MIT Students Develop Revolutionary Solar Dish That is Hot Enough to Melt Steel
Interesting news on the alternative energy front ...
New solar dish from MIT concentrates sunlight intensely enough to melt steel ...
The results are staggering -- the completed mirror focuses enough solar energy at its focal point to melt solid steel. The energy of typical sunlight is concentrated by a factor of 1,000. This was showcased during a demonstration, in which a team member held up a board, which instantly and violently combusted, when brought within range of the focal point.
By directing the dish at a more practical target -- water piped through black tubing -- steam can be flash created, offering instant means of producing energy or providing heating.
Spencer Ahrens, who just received his master's in mechanical engineering from MIT, was among the designers of the dish. He and his fellow team members are serious about marketing it, and leveraging its cheap cost and easy production. They have founded a company named RawSolar. They say their design is easily mass producible and that they hope to be pumping out 1,000 of dishes in years to come.
The new dishes would return their costs in a mere couple years, unlike standard photo-voltaic installations which can take 10 years or more to return their costs. This improvement is critical to providing practical economic justification for adoption.