Around 25% of the total energy used in industrialized countries is consumed as heat, much of it generated by burning fossil fuels. The Solar OSE team (Open Source Écologie France) took on this energy sustainability challenge during POC21, developing this solar concentrator to allow mid-sized local enterprises, like small-scale industries or artisans, to generate clean, free heat or steam by harnessing the power of the sun. Their DIY linear Fresnel reflector array collects and transforms solar energy into steam up to 250º Celcius.
Based on previously successful products, we can make some assumptions about Tesla’s solar roof shingle. Each shingle has a 6-inch solar cell; assuming a very high efficiency cell, one can generate about 6 watts maximum per shingle (solar shingles run hot, since unlike conventional solar panels, there is minimal ventilation behind the cell).
One thousand shingles would be a 6-kilowatt system, which is about the average size. But each shingle requires a + and a – wire connector, implying 2,000 connectors for 1,000 shingles. That’s too many points of failure, and too many small shingles to install manually.
When we think of solar power, the first thing that many of us think of is generating electricity with photovoltaic panels, which is out of reach of most of our budgets due to the current price of a home PV installation. There are other viable options for home solar power, including solar hot water heaters, but one company is zeroing in on another method of solar power generation: the solar steam engine.
Using light-capturing nanoparticles, Rice University researchers have achieved an impressive 82 percent conversion efficiency of sunlight directly into steam; a breakthrough they say will create highly cost-effective solutions for desalination, water purification and electricity generation. Detailing their work in the journal ACS Nano, the researchers say the solar steam method is so effective it can even produce steam from iced water.
The solar parabolic trough is a solar concentrator assembly consisting of a reflector, glass covered receiver tube, automatic tracking system, and support structure. The concentration of the sun’s thermal energy onto the receiver tube heats the working fluid flowing through the tube. This heat energy can be used directly or indirectly for a range of applications. The maximum temperature of the medium that can be attained using this technology is 210 DegC.
Air conditioning is attained by the use of a Vapor Absorption Machine.
Why spend electricity or fuel cost to cool or heat when the sun can do it free?
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Jess C. Gregorio
Affiliate Technical Marketing and Project Lead Generation Manager for the Philippine Territory