Langson Energy Inc. is on a roll.
The Carson City company is in Orlando, Fla., this week where it will unveil the second generation of its first product, a series of closet-sized machines that turn wasted gas pressure to between 250 kilowatts and 5 megawatts of clean power. The updated system debuting at the Power Gen trade show adds cooling capability, which is naturally produced by the expansion of gas.
"We have a steel mill in Mexico," said Richard Langson, chief executive officer and founder of the three year-old company, referring to a customer. "They use it to cool the water for what is called quenching the steel."
Or it can be used to air condition a facility such as Langson's 5,000-square-foot research and development space located behind the Carson City hot springs resort that Langson's family owned before selling it a few years ago. (His 91-year-old mother still swims there every other day.)
"We even made snow with it in the summer," Langson said.
The new tri-generation system follows the announcement last month of Langson Energy's steam machine, a generator that produces power from excess wet steam. It's based on the same technology as Langson's first product, but is made of stainless steel that won't rust from the steam. Applications for the steam machine include geothermal sites, large boilers at universities and hospitals, and steam plants such as the one Con Edison uses to power parts of Manhattan and which are used widely throughout European cities, says Langson.
"In Costa Rica, we're bidding on a biomass project for 30 megawatts where we'd put in six machines working in parallel," he said.
The gas-based systems can be used in a variety of applications as well, from paper mills and food processing plants to the millions of letdown stations situated along the nation's natural gas pipelines where the pressure drops, and is otherwise wasted, when the gas gets closer to its destination.
The Langson Energy machines can be connected to the electrical grid or used as standalone generators to, for example, power the lights in an African village, says Langson.
The opportunities are so broad, says Langson, that the company's biggest problem is keeping its sales and marketing strategy focused.
One target, though, has been easy to discern.
"Ninety percent of our sales are offshore," Langson said, especially in developing economies where the demand for power is unquenchable.
The United States is a harder sell for several reasons, he says. First, the economic slowdown has reduced the demand for power here. Also, the cost of power is low compared with other parts of the world, so the longer time to return on investment is harder for American customers to justify. And, finally, regulations here muddy the process.
"Every city and state, and the federal government, has different regulations. There is so much red tape," Langson said. "We certainly sell in the U.S., but it takes a long time. We're having better luck with shorter sales cycle offshore."