Friday, August 17, 2012

Standard-Examiner: Ogden Company to Build 430 Dishes to Generate Electricity

Not exactly your typical Boss Godfrey-style broke-ass startup

Tantalizing Mitch Shaw story in this morning's Standard-Examiner, reporting that a local company which you've probably never even heard of,  i.e, Ogden’s Infinia Corporation ( headquartered at Ogden's cash-cow, BDO), is all set to harness some impressive new solar power generation technology, out there on the border of Utah's west desert, at the Tooele Army Depot.  Here's the lede:
OGDEN — A local company is helping the Tooele Army Depot supply its own power, a move city officials say will bring high-paying jobs to Ogden.
This fall, Ogden’s Infinia Corporation will begin a $10.8 million project to construct 430 “PowerDishes” on a 15-acre site at the depot. 
Standing about 15 feet high and looking like an old-fashioned TV satellite dish, the PowerDish uses the company’s Stirling Generator platform to convert the sun’s heat into electricity without the use of water.
When the Tooele project is finished, it will provide 1.5 megawatts of electricity to the depot.
Eager technology buffs can read the full S-E story here:
Curious about how a "Stirling Generator" works? Check out this boffo live diagram from the Infinia Corporation website:
And sorry, WCF stock trader folks, this company doesn't appear to be publicly traded. Believe me, your blogmeister already checked. Look however at this robust list of top companies who DO have a financial stake in this new venture:
No doubt about it, this ain't no typical  Boss Godfrey-style broke-ass startup.

We'll be standing by with "abated breath," btw, to find out just how much hard-earned taxpayer dough Ogden City's "crack" Ogden economic development department  "payoff team" coughed up to lure this company to Ogden's BDO, of course.

EOM.  Time for our WCF readers to chime in.

We know you're out there; we can hear you breathing.


Dan S. said...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the future of Infinia. However, they're in a very competitive market that's dominated by bigger companies and more mature technologies. Not only are there others making dish-Stirling generators, but there are competing concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies and, of course, photovoltaics. Here's a troubling article about the recent bankruptcy of a larger dish-Stirling manufacturer:

According to the numbers in today's article, the cost of the Tooele installation will come to over $7/watt. That's a little higher than other currently available technologies, so one has to wonder why the Army chose Infinia. Looking forward, I'm sure the Infinia folks know that they're going to have to reduce their costs in order to compete. I wonder if that will mean outsourcing the manufacturing to overseas.

By the way, it appears that several of Infinia's top managers came from Autoliv--only a year or two ago. The company and the inventor have been around (though not in Utah) for about 25 years, but it isn't clear that there were any commercial products until recently. The Autoliv folks are apparently the experts in manufacturing and business.

In any case, the technology itself is pretty cool and I certainly wish them well.

TheLovelyJennifer said...

Just want to know if our Ogden Labor Force is up to par for filling the "High-Paying" jobs this project will bring to Ogden ... in other words, will this project put unemployed Ogden workers to work? Or will they be imported, as Dan S has so stated  in his diligent work in tallying up the real numbers of actual NEW jobs created in Ogden for Ogden?


Dan S. said...

Jennifer, I don't recall ever analyzing the extent to which new jobs were being filled by "imported" workers. In any case, I have no reason to doubt that Infinia can find adequate local talent to fill most of its new jobs if and when they become available. It sounds like most of the jobs will be in manufacturing, a sector in which Ogden has been losing jobs in recent years. Of course, for the most specialized and highly skilled engineering jobs, any employer would be wise to recruit from beyond the local area.

Smaatguy said...

I disagree Dan about hiring outside the area...lots of talent here . I hire from here first.

Dan S. said...

For jobs that require highly specialized qualifications, the statistical likelihood of finding the right person locally is small. In those cases, any employer would be wise to conduct a wider search. Also, a strict locals-only hiring policy would lead to too much in-breeding of ideas. Strong companies and organizations need outside perspectives.

Dan S. said...

This writeup in the Trib adds some perspective on why the Army is investing in renewable energy:

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