Sun Rises on Lower Cost Heliostats
A California company claims it has come up with a better heliostat, which could make it easier to deploy the sun-reflecting mirrors to generate light and heat for industrial users.
Pismo Beach-based LightManufacturing has developed a heliostat (the H1) made of metalized plastic stretched onto an aircraft-grade aluminum frame. The shatterproof material can be used to create a larger mirrored surface that can generate more than 2,000 watts of heat and light energy to a target. The H1 is also available with a wireless control system.
Unlike its glass counterparts, the H1 can be rolled or flat-packed for shipping, reducing costs and the risk of damage.
Heliostats are generally used to generate low-cost light for buildings, or to target sunlight for solar applications. LightManufacturing uses its own H1 array to generate 20,000 watts of energy for making plastic parts.
BrightSource Energy has deployed roughly 50,000 traditional heliostats to target its three massive solar towers at the Ivanpah solar project in Nevada, which will eventually generate electricity for 140,000 homes. The 392-megawatt project is the largest solar thermal project in the world.
You can see a video about the H1 technology below: