Solarflux FOCUS parabolic antenna concentrator converts 72% of solar energy into usable heat

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Solarflux, a company specializing in parabolic antenna concentrator technology, has developed the FOCUS parabolic antenna concentrator, which converts 72% of the solar energy it receives into usable heat. This news comes from Solarflux, which has just announced the results of an independent report from Lehigh University Energy Research Center. The report was made in close accordance with the methods described in the industry standard ASTM 905-87 for solar concentrators.

The report reviewed the performance test results of the Solarflux FOCUS parabolic antenna concentrator. It showed that the device demonstrated a solar-thermal conversion efficiency of 72%, which means that once the solar energy arrives at the FOCUS, 72% of it is converted into usable heat.

Solarflux FOCUS parabolic antenna concentrator. Photo courtesy of Solarflux, used with permission.

The company noted that its solar-to-conversion efficiency is comparable to best-in-class solar-thermal conversion performance of alternative concentrating solar power (CSP) systems such as parabolic troughs. The difference, however, is that the FOCUS is a full dual-axis tracking device capable of maintaining perfect alignment with the sun from dawn to dusk at all latitudes.

This achieves maximum conversion efficiency throughout the day and throughout the year, which would give the FOCUS a significantly higher annual energy yield than alternative CSPs. FOCUS has outperformed parabolic troughs by up to 50% or more depending on maximum system capacity and site location.

Solarflux FOCUS parabolic concentrator concentrated solar power

Solarflux FOCUS parabolic antenna concentrator. Photo courtesy of Solarflux, used with permission.

The new FOCUS dish appears to offer a low-cost, low-maintenance, zero-emission modular thermal power solution that can be used in a variety of ways. These include:

  • Industrial process heat.
  • Desalination and purification of water.
  • Space heating and cooling.
  • Hot water.
  • Remote electricity generation.
Solarflux FOCUS parabolic antenna concentrator.

Solarflux FOCUS parabolic antenna concentrator. Photo courtesy of Solarflux, used with permission.

I had a brief chat with CEO and Founder of Solarflux, Naoise Irwin, who said:

“This report provides independent confirmation of what we have known for a long time: the FOCUS solar concentrator is the most efficient solar technology available.

“With a low lifetime energy cost and room for further performance improvements, we are excited about the prospects of the FOCUS.”

Additional information on Solarflux FOCUS

Solarflux FOCUS luminous parabolic concentrator

Solarflux FOCUS parabolic antenna concentrator. Photo courtesy of Solarflux, used with permission.

The FOCUS is said to have a small physical footprint compared to other solar energy technologies. The company says its thermal energy storage solution is about 1/10th the price of battery storage, allowing FOCUS to be used to sustainably power nighttime operations at low cost and in remote locations.

It is made primarily of aluminum and steel and is highly recyclable. It has no e-waste or toxics issues to deal with at end of life. The thermal energy produced by FOCUS can be used for many things. Irwin also pointed out that many of these uses can be useful to mining companies of all kinds – due to the efficiency and capacity in remote locations as well as the diversity of uses.

Earlier this spring, Solarflux shared a blog post titled “The Promise of Parabolic Antenna CSP Technology”, which highlighted that parabolic antennas are generally considered the most efficient concentrating solar power CSP technology and noted that the promise had long been recognized.

The article describes some of the challenges that CSP has faced as an industry over the past decade, but explained that the Solarflux team sincerely believes that CSP, especially the satellite dish, has potential important, especially as distributed solar thermal (compared to electricity). energy technology. Quoting the IEA, the article points out that heat is the largest end use of energy and accounts for more than 50% of energy consumption. Half of this is used by industry, with the balance used for space and water heating (think cooking in homes and buildings) and agriculture, only around 10% of the heat being provided by renewable technologies.

Another major energy consumer mentioned was air conditioning, which accounts for up to 27% of household energy consumption in some parts of the United States. Mine is definitely in that number – heated domes are no fun! Solarflux noted that air conditioning can be more energy efficient if it uses a thermal energy source with an absorption chiller. You can read more here.


 

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