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Australians Claim Solar Thermal Efficiency Record

Posted October 19, 2016 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

A new efficiency record has been posted for a steam-generating solar thermal dish constructed by Australian National University engineers. A 97% conversion rate, which bests the previous world record of 93.6%, was achieved with a new receiver deployed on a specially designed solar concentrator dish. The 500 sq m (5,382 sq ft) solar concentrator focuses the power of 2,100 suns onto the receiver, through which water is pumped and heated to 500 C (932 F). The design minimizes heat loss and could lead to a 10% reduction in solar thermal electricity costs.


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Guru

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#1

Re: Australians Claim Solar Thermal Efficiency Record

10/19/2016 3:46 AM

I bet they are still 99.999999999 percent ineffective in the area where there is no receiver!

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Guru

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#2

Re: Australians Claim Solar Thermal Efficiency Record

10/19/2016 10:12 AM

Better to go with a lower temperature design and an engineered heat transfer fluid....a high molecular weight heat transfer fluid gives more bang for the buck and is easier on the expander...

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.3155/1047-3289.61.1.3

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#3

Re: Australians Claim Solar Thermal Efficiency Record

10/19/2016 7:25 PM

Wow. They were 0.4 percent better. Sounds like we are at about five time constants on the efficiency curve.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Australians Claim Solar Thermal Efficiency Record

10/20/2016 12:12 AM

3.4

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#10
In reply to #4

Re: Australians Claim Solar Thermal Efficiency Record

10/21/2016 1:52 PM

3.5 time constants is closer to 97%.

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Power-User

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#5

Re: Australians Claim Solar Thermal Efficiency Record

10/20/2016 2:28 AM

97% of what?

Carnot cycle says that, assuming exhaust temperature is 500K (dry steam), then the input temp must be about 17,000K. The sun's surface is colder than that.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Australians Claim Solar Thermal Efficiency Record

10/20/2016 7:58 AM

We don't have to go that far; we get about 1KW insolation in each square meter, and 97 percent of 500 KW is a decent amount. It might even be cheaper to build and use than diesel.

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#7
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Re: Australians Claim Solar Thermal Efficiency Record

10/20/2016 12:34 PM

"we get about 1KW insolation in each square meter"

Yes at peak, but what is the average? Peak is meaningless as a constant power source...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunlight

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunshine_duration

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#9
In reply to #6

Re: Australians Claim Solar Thermal Efficiency Record

10/20/2016 5:32 PM

I take it that what you mean is we convert 97% of the incoming solar energy to usable heat energy. That would make sense.

However once we have that input you could only expect a maximum efficiency converting to electricity of 1 - Tout/Tin = say 1 - 500/3000 = 83%

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#8

Re: Australians Claim Solar Thermal Efficiency Record

10/20/2016 3:55 PM

I'm all for increasing energy efficiency, but I still have to ask:

What single portion of the (system) are they describing?

Does that include the efficiency of pumping the water as part of the (system) ?

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