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17169-Bullis 071406 Solar Collectors
Jenny writes “Check out this article on how to construct a solar generator out of used auto parts and plumbing supplies…The generator they developed is able to produce ten times the energy at less than half the price of solar panels. While developed with the intention of helping to harvest electricity for villagers in poor countries, the students also believe it has great appeal for amateurs. “Link.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. vonSlatt says:

    Gah! the key bit of information is missing! Motor oil is used for the “collection” medium but the working fluid that drives the “turbine” is unamed.

    I suspect freon, what do you guys think?

    Jake.

  2. DGary says:

    I’m betting ammonia or lithium bromide.

    Although… in those cases there wouldn’t be much of a point to using oil in the first stage…

    Maybe tetrafluoroethane?

  3. ott77 says:

    Their website: http://www.synergeticpower.org

    “How does it work?

    “The short version is that energy from the sun is collected by tracking parabolas mirrors, and heat is delivered to an engine called an “Organic Rankine Cycle.” Its called “Organic” because the working fluid is an organic refrigerant HFC-245fa, and in fact the engine works like an air conditioner in reverse. Heat enters the engine, vaporizes the refrigerant and builds up pressure so that when the vapor pushes through the expander (a modified automotive power steering pump), it turns a shaft that runs a generator. The vapor rejects heat from the engine and condenses via a cooling loop that, and that rejected heat is used both to run a modified LPG refrigerator and to supply hot water for showers and washing. The optimization of the system is achieved through a unique control system that orchestrates the energy inputs and outputs to suit the customer’s resources and needs while maximizing efficiency. Versatility, scalability, and synergy are unique attributes that distinguish this technology as a reliable, affordable, sustainable, distributed renewable energy system.”