Tag Archives: solar thermal
Scientists at Airlight Energy have joined IBM and the Swiss universities, ETH Zurich and Interstate University of Applied Sciences, to develop an affordable photovoltaic system that is capable of concentrating sunlight 2,000 times onto hundreds of one centimetre square PC cells – yielding high efficiency at low cost. The system uses a large parabolic dish made from a multitude of mirror facets. The dish is attached to a tracking system that determines the best angle based on the position of the sun. Once aligned, the sun’s rays reflect off the mirror onto triple-junction PV chips. On average, each chip can … Continue Reading
Mark Simpson and Ari Glezer at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta have developed a new way of driving a wind turbine using the vortex effect which produces whirlwinds and tornados. When there is a temperature difference between hot air close to the ground and cooler air just above it, the hot air rises and cool air falls. This causes convection currents to form between these layers, leading to small whirlwinds. The researchers channelled these currents with an array of fixed blades into a vortex, which turns a turbine at the device's centre. As the warm air rises, more air … Continue Reading
Missouri inventors Matt Bellue and Ben Cooper have developed way of converting an internal combustion engine to be powered by solar energy. The solar energy is used to heat oil which is injected into the cylinder with a little water. The water boils and the steam drives the cylinder. The oil and water are collected and re-used. The process is described in this video in which the inventors are seeking further funding.
Engineeris researchers at the University of Arkansas have developed a thermal energy storage system that could dramatically increase annual energy production while significantly decreasing production costs of a concentrated solar power. Current storage methods use molten salts, oils or beds of packed rock to store heat inside thermal energy storage tanks. Although these methods do not lose much of the energy, they are either expensive or cause damage to the tanks. The use of a packed rock, currently the most efficient and least expensive method, leads to thermal "ratcheting," which is the stress caused to tank walls because of the … Continue Reading
Zenman Energy, a non-profit company located in Virginia, is aiming to drastically reduce the installed cost per watt of solar thermal power by developing a low-cost solar steam engine generator and giving away detailed construction plans after the prototype is complete .They hope that this open source model will lead to further improvements in the design and reduce the cost of the units. The generator works by focusing a large surface area of sunlight onto a smaller area to produce heat.. This heat is converted into mechanical energy by boiling water and turning a steam engine. The steam engine powers … Continue Reading
Monarch Power, a private research and development company in Arizona, is developing a lotus-shaped solar collector that is expected to produce up to 3 kilowatts of solar thermal power, as as well as steam for heating. The company also expects that the solar concentrator could be used to produce up to 3 kilowatts of solar photovotaic electricity. / The Monarch Lotus has 18 petals which unfold to form a 4-metre diameter flower solar collector that can be opened and closed – aiding in transportation as well as protecting the concentrator from severe weather. Monarch says that, because it is easy … Continue Reading
A Californian company,Thermata, has developed a high-tech mirror which it says can cut the cost of sun-tracking mirrors, or heliostats, in half. The system uses small heliostats, each with a camera to detect the angle of the sun and the heliostat, together with a mesh network of microprocessors to position each mirror with the ideal tilt. Each heliostat is automatically identified, located and calibrated under continuous control of proprietary mirror detection and pointing technology, over a wireless mesh network. The smaller, self-configuring heliostats are more accurate than conventional larger mirrors. The heliostats are fitted onto pods that are powered by … Continue Reading
MIT researchers have found a compound, made from abundant and inexpensive materials, which can store and release solar thermal energy in a chemical form without degrading. The material could be used to make rechargeable thermal batteries which could store the energy for long periods without loss. Thermo-chemical storage of solar energy uses a molecule whose structure changes when exposed to sunlight and remains stable in that form indefinitely. Then, when nudged by a stimulus, such as a catalyst, a small temperature change or a flash of light, it can quickly snap back to its original form, releasing its stored energy … Continue Reading
The world’s first solar power plant. to supply utility-scale "baseload" power has been launched near Seville in Spain. The 10 megawatt solar thermal Gemasolar plant has the capacity to store energy for up to 15 hours in molten salt batteries, enabling it to provide enough power for about 25,000 households for.24-hours a day.
A Stanford University research group says that it has found a way to more than double current solar power production efficiency. Most current technology either converts light into electricity at relatively low temperatures or converts the heat onto electricity at very high temperatures. The Stanford engineers have developed a "photon enhanced thermionic emission" technology which works best at higher temperatures, Photon enhanced thermionic emission would be used with solar comcentrators to produce electricity from photovoltaic cells at high temperatures. The techology would be most effective when used in solar farms, where any waste heat which cannot be converted using photovoltaic … Continue Reading