Description of collaboration/licensing activity
A leader in the solar renaissance in North America, Dr. Stephen Harrison has spent more than two decades working on improving the performance and reliability of solar technology. In 1999 his efforts attracted the interest of Michael Noble, renewable energy entrepreneur, who saw a market opportunity in affordable solar hot water heaters. Over the next few years Dr. Harrison developed and refined a domestic solar hot water system.
Dr. Harrison brought his innovations to PARTEQ Innovations, which protected his technology and in 2001 exclusively licensed it to Mr. Noble's company, EnerWorks Inc.
Discussion of challenges faced
Dr. Harrison's system addressed two significant problems in the production of commercially viable solar hot water heaters, namely, sediment buildup and overheating. His back-flushing system eliminates mineral buildup in the unit’s heat exchanger, even in the hardest water conditions, and its self-limiting solar collector prevents overheating during hot weather.
The result was a cost-competitive alternative to traditional hot-water heating technology.
In 2007 the EnerWorks system recently received Canadian Standards Association (CSA) certification, making EnerWorks the first manufacturer in the solar thermal industry in North America to receive the CSA stamp of approval for its products. The system also received the U.S. Solar Rating and Certification Corporation’s SRCC OG-100 certification, having achieved the highest per-unit area energy rating compared to all other certified technologies.
In 2011 Dr. Harrison's innovations helped a Calgary-area solar community win a prestigious international environmental award. The Drake Landing Solar Community in Okotoks, Alberta, with Natural Resources Canada, earned the overall Energy Globe World Award for Sustainability in recognition of its unique, large-scale seasonal storage solar heating system. The Drake Landing project combines energy efficiency, district heating, energy storage, and solar energy, captured in part by the EnerWorks technology.
The EnerWorks product is now being marketed across North America by EnerWorks and internationally by Solar Innovations.