Aora Solar’s TulipTM System is a groundbreaking technology that can provide clean power 24/7 with none of the intermittency of other large-scale solar developments. It’s also gorgeous.
The technology is founded on reflecting mirrors that track the sun and concentrate the sun’s energy into the receiving tower:
It’s a fairly normal distributed solar thermal (DST) technology, which offers an important benefit over solar PV power plants. Because the tower is producing energy from the heat rather than the sun’s rays, 24-hour power is possible within the same system by using alternative fuels during the off hours (nighttime). Aora’s technology has quick-response heat augmentation capability, burning fuel to provide constant heat inputs to the turbine.
Another major advantage of the Aora TulipTM System is that it uses hot air to power the microturbines, rather than steam. According to the company, this means it requires just 8% of the amount of water that traditional CSP steam technologies use. In arid environments, like Israel’s central Arava Valley, that’s a critical advantage.
Recently, Aora Solar teamed up with Arizona State University to help power the campus with DST technology. Arizona is one of the hottest markets for solar in the US, but it’s also an extremely arid environment, prone to wildfires and at high risk from droughts.
To give you a better sense of how the technology works, I interviewed William Weisinger of Aora Solar on a recent trip to Israel:
The small test array there is only capable of powering 30 homes in the developed world, but the modular capability, 24/7 power generation potential, and lack of water consumption make this a very attractive clean technology with a scalable solution for many applications around the world.
Find out more about Aora Solar here.
Check out a list of other cool cleantech innovations from my recent Israel trip (as part of a sustainable blogger tour, courtesy of Kinetis, which arranged the visit for me) here: