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Originally posted by LazarusTheLong
that would be a great thing...
in places like hawaii. Too bad it requires an extremely deep ocean right next to the plant.
How the Sunflower Solar Concentrator Works
1. The sun's rays strike the Sunflower's 25-mirror array.
2. The mirrors are aligned to focus incoming light into a concentrated point.
3. The concentrated light strikes an overhead panel of photovoltaic silicon, creating electrical current. A processor analyzes the reflections to track the sun's position and instructs a pair of motors in the base of the Sunflower to realign the mirrors accordingly.
The challenge for Energy Innovations' engineers was to keep a grid of 25 mirrors focused on a single point as the sun travels across the sky - and to do it cheaply. The goal: control each mirror independently without requiring separate motors for each mirror.
The key: a surface - based on a mathematical curve called the conchoid of Nicomedes - that dictates the position of each mirror. The surface, sampled at 25 points, is represented in the Sunflower by a grid of ball bearings attached to a swinging frame.
Moving the frame requires only two motors: As it swings on an x-y axis, the bearings move the mirrors in tandem, yet each mirror follows its individual path.