David DeMille – The Spectrum
A small operation that could be about to go big is perched above downtown St. George at a makeshift test site off Red Hills Parkway.
Helidyne, an energy company that started six years ago when two brothers started tinkering in a garage with a little-known technology, is in the process of testing its patented power generators in preparation for its first major sale — four units headed to offshore oil platforms for Mexico’s state-owned Pemex, where they could replace diesel units that require expensive shipments of fossil fuels.
A deceptively orderly tangle of pipelines, power cords and metal framing, the setup has been spread out across a patch of gravel usually used to store electrical transformers outside St. George City’s Red Rock Generating Facility. For the past several months, the tests have been little-seen and little-noticed, tucked behind the fencing and blending in with the surrounding power equipment.
But if the units are a success, providing clean, efficient energy to the oil platforms, company representatives are anticipating a major ramp-up in production — the units, priced at $1.2 million each, could soon come pouring into a market that currently includes more than 4,000 facilities in the Mexican Gulf alone.
The company’s patented “planetary rotor expander” sounds like something out of Star Trek, but the idea is a fundamentally simple one. The generator, built into a box about the size of an economy car, takes in high-pressure gas and funnels it through a system of specially-designed rotors to generate electricity. The gas is then sent back out at a lower pressure, meaning the generators can be installed via a simple bypass loop and feed the gas back into the supply line. (…)