Matrix Solar Dish
Monday, June 23, 2008

New Solar Dish Could Transform Energy Production

Inventor Doug Wood demonstrates the solar dish's power by using it to set fire to a board held at the focal point.

A new type of solar energy collector concentrates the sun into a beam that could melt steel. Researchers say the device could revolutionize global energy production.

The prototype is a 12-foot-wide mirrored dish was made from a lightweight frame of thin, inexpensive aluminum tubing and strips of mirror. It concentrates sunlight by a factor of 1,000 to produce steam.

"This is actually the most efficient solar collector in existence," said Doug Wood, an inventor based in Washington state who patented key parts of the dish's design the rights to which he has signed over to a team of students at MIT.

To test the prototype this week, MIT mechanical engineering Spencer Ahrens put a plank of wood in the beam and generated an almost instant puff of smoke.

Click here to watch the collector light wood on fire : --


Matrix Solar Dish 


Classification:  - international: F24J2/10; F24J2/54; G02B5/09; G02B5/10; G02B7/182; F24J2/00; F24J2/06; G02B5/09; G02B5/10; G02B7/182; (IPC1-7): G02B7/182;  - European: F24J2/54C2; F24J2/10; F24J2/10D; G02B5/09; G02B5/10; G02B7/183

Abstract --  A matrix solar dish concentrator with flexed glass mirrors is patterned from orthogonal planes parallel to the axis of symmetry of a paraboloid and intersecting the paraboloid, this pattern making all parabolic trusses uniform. Parabolic trusses are made by flexing linear truss members with lateral forces creating accurate parabolic member curves, restraining the flexed members with rigid webbing to form an orthogonal paraboloid frame. Parabolic glass mirrors are made by flexing slender flat glass mirrors with lateral forces creating accurate parabolic mirror curves, restraining the flexed mirrors with tension buttons connected to the orthogonal paraboloid frame to form a solar dish. Glass mirror structural substrates are not used. The solar dish tracks the solar azimuth with a bicycle wheel and tracks the solar zenith with a television satellite dish actuator. A solar receiver is supported with a low shade structure outside a cone of concentrated sunlight. Uniform flux is greater than 1000 suns and suitable for high-intensity photovoltaic cells and district heating systems.

Support Carriage for a Solar Concentrator

Classification:  - international: F24J2/10; F24J2/40; F24J2/54; G02B7/182; F24J2/00; F24J2/06; F24J2/40; G02B7/182; (IPC1-7): G02B5/10; G02B7/18;- European: F24J2/54C2; F24J2/10; F24J2/40C; G02B7/183

Abstract -- A support system for a solar concentrator (10), the support system capable of rotating the solar concentrator (10) in both a horizontal, or azimuth plane, and in a vertical, or altitude, plane. The support system includes a footing (12) to which a spindle (14) is anchored. A central mast (22) is rotatably positioned on the spindle (14). A bearing (40) is positioned near the top of the mast (22). A drive wheel (24) is secured to the mast (22) near the bottom thereof and rotates therewith. A motor (36) is used to rotate the drive wheel (24), and hence the central mast, in the horizontal plane. A system of counterweights (42, 43) and struts (46, 47, 48, 54, 55 and 56 for one counterweight 42 as an example) which connects the bearing (40) and the solar concentrator (10) permits rotation of the solar concentrator in the vertical plane. The counterweight and strut system is arranged such that the solar concentrator passes over the top of the mast (22) and beyond while the counterweights (42, 43) pass on opposite sides of the mast (22).

Apparatus for Supporting Large-Dimension Curved Reflectors

Classification:  - international: F24J2/12; F24J2/54; G02B5/10; G02B7/182; F24J2/00; F24J2/06; G02B5/10; G02B7/182; (IPC1-7): G02B5/10; - European: F24J2/54C6; F24J2/12; G02B5/10; G02B7/183

Abstract -- The reflector support structure includes a plurality of substantially straight rod-like elements which are secured together at their respective ends, forming joints, in such an arrangement so as to describe a generally paraboloidal shape comprised of a plurality of open triangles. Elongated standoff elements extend outwardly from at least the joints of the reflector support structure and have secured thereto positioning elements for supporting the apexes of triangular-shaped relfecting sections. A plurality of reflecting sections are arranged to substantially mate along their respective edges, and are held in place by the supporting elements, to form a large, substantially parabolic, reflector. When the reflector and reflector support structure are used as part of a solar collection system, a tracking support structure supports the reflector support structure off the ground and in a correct orientation relative to the sun.

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