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Sunflower_1 | by IBM Research
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The High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system, which resembles a 10 meter high sunflower, uses a 40 square meter parabolic dish, made from patented fiber- based concrete which can be molded into nearly any shape in less than four hours with mechanical characteristics similar to aluminium at one-fifth the cost.


The inside of the parabolic dish is covered with 36 elliptic mirrors made of 0.2 millimeter thin recyclable plastic foil with a silver coating, slightly thicker than the wrapper chocolate bars are packaged in, which are then curved using a slight vacuum. The mirrored surface area concentrates the sun’s radiation by reflection onto several microchannel-liquid cooled receivers each populated with a dense array of multi- junction photovoltaic chips — each 1×1 centimeter chip produces an electrical power up to 57 watts when operating over a typical sunny day. The mirrors and the receiver are encased with a large inflated transparent plastic enclosure to protect them from rain, hail, or dust. The enclosure also prevents birds and other animals from getting in harms way.


Credit: Airlight Energy/dsolar


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Taken on September 4, 2014