Wayne Bliesner, founder of ADI Solar Corp. (ADI), is a 20 year Boeing engineering and scientific veteran. In 1999, with the help of co-founders Gerald Fargo and George Weinmann, he founded high tech startup Alternative Designs Inc (ADI) in order to pursue development and commercialization of his several inventions. In 2000 he left Boeing for ADI to focus on developing an ultra-high temperature Dual Shell Stirling engine. The engine was developed to provide the highest efficiency heat to electric conversion, while still maintaining costs to make it an affordable and market-changing solution. In Oct 2000, at the urging of it's investor base, ADI split off its Stirling Engine technology into a seperate company; ADI Thermal Power Corp - focused solely on the Stirling Engine. Over the next 8 years, ADI Thermal evolved the engine/genset into it's present day pre-commercial state with a functioning prototype, but requiring funding for full power durability testing. Surviving these ambitious development years involved overcoming technical and finanical obstacles that would have failed less persistent companies. Yet the engines technologies greater potential had not yet been made evident - its potential to make mainstream solar power generation a reality. The US economies financial tail-spin that started in 2008 found ADI Thermal struggling to survive. The company leaned up its operation, scrambled to raise sustaining funds, and refocused its market strategy on Solar. In 2008-9, solar technology (solar thermal in particular) was receiving widespread renewed interest from the investor community, as verified by many new solar technology conferences around the world. Ever the inventor, Mr. Bliesner saw an opportunity to transform solar power generation into a dominant market technology and concurrently pull ADI Thermals Stirling engine technology back into the limelight. Stemming from efforts performed separately from ADI Thermal, Mr. Bliesner invented the Calcium Hydride Thermal Reactor. This technology would provide a quantum leap in solar thermal storage efficiency for the solar industry and it would fit perfectly as the high temperature heat source for ADI Thermals Stirling engine. Together these technologies could provide cutting edge solutions for solar power generation.
In 2009, with the aid of his long time colleague and fellow inventor Gerald Fargo, Mr. Bliesner formed ADI Solar Corp to pursue this promising new solar technology. ADI Solar would house the new solar technologies, and the two companies could achieve success together or separately on their own merits. Hopefully, investors would see the synergy between the two technologies and the success of ADI Solar would revitalize ADI Thermal directly. Working together Bliesner and Fargo worked to develop the reactor technology and frame it within an overall solar power generating system of comparable brilliance. An innovative solar collector system was invented and patented (Fargo) to provide a superior solar collector tailored to feed ADI Solars thermal reactor. A hydrogen storage method was designed with (reaction) operating conditions that matched the thermal reactor.
ADI complemented its technical expertise by bringing on board a strategic business expert from Microsoft, and partnered with government institutions, national laboratories, and with private industry. Over time these partners have included the CEC, CURC, CARB, NASA, DOE, EPRI, NIST, Puget Sound Energy, Northwest Natural Gas, and Alliant Energy. These partnerships helped to pre-validate the designs and refine the prototypes necessary to produce a market-ready solution. US and International patents have been obtained on all parts of the system. The team has prototyped the calcium hydride storage chamber, and are at a stage where the company is ready for the production of a full-scale demonstration of the chemical thermal storage reactor and sub-components. This will prove the necessary requirements for the demonstration of the storage capabilities of a complete system, to move the solution into commercialization.