Redwood developed a process to recycle waste elastomers, ie 1.1 billion waste tires in North America, European Union and Asia a year into Class "A" building materials. We incorporate new cool roof concepts to extend the life of the simulated slate roofing substrate and integrate in high efficiency thin film solar cells.
This project is driven by two important, radical and fully attainable ambitions:1. We shall run our homes on "Current Solar Income". That means that we break the dependence on fossil fuels. Our ambitions go beyond making Zero Energy Homes as we shall eventually make our homes "energy exporters" to the grid or to charge our hybrid cars. 2. We shall recycle car tires into high value roofing materials with high insulation properties reducing the energy needs for indoor climate control. This is true recycling, not downcycling. We break the old "Cradle to Grave" paradigm offering a commercially sound and competitive technology, which transforms elastomers into new, high value products. We go beyond eco-efficiency to embrace the eco-effectiveness protocol defined by William McDonough and Michael Braungart in their book "Cradle to Cradle - Remaking the Way We Make Things". Our signature product is called the Smart Roof, which reflects UV rays and keeps it cool. It insulates a home better than concrete tiles or other conventional products. Solar cells are incorporated into the design to minimize their costs of installation. In addition, it makes the roof visually appealing. The benchmark PV technology for this use (owned by Redwood Renewables) produces electricity at USD 0.08 - 0.10 per kWh, which is competitive with other sources of energy. In conclusion: Our concept is commercially viable without reliance on government subsidies. Its positive environmental effects are potentially huge, but we do not even need to quantify them to make our case.
Individuals will be able to invest in roofing materials with payback in about 5 years and will enjoy free energy for the next 20 years. Society gains by having a distributed power source added without adding additional transmision grid lines or power plants. That will sharply reduce the vulnerability of the current transmission system without the need for big investments. The economy gains by saving imported energy and by generating additional jobs to install more efficient roofing thus adding value to the stock of homes. The Environment gains by having millions of homes switch to renewable power and reduce GHGs. as they will operate on "Current Solar Income".
The move towards clean energy has till now been based on government subsidies and the goodwill of the environmentally conscious members of society. That is laudable and essential to bring about positive change, but widespread dissemination can only be achieved if solutions are commercially viable. We have the solutions to operate our homes on Current Solar Income based on sound investment decisions. We do not need to quantify the environmental externalities to create the change, we just notice that it is there and that it is essential to the ecology. Our ambitions go beyond the Zero Energy Home. Our benchmark PVs of 20% efficiency may well achieve the Zero Energy Home goal. But our next generation of PVs will have 32% efficiency at investment and electricity costs which compare favourably with our initial benchmark. That will potentially turn many homes into net energy exporters to the grid or to cover needs external to the home itself. One obvious scenario is energy generation for our hybrid cars to further reduce our reliance on hydrocarbons. This is far superior to any Hydrogen economy.We shall network with all relevant partners and stakeholders, including universities to achieve our goals and ensure the widest possible dissemination of the technology. Our main motivations are commercial but we are excited about the challenge to contribute to attain vital social and environmental goals.
Our benchmark PV technology is fully commercial without dependence on government subsidies. This means that our market potential is not defined by external, political factors. It is defined by market conditions pertaining to demand for roofing materials and for energy at competitive costs. On that basis private individuals will invest in our PV roofing materials because it makes good economic sense for them as 1. they add value to their homes, 2. limit their electricity expenditures and 3. improve their private economies effectively hedging them agains high energy prices. If on top of that they benefit incentive schemes as created in California, they make a windfall. The dependency of fossil fuels has been strongly felt over recent years, not least in California. Our roofing products will alleviate that vulnerability. The peaks of power consumption are typically on hot summer days when the roofs will produce maximum energy. This means that we can increase the total power production without the need of investments in new power plants or increasing the capacity of the distribution grid. The economy will benefit reduced import of fossil fuels and economic activities, which will be generated processing car tires, manufacturing of roofing materials, production of PV cells, installation etc. As an indication we can say that each home will contribute <>. a different perspective we can say that California's grant schemes will have fully achieved their purpose because they will have triggered development of commercial solutions to address serious environmental challenges.The environment will benefit each home turned into a Zero Energy Home or better. The CO2 emissions avoided over the lifetime of the roofing products calculated at the 20% efficiency benchmark level will be <>. The emissions avoided by recycling of elastomers will contribute further <>. Net of emissions in the manufacturing process the environmental gains per home will be <>. Introduction of the 32% efficiency PVs combined with use of privately charged hybrid cars will further improve the figures significantly.
Our roofing product and its manufacturing process do not "contribute" to sustainability. They simply are sustainable by definition. They break the Cradle to Grave paradigm and replace it with Cradle to Cradle. That means that we process old elastomers in car tires into new, high value, competitive roofing products. The new roofing materials have merits of their own as they provide competitive, well insulating products at the same time as they offer sustainable solutions to processing old elastomers. Combined with our 20% efficiency benchmark PVs they offer the scope for Zero Energy Homes. Taking the next step to 32% efficiency and beyond we create completely new vistas. No ecological or social sustainability is possible without economic sustainability. That means that the technology needs to be commercially sustainable to attain the other sustainability goals. This has been the big issue with PVs in the past as they could not produce electricity at competitive cost. However, this technology is fully commercial, and therefore, it does not compete based on governmen subsidies, it simply competes with other sources of energy. This is achieved by the fact that homes will become energy self sufficient on a net basis reducing the use of fossil fuels accordingly. Socially the vulnerability of distribution grids prone to overloads will be alleviated as well. Sustainability is often defined as "politically acceptable level of ecological degradation". Our product and the manufacturing processes behind it go beyond that as they are sustainable in the best sense of the word. They do not deplete our environment of resources, on the contrary, they help us to attain the ideal of "living on the Current Solar Income". By doing that they provide a basis on which we shall sustain ourselves for an ever improving future in economic, social and environmental terms. That is true sustainability!
This product is an important step towards the ideal of living on "Current Solar Income", rather than depleting natural resources, and it reduces GHG by 35 Billion pounds based on the assumption that 10 plants are built. It reduces pollution, is aesthetic blending in with existing rooflines, generates electricity to keep the home energy bill near zero in the first phase of dissemination. It reduces the needs for virgin, non-renewable materials including lates and mineral oil and in the long term it holds promise of private, downstream production of energy to fuel our hybrid cars etc.