Parkesburg inventor patents energy production method
By J. Chambless
Paul Bellezza in his basement workshop.
By John Chambless
For the past 19 years, Paul Bellezza of
Parkesburg has refused to give up. Sitting on his basement workbench
right now is what could be the future of energy production, and he
has secured his first patent for what is possibly a revolutionary
He's gotten used to putting his invention in terms that ordinary people can grasp, but it's clear that his expertise is running light years ahead of his simplified explanation. The parts that make our thermoelectric devices such as refrigerators and wine coolers and heaters run, he said, take electricity and can produce either heat or cold. The joints between the metal plates in those modules expand and contract with use, and the solder that holds the plates together can't hold up. The units fail.
The thermoelectric process has been limited by the weak materials and electrical resistance, he said. But his patented process coats the metal plates in these units with graphene, fusing them together without solder and eliminating the possibility of the materials failing. There is also little or no electrical resistance.
“Graphene is resilient. Basically, it self-repairs,” Bellezza said. “So if there are thermal stresses, any breaks repair themselves. It's almost like a web.”
His decades-long fascination with the thermoelectric process netted results as far back as 15 years ago. He built a working model that produced a large amount of electricity by converting heat into power.
“Thermoelectric never came into the mainstream as a viable energy generation technology, because of breaking down,” he said. His long-range idea is to ultimately use a heat source – gas, oil, propane -- pass it through his thermoelectric module and get electricity.
How much electricity? Bellezza is reluctant to say, but indicated that units using his approved patent – and his two others that are pending at the U.S. Patent Office – could power a house. Or even more.
“My patent solves the problem of putting thermoelectric in the mainstream as a technology for power generation,” he said. “And it's long-lasting as well.”
His patent was approved only three weeks ago, and Bellezza is anxiously awaiting clearance of his two other ideas that, combined with this patent, could launch him into the rarefied world of alternative energy production and make him a giant in the field.
But it's a slow process.
“The Patent Office says you need something better and newer. So everyone who applies is making small advances,” he said. “But if you go way beyond, you're 20 years before your time, they have no frame of reference to see if what you're doing works. So I've been tenacious, refiling the same thing all over again. The motherlode has been in the Patent Office for quite some time.”
For someone on the verge of something very big, Bellezza works in humble surroundings. He has moved from a shed in his back yard to his basement while some renovations are going on, but he has high-value equipment and supplies that put him on almost the same footing as inventors working in corporate labs. He has enough to prove his ideas work. All that's left is for industry to catch up.
“I've always been involved in some sort of scientific activity,” he said. “I've been fascinated by metals all my life.”
For now, while the other two crucial patents grind their way through the approval process, Bellezza is seeking companies that use thermoelectric modules who would be willing to give his process a try. His work has already put him on the international radar, and “Paul from Parkesburg” is a name with online celebrity in the scientific community Bellezza is part of.
“This is an invention whose time has come,” he said. “I'm in the process of letting people know about this, because it's only been a short time that I could talk about it. But it proves you can accomplish something if you stick with it.”
To contact Staff Writer John
Chambless, email email@example.com.