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Directory:IBM / Bruno Michel's HCPVT solar collectors magnify sun 2000x to create electricity and heat

Lasted edited by Andrew Munsey, updated on June 15, 2016 at 1:09 am.

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Compiled by Congress:Founder:Sterling D. Allan

Pure Energy Systems News

September 7, 2015

Jay Pavasia told me about this story from TreeHugger, which seems very significant for the world of solar energy. An inventor with IBM has come up with a concentrated solar technology that both creates electricity and generates heat, for a combined collector efficiency of 80%.

Here's an excerpt from the April, 2013 story:

: Cleverly combining solar PV with solar thermal to reach 80% conversion efficiency

: Concentrating the sun's ray onto solar photovoltaic (PV) modules requires walking the fine line between optimizing power output and not literally melting your very expensive super-high-efficiency solar cells. A team led by IBM Research seems to have found a way to push back the line. They have created a High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system that is capable of concentrating the power of 2,000 suns onto hundreds of triple junction photovoltaic chips measuring a single square centimeter each (they even claim to be able to keep temperatures safe up to 5,000x). The trick is that each solar PV cell is cooled using technology developed for supercomputers microchannels inspired by blood vessels but only a few tens of micrometers in width pipe liquid coolant in and extract heat "10 times more effective than with passive air cooling."

: Waste not

: The beauty is that this heat is not just thrown away. This system gets useful work out of it. So while the PV modules are 30%+ efficient at converting the sun's light into electricity, another 50% of the sun's energy is captured as heat and can then be used to do things like thermal water desalination and adsorption cooling. This means that the system is capable of converting around 80% of the collected solar energy into useable energy (though the electricity is of course more useful than the thermal energy).

Official Websites - Airlight Energy, the company taking this to market

Bruno Michel research


A Solar Energy Breakthrough

In the video below, IBM research scientist Bruno Michel gives an overview of the project:


(YouTube October 24, 2012)

In the News

(The hyperlink is missing because this points to the present page)
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Latest: Directory:Solar > Directory:Concentrated Solar Power / Directory:Solar Thermal > Directory:IBM / Bruno Michel's HCPVT solar collectors magnify sun 2000x to create electricity and heat - An inventor with IBM has come up with a concentrated solar technology that both creates electricity and generates heat, for a combined collector efficiency of 80%. Airlight Energy is planning to sell some Solar Sunflowers to early adopters in 2016, and then ramp up to full commercial manufacturing capacity in 2017. (PESWiki September 7, 2015)

The Solar Sunflower: Harnessing the power of 5,000 suns - The Sunflower has a massive total efficiency of around 80%, thanks to very clever tech. (Arstechnica August 27, 2015)

IBM solar collector magnifies sun by 2,000x (without cooking itself), costs 3x less than similar systems (TreeHugger April 23, 2013)

Made in IBM Labs: Collaboration Aims to Harness the Energy of 2,000 Suns - High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal system able to convert 80 percent of the collected solar energy - System can deliver electricity, potable water and cool air in remote locations - Design based on a low-cost, large dish-like concentrator and micro-channel cooled high performance photovoltaic chips suitable for mass-production (IBM 22 Apr 2013)

Revolutionary Solar Technology - Supercomputing Innovation Cools Solar Chips (pdf) (IBM Oct 30, 2006)


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Directory:Solar - index of resources

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