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An experimental scale-model of a revolutionary solar generator. With this model, I'll collect the data I need to build a bigger one.
An experimental scale-model of a revolutionary solar generator. With this model, I'll collect the data I need to build a bigger one.
70 backers pledged $10,669 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$10,669

70

FULLY FUNDED! THANK YOU!!!!

Anything above my goal goes into my patent-attorney fund. Thanks for your support! - Dan, 4/9/16

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Hi – My name is Daniel Wade, and I’m an engineer from Oklahoma.

I’ve developed a solar generator that could revolutionize the industry. If it works, it will turn salt water and heat into fresh water and energy. It will be the first clean energy generator that’s actually cheaper than coal and gas. 

Check out the details at http://18gw.org/.

 I need to do a lot of research on it before I can build it. If I’m going to get a research grant, I need some preliminary data. So I’m building a scale model of my generator to get some preliminary measurements.

This scale model is enclosed inside a 24-foot high dome. I’ve been building the dome from scratch in my spare time, and it’s almost ready. 

If this scale model works the way that the computer predicts, I will have a solid case for applying for grants to build a larger version. If it doesn’t work, we’ll know now, and I won’t waste any more time and money on this project.

I’ve found a rancher who’s donated the land. But I need some help getting everything assembled and running.

HOW IT WORKS 

Anyone who’s sat in a misting patio knows that, when water evaporates, it absorbs heat from the surrounding area and cools the air. Also, you learned in elementary school that cool air sinks. I'm putting those facts to good use.

About 20 years ago, a professor in Israel drew up a power generator that pumped salt water to the top of a hollow concrete tower in the desert. The water spray evaporates, and the surrounding air cools and rushes through the tower. By the time the cool air reaches the bottom of the tower, it’s going pretty fast. Run the cool air through some ductwork fitted with an air turbine, and you generate power. In fact, you generate a lot more power than it took to pump the water in the first place. Plus, when the salt water evaporates, the salt sinks to the bottom of the tower, and the water vapor can be collected and treated. In other words, it’s a desalination plant that actually creates energy.

This tower works great in theory, but the concrete towers had to be really tall to be very effective. And you’ll remember from playing Jenga that the taller a tower gets, the more unstable it becomes. That’s where I came in. I combined this energy tower concept with the miracles of the geodesic dome. These domes (like the one at EPCOT) don’t have a size limit – bigger ones are actually even stronger than smaller ones. While a tall concrete tower gets wobbly, a tall dome just reinforces itself. It takes up a lot more room, but we’re building these in the desert. Land is cheap.

Every time you double the height of the dome, your cost triples, but you get 13 times as much power, so you’re better off building these as tall as possible. It is theoretically possible to build these domes up to 2000 meters high (that’s 4 times taller than the Empire State Building). A dome that tall (including power generators, pumps, etc.) would cost 26 billion dollars. Yes, that’s a lot, but that’s how much a large hydroelectric dam costs these days. The dome would create 18 billion watts of power, enough to power half of California, with zero carbon emissions. Also, it would create enough fresh water to irrigate enough farmland to feed 11 million people. Once it’s up and running, the dome would pay for itself in 5 years.

THIS SCALE MODEL

The dome I’m building now is 24 feet high, and if my calculations are right, it should generate 100 watts of power. Just enough to power a couple of light bulbs.

That’s a pretty expensive way to create 100 watts, but I’m not doing it for the power; I’m doing it for the data. If I actually generate more than 100 watts, it’s worth our time to build a bigger version. If it’s less than 100 watts, then I guess I’ve built this rancher a nice greenhouse.

I need to build the dome this spring, so I can get good data out of the Oklahoma summer.

WHY YOU SHOULD HELP

A contribution to The Downdraft Dome supports green energy research on a shoestring. I have kept costs extraordinarily low for the sake of getting good data quickly. $10,000 accounts for the structural materials, the measuring equipment, construction subcontractor costs, incentives, and a small portion of the 2000+ hours I've invested in this project.

If this project works, you will be a pioneer in a revolutionary green power movement. Every coal plant that shuts down, every barrel of oil left in the ground, every dammed-up river that is freed, you can say you were a part of.

New technologies require a leap of faith. Chances are, you don’t know me, so all I can do is offer the data. The computer models are strong. The science is there. There is a chance that this will really work. To find out more details, check out our video. Then give me a call at 405-426-7634 and I'll answer any questions you have.

Risks and challenges

This is an experimental electrical generation device. There is a chance my calculations are wrong, and that this device won't work. Better to find out on a small model than on a full-scale device. However, the scientific principles behind the device are strong, and the computer models are very promising.

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FAQ

  • I know how you feel. We are bombarded with charlatans plugging Free Energy machines. I'm not creating energy out of nothing. I'm transferring solar thermal energy into mechanical energy.

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  • The scale model I'm building is 7 meters tall (about 23 feet). Downdraft Domes are much more efficient at greater heights. The ideal height is about 6500 feet.

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  • It would stand out on a skyline, wouldn't it? That's about twice as tall as the tallest skyscrapers. But geodesic domes are inherently scalable, and a dome that size would be much more affordable (and constructible) than your typical skyscraper.

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  • Yes, and that's the plan. If this scale model works out, I'll gradually build them larger and larger, bringing in people with more expertise on large-scale construction. There's a long way to go!

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  • No, for a day job I run an engineering firm, focusing on hydraulic modeling. Check out Water Preservation and Planning at okwpp.com.

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  • Donations are used to reimburse me for construction costs, subcontracted labor, gasoline, and my patent attorney.

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  • Essentially, no. I'm only taking a drop out of the oceans. The only way that this helps ocean levels is by keeping more fossil fuel in the ground where it belongs.

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  • Oklahoma has been my home for 25 years, and I love it here. I want to help Oklahoma's economy grow in a way that isn't dependent on the price of crude. Full-scale domes won't work in Oklahoma (you need a desert and an ocean), but test models can be built here, and since domes are pre-fabricated, they can be made here and shipped anywhere.

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  • This summer, I'll be collecting data, and comparing the dome's performance to temperature and humidity conditions. I'll be updating results frequently at 405dome.com.

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  • These domes aren't very efficient at this size. In order to break even, a dome would need to serve at least a few thousand people. The best thing you can on a home-level is improve your energy efficiency. Weatherstripping won't impress the neighbors, but it's the best bang for your buck.

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  • Thank you!!! The next step is to help me spread the word. Tell your friends about this project. 405dome.com is an easy-to-remember address that will automatically send people to this Kickstarter page. Share the project on social media. Bring it up the next time a friend says they're worried about global warming.

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  • The Downdraft Dome is on private property, but can be visited by appointment. Call Dan at 405-426-7634.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Receive a tote bag with our logo. A great way to spread the word about innovative solar at the grocery store

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Receive a hand-signed and numbered poster of the dome. It shows the engineering drawings and a photo of the completed project.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    14 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Be listed as a pioneer of the downdraft dome movement. Every downdraft dome built in the future will have a plaque with the pioneers’ names listed

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    1 backer
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Funding period

- (55 days)