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Old 03-08-2010, 05:09 PM
surfer03133 surfer03133 is offline
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Default solar thermal collector

At my college, I am getting the opportunity to work with MIT and build a prototype solar thermal collector. Basically, its an aluminum trough that focuses the sunlight from all angles directly at a pipe going across the trough. The pipe is filled with water, and when the water heats up enough, something happens and something else happens and electricity is created! It is a prototype that they are building here on our campus because we have 364 days of sunshine. They are going to build these all around developing countries because they provide not only electricity, but also hot water. To give you an idea about the power output--> It will power our Marine Science Building, all the labs and tanks and computers. The building isn't that big, say compared to USF campus Marine Science center, but it does suck up a lot of juice. We are starting tomorrow and will finish building the troughs on friday, and they will be installed friday afternoon. I'll get some pictures of the finished product because i won't be able to take pictures during construction due to me constructing. The team doing this is like 20 students and the team from MIT. It is a really cool thing to do and looks like it will be a lot of fun.
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:53 PM
Pbav8tor Pbav8tor is offline
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Default Re: solar thermal collector

That is really cool. Can't wait to see pics.
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:39 PM
myoung myoung is offline
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Default Re: solar thermal collector

I look forward to seeing the progress! can you provide more details? How does it work? is it just a steam generator, or some other process?
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:43 PM
surfer03133 surfer03133 is offline
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Default Re: solar thermal collector

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Originally Posted by myoung View Post
I look forward to seeing the progress! can you provide more details? How does it work? is it just a steam generator, or some other process?
lol, i would provide more details, but i have no idea how it works as of yet. the MIT guys were like we need you guys to help put together the troughs and then they have a crew that will bolt them to the ground. I think it may be steam power, since it is heat related. Ill definitely find out more when we start though
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Old 03-11-2010, 05:03 PM
surfer03133 surfer03133 is offline
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Default Re: solar thermal collector

Heres a sneak preview of what they'll look like:

we got them all in place. Tomorrow we are going to be hooking up the pipes for the water which will flow through the loops in the picture. There is also a driveshaft connected to a motor on the middle trough which will turn all the troughs to whatever angle will best capture the sunlight.
I am still abit fuzzy on the details of how it produces electricity, the generator isn't in place yet, but hopefully will find that out tomorrow.
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Last edited by surfer03133; 03-11-2010 at 05:09 PM.
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  #6  
Old 03-11-2010, 05:05 PM
DangerRanger01 DangerRanger01 is offline
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Default Re: solar thermal collector

picture fail
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  #7  
Old 03-11-2010, 05:07 PM
surfer03133 surfer03133 is offline
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Default Re: solar thermal collector

Work now?
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Old 03-11-2010, 05:30 PM
DangerRanger01 DangerRanger01 is offline
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Default Re: solar thermal collector

works. looks interesting. Is the pipe filled with water going through the center of it? Looks like a small pipe. I'm definitely interested in hearing more about this.
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Old 03-11-2010, 05:33 PM
surfer03133 surfer03133 is offline
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Default Re: solar thermal collector

its about a 2" diameter pipe that goes through the loops in the picture. The troughs are actually covered right now to protect the mirrors during installation, but we'll take the covers off tomorrow. The parabolic shape focuses all the sunlight towards that pipe with water. The water gets really hot and flows on to a generator, then the details get fuzzy lol. We have two rows of troughs, that was just one row.
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  #10  
Old 03-11-2010, 05:40 PM
joeynm22 joeynm22 is offline
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Default Re: solar thermal collector

Looks like a parabola. Focusing the light on one central point. Makes sense. Good luck Conor!
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  #11  
Old 03-11-2010, 07:04 PM
surfer03133 surfer03133 is offline
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Default Re: solar thermal collector

Thanks, this system is the prototype that is being tested for optimization. The production versions will be going to Africa to provide both electricity and hot water to villages too far from any power source. I found the company that is partnered with MIT, they are called Sopogy Solar. They state that these systems are intended for large scale operation, i.e. replacing a coal-fired plant. They can produce in the MegaWatt range.
How it works is interesting too. The water is heated to steam, then the steam can be used in a conventional steam powered power plant or can be used to fuel new organic engines which produce the electricity and only run on steam. PV (photovoltaic) cells are rated at like 15% efficiency, while these solar thermal collectors are rated at anywhere between 20-40% efficiency.
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"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
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Last edited by surfer03133; 03-11-2010 at 09:10 PM.
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  #12  
Old 03-15-2010, 02:09 PM
surfer03133 surfer03133 is offline
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Default Re: solar thermal collector

Here are some pictures of the finished troughs. They are really bright and if you stick you hand in the middle of them, it will get very sun burnt, very quickly. I had the pleasure of peeling off the plastic film protecting the panels and man, i was wearing dark sunglasses but still was blinded by the reflection of the sun.



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Old 03-15-2010, 05:50 PM
richarddhoward richarddhoward is offline
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Default Re: solar thermal collector

Lol so if they are blinding with sun that means the ladies can use them to tan with, going green is a hard job it sounds like lol
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  #14  
Old 03-15-2010, 06:01 PM
surfer03133 surfer03133 is offline
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Default Re: solar thermal collector

lol, they have no need, there is a beach literally twenty feet away from the other end of the collectors. i love my school
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  #15  
Old 03-15-2010, 06:02 PM
richarddhoward richarddhoward is offline
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Default Re: solar thermal collector

Quote:
Originally Posted by surfer03133 View Post
lol, they have no need, there is a beach literally twenty feet away from the other end of the collectors. i love my school
Do you have a couch? I'm coming to visit lol
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I think Henry just shit himself
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radness View Post
Its kind of like that carnival game "Whack A Mole" but with guns! Haha
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