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Tuesday, 07/01/2008 4:14:37 PM

Tuesday, July 01, 2008 4:14:37 PM

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Promising Solar Power Technologies
Sunday, June 29, 2008

New cost effective solar energy products are on the near horizon. Let's take a look at some of the promising ones.

MIT reports prototype solar dish passes first tests.

A team led by MIT students this week successfully tested a prototype of what may be the most cost-efficient solar power system in the world--one team members believe has the potential to revolutionize global energy production.

The system consists of a 12-foot-wide mirrored dish that team members have spent the last several weeks assembling. The dish, made from a lightweight frame of thin, inexpensive aluminum tubing and strips of mirror, concentrates sunlight by a factor of 1,000--creating heat so intense it could melt a bar of steel.

MIT Sloan School of Management lecturer David Pelly, in whose class this project first took shape last fall, says that, "I've looked for years at a variety of solar approaches, and this is the cheapest I've seen. And the key thing in scaling it globally is that all of the materials are inexpensive and accessible anywhere in the world."

Pelly adds that "I've looked all over for solar technology that could scale without subsidies. Almost nothing I've looked at has that potential. This does."

Raw Solar

The website Raw-Solar has this diagram explaining the practical application.



A solar thermal dish reflects the rays of the sun onto a small receiver using specially curved mirrors, concentrating the sunlight 1000 times. The high concentration increases the efficiency of the energy collection by reducing the surface area for thermal losses. A robust tracking system keeps the dish pointed directly at the sun all day, maximizing the available sunlight.

Water is pumped through the receiver where the high intensity sunlight heats it to 212-750F (100-400C), making steam. The steam can then be piped into an existing steam system, such as a district energy system or food processing plant.

What makes this system special vs. its competition is that it can use small flat flexible mirrors that can bend in exactly the right shape to concentrate the reflected sunlight on a precise spot. The materials are all easily produced and the team could put this dish together by hand.

Inquiring minds will want to consider this MIT video demonstration of their solar power dish.
http://techtv.mit.edu/file/1076/?skin=popup&file_type=flv

Following is a photographic clip from the demonstration. In the clip below a wooden beam was held where the rays were being concentrated and it immediately caught fire.
http://www.raw-solar.com/img/media/zenphoto/rawsolar-thermal-dish/6.jpg.php



Hot Thin Roofs

Let's now turn our attention to Hot Thin Roofs.



A new solar energy product, thin enough to be built into shingles, may finally make the technology competitive.

With energy prices soaring, affordable solar power would be welcomed by any entrepreneur looking to trim the electric bill. Trouble is, power generated by the most widely available technology - panels covered with photovoltaic (PV) systems, which translate sunlight into AC current - still costs two to three times more than electricity generated from coal and other fossil fuels. That may be about to change.

Several startups, including HelioVolt in Austin, Miasolé in Santa Clara, Calif., and Nanosolar in Palo Alto, are working on a new technology called flexible thin film that's on the brink of making solar more competitive. Nanosolar has just begun to ship its thin-film solar systems to a German utility.

Made from pliant sheets of foil, the solar panels can be molded onto roof shingles, which are at once more attractive than clunky, heavy glass panels and less expensive to produce. In fact, the cost of making thin film is so much lower than traditional solar panels that experts say it could produce electricity for about the national average of 10.4 cents a kilowatt hour.

http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2008/06/promising-solar-power-technologies.html


invest at your own risk, based on your own due diligence, at your own risk tolerance


invest at your own risk, based on your own due diligence, at your own risk tolerance

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