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Solar Concentrator Electric Station

#A-839


Development of a New Type of 1.5/3 kW Solar Power Mini Station with Helioconcentrator and Thermal Engine on the Base of "Intellectual" Alloys with Shape Memory Effect

Tech Area / Field

  • NNE-SOL/Solar Energy/Non-Nuclear Energy

Status
3 Approved without Funding

Registration date
06.12.2001

Leading Institute
Radiophysics Research Institute, Armenia, Yerevan

Collaborators

  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA, CO, Golden

Project summary

The structure and policy of electricity production on a global scale is on the verge of big changes towards a drastic increase of the share of alternative component: up to 12% by 2010 and 20 % by 2020 in EU countries.

The proposed project may focus on the development of devices to generate electricity from alternative and renewable energy sources such as the sun, wind, waves and others. At present, the development and application of Solar Photovoltaic Panels and Windparks in alternative energy evolution and application have received much attention. However, their wide construction and operation takes place mainly through the financial support of Governmental Programs in view of high equipment cost, high production costs, and the high cost of the installation of solar panels on the roof, or wind facilities at territories allocated for them.

Solar energy generation through Solar radiation conversion is pided into several main technologies. These include Photovoltaic panels, Solar Power Concentrators, Solar Heaters of water, Solar Furnaces. Technologies of Solar Power concentration, to which the proposed Project may be ascribed, use reflective materials such as a mirror to concentrate sun heat energy and then convert it into electric power.

The main objective of the research & development under the project is to develop and manufacture a new type of ecologically clean Solar Power Mini Station (SPMS) of low power. It will operate on the basis of a cylindrical-parabolic rotary concentrator in the focal zone of which there will be a new type of thermal engine using “intellectual” materials – alloys with Shape Memory Effect (SME). This SPMS is designed for inpidual users inside the home, office, farm and so on (Fig.1). Output by a prototype of SPMS is predicted to be 1.5kW (3kW in the case of double area of solar concentrator). The efficiency would presumably be 18-20%.

The second trend of the Project research consists in the development and testing of a SPMS, also based on Solar Concentrators, but which uses thermo-electric semiconductor converters with known efficiency equal to 16%. The converters will be made specially to be installed in the focus of a parabolic concentrator.

The advantages of this project, compared to other types of alternative Power Stations, are as follows:

  • Lower expected prime cost for manufacture of SPMS – about $2,000 per 1kW
(for comparison: the cost of 1kW for a Solar Photovoltaic Panel is about $10,000.);
  • Low cost of installation works;
  • Possible system activation and running by users;
  • Small area occupied: up to 10m2
(for comparison: to get 1.5kW from Solar Photovoltaic Panel it is necessary to use about 15m2 of panel surface);
  • Possible manufacture of SPMS models in stationary, handheld and mobile (on board a small auto-trailer) versions;
  • Short preparation time.

In carrying out the project works, we have many scientific, engineering and design tasks that should be solved for the development of SPMS on the whole, and of its main units.

Technical approaches and methodology used in the Project include theory and techniques of mirror antenna and Concentrator calculation, Thermodynamics, Physics of materials such as with Shape Memory Effect and Physics of Semiconductors. Methods of engineering calculation of construction and mechanisms, and electronic circuit calculation, simulation and programming will be used. We have to fulfill many thermal-physical studies and measurements; to develop, manufacture and test an operational SPMS prototype in two versions of electric power generation from heat.

The Project team has high competence in the development, manufacture and testing of high-precision mirror antennas and optical telescopes, in the manufacture of rotary-support devices, automatic systems for pointing and tracking sources, in this case, the Sun, and in software development. The Institute possesses production equipment and premises, measuring equipment and Test Stands necessary for implementation of the Project.

The major scientific-technical volume of the SPMS Project works involves research and development of a parabolic-cylindrical Solar Concentrator and a new type of Thermal Engine based on materials with SME. A unique feature of using SME materials as Thermal Engine and Thermal Actuator units is that, due to the thermal conversion of the concentrated thermal Solar energy, they will produce the necessary mechanical working of electric generator rotation. Here, the mechanical working of linear motion will be converted into the rotation for an electric generator shaft, for which we have to develop a special driving mechanism.

In the second version of SPMS with a semiconductor heat-to-electricity converter direct current will be generated, which will then be inverted into alternate current.

In our opinion, the results from the project should have good prospects for commercialization. A substantial rise is expected in the next few years in the world equipment sales market for alternative energy. Work under the Project will result in the creation of an operational prototype of a 1.5/3kW Solar Power Mini Station. The Station may prove popular in countries with the necessary level of Solar radiation.

With appropriate support for the participants of the institute and other organizations, stable serial production of SPMS will be organized.

An important value is given to the role of Foreign Collaborator within the framework of the joint consideration of technical reports, scientific consulting and publications, and in a potential future partnership. This will promote conversion processes of the transition to a market economy.

The goals of the project completely address ISTC objectives, both in relation to obtaining new scientific-technical results in cooperation with scientists from ISTC member party countries and to more commercial application of the obtained results.

FIG.1

"Green House" with typical electric appliances, supplied with the electric energy of 1.5/3 kW Solar Mini Power Station.


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ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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