.
Almost zero ongoing running costs? What, no fuel costs? No maintenance costs? No labour costs? I think you can appreciate why Tim was just a tad sceptical of such a claim, which amounts to ‘yes, you can have a free lunch’.
Having expressed my own scepticism of Nikkogen’s claims, I have, today, received this comment from Ray Jenkins:
Good morning Mr Unity,
(He actually used my real surname, which hasn’t exactly endeared him to me)
Please can you remove any reference to Nikkogen from your website/blog. The information on your website received automated or not is incorrect and any reference to our company as being a fraud is incorrect.
You may wish to contact Tim Worstall – who will I’m sure confirm that the information he provided via his website/blog was incorrect.
You have a week to remove any reference to our company.
Director Business Development
Tel: 44-121-288-2058 (Direct)
The words ‘red rag to a bull’ come to mind straight away. You see, Ray, you really don’t get this blogging malarky do you, and you certainly haven’t taken the time to read any of my work, or you’d know better than to try playing the strong arm game.
In other words, Ray, the very last thing you’re going achieve here is to remove any reference to Nikkogen from this blog. I shall be pulling the original article, not because I’m in any way concerned by your implied threats but simply because all you’ve done by trying to get up in my face is motivate me to go and research your project in a bit more detail and get a much clearly and, I think, more accurate sense of what you’re trying to sell to investors.
Oh, and I should say, Ray, Before trying to bullshit me with claims that Tim Worstall has changed his opinion of your company/product you really ought to have spoken to Tim first and actually persuaded him to change his views.
Which you didn’t.
Which makes your claim that Tim will ‘confirm that the information he provided via his website/blog was incorrect‘ a complete and utter lie.
I should also point out here that I’ve just had to break off from writing this post to take my original comments on Nikkogen private, after Ray posted my full name and address in the comments to it twice, in the space of five minutes – as you might expect he’s also bandying around the old ‘you’ll be getting a letter from my solictor’ routine.
In fact, it gets even better, as he’s also claiming to have sent a letter about me to West Midlands Police Special Branch Department!
While I’m sure that will make a nice addition to whatever they might already have on file about me due to my past involvement in political activism, I’m not exactly clear of the relevance of this. Are you trying to imply that the mere fact that I’m rather sceptical as to some of the claims you’re making about you product makes me a terrorist or a threat to national security?
I actually decided to write a new post on Nikkogen, before the last run of stupid shenanigans started, and I look forward to hearing from both his solicitor and from Special Branch (as long as its not at 5 O’ Clock in the morning), the latter in particular as not only will I have few choice things to say about Ray, but as I cannot see that he has any basis whatsoever for a criminal complaint here I will take great delight in lodging a complaint of my own – I think the Protection from Harassment Act may afford what I’m looking for, should I get the standard issue through my door in the early hours of the morning.
As Ray’s first post prompted me to do a bit more background research – remember, much of Tim’s scepticism stemmed from the unrealistic and unfeasible claim made by Ray that their system would provide power with near zero on costs and their unwillingness to give even basic information as to the basis on the system functions – what this post was going to be was a rather more considered view of what Nikkogen seem likely to be pitching to the market.
For example, what I found was that a ‘Prime Mover’ is nothing more than an electronic torque management system that’s already in use in conventional diesel/gas turbine power generation where it does provide enhanced fuel efficiency. However, from what I can find, its not exactly the cheapest piece of kit around and would put a fair premium on the cost of any generation system sold by Nikkogen.
As for the likely power source for Nikkogen’s system, its claims about zero emissions, portablilty (Nikkogen is promoting a marine power system for uses on ships) and a process of elimination suggested that what we may actually have been talking about here is a hydrogen-based system.
Now that’s not a fraudulent system by any means, they do exist, but, as this article in popular mechanics shows, this technology is far from being proven, particularly in commerical terms, and Nikkogen’s zero emissions claim only really stacks up if one disregards the emissions produced in generating the hydrogen fuel. There is also, as a by the by, the little matter of the large tanks of extremely flammable hydrogen fuel to take into account, which would surely make for a interesting discussion at the local planning committee.
That’s now all by the by, as it seems that Ray’s beef with me is based on my earlier speculations being a little too close to the mark – according to information provided by Ray, himself:
Our technology is not rocket science it’s a well proven system. What we have done is to apply the latest engineering technology to it. All I am prepared to say is that Its fluid based and it has an interesting flywheel mechanism. It provides enough continuous energy output to drive a single 3 phase electrical alternators sized between 40 Megawatts through to 240 Megawatts .
It’s not a perpetual motion machine as it’s not 100% efficient – what it does however is self regulate for increasing loads as the alternator output current increases. If you want further information, we are discussing in more detail our systems with interested companies under a non disclosure agreement.
And in my original post, I did mention the ‘flywheel-based’ ‘perpetual motion’ system of power generation, which as a concept has been around for a long time – I’d have to check the US patent office to find out when the first such system was proposed – only to discard the idea as stretching credulity too far when Ray started throwing a wobbly.
[UPDATE: I should point out that, having done a bit of a search of the net, their are some working flywheel systems out there. However these systems are both very small scale and used only as backup supplies for wind generation or to power UPS systems.
What we’re talking here are systems like this one, which provide between 750 and 1000 kVA for a whole seventeen seconds.
In fact the cutting edge of flywheel generation at present seems to be this proposal, from Japan, for a 50Kwh-class generator using superconductors – remember Nikkogen are pitching in region of 40-250 MW – a hell of a step up in capacity.
I think you can you appreciate from that why scepticism is the order of the day.]
This makes matters extremely interesting because, in my original comments I made the point that such systems have been put forward before and have invariably failed to deliver as they always, without fault, fall foul of the second law of thermodynamics, which in physics in the very epitomy of the expression that there is no such thing as a free lunch.
You cannot get more energy out of a system than you put into – it is not possible. In fact you invariably get out less than you put in, as some of the energy ‘lost’ as heat and, occasionally, light. To give an example, converting in converting chemical energy (natural gas) into electricity in a conventional gas-fired power station, the usual efficiency rate is something of the order of 38-40% – 60% of the potential energy within natural gas is lost in the form of heat (both from burning the gas and from friction in the turbine) and light.
The simple fact is that such systems have, in the past, formed the basis of scam investments – that does not prove that Nikkogen’s is a fraud but it does justify extreme scepticism, at least until a working model is demonstrated and the science behind it properly peer reviewed – and this does make any reference to such systems having been promoted fraudulently in the past, fair comment.
Cheer’s, Ray – nice of you to provide evidence for the defence.