Harvesting of heat and sunlight by the hybrid solar converter

A team of engineers has invented a new hybrid solar converter that produces steam and power using solar energy. The gadget operates at a relatively low cost and is said to have superior efficiency. 

It is essential to note that the usual method of gathering power directly from the sun is via photovoltaics. The solar cells are ideal for generating energy from sunlight and have simple structures. 

The devices which are known for collecting heat rather than light are solar concentrators. The contained liquid is being heated up by the sun’s rays. As a result, the power produced through the rotating turbine is ideal for industrial use or home heating. 

It is essential to note that solar concentrators and photovoltaics are different and separate. However, the researchers have been trying to make it one hybrid device, but it has translated into a high cost and low efficiency. The team of engineers has made a new hybrid solar converter that works best for both. 

The converter has a small machine in the middle of the parabolic collector, and it resembles a satellite dish. The dish is built of a mirror for reflecting the sun’s rays to the center. There are multi-junction solar cells at the base for transforming UV light into power.

The most crucial part is that the cells reorient the invisible light to the top of the gadget called the thermal receiver. The thermal receiver is enclosed with pressurized water and looks like a cup. The purpose of the pressurized water is to grasp heat and convert it into steam. 

This team of engineers said that the process level of efficiency is over 85.1%, which translates that more energy from the sun is being transformed into power. The heating temperature is very high, 248 °C (478 ° F), compared to other heat energy collectors. That hotness is adequate for various industrial processes like pasteurizing, curing, drying and sterilizing. 

The hybrid device also has a lot of benefits. The very first one is the cost of production, which is relatively low. The engineers say that the device has the ability to operate at 3 cents per kilowatt-hour. 

The engineers come from the University of San Diego, Boeing-Spectrolab, Tulane University, San Diego State University, among other laboratories. The team has received more funding to enable them to continue with the further development of the device. The money is also meant for pilot tests and refining the technology.