BlackLight Power, one of the more outlandish cleantech companies VentureBeat has covered, claims to have developed a way to generate 200 times more energy than coal using only water. To do so, BlackLight says it lowers the energy level of hydrogen atoms below ground state — something most scientists have deemed impossible. For this reason, many have speculated that BLP’s process is nothing more than an elaborate hoax. But today’s announcement of an inaugural licensing agreement with Estacado Energy Services to generate power in New Mexico could change their minds.
Estacado, a subsidiary of the Roosevelt County Electric Cooperative, struck the non-exclusive deal for BLP to produce both electric and thermal energy to help keep the lights on for eight cities spread over the east central part of the state. This licensing agreement is the first of what New Jersey-based BLP hopes will be many to come, according to its product roadmap.
Does this prove definitively that BLP is the genuine article? It sounds pessimistic to say it remains to be seen, but the process is still highly controversial. On one hand, the company has a team of qualified physicists of its own that say it works beyond a doubt — not to mention $60 million in venture backing and some outside endorsements. On the other, it has been widely neglected by the scientific mainstream since its inception in 1991, which seems fishy considering it could represent the biggest energy breakthrough in recent history.
Last time we covered BLP, it had just received outside verification from a team of engineers at Rowan University. Well, make that tenuous verification. Reportedly, the process only gave off a quick burst of heat. At the time, founder Randell Mills said the mechanism for looping the reaction is still being kept secret within the company. Suspicious, but not a deal breaker. Mills says independent approval of its full 50-kW reactor will come within a year.
Most of BLP’s investors are undisclosed, but it did received $10 million from electric utilities Conectiv and Pacificorp, as well as high-profile members of its own board like Shelby Brewer, assistant secretary of nuclear energy under Reagan, and Michael Jordan, chief executive of Electronic Data Systems.