Re: Agricultural Skyscrapers

Michael Lorrey (
Tue, 27 Jan 1998 08:57:33 -0500

CurtAdams wrote:

> In a message dated 1/26/98 6:45:09 PM, CALYK@AOL.COM wrote:
> >i dont think its a secret, ive heard that oil companies have bought and hold
> >dozens of patents for alternatives that would make things better for us, but
> >make the oil companies lose money, and the same for the car companies, with
> >alternative engines etc... Ill try and find some examples... as for the
> >light bulbs, i read an article on it.
> The ultra-efficient light bulbs are for sale, today, at your local hardware
> store. They're the new funky compact fluorescents. Nobody's suppressing
> them, they're just not so popular, for various reasons.

There is also the E-Lamp, which is like a fluorescent lamp, ecept that the
gasses inside get excited by radio waves generated by a coil in the base of the
lamp. These are about 20% more efficient than compact fluorescents and don't
require the ugly tube mess.

Another development you can look at on my web site and follow the 'business' link to my
Northstar Technologies and Lighting page. This product I developed in 1991 and
92, did market research, got manufacturing set up and brought to market. It is a
retrofit kit for exit signs. Compared to an incandescent lit exit sign, my EL
Retrofit Kit was 99.7% efficient, and while incandescent lamps last for a few
months, my lamp lasts for 30 years, with a 10 year guarrantee. We sold these from
92-95 mostly in the Northwest, but also in California and scattered locations
around the country, for around $65.00 (at which point I was breaking even, due to
the cost of the technology. WHile this sounds like a lot, these kits were able to
save the owners between $1000-4000 over a 20-30 year period.

Why didn't we clean up the market? three main reasons:
1) the energy conservation rebate programs funded by the energy department and
your local utilities set fixed dollar rates for any retrofit of a certain minimum
efficiency. Because more efficient retrofits tend to use more expensive
technology, the less efficient technologies get a preponderance of the
subsidies, since a larger percentage of their cost gets paid for by the
government as opposed to the end user, so people are more likely to buy the least
efficient/least cost solution that meets the minimum requirements to earn rebates
from the government. Since ours was the most efficient, we were the most biased
against in the market by these government programs.

2) Our manufacturer, Loctite/Luminescent Systems, Inc., which at the time was the
only company with the technology to give us that 30 year life/10 year warrantee,
lied to us about thier focus on developing our product to the point that we got
18 months behind schedule, and lost a big advantage in our marketing window. (I
wound up getting several of the top people there fired over that)

3) because of this loss of time, the big lighting companies were able to come out
with retrofit kits using LEDs that were not as efficient as ours (3-4 watts as
opposed to our 1/3 of one watt), but were half of our cost, so they were able to
gain marketshare much quicker, and used the earned credibility of that
marketshare to unjustifiably smear our technology and our company.

Now, outside of these LED kits being made by chinese slaves, I really cannot say
anything bad about them, except possibly that they were not quite as efficient as
my product. They are moving the market from use of 2 20 watts bulbs to one 3-4
watt kit in each exit sign, which is a good thing.

As for myself, we sold over 6000 kits, and I learned a lot about business. My
kits are saving 48,000 kilowatt hours a year around the country, and thousands of
hours of labor and dollars of bulb expenses. So, I've got a lot of good karma
from that, at the very least.

However, my story is an excellent example of how government takes good ideas an
royally fucks them up so that the policies that are suppose to attain those ideas
actually impede them.

Mike Lorrey