This project seeks to bypass the issues of size, reliability and efficiency common to alternative energy systems, leveraging small-scale Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technology as a competitor in the microgeneration market. Specifically, the project will design and produce a CSP system capable of fulfilling the need for remote Micro Combined Heat and Power (Micro-CHP) under adverse conditions.
The complete system will be less than 14 kg, ruggedized, simple in operation and maintenance, capable of solar energy collection and able to generate electrical power.
The need for on-site produced power and microgeneration methods is expanding. Leveraging small-scale CSP in this market provides benefits not found in other Micro-CHP systems; a renewable source of electricity and process heat that requires no transportation of fuel, produces no pollution during operation and can be carried by a single person.
The need for the microgeneration (<2.5kW) of electricity and heat in remote locations is well known and has many solutions currently in the marketplace. However, renewable energy systems are often unsuitable for this use as 'small-scale' renewables are comparably large and require significant support personnel, logistics and a robust infrastructure to operate efficiently.
This project seeks to investigate the issues of size, reliability and efficiency common to alternative energy systems by constructing and testing a heliostatic Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) microgeneration system. The complete system will be man portable, ruggedized, simple in operation, easily maintained and capable of solar thermal energy collection in addition to the generation of electrical power.
After construction, the system is to be characterized on the metrics of mass, ergonomics, system thermal efficiency, electrical generation efficiency, system reliability, manufacturability, marginal cost of production and levelized cost of energy (LCoE), often referred to as 'grid parity'. These metrics will be used to determine the appropriate deployment and market usage for a system of this nature.
The system efficiency is expected to be above industry average, as CSP system efficiencies have been found to be inversely proportional to collection area. The manufacturing methodology and system design are expected to yield grid parity benefits that exceed current electrical generation technologies in addition to marginal costs that would yield a market-competitive product.
I love heliostats and solar thermal in general. Looking forward to seeing where you take this.