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Solar Thermal

Background

Under clear sky conditions the earth's surface receives a peak power of about 1000 watts per square meter through the insolation of the sun. This results in a global yearly energy input of about 150,000,000 Mtoe (Million Tonnes of Oil Equivalent). Global yearly total energy consumption is about 10,000 Mtoe (2004), of which about 50% is for low temperature use. Solar collectors are able to convert solar radiation into useful heat for domestic heating and hot water systems. New absorption cycles can even use solar generated heat for refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. Our devices demonstrate the use of solar heat for heating, cooking and cooling.

Our Devices

Solar.Thermal FocusFresnel
Price: 10 €
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FocusFresnel - Concentrating Fresnel Lens

The Fresnel lens is a very interesting optical device. In 1822 Augustin Fresnel designed a large optical lens made out of flat glass plate. Instead of the massive volume of a large conventional lens, he designed the plate with a series of concentric grooves each of which has the same profile as the corresponding part of a conventional lens. This provides a flat device with the same optical properties as a normal lens - actually this depends on the number of grooves. This gives an immense saving in material, which reduces the production costs. These lenses are ideal for solar energy applications for concentrating solar energy: either to get higher temperatures with a thermal absorber, even for steam generation; or for focusing solar radiation on photovoltaic cells, thus reducing the required photovoltaic cell area and hence the cost of the generated electricity. On sunny days you can do great experiments with this lens: For example, trying to set a piece of wood on fire or boiling water in a test tube. Danger! Be careful: Never put your finger or eyes in the focus of the lens.

Technical data
  • Dimension 18 cm x 26 cm
  • Focal length ~30 cm
  • Material PVCu/li>
  • Thermal focal power with direct sun ~40 W
Solar.Thermal FocusMirror110Kit
Solar.Thermal FocusMirror110Kit
Price: 390 €
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FocusMirror110Kit - Parabolic Solar Concentrator - D=110cm

On a sunny day adjust FocusMirror110Kit to face the sun, put a black cooking pot in the focus and start cooking normally ... The kit includes all parts to build the complete cooker:
Galvanized steel frame, aluminum reflector panels and supporting structure. It's also a great starting point for experiments on the concentration of solar energy (steam generation, concentrator photovoltaic cells or drying the zeolite in our SolCool System).

Technical data:
  • Diameter 110cm
  • Power in the focal plane with direct sun ~750 W
  • Net power with simple absorber about ~450 Watt
Price: 480 €
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FocusMirror140Kit - Parabolic Solar Concentrator - D=140cm

Same as FocusMirror110Kit but with a larger reflector and more power

Technical data:
  • Diameter 140cm
  • Power in the focal plane with direct sun ~1200 W
  • Net power with simple absorber about 700 Watt
Solar.Thermal FocusMirror35
Solar.Thermal FocusMirror35
Solar.Thermal FocusMirror35
More pictures in Picasa Web Album
Price: 179 €
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FocusMirror35 - Parabolic Solar Concentrator - D=35cm

Small preassembled solar parabolic concentrator. A demonstration of the big solar cookers FocusMirror110Kit and FocusMirror140Kit.

Technical data:
  • Diameter 35cm
  • Power in the focal plane with direct sun ~50 W
Solar.Thermal SolCool
Price: 554 €
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SolCool - Adsorption Cooling System

How to make ice using the principle of evaporation cooling? SolCool consists of a water cup, a reservoir of a special water-absorbent zeolite - a substance used as a water-softener in washing powders - and a connected vacuum pump. The cooling system exploits three physical phenomena:
The boiling point of a fluid - here water - is dependent on the pressure above it. At 20º C water starts to boil below a pressure of 20 mBar.
Water evaporation needs heat, the latent heat of vaporization. During this process this heat is taken from the liquid water, which consequently cools.
Zeolite absorbs water-vapor from damp air.
So by combining these three phenomena, a cooling device can be built. The pump is used to reduce the device's internal pressure, making the water boil, which cools the remaining water. As long as the pressure is progressively reduced and the connected zeolite reservoir is able to adsorb the water vapor, the water will keep on evaporating and the cooling process will continue. Within a few minutes the system is able to produce about 100 milliliters of ice. The zeolite can be re-activated by drying in your oven or alternatively with our Solar cooker FocusMirror110Kit.
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