I just heard Sir Charles Shults on Coast and I’m so excited about this!
When my nephew was here last summer we discussed thermal power a few times. He just graduated to be an energy engineer and we had many talks about alternative energy.
The first technology, now in test mode, is a Concentrated Solar Steam Generator which will produce affordable electricity, steam and hot water to handle all of the heating, hot water and power needs.
Three applications include:
- local power for an individual home or business,
- a larger application for community solar farm, and
- a power plant application or to provide power through the grid.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS :
What is solar thermal generation?
This is a system that gathers and concentrates the energy of sunlight to produce useful power for the home.
How does it work?
Sunlight is concentrated using an array of lenses and the resulting heat used to operate a turbine and generator, similar to most power plants that use traditional fuels. The heat from sunlight is used instead of petroleum, coal, or natural gas.
How much power does this system provide?
Our target is 6 kilowatts of power. The average American home consumes about 30 kilowatt hours of power per day. In five hours’ time, this system would produce all the power a home would need.
Is this system limited to using lenses?
No, it can also use the heat from solar water heating panels to preheat the water and therefore generate power.
What type of power does this system produce?
Electrical power and hot water. Since hot water production consumes about 30% of the energy used in a home, this means that the waste heat from this system is a useful product.
How efficient is this system compared to solar photovoltaic panels?
Photovoltaic panels usually produce about 15% electrical power from the sunlight they receive. Our system is targeted at 60% through the use of a steam turbine and heat recovery.
How efficient are solar water heating panels?
A well-designed heat collector panel can achieve about 50% efficiency in transferring the sun’s heat into your hot water system.
Will this system freeze when the temperatures drop?
No, the working fluid will not freeze.
What do we do when we have no Sun for a few days?
The system is designed to have a storage system for power. Some users will also plug into the electrical grid and simply sell power back when they generate it, then use standard electrical power during the times when they don’t have Sun.
Can this system handle other power sources?
The system is being designed to be compatible with other power generation methods such as wind or even backup generators.
What sort of power storage does the system have?
The first versions will use deep cycle batteries for storing power, and later versions will use the new superbatteries or even flywheel energy storage. As the technology changes, the system can easily be upgraded to handle those advances.
What if I need more power that your system provides?
The system is designed to be modular so that more energy collection units can be added to meet your needs.
Does this system track the Sun?
Yes. The lens arrays follow the Sun through the course of the day to maximize the amount of power gathered.
What if the lenses are not on target- can this concentrated sunlight create a fire hazard?
No. The design of the system means that the sunlight spreads out past the collection points So it is no hotter than normal sunlight.
How hot can the concentrated sunlight get?
At the most concentrated, the temperatures can easily exceed 3,000 F.
Isn’t high pressure steam too dangerous to use in the home?
Steam was used for home heating for decades in radiators. We eliminate the need for a boiler by using a compact flash converter so the volume of steam in the system is very small at any given time. Also, check valves and relief valves allow the system to relieve pressure automatically.
This is just SUPER COOL.
I’m also especially impressed with their philosophy:
Freewill Power is the for-profit technology marketing and distribution company, organized as an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) under Lifeseed International Trust, (LIT), which is a non profit Trust. As a non-profit Trust, LIT is the vehicle through which individuals can participate through donations, loans or donor advised investments to support our technology and projects. Education, consulting, and product development occur in LIT, and it is the arm that holds the intellectual property for any technology developed, in Trust for the benefit of humanity. The bylaws of the Trust prohibit any intellectual property from being sold to a 3rd party for any reason, thereby protecting both the technology and the inventions. [emphasis added] [
DID YOU KNOW:
“The energy in sunlight striking the earth for 40 minutes is equivalent to the global energy consumption for a year.”
Scientific American, January 2008.
My first thought was that I won’t know what to do with all that power!
I’ve gone without generator (they all died) for 4 weeks.
It didn’t take long to come up with uses for extra power aside from having the freezer functioning as such and have ice cream again.
I had already considered keeping my planned greenhouse addition warm with buried pipes. I once saw a fantastic page on how someone in Idaho did that and kept his greenhouse from freezing.
So if I can get a thermal generator, I could actually not only heat water for pipes in the ground (too bad I got a slab in the living area), but I could have a bunch of heated trays and beds for growing food all winter.
Well, first thing’s first, have to build the greenhouse addition AFTER I finish my lean-to, get the water heater out of the kitchen (formerly garage) into the lean-to, run new propane lines, fix the leaks, do the plumbing ….
With that thermal generator, I could also heat my future hot spring in the greenhouse. As it’s getting cool at night, I imagine soaking in my chlorine free artificial hot spring. Use the water for the plants instead of adding chemicals.
Oh, and an electric car. I had a used electric car about 15 years ago when I lived in the Bay Area. Unfortunately, I lived on top of a hill and that didn’t work out so well and I had to return it. Now I’m also on top of a hill, but it’s not nearly as long, I could run an extension cord down to the road.
There’s no shortage of uses for power.