By Зінченко Андрій (Andrij Zinchenko), EnergyTorrent co-founder, and Mariia Kriuchok
Here’s some good news for the DIY crowd among us — now you can assemble your own solar concentrator using blueprints and technical documentation developed by EnergyTorrent project team.
Solar Energy for the Rest of Us
Renewable energy has just become a closer option for everyone. And it is not about the price but rather about the access to the very technology of using solar energy. In this case, it is about solar concentrators — devices allowing you to obtain high-temperature heat (and with some tinkering, electricity). Now one can produce such devices right in their home workshop using open-source blueprints and documentation from the EnergyTorrent project. All of the documentation, with detailed step-by-step manufacturing instructions, can now be downloaded at the EnergyTorrent Wiki.
The newly released documentation provides information allowing anyone to manufacture a Fresnel-lens solar concentrator called “Diversity” capable of delivering 260 degrees Centigrade in the focal area. Its technical specifications are as follows:
- Diameter – 1.5 m
- Total area – 1.76 m²
- Efficient solar radiation collecting area – 1.39 m²
- Total reflection area – 1.64 m²
- Focal length – 1 m
The instructions and blueprints for manufacturing of Diversity concentrators are pretty detailed, so following them is the only thing one would need except instruments and materials. The latter are also listed at the respective Wiki site. But besides all these exact details, the documentation provides a great deal of freedom for those who like to play around with technical projects. It is due to this fact that the EnergyTorrent team also published all the necessary CAD files which can be modified according to the needs.
The parametric CAD model of a “Diversity” concentrator is also published at the EnergyTorrent Wiki. This model allows you to scale the concentrator and change it according to your own needs. Changing concentrator size and focal distance is just a matter of mastering the basics of the Rhinoceros CAD suite and installing some plug-ins. Users can change and tweak several variables and the software will print out the shapes of all details in 1:1.
Just the Very Beginning
This is just our first step with open-sourcing solar concentrators and other renewable energy. We have released English-language documentation of one solar concentrator, but we have more of them in our pipeline. Our Ukraine-based team is currently translating into English the documentation of 3 more solar concentrators.
All of them were developed in 2014 during the SunnyDay solar hackathon which was completely dedicated to making solar concentrators. The participants released their solar concentrators under an open-source license. (An English video of the hackathon is below.)
While releasing documentation of its solar concentrators, the EnergyTorrent team is already busy organizing a new hackathon. This time, we plan to scale up the success of last year’s event and make it an international solar challenge with teams coming from various countries and collectively building a new set of more powerful open solar technology. SunnyDay-2015 is planned for August 15–20 2015.
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