Editorial note: This is one of the many cool projects to come out of the POC21 conference where 100 eco-hackers gathered in a French castle to brainstorm ways to improve the world.
Around 25% of the total energy used in industrialized countries is consumed as heat, much of it generated by burning fossil fuels. The Solar OSE team (Open Source Écologie France) took on this energy sustainability challenge during POC21, developing this solar concentrator to allow mid-sized local enterprises, like small-scale industries or artisans, to generate clean, free heat or steam by harnessing the power of the sun. Their DIY linear Fresnel reflector array collects and transforms solar energy into steam up to 250º Celcius.
Solar concentrators work by focusing the sun’s rays on a water pipe to generate steam. The Solar OSE uses Arduino-controlled motors to pivot the array of mirror strips at the base of the structure to track the sun, automatically maintaining optimal solar concentration on the pipe. The steam produced has many uses, some of which include: cooking, sterilization, pasteurization, distillation, chemical processes, heating, extraction of essential oils, water purification, wood treatment, and even… hammams.
The Solar OSE team is a part of the Open Source Ecology project which has developed an open source library of machines to rebuild the world as we know it. The project is fully documented on Instructables and can be built for around $2100 in a week with a dedicated crew. The project takes us a step further in the transition to a distributed, sustainable energy system.
Solar OSE recently ran a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising almost $9000 to build a solar concentrator that’s four times bigger and capable of producing 5kW. Now that’s hot stuff.
To view the entire project, check it out on Instructables.