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18 October 2019

Third Equation readies Faraday phoenix for second coming

The Phoenix of the fascinating company Faraday Grid, has risen from its ashes and is trading in the form of Third Equation Ltd, registered in Scotland, with cash provided through a fixed and floating mortgage on the assets, which include the intellectual property of the Faraday Grid.

These assets are two things really – the hardware design of the Faraday Exchanger, a digital two-way transformer and the software that drives it, and its Emergent Transactional platform, a blockchain based accounting and energy transaction database. Apparently at least ten separate companies bid for the company’s assets, but it went to a new company controlled by ex-CEO Andrew Scobie and it is unlikely that the ex-CEO simply outbid them, and so this suggests he has some special hold over the assets.

The new charge is in favor of HFM Investments of Melbourne Australia, a business focused on facilities management, and supposedly expert in energy efficiency, electricity and water. Scobie is of course originally from Australia. Third Equation is filed as a manufacturer of electricity distribution and control apparatus. It is very likely that the assets of the Faraday Grid had to be sold to Scobie as he is almost certainly the patent holder of the intellectual property assets.

Current News reports that Scobie will be joined by other ex-Faraday Grid staffers including Jacqueline Porch, who is co-founder, Jennifer Urquhart and Vasile-Daniel Van, who serve as business service director and principal electrical engineer respectively.

Some mystery still surrounds the way the Faraday Grid fell apart in the first place –  ending up in receivership at Grant Thornton, but most sources suggest that it had to do with a $32 million cash injection from WeWork founder Adam Neumann, being reversed after he employed someone to look after this string of investments.

Scobie had already spent some of those funds buying into a number of facilities in the Czech Republic, which he was supposed to convert into a 100 strong ‘innovation center’ for its revolutionary technology. By all accounts he was left high and dry, unable to execute on the transactions and resigned from the business, or was forced out.

Investors put in Paul Ezekiel as CEO, the firm’s chief business development officer (head salesman). It will now be interesting to see if Third Equation has the same appeal as the Faraday Grid had, in that it had previously convinced UK Power Networks, once the London Electricity Board, which looks after the grid in London and the South East, to trial the technology. After Scobie left the company, UK Power Networks somewhat disavowed the technology.

The Faraday Exchanger turns transformers (which step current up and down between two electrical circuits), into something resembling a router in digital networking technology, which allows electrical energy to flow in either direction, across any particular route to any destination. It also behaves like a battery and helps stabilize grid frequency. It was first shown off 2 years ago.

Web-blogs talk about something Scobie calls “permission-less” innovation, which is clearly a dig at the centralized control of the electricity grid and how everyone needs permission to put any electricity onto it or take any off.

A network with such Exchangers on it would mean a supplier anywhere in the UK could send its electricity to anywhere else across the grid – and that a real time marketplace could be used to reconcile all energy movements. It’s not such an original idea and is likely the same approach that many grid innovators have suggested. Scobie is on record discussing the emergent transactional platform – a system of control of energy distribution with a built-in trading system.

One of the key pieces of the jigsaw to the Faraday Exchangers was that grid upgrades can happen one node at a time and do not have to happen all at once, so the up-front spend can be as low as $10,000 per unit with more advanced outcomes as more of the network is upgraded.

The company says the Emergent Transactional platform is designed to manage electricity generated from any location and from multiple generation sources, and delivered to wherever it is needed. The company has claimed on multiple occasions that this will facilitate the shift from 30% of renewables being a maximum on any one grid, to 60% or even 90% being possible. The idea of all this is to facilitate genuine entrepreneurial use of energy trades of all type.

Faraday Grid always said that the Emergent transactional layer is jointly owned with a company called Amp, known for funding small renewable suppliers in the UK. Amp Energy, a Canadian energy infrastructure developer, was one of the company’s earliest investors

Key features listed of the Faraday Exchanger is that it can independently control output RMS voltage, control input RMS voltage. maintain frequency, maintain target power factor, remove all harmonics and maintain balance between phases.