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The SunCatcher: Concentrating Solar Dishes Set Efficiency Record
Wouldn’t it be amazing if the old magnifying glass on a sunny day trick could be used for good instead of evil? Well, meet the SunCatcher. Created by Stirling Energy Systems in collaboration with Tessera Solar, the SunCatcher is a parabolic dish composed entirely of precision mirrors. Following the sun from east to west, the SunCatcher squeezes every last drop of energy out of the sun’s rays by focusing the light onto its very own innovative and truly sustainable power conversion unit. Read on to find out how it works!
Each SunCatcher is carefully engineered to wake up in the morning and follow the sun across the sky, concentrating an entire day of direct sunlight onto a single point called, quite appropriately, the power conversion unit (PCU). The SunCatcher’s PCU contains a set of hydrogen gas-filled receiver tubes that become pressurized as they’re heated by the sun’s carefully focused energy. The high temperature and pressure of the hydrogen gas then powers the on-board Solar Stirling Engine, and finally, a generator connected to the output of the Solar Stirling Engine converts the sun’s light to grid-quality electricity. The hydrogen gas is then cooled by a radiator system and recycled through the technology, completely eliminating the need for water and creating an entirely self-contained process.
Stirling Energy Systems has already found incredible success with the SunCatcher in dozens of markets across the globe, having seen more than 50,000 on-sun hours to date. Stirling’s Solar Dish equipment also boasts the distinction of holding the world’s efficiency record for conversion of solar energy into electricity. The array responsible for setting this record was installed nearly 25 years ago in Huntington Beach, CA and only increases our belief that we’ll be seeing more of the SunCatcher in the not-too-distant future.
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