Wednesday, April 24, 2013

High temperaure solar

Collaboration aims to harness the energy of 2,000 suns

An interesting idea:

Based on a study by the European Solar Thermal Electricity Association and Greenpeace International it would take only two percent of the 's land area to supply the world's electricity needs. Unfortunately, current on the market today are too expensive and slow to produce, require and lack the efficiency to make such massive installations practical.

The prototype HCPVT system uses a large , made from a multitude of mirror facets, which 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 several microchannel-liquid cooled receivers with triple junction photovoltaic chips—each 1x1 centimeter chip can convert 200-250 watts, on average, over a typical eight hour day in a sunny region.

The entire receiver combines hundreds of chips and provides 25 kilowatts of electrical power. The photovoltaic chips are mounted on microstructured layers that pipe liquid coolants within a few tens of micrometers off the chip to absorb the heat and draw it away 10 times more effective than with passive air cooling.

The coolant maintains the chips almost at the same temperature for a solar concentration of 2,000 times and can keep them at safe temperatures up to a solar concentration of 5,000 times. The direct cooling solution with very small pumping power is inspired by the hierarchical branched blood supply system of the human body and has been already tested by IBM scientists in high performance computers, including Aquasar.

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