To concentrate solar radiation four designs are identified:
Parabolic trough: Long rows of parabolic reflectors concentrate the sunlight 70 to 100 times onto a heat collection element (HCE) placed along the reflector’s focal line. The Sun is tracked around one axis, typically oriented north–south.
Linear Fresnel reflectors: The attraction of linear Fresnel is that installed costs on a m2 basis can be lower than troughs, and the receiver is fixed. However, the annual optical performance is lower than a trough reflector.
Central receivers (Solar towers): This technology uses an array of mirrors (heliostats), with each mirror tracking the Sun and reflecting its light onto a fixed receiver on top of a tower, where temperatures of more than 1 000 °C can be reached.
Dish systems: paraboloid-shaped and concentrate the sunlight onto a receiver mounted at the focal point, with the receiver moving with the dish. Dishes have been used to power Stirling engines at 900 °C, as well as to generate steam.
I am planning to make a three-step approach. In each step, I am going to build more and more advanced prototypes. In the last step, I am planning to create a full size concentrated power plant.
The first prototype can be seen in the picture below: