A solar concentrator dish converts energy from the sun and can be used to boil water into steam to drive a steam engine or steam turbine. It can also be used to concentrate the sun onto a solar cell, like the ones produced by Boeing-Spectrolab who claim a conversion efficiency of 40.7 percent.
The ANU 400m2 solar concentrator dish system, seen below is a prototype and was completed in 1994. It is a prototype high performance solar concentrator intended for use in large arrays for multi-megawatt scale electric power generation. Since its completion, the prototype has been operated experimentally and been the subject of ongoing design refinement and research and development.
A second dish prototype was sold and installed at the Ben Gurion University in Israel by ANUTECH Pty Ltd. The prototype on the ANU campus is currently configured to produce superheated steam at 500°C, 4.5MPa. The campus unit drives a small reciprocating steam engine with a grid connected generator. The intention for commercial scale solar thermal power generation, is that an array of dishes would feed steam via a steam line network to a single high efficiency central power block using standard turbine or engine technology.
The solar concentrator dish system below, named ARUN [Trademark Registered] is a Fresnel Paraboloid Concentrating Solar Collector System, with two-axes tracking flat reflector dish of 160 sq.m aperture area having 800 mm diameter cavity receiver at focal point. This one was installed at Latur (India) to supply thermal energy (heat) to a milk pasteurization plant, and reduces costs incurred from normal power sources.
It is a solar device providing medium range temperatures for industrial thermal applications. The dish and support structure are made up of mild steel (MS). The reflectors made up of flat mirrors are inclined at pre-calculated angle. They reflect and concentrate the solar beam radiation at its focus having about 500 mm diameter area and generate high temperature heat energy. It is absorbed by hat-shaped downward facing cavity receiver designed for minimum thermal loss This receiver has low view factor of about 0.1 that reduces radiative losses.
The ARUN Solar Concentrator Dish System can be used in ‘ADD ON’ mode and can be retrofitted to the existing boiler or heater system in many industries. This mode delivers energy whenever beam radiation is available and saves fuel used. This uses minimum storage capacity. The thermal energy generated can also be stored in thermal storage to supply energy requirements during evening and night. Pressurized water system is used for evacuation and storage of thermal energy. The unit is best suited for the industrial applications using thermal energy from electricity or liquid fossil fuels. The thermal medium can be high or low pressure process steam, hot water, hot air, hot thermic fluid or oil.
It can be used for providing process heat for a wide range of industries and chemical processing plants using boilers or heaters, textile mills, sugar mills, vegetable oil mills, agro and food processing industries, timber industry, milk processing, drying of horticultural, food and fruits products, drying of chemicals as well as units using vapour absorption refrigeration for space cooling. It is also suitable for hotels and hospitals for providing hot water, steam and cooling.
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