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Energy, it can neither be created nor destroyed, Albert Einstein said. But for years, we have created technology to harness and transfer it to be used in ways that make our lives better. It's one of the critical building blocks of any society, and having an affordable, reliable supply could mean the difference between a nation's people thriving, or living in poverty.
It's what inspired Johnny Kraczek to make a difference, what moved him to be the change he wanted to see in the world. Growing up, Kraczek was always interested in renewable energy, and the power of science. Through this interest he stumbled upon an idea that could significantly improve the lives of people around the world, particularly in developing countries.
"I discovered that most islands - and there are more than 20,000 inhabited islands worldwide - are powered by diesel generators," Kraczek said. "And most of them - since the cost of diesel has gone up - have experienced degrading, or downward spiraling economies and are struggling. It occurred to me that this solution could make a difference for them," he said. "So I've been faithfully working on it between day jobs and other things."
The idea is floating, offshore wind turbines, that would allow users to tap the most abundant element in the universe – hydrogen. The turbines convert energy from sea winds into hydrogen and oxygen that comes to shore.
"So you don't have all of this transient EMF you get with the big land-based turbines," Kraczek said. "Another thing is, in our design, we actually turn at a slower RPM, and therefore do not have the higher harmonic vibrations land-based turbines do." Points Kraczek says negate some of the fears associated with land-based turbines, such as impotency in men.
Kraczek and a team of scientists, engineers and economists have come together to bring his idea to life, under the banner of Caribbean Pacific Foundation, a non-profit especially focused on developing projects using offshore sea wind technologies, because they lower and stabilize electricity costs. This in turn directly impacts and paves the way for economic development.
While diesel generated electricity costs 33 to 36 cents per kilowatt-hour, the cost of energy produced from Kraczek's offshore turbines is estimated to be 12 to 15 cents, effectually cutting the cost of power in half.
It's big news for most developing nations, like those in the Caribbean, where government subsidizes electricity. It's likely to free up tons of revenue that can otherwise be used to aid development.
"We are working on establishing projects in the Caribbean, the South Pacific nations and India," Caribbean Pacific Foundation (CPF) President & CEO Luis Antola said. "Our objective is to try to level the field between developed and underdeveloped countries where energy is concerned."
Within the next five years, Antola hopes they will be a recognizable force that redefines the way things are going in the energy field, and encourages governments to incentivize this form of technology.
The innovative turbines are also big news for the state of Utah, since the project has the potential to produce around 3,000 well-paying jobs for Utahns within the next five to six years. The electolyzers and fuel cells needed to run the turbines will be built in Utah, as well as other components for kits that will be shipped to, and assembled on location.
CPF has already secured a contract in Tonga and expect to roll out pilot projects in the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas in the next 18 months. In the next 10 years, they expect to have significant projects in the Eastern Caribbean, and they currently have strong interest from India, the Philippines and Indonesia.
The projects have great promise because of the jobs they are expected to bring to the state of Utah, and the global success founders anticipate, but Antola's and Kraczek's appeal to the people of Utah is to get involved, because of their love for humanity and their desire to create a better, brighter and more energy efficient future for generations to come.
Kraczek's friends often tease that his turbines are the idea that will make him rich, and while that's a fun thought, he admits it's not what motivates him.
"What motivates me," he said, "is to see a school with lights, and enough power to run a laptop, so that kids can get educated."
And to those who question whether they should get involved, Kraczek says the answer to their question can be found in Amy Grant's song, (For The) Children Of The World.
"I think gosh guys, let's leave this next generation that's coming up with a better deal," he said. "We can make the world a better place if we just work together on it."
To find out more about the Off Shore Turbines, Caribbean Pacific Foundation's work and how you can donate or otherwise get involved, please visit: http://www.caribbeanpacificfoundation.org or call: 530-500-CPF1 (530-500-2731).