Tracking solar concentrator from scrap.

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Tracking solar concentrator from scrap.

Postby solarflower » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:08 am

Hey all, if this isn't the best place for posting this please let me know.

Thought some here might be interested in a device I've just prototyped and documented.
Blurb:

The Solarflower is an open source solar energy collector which tracks the sun automatically through a simple non-electrical mechanism.

It can be made almost anywhere from common recycled and salvaged materials using basic tools and skills, is portable, has no running costs or emissions, and can produce up to kilowatts of power per device.

Depending on available resources it should take one to three unskilled people less than a week to build, and cost well under $100.

Potential examples of use could include:
Electrical production with simple steam turbine/piston, with waste heat going to oven or hot water system.
Dome oven with integrated water system for temperature regulation and hot/pasteurized water.
Steam distillation of water for removal of chemical, heavy metal, and biological toxins.
Medium to large scale food dehydration, processing, and roasting.
Conversion of fibrous organic waste into charcoal for energy storage and low smoke cooking, with coproduction of bio-oil and bio-gas.
And any other application utilizing heat.

Full construction tutorials and other resources available at http://www.solarflower.org

Have fun.
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Re: Tracking solar concentrator from scrap.

Postby Trishntek » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:55 am

It appears nothing is available on the link except the option to donate $$. Tutorials, forums and even FAQ tabs take us nowhere other than the home page. Solicitations of funding for a non-burningman project just might be against eplaya terms of service.
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Re: Tracking solar concentrator from scrap.

Postby solarflower » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:13 pm

Checked with a bunch of people and the site's working fine for them.

Ignore the donation thing, this is info being given away, not a solicitation.

If anyone has any questions about the device and making it, please let me know.
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Re: Tracking solar concentrator from scrap.

Postby BBadger » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:16 pm

This contraption is the same one presented last year in this thread.

The main problem I have with the "Solar Flower" is that while it is shown to track the sun, there is no mention of how this thing actually generates useful work--i.e. electricity.

No heat exchangers, no boiler, no generator. Mention of these is probably avoided because it would increase the price of the solar flower far beyond the $100 point, while also complicating the system with the necessary engineering.

Still, the bottom line is: without any method to convert the sun's energy into usable work, this solar flower is nothing more than a $100 decoration.
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Re: Tracking solar concentrator from scrap.

Postby solarflower » Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:21 am

I'm working on a way to generate electricity from heat which is scrap makeable. It's a bit of a general engineering grail at the moment.

Current simple applications for the solarflower would be heating and pasteurising water (thermosyphon it through the collector tube into a header tank), or pump/thermosyphon a heat transfer liquid, such as vegetable oil, to run a dome oven or other medium temperature application. Black water / saline can also be steam distilled, which I thought might be of particular interest on the Playa...
Other things like charcoal makers, steam engines etc, are in the works.

It's an ongoing project which is pretty much just starting out. What it really needs at the moment are for people to be building and beta testing the things, to start getting some output numbers and work any bugs out.
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Re: Tracking solar concentrator from scrap.

Postby BBadger » Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:06 am

You've already got some of those things built from the photos on the site--even plans and bill-of-materials. Why not experiment with those? You don't need numbers from other people.

Anyway, nobody is going to build these solar flowers, for testing or otherwise, if there is no single example of them being put to any useful purpose.

Your next goal should be showing how these solar flowers can be incorporated into a usable application.
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Re: Tracking solar concentrator from scrap.

Postby trilobyte » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:23 am

I'm going to move this over to the Preparation -> Power & Illumination board since this isn't so much the sharing of resources (like a rideshare or sharing of functional resources) but looking for help on a project. All you appear to need now is to figure out how to build a steam engine that can make use of what your device generates, and then of course an energy storage system - good luck.
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Re: Tracking solar concentrator from scrap.

Postby mshaman » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:11 pm

solarflower,
The Lustrous Industrious camp has a number of renewable energy projects under construction. We've been contemplating a solar concentrator for a small Stirling engine. We'll take a look at this and see if it lines up with the Stirling project. Thanks for bringing this up again, and please let us know what happens on your end with end-use applications.
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