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Solar Magnifying Glass Could Power The Entire Planet

Could this invention change the way energy is delivered on a global scale?

Lara Piras
Lara Piras on February 26, 2014.

American multinational technology and consulting corporation IBM are renowned the world over for being technology leaders and innovators with an aim to ‘shape the future of society and make the world work better and build a smarter planet.’ Their latest creation is being considered as one of their best projects yet.

The team at IBM have developed a system called High Concentration Photo Voltaic Thermal (HCPVT), which is capable of concentrating the sun’s rays into a stream 2000x more powerful. The process of trapping sunlight also produces water that can be used to produce potable water and other modern day amenities such as air conditioning. Scientists are predicting that the HCPVT could provide sustainable energy and fresh water to communities all around the world. The system is also renewable and in terms of size, it would only take up 2% of the Sahara Desert’s land area.

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The team explains:

Current solar technologies on the market today are too expensive and slow to produce, require rare Earth minerals and lack the efficiency to make such massive installations practical. The HCPVT system uses a large parabolic dish, made from a multitude of mirror facets, which is attached to a tracking system that determines the best angle based on the position of the sun. Such system can be profitably applied in sunny regions where sustainable energy, drinkable water and cool air are in short supply.

With manufacturing and maintenance processes required, this idea will also create much-needed jobs around the world. With the high concentration of the sun’s rays and a low cost design, the team believe they charge $250 per square meter which is three times lower than normal systems. This in turn means the cost of the energy itself could be as low as 10 cents per kilowatt hour (KWh).

The team eventually want to roll out the system in countries including Southern Europe, Africa, the Arabic peninsula, southwestern United States, South America, and Australia with the possibility of moving into further markets such as tourism where energy supply is scarce or low.

IBM

Sources: Huffington Post, Collective Evolution, IBM

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