We’re Commissioned!

September 21, 2020

It is official—Dimensional Energy has commissioned our Carbon X-Prize Pilot to make fuel from carbon dioxide and sunlight! 

On Wednesday, with the team at her side, our newest engineer Adrienne Lee, walked ITC operations manager Jim Ford, through every aspect of our system. With no hesitation, he gave us the green light. 

Our last correspondence chronicled the build out of our system. Below is a collection of photos of our final days of detail work and our first days on-sun.

This solar-to-fuels reactor is the first of its kind—future in the making!

Enjoy the view,
Jason Salfi

Loading the Reactor

Before the reactor could be sealed and inserted into the bell jar, we poured in our proprietary catalyst. Huck and I had the honor of funneling and positioning, but the material itself was imagined by Brad Brennan and synthesized by Ali Sang, who is…
Before the reactor could be sealed and inserted into the bell jar, we poured in our proprietary catalyst. Huck and I had the honor of funneling and positioning, but the material itself was imagined by Brad Brennan and synthesized by Ali Sang, who is in Ithaca, already working on an updated version.
Bolaji and Adrienne fine tuning the flows below while Huck applies some brute force.
Bolaji and Adrienne fine tuning the flows below while Huck applies some brute force.

Finding Focus

Brad finds the focal point of the parabolic mirror—a combination of serious math and cardboard craftiness.
Brad finds the focal point of the parabolic mirror—a combination of serious math and cardboard craftiness.

Parts Become A Greater Whole                    

Our gas line (resting in a closed loop from our pressure test), ready to be attached to the reactor.
Our gas line (resting in a closed loop from our pressure test), ready to be attached to the reactor.

         

Brian connects the gas line to the reactor. At long last, the entire system is ready for testing.
Brian connects the gas line to the reactor. At long last, the entire system is ready for testing.

         

The Big Reveal                    

With focal point set, Brad removes the mirror’s cover and sends the full force of the sun into the reactor.
With focal point set, Brad removes the mirror’s cover and sends the full force of the sun into the reactor.

I couldn’t wipe this smile off my face for the rest of the day.
I couldn’t wipe this smile off my face for the rest of the day.
Family portrait at the end of commissioning. Huck and Brian headed home the next morning and will be missed by the on-the-ground team over the next couple months of data collection. Brad and I are excited to reconvene with them in Ithaca and plan fo…
Family portrait at the end of commissioning. Huck and Brian headed home the next morning and will be missed by the on-the-ground team over the next couple months of data collection. Brad and I are excited to reconvene with them in Ithaca and plan for our next installation.

Adrienne Leads the Way

Adrienne put the final touches on our Standard Operating Procedure before leading the group through safety inspection.
Adrienne put the final touches on our Standard Operating Procedure before leading the group through safety inspection.

It Begins

First light on day one of data collection.
First light on day one of data collection.

Climate Change in Action

The fires on the west coast have sent their smoke our way and it is wreaking havoc on local air quality. This also changes the amount of light that reaches our reactor.
The fires on the west coast have sent their smoke our way and it is wreaking havoc on local air quality. This also changes the amount of light that reaches our reactor.

         

The Dream Team

Mihir, Bolaji and Adrienne are the on-site team for the next sixty days, through the end of X-Prize.
Mihir, Bolaji and Adrienne are the on-site team for the next sixty days, through the end of X-Prize.

The data that we are collecting over the next sixty days will inform our technology roadmap and development in the years to come. Stay tuned for more details on our progress and the team making it happen.

Live long and prosper.
Jason Salfi

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