Global Methane Forum – Trip Report

Conference Summary

Hi, everyone, just landed in Dallas, and I have 8 hours to kill.  So, time to blog blog, and blog.  Did I mention blog?

Day 3 of GMF 2018 was spectacularly unspectacular.  Amazingly unamazing.  Incredibly  unincredible.  You get the general drift.  The conference schedule keeps attendees very busy, and consequently the clean technology demonstration area was not visited that often.  I’m going to push some suggestions to the organizers on getting more traffic in future conferences.

It wasn’t a total loss, and I have made some very interesting connections during Day 2.  I mostly attended oil & gas sector meetings because that’s where we have the least amount of contacts & knowledge, and yet, I suspect therein exists the greatest amount of project funding available – more on that below.

I met a VP of ENI, a multi-national oil & gas company based in Italy.  ENI is  part of a conglomerate of oil & gas companies working to battle climate change called the Oil & Gas Climate Initiative.   (Unsurprisingly, no US companies are part of this organization.  And interestingly, the VP was asked this question:  “Why are North American companies not part of OGCI?”  Poor lady couldn’t really answer without LOL.  She basically shrugged her shoulders with a smile.)  The OGCI has a technology deployment accelerator program for methane mitigation technologies called Venture Day (Here is a flyer.)   It is held in Washington on June 25th this year, but you have to get invited from an application that is due on May 15th – I am definitely submitting one for FM.  They have $20 million set aside for 10-15 companies to assist in productization of new technology around methane mitigation.

While I was at the conference, Dr. Moller and I were made aware (through an ex-board member) of an organization in California dedicated to supporting and funding clean energy technologies called CleanTech Open.  Dr Moller and I were introduced to a couple of the members of this organization this week, and we are going down to a attend a meeting in LA on Tuesday next week to hob-knob a bit with members.  They also have a business accelerator program, and the application deadline is May 1st, so I’ll be submitting that as well next week.  (It’s not related to the conference, but it happened while I was there.)

I met the CEO and President of Questor, which makes flaring towers that also utilize the generated heat for additional uses (like, generating electricity).  She was very interested in working with us in developing a demonstration site that uses our engines for generating power.   I will be following up with her in the coming weeks to see how our companies could work together.  (Check out a recent video interview with Questor CEO here)

I met many other company reps, local government representatives from Central America, South America, Africa, Europe who were all very interested in our engine’s capabilities.  (WHERE WAS THE USA???)  I’ve handed out our product information and contact info, so I hope to hear from some of them over the coming months.

All this exposure gives us more visibility in the industry, but the main question people asked me are:  “How much does it cost?” and “When can I buy one?”  It’s frustrating for me, but totally understandable.  People want to buy proven, working and ready-to-go products as solutions to their problems.  But I have been honest with everyone I have engaged with, that we are in the process of raising money to enable low-volume engine manufacturing, so everyone understands exactly where we are.

I also got introduced to a few organizations working on putting together and funding methane mitigation projects around the world.  One is Bluesource, and a second one is Carbon Limits.   I was unable to connect with their reps at the conference, but I will be approaching these companies because they are working on projects that could definitely utilize our engine technology.  Not as a source of funding, but as potential customers and also networking for potential funding sources.

As an aside….can anyone tell me WHY anyone needs 94 octane fuel?  Seriously???  I don’t get it.

Octane 94? Who the heck needs octane 94???

OK, pretty much that’s my summary for everyone.  As always:  comment, ask questions, I will follow up.

Best Regards – Dave

 

 

 

Day 2 – GMF

Day 2 at the Global Methane Forum

Hi Everyone,

It’s morning here in Toronto, and the GMF technical sessions have kicked off.  We have morning and afternoon sessions, followed by some network opportunities.  I already have a few specific people I’m going to target for introductions.

We definitely have very good attendance today – the oil & gas technical session I am currently sitting in is almost 100% full.

Opening morning session at GMF

Best Regards – Dave

Toronto Under Ice

Hello Everyone,

I’ve arrived at the Global Methane Forum…apparently a feat not easy to accomplish this past weekend.  The weather systems that spawned tornadoes across the Midwest also dumped a lot of snow, hail and frozen rain in Toronto this weekend, causing much havoc.

My Saturday morning flight on American Airlines was cancelled, but they got me on an Air Canada red-eye flight out of LAX which managed to land in Toronto, albeit 2-hours late.  Not many attendees were so lucky, many have been delayed to at least Tuesday or Wednesday.  Today was mostly a few small closed-door meetings, and the clean technology showcase.  I’ve been here at the tech showcase since 8:00 am and had only 4 people talk to me.  The day is almost over, so I thought I would blog about it.  Most of the important meetings are happening Tuesday and Wednesday, and by then many more participants will have trickled in.

I didn’t have time to get a professional floor sign made before I came, and I forgot to print a simple sign before I left, so I was forced to improvise.  It came out OK, but I’ll get a portable floor sign made for any future conferences.  The sign I made in my hotel room is a little Mickey-Mouse…you be the judge!

Anyways Day 1 of the conference is almost over, I’ve meet a few attendees from private consulting firms and both US and Canadian governments.  (The EPA folks drove up from Washington after all their flights were cancelled, but for some reason Scott Pruitt didn’t join them…)  I hope to meet a lot more of the attendees over the next few days.

Best Regards – Dave

View from my flight AC788 after landing at Toronto Pearson International Airport
View of the tarmac from within Pearson Airport
Driving to my hotel – roads were a bit treacherous…
View from my hotel room
Because of the ice storm, people were leaving their wipers up
Beanfield Centre where the conference meetings are being held
My assigned table, with my “hotel arts&crafts” sign
Clean Technology Demonstrations was pretty much dead today…thanks Mother Nature!

17 Subscriber Accounts

Subscriber Accounts

Since I added the ability for users to register and subscribe to the blog, a few of you have taken advantage of it.  We have 17 subscribers registered so far.  Subscribing will allow you to edit your previous posts, and you can change your avatar and a few other things as well.  Eventually we give other users associated with Freedom Motors the ability to post as well.  This could be potential business partners, customers, etc.

If you want to register, just click on the Register link on the left sidebar, under Login/Meta Data.  (I just noticed I had  misspelled “Meda Data”….sorry!  Fixed!)

Wind Tunnel

So, today Paul, George, Jose and I worked on moving the MI wind tunnel into the facility – it’s been outside covered in a tarp, but we did not want it exposed to the elements this summer.  We are getting it setup so we can put it to use, although it needs a little TLC after being offline for a couple years.  We plan on investing in 3D printers to fast prototype models for the tunnel, and we will probably rent it out as well.  Wind tunnels are not that common these days, but they are still extremely useful.  (The wind tunnel at Ames is always fully booked, but they do transonic and supersonic testing there.  The UC Davis wind tunnel is also very difficult to get access to.)  The Moller International wind tunnel was originally owned by UC Davis, while Dr. Moller was a professor there.

It took a couple hours to get it into the building, and we only destroyed one dolly that could not take the weight.

Cleared the back wall for the wind tunnel
Wind tunnel outside, tarp removed (there is a lathe in front that has seen better days…)
Front compressor with clear test section put in place.
Another view of the compressor (air entry)
Central section before fan put in place
Fan section and rear diffuser getting ready to move inside. Yep, that’s Paul behind the wheel…
All major components in place – just need to bolt it all together and get it resting on stable blocks.

Freedom Motors Update

So there is very little information I can release on our fund raising plan.  As I may have mentioned before, we have signed contracts with two companies as part of the plan, but SEC rules require that we be very limited on our public communications.  Just know that we have started the process and you will see details released over the next several weeks.

Global Methane Forum

I am traveling to the Global Methane Forum in Toronto, CA this weekend.   We have a booth at the conference and I am working on material that will be made available to conference participants.  I had wanted to bring our 15kW  genset and some engine components, but because I am traveling alone, and I don’t want to have anything stolen when I am not stationed at the booth, I decided the logistics was not worth it.

I plan to have an interesting trip report to share with you all once I get back early next week.

Best Regards – Dave

A grinding we will go…

Hello Everyone,

As part of our process for developing a low-volume engine builds, we must get our rotary housings’ inner trochoid ground and lapped to a specific tolerance.  Our designs require a less than [proprietary] variance in the epitrochoid of the rotor housing.  (Sorry, I cannot share the details, this is information that is yet to be patented.)  I will say that very few machine shops exist that can meet our specs.  I only found one in Northern California.  There was one in Los Angeles that did this work for Freedom Motors in the past, but they are out of business.

I’m taking a couple of our rotor housings (one below, surface coated but not yet ground) to the shop I contacted on Monday, so they can do the grind and we can verify their work.  Just doing this grind will cost somewhere between $1000-$2000, but it’s the hardest and most critical part of production.

Precision measuring width of Rotapower epitrochoid

We have a large industrial rotary engine grinder that meets our specs (see pic below), but it requires industrial power (3-phase 480V) in order to run, and we don’t have that capability at our current site.  So for now, we have to use a general machine shop that can do the surface grinding we need, and is also willing to do small numbers of housings.  Many machine shops will not take R&D or low-volume jobs, just because of the amount of setup time on the mills.

Gleason rotary trochoid grinder owned by FM

For more fun about the trochoids, including animations, check out this nice resource, which also has the formulas for generating the epitrochoid (or peritrochoid) coordinates of a Wankel rotary engine.  They also provide a link to Kenichi Yamamoto’s book “Rotary Engine”

Best Regards – Dave

New Blog Features

Blog Accounts

Hi Everyone,

I’ve enabled some new features on the FM blog.  You can now register your own user name – this gives you the ability to add comments without having to put your username and email each time.  Also, you can go back and edit comments you previously posted without time limits.  You can still post anonymously, but it will only give you a 10 minute time window to edit the comments after it is posted.  Of course, if you ever want to edit or delete an old comment, you can just shoot me an email and I’ll take care of it. Continue reading “New Blog Features”

Freedom Motors is Hiring!

Hi Everyone,

Yes it is true, we are going to start collecting resumes (we already have a few).  We have 2 positions for immediate staffing needs:  an experienced machinist and a mid-career technician – these will be full-time positions.  More details on the job descriptions and candidate requirements will be released soon – this blog post is the first announcement.  I’m working on a job posting/application system for our website (and still dreaming of the day I can hire another IT guy to help me) where these jobs will be posted.  In the meantime, feel free to send me resumes of anyone you know who is looking for work in these areas (my email is on the sidebar to the right).

That’s my only major update for today…but FM is moving forward and our plans are picking up momentum!

Best Regards – Dave

Fundraising Status

Hello Everyone,

So I posted here yesterday about some of our plans, but I had to remove this post and related information in order to stay compliant with SEC regulations.   There will be more information available in the coming weeks.  I apologize for the confusion, but please forgive me as I am also learning as we move forward. Continue reading “Fundraising Status”