Carmel startup uses technology developed by NASA in 1960s to turn heat into electricity

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (January 10, 2020) – – Inspired by a physics teacher at Homestead High School in Fort Wayne, Ian Hamilton began as a teenager to seriously contemplate ways to create alternative energy sources.

Ian Hamilton, CEO, Atlas Energy Systems

By the time he stepped onto the Purdue University campus as a freshman in 2011, he already had some firm ideas about how to do that.

But while in a class studying thermionic energy—the conversion of high-intensity heat into electricity—he dug into some long-forgotten technology developed by NASA in the 1960s during the space race with Russia.

The technology’s patents had expired, making the science fair game for new applications.

“I saw that this technology matched the ideas in my head for energy generation,” Hamilton said. “Really, it was pure happenstance that I found that old technology.”

He studied it intently and said to himself, “This could work.”

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