Our History – GRAPHITE SOLAR POWER LICENSING PTY LTD (GSPL)
Robert (Bob) Lloyd was born in 1930, the son of a Lithgow coal miner. His concerns about the effect of “greenhouse gas” production and “climate change” started 40 years before the terms were ever used in the media. After many years of being involved in the design, construction and operation of coal fired power stations he began to research technology capable of storing renewable energy.
With the belief that thermal energy can be stored more efficiently and economically than electrical energy in batteries; and knowing that the best product for heat storage is graphite. Bob proceeded to design numerous renewable energy storage systems based on the storage of thermal energy in graphite.
In 1999 his company, Larkden Pty Ltd, filed a patent (Larkden 1) for heating graphite using eddy currents and recovering that heat to produce superheated steam that could drive a steam turbine. He called it the Larkden Technology.
In 2001 Lloyd Energy System Pty Ltd (LES) was incorporated by Steve Hollis with fellow shareholders: Russel Ingersoll and Steve Hamer. The purpose of LES was to develop the Larkden patent and to commercialise the resulting technology by issuing licences. Larkden granted to LES an exclusive, worldwide Head Licence for this purpose for a term of fifty years.
Between 2001 and 2006 LES conducted a comprehensive research and development programme to evaluate the engineering design and performance of the Larkden Technology. Specifically, they explored and tested many ways of getting the thermal energy into the storage medium, retaining it and extracting it “on demand”. Another patent (Larkden 2) was filed in 2005 incorporating new developments and improvements.
In 2006 Steve Hollis, the CEO and chief engineer of LES invented a new method of collecting thermal energy. By using curved heliostats to concentrate the sun’s rays into a Solar Thermal Receiver (STR) containing 10 tonnes of graphite and mounted on a 24 metre high tower, the graphite could be heated quickly and up to exceptionally high temperatures. This led to another patent (Solfast 1) being filed in 52 countries.
In 2007 Bob Lloyd sold Larkden to a German company, I-Sol Ventures GmbH and in the following year I-Sol sold the Larkden Technology to CBD Energy Ltd, a publically listed Australian company.
In 2007, with the aid of the Australian Government, LES commenced construction of a proof of concept plant at Lake Cargelligo in western NSW incorporating eight STR’s and a 3 MW steam turbine.
In 2009 Steve Hollis and some of the minor shareholders of LES established a new company called Solastor Pty Ltd. The purpose of the company was (and still is) to build projects using the Larkden Technology.
Also in 2009, LES issued Solastor with a specific licence for a 50 MW plant in Alassa, Cyprus. The project owner being Alpha Mediterranean Enterprises Ltd, a Cyprus based property development firm.
In 2010 LES granted a licence to Graphite Energy Pty Ltd (GE) to use the Larkden Technology and GE acquired the Lake Cargelligo Project from LES. The project was commissioned in 2011 and continues to be successfully used as a testing and data collection site.
The filing of the Solfast 1 Patent by LES in 2006 led to a dispute between Larkden and LES about ownership of the patent. In August, 2011 an arbitration ruling found in favour of Larkden and in September, 2011 LES entered voluntary administration. It was returned to the sole remaining director in February, 2012 under a Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA). The DOCA was executed in 11th February, 2015 after a substantial change to the company’s shareholding, management and funding arrangements. A majority of the shares was purchased by Kerama Energy Pty Ltd owned by Lyall McLachlan. The licence issued in 2010 to Graphite Energy to use the Larkden Technology was terminated.
In April, 2013, Kerama Energy purchased Larkden from CBD Energy. This was an important milestone in the history of LES. Larkden and LES had, for many years, suffered from a poor relationship. The acquisition of Larkden by Kerama Energy meant that both Larkden and LES were owned by the same entity. For the first time since 2001, the Larkden and Solfast patents and the worldwide licence to exploit the Larkden Technology, were in the same hands.
On 20 May, 2014, LES issued Solastor with a Commercial Licence to exploit the Larkden Technology on a worldwide, non-exclusive basis. Shortly thereafter Solastor issued a Project Licence to Runyang Solar Power Systems Ltd, a company in China, to construct a demonstration plant in Jiangyin, China consisting of six STR’s and a 500KW steam turbine. This plant was commissioned in October, 2014.
On 9th February, 2015, Kerama Energy changed the names of Larkden and LES to Graphite Solar Power Pty Ltd (GSP) and Graphite Solar Power Licensing Pty Ltd (GSPL) respectively and the Larkden Technology became the GSP Technology.
On 29 May, 2015, GSP purchased the shares of Device Logic Pty Ltd. Device Logic is a business that develops computerised control systems. There are two major control systems in the GSP Technology (see The Technology).
On 17th December, 2015, GSPL granted a worldwide, non-exclusive Commercial Licence to EOSOLAR, a Cypriot Company owned by Alpha Mediterranean Ltd. The terms and conditions of this licence are similar to those of Solastor.