03/28/2015 at 19:30 •
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.