Thanks to Bethlehem-based CEWA Technologies, Inc., energy consumers will soon no longer need to choose between affordable energy and clean energy.

CEWA installed the structural base for its first commercial prototype atop Southside Bethlehem’s Flat Iron Building on Jan. 14.

CEWA (Clean Energy and Water for All), a designer and manufacturer of point concentrator solar dishes, installed the structural base for its first commercial prototype atop Southside Bethlehem’s Flat Iron Building on Jan. 14.

By using existing materials in new ways and employing a unique design, CEWA’s toroid solar collector prototype can provide 32 kilowatts of energy with far greater efficiency than existing solar collectors. The dish represents a technological breakthrough because it provides thermal energy at lower prices than existing technologies, without government subsidies.

The solar dish is easy to install, operate, and maintain in a wide variety of applications and terrains, and can be aligned much faster than competing dishes. The product can be used for space or process heating, HVAC or electricity generation. It will be sold to industrial, institutional and utility customers.

“CEWA’s solar dish will dramatically accelerate the use of solar power throughout the world,” CEWA CEO J. Paul Eisenhuth said. “Our propriety technology allows solar energy to be cost-competitive with other energy options without government support.”

BFTP/NEP lights the way

CEWA’s growth wouldn’t have been possible without the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania. BFTP/NEP invested $146,000 in CEWA from its Alternative Energy Development Program in 2010, and another $49,000 through the U.S. Department of Energy in 2011. CEWA was recently approved for another $250,000 BFTP/NEP investment.

CEWA is a resident company of the Ben Franklin TechVentures incubator/post-incubator.

Ben Franklin clients Dynalene, Inc. (Whitehall) and Keystone Automation, Inc. (Duryea) are also involved in the project. Dynalene provided heat-transfer fluid and Keystone developed and fabricated the supporting structure for the solar dish.

“CEWA’s solar dish will dramatically accelerate the use of solar power throughout the world,” CEWA CEO J. Paul Eisenhuth said. “Our propriety technology allows solar energy to be cost-competitive with other energy options without government support.”

The company has also received support from Lehigh University, the Southside Bethlehem Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ), and Bethlehem’s Stone House Group. Lehigh University Professor Sudhakar Neti received two grants of $49,500 each that supported research on dish construction and its reflective surface that must perform despite exposure to the elements. These grants were provided under Lehigh’s Energy Research Seed and Commercialization Grant programs, funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, in collaboration with Lehigh Professor Wojciech Misiolek.

The KIZ funded CEWA with two $15,000 Technology Transfer Grants, testified in support of the project to local councils, supplied interns, and brokered the deal with the Stone House Group as the first prototype installation. The Stone House Group owns the Flat Iron Building, where the solar dish will be installed, and has provided substantial financial support to the installation.

“This is an outstanding example of cooperation among companies, economic and community development organizations, higher education, and government to grow local firms that address real market needs,” Eisenhuth said. “These partnerships will allow CEWA to pioneer a game-changing energy technology that will create sustainable jobs right here in Bethlehem.”

Moving forward

The installation of the prototype was only the beginning for CEWA. Next up are commercial sales, which are expected to begin early next year. From there, the sun – or at least the sky – is the limit.