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Solar Sunflower Concentrates Power and Desalinates Water

Posted by Christina B. Farnsworth

Dec 26, 2014 1:53:00 PM

Swiss company, Airlight Energy is producing a solar sunflower that tracks the sun like a sunflower does and concentrates the sun’s radiation by 2,000 times (and converts 80 percent of that power to useful

Dsolar product

energy) in a unit that produces 12kW of solar electric power and 20kW of thermal power from 10 hours of sunlight.

It cools itself by pumping water through its veins just like a plant. Airlight says that the energy produced is enough energy to power several average homes making the unit perfect for offgrid uses.

And that’s not all. The heated water can be used for cooling air or desalinating water. The unit can produce 30 to 40 liters of potable water from salt water, which will be great where water is too salty to drink or the area is an arid one near the sea.

Airlight energy is partnering with IBM Research to bring this “affordable solar technology” to the market by 2017

Here is what Airlight Energy says about its sunflower:

Highly integrated stand-alone dish providing electricity, heat, hot water, conditioned air (through a chiller) at the same time

Easy to install, low-maintenance and long lifetime

No seasonal dependence on output

Airlight Energy solution

A new ultra-high concentration 12 KWel – 21 KWth unit, currently under development, jointly with IBM research Zurich. The system implements a multi-mirror parabolic dish topology (40 m2 active surface area) and will achieve concentrations beyond 2,000 suns.

Advantages:

  • Ideal for deployment in rural or remote areas

  • Flexible product: customization possible

  • Easy to install and low-maintenance

  • Long lifetime

  • No seasonal dependence on output

  • Installation in small number possible

This video explains the project:

 

 

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