Solar thermal collectors use reflector to gather sunlight and generate stem. This stem can be use to drive complex power station turbines. It also can combine with heat storage systems and supply power at low cost. It is far better than solar energy from photovoltaic panels which has to be stored in batteries.
Although a new world record has set for solar thermal efficiency. This is done by scientists from Australian National University. They have develop a new receiver for a solar concentrator dish. The new receiver design is a cavity. It resembles a top hat with narrow opening and a wide brim. Water pipes are roll out inside the brim and outside the hat.
Through this dish, team halved energy losses. Later, they achieved 97 percent conversion of sunlight into steam. According to scientists, this can challenge commercial systems by about seven percentage points. However, the ANU team already has commercial interest in the solar thermal system.
John Pye, from the ANU Research School of Engineering said, “When our computer model told us the efficiency that our design was going to achieve, we thought it was alarmingly high. But when we built it and tested it, sure enough, the performance was amazing.”
“We are actually talking seriously with a company that’s seeking to use our new receiver in some large mine-site applications, for provision of both heat and power to the site,” he continued.
This novel design can greatly reduce 10 percent of cost in thermal power electricity. But the aim was to get costs down to 12 cents a kilowatt-hour of electricity.
The ANU solar concentrator is the largest of its kind in the world at 500 square metres. It gathers 2,100 power from Sun onto the receiver. Through this, water is pumped and heated to 500 degrees Celsius.