Stan and Iris Ovshinsky Husband and Wife Energy Inventors by Franklin
A husband and wife team has been working together since 1960 to solve the energy woes of today.
As early as
this year, world oil production will peak out and begin to fall off dramatically, causing fuel shortages and gas prices three
or more times higher than we pay today.
"Hydrogen has been called the ultimate fuel and the sun is the ultimate source
of energy. If you tap into that, and you should, it changes the world beyond anything anybody could expect." Stan Ovshinsky
Together, Stan and Iris Ovshinsky and their corporation, Energy Conversion Devices (ENER Nasdaq) own over
350 U.S. patents, have two dictionary listings and a complete system to replace hydrocarbons (oil/gas) with hydrogen and solar
You probably even use one of Stan and Iris Ovshinsky's inventions everyday and don't even know it.
When you're using a calculator or watch that has built in solar power cells, that is one of Stan and Iris's patented amorphous
silicon photovoltaic cells. When you make a cell phone call, there is a good chance it is powered by one of Stan and Iris's
patented nickel metal hydride rechargable batteries. When you're burning a CD-RW or DVD-RW, that is also Stan and Iris's
patented Ovonic phase change technology.
The word Ovonic is from OVshinsky and electrONIC. It goes back to the
50's when Stan, a high school graduate and machinist in Michigan discovered something that is now known as the Ovshinsky effect.
A semi-conductor, like silicon, when vacuum/plasma coated is in a non-crystalline state that is called disordered or amorphous.
The silicon atoms are not arranged in neat repeating patterns. They are flexible, very un-glass like which is not its usual
state. This makes an amorphous silicon material with unique physical and electric properties. Stan noticed that when a voltage
is applied to amorphous silicon, which won't conduct electricity, the atoms temporarily change to a semi-conducting crystal
form and then back to disordered again when the voltage is removed. This is called phase change. That is the Ovshinsky effect
and was the basis of their original patents on disordered materials. Stan and Iris saw the potential of this discovery for
multitudes of uses, from solar electric cells, to phase change memory devices for computors way back in 1960. Energy Conversion
Devices was born.
The Ovshinskys have been featured recently in a PBS Scientific American Frontiers special called:
Future Car and in a 1988 Nova program called: Japan's American Genius. In 2000, the Ovshinskys were honored by the world's
largest scientific society, the American Chemical Society for having made "significant and lasting contributions to global
human welfare with their invention of environmentally sustainable energy generation and energy storage applications."
Team work is the key here. There is an intrinsic power when husband and wife work on a problem together. That power is primal,going
back to the beginnings of civilization. Any great man or woman has a great woman or man at their side. This is a nearly unstoppable
force of nature. "We just work together in everything. And there's just Stan-Iris, or Iris-Stan." say the Ovshinskys.
They realize the importance of parternship and have an all-star team with them at Energy Conversion Devices. Robert Stemple,
the former CEO of General Motors heads ECD as an auto industry leader. Stemple is helping to push forward their complete loop
of solar energy creation, solid hydrogen storage systems called hydride batteries and nickle metal hydride batteries. They
also have partnerships with GM and Texico for electric and hydrogen cars and hydrogen filling stations.
"It's not enough
to generate energy -- you also have to store it. That's why we emphasize systems in our work. The Ovonic nickel metal hydride
battery has become the enabling technology for both electric and hybrid vehicles," Stan says.
NiMH batteries are everywhere
with over a billion in use. They are revolutionary because of their high energy density, safer/lighter materials, and rechargability.
Today, you can walk into almost any electronics store on Maui and buy high energy NiMH AAA, AA, C, and D cells. The newer
ones have three times the energy of copper tops and energizer batteries with 500 recharge cycles. NiMH batteries contain no
toxic lead or acid. Instead, they use lighter weight nickle metal hydrides and water as an electrolite. Soon we will be able
to get them for our cars and for industrial uses like golf carts or off the grid battery use. NiMH batteries are used in hybrid
cars like the Toyota Prius,Honda Prelude and Ford Escape SUVs.
Hydrogen can be made so easily from PV solar with electrolysis.
No, not electrolysis for hair removal but to make the ultimate fuel, hydrogen. When I was in high school we did the burnt
splint experiment that I'll never forget. We were told to put on safety goggles first, then we took positive and negative
wires from a DC power supply and placed them in a bowl of water; then we added a little salt. Over the positive wire we held
a cup upside down to capture the hydrogen as it bubbled up. After a couple of minutes we took a burnt still glowing splint
and put it in the cup and BAM! I was really surprised by the power of the explosion! What happened was the hydrogen and oxygen
recombined to form water again and released energy in the process. The sun shines with up to 1000 watts of power per square
meter. Use it and you have energy independence.
In 1997 United Solar Systems better known as Uni-Solar,a subsidiary
of Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) released a new line of photovoltaic solar electric generators that have three layers of
PV junctions stacked one atop the other like a layered cake. Each PV layer is tuned for light in its different wave lengths
for separate red,green/yellow,and blue PV junctions. These Triple Junction PV modules are a vast improvement on their earlier
single junction designs. They have 30% more power and degrade at the same rate or slower compared to the old glass type PV
panels. They work much better in heat compared with glass PV. Sales this year are approching 20 Mega Watts. There are new
factories for Uni-Solar Triple Junction PV in Auburn Hills Mi. that are as long as a football field. They start with a nine
mile long sheet of stainless steel then it is coated with a back reflector then the triple decker sandwich of PV junctions
and topped off with a Dupont Tefzel glaze which is clearer than glass. Tefzel is half Teflon and half Kevlar for superior
toughness and transparency. It can handle hail and golf ball impacts.
Also, in 1997 these Triple Junction solar modules
were released in frameless varieties that are building integrated, with Solar Shingles and Laminants for metal roofs. The
solar shingles are installed just like regular composition shingles and look very similar to regular shingles for a more residential
look. These shingles were honored with the Popular Science Grand Award, "Best of What's New," and with Discover magazine's
"Technological Innovation Award." There is a solar shingle installation in Kahikinui that was donated by the D.O.E. Million
Solar Roofs in 1998. Bob Vila has an internet video of a solar shingle installation you can view at his web site, www.bobvila.com/BVTV/HomeAgain/Video-1005-02-0.html?quality=low
The laminants are bonded to standing seam metal roofing on site and are a little cheaper than shingles. These so called building
integrated PV roofing systems (BIPV), have the fastest energy payback in the PV industry, 1-3 years according to the Department
of Energy. This is because there is no aluminium frame and the manufacturing process is much more efficient and automated.
Energy payback is the amount of time it takes for the PV module to recapture the energy it took to make them from the sun.
These building integrated solar energy systems keep the roof looking like a roof, instead of the MIR space station, without
mounting structures and frames that add to the cost and energy it takes to make them.
IRIS: "The shared values are so
important. We founded ECD with the express purpose of using science and technology to solve serious societal problems. And
both of us are dedicated to that, and that's why everything we've done has been to make for a better environment and better
life for people."
STAN: "I'm 81 and I'm still learning. I love learning. The fact is that in science it's your contributions
that are important. And I look upon science differently, and that is that nature, God if you're religious, did not make disciplines.
Man did, humans did. And therefore I don't recognize separation of disciplines. So I have published in neurophysiology, neuropsychiatry,
cosmology, solid state physics, chemistry, physics, materials science, and so on. Wherever I feel I can make a contribution,
that people want what I have to invent. That's fine, I work in it, and I get great joy out of it."
Their latest invention
is a regenerative fuel cell that is cheap and works in a wide range of temperatures. Also they have recently patented a Quantum
electronic device that will pave the way for computers that are completly amorphous in design. This would allow a charge
controller and inverter to be printed into the PV modules to simplify system design. If you would like more information about
ECD and United Solar Ovonic, go to on the web: www.ovonic.com or uni-solar.com and www.pbs.org/saf/1403/features/ovshinsky.htm
I have a technology company called Smart Roof Systems which specializes
in these BIPV Laminant and Solar shingle roof systems. Battery based systems cost 20% more and require monthly mantainance,
but assure you of power even when MECO can't deliver it to you. For a 2720 watt kit, the cost is around $20,000 with tax
and shipping. If you grid connect, you can get Green Tags or Renewable Energy Credits of 2.1 cents per KWHR produced. For
commercial, there is a HI.tax credit of 35% of up to $250,000 and for residential 35% of up to $5000. There is a federal tax
credit in 2006 of $2000 for home systems and 30% for commercial. For commercial the total is 65% for state and federal tax
credits. These products under-went extensive testing before their release in 1997. As I mentioned the shingles have been in
use on Maui since 1998 and we have Laminant/steel roof systems in use since 2001. They come with a 20 year 20% power warranty
and a 5 year system warranty. They are UL listed and are approved and tested by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
If you would like to be the first one on your block to own one of these BIPV roofs, give me a call: Franklin Russell/Smart
Roof Systems 808-876-0377. I'll give you a free estimate and energy conservation consultation.
HC1 Box 965
Kula HI. 96790
and Iris at the new Auburn Hills plant.