Living in Peace and Wisdom on our Planet

  My Profile  Log In   Register Free Now   
Living in Peace and Wisdom on our Planet Planet Thoughts Advanced       Click to see one of our videos, chosen at random from the database, along with its PlanetThought
 Try a video
Home   About   Books&Media   Resources   Contact  
   News   Quote   Review   Story   Tip   All   Blogs   News   Quotes   Reviews   Stories   Tips
Get Email or Web Quotes
or use our RSS feeds:
New Feed:  Fossil Fuel
 Full  Blog  News
Read & Comment:
A Solar Community In Isr...
'Let's You And Him Fight...
Paul Krugman's Errors An...
Why Climate Change Is An...




Most recent comments:
From Farm To Fork
A Simple List: Things We...
Can the affluent rest at...

Actions:
Bookmark the site
Contribute $
Easy link from your site
Visit Second Life
Visit SU Blog




SunCatchers at Sandia National LaboratoriesStirling Energy Systems (SES) and Tessera Solar recently unveiled four newly designed solar power collection dishes at Sandia National Laboratories' National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF). Called SunCatchers™, the new dishes have a refined design that will be used in commercial-scale deployments of the units beginning in 2010.

"The four new dishes are the next-generation model of the original SunCatcher system. Six first-generation SunCatchers built over the past several years at the NSTTF have been producing up to 150KW [kilowatts] of grid-ready electrical power during the day," says Chuck Andraka, the lead Sandia project engineer. "Every part of the new system has been upgraded to allow for a high rate of production and cost reduction."

Sandia's concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) team has been working closely with SES over the past five years to improve the system design and operation.

The modular CSP SunCatcher uses precision mirrors attached to a parabolic dish to focus the sun's rays onto a receiver, which transmits the heat to a Stirling engine. The engine is a sealed system filled with hydrogen. As the gas heats and cools, its pressure rises and falls. The change in pressure drives the piston inside the engine, producing mechanical power, which in turn drives a generator and makes electricity.

The new SunCatcher is about 5,000 pounds lighter than the original, is round instead of rectangular to allow for more efficient use of steel, has improved optics, and consists of 60 percent fewer engine parts. The revised design also has fewer mirrors — 40 instead of 80. The reflective mirrors are formed into a parabolic shape using stamped sheet metal similar to the hood of a car. The mirrors are made by using automobile manufacturing techniques. The improvements will result in high-volume production, cost reductions, and easier maintenance.

Among Sandia's contributions to the new design was development of a tool to determine how well the mirrors work in less than 10 seconds, something that took the earlier design one hour.

"The new design of the SunCatcher represents more than a decade of innovative engineering and validation testing, making it ready for commercialization," says Steve Cowman, Stirling Energy Systems CEO. "By utilizing the automotive supply chain to manufacture the SunCatcher, we're leveraging the talents of an industry that has refined high-volume production through an assembly line process. More than 90 percent of the SunCatcher components will be manufactured in North America."

In addition to improved manufacturability and easy maintenance, the new SunCatcher minimizes both cost and land use and has numerous environmental advantages, Andraka says.

"They have the lowest water use of any thermal electric generating technology, require minimal grading and trenching, require no excavation for foundations, and will not produce greenhouse gas emissions while converting sunlight into electricity," he says.

Tessera Solar, the developer and operator of large-scale solar projects using the SunCatcher technology and sister company of SES, is building a 60-unit plant generating 1.5 MW (megawatts) by the end of the year either in Arizona or California. One megawatt powers about 800 homes. The proprietary solar dish technology will then be deployed to develop two of the world's largest solar generating plants in Southern California with San Diego Gas & Electric in the Imperial Valley and Southern California Edison in the Mojave Desert, in addition to the recently announced project with CPS Energy in West Texas. The projects are expected to produce 1,000 MW by the end of 2012.

Last year one of the original SunCatchers set a new solar-to-grid system conversion efficiency record by achieving a 31.25 percent net efficiency rate, toppling the old 1984 record of 29.4.

See original news item: ScienceDaily, Jul-9-2009  
Related PlanetThoughts.org reading:
  Ecotricity And 'Dump The Big Six' Campaign (Feb-8-2012)
  Cape Wind Project OKd, But Are Giant Gravel Batt... (May-2-2010)
  Another Week On The Trek Toward A Drastically Ch... (Apr-6-2010)
  Renewable Energy Accounts For 13% Of U.S. Electr... (Aug-18-2009)
  EU Climate Change Cuts: Poland Leads Revolt over... (Oct-14-2008)
  Ethiopia signs deal for largest wind farm in Afr... (Oct-12-2008)
  Wind Energy Bumps Into Power Grid's Limits (Aug-28-2008)
  Rock Port, Missouri, First 100 Percent Wind-powe... (Jul-28-2008)
  MIT opens new 'window' on solar energy (Jul-25-2008)
  Al Gore Inches Toward Solartopia (Jul-23-2008)

Click one tag to see readings related specifically to that tag; click "Tags" to see all related readings
  
^ top
Add a comment    
  Follow the comments made here? 
  (Please log in or register free to follow comments)

  
^ top 
About contributor Member: TheTeam (PlanetThoughts Team) TheTeam (PlanetThoughts Team)

Member: TheTeam (PlanetThoughts Team) The volunteers of PlanetThoughts.org are happy to give you their best selection of news, opinion, reviews, stories, quotes, tips, and more. We hope you enjoy the reading... and thinking. Thanks!

Love your Planet... Know your Planet.

Visit Green Wave Email Marketing
Email Marketing for You and Your Planet


We won a Gotham Green Award for 2010, on Earth Day! Thank you Gotham Networking for this award.

See the attractive event brochure.

Recommended Sites

  Member of:
GOtham Green networking
Green Collar Economy
New York Academy of Sciences
Shades of Green Network

  PlanetThoughts
     Members/Affiliates *

Approaching the Limits
    to Growth
EcoEarth.Info
Environmental News Network
EESI.org
GreenBiz.com
GreenHomeBuilding.com
Heroin and Cornflakes
NewScientist
ScienceDaily


* Members of PlanetThoughts      
  communities on SU or MBL,      
  and blog article affiliates      

  Other Favorite Blogs
21st Century Citizen
Center for Bio. Diversity
Easy Ways to Go Green
EcoGeek
Good Bags
Opposing Views


Valid my RSS feeds


We Do Follow

ClickBlog.org



  Volunteer      Terms of Use      Privacy Policy  

Copyright © 2020 PlanetThoughts.org. All Rights Reserved.
Except for blog items by David Alexander: Some Rights Reserved.