Prof. Aharon Roy
Head of the Solar Power Laboratory,
Department of Chemical Engineering,
Ben Gurion University of the Negev
A unique solar power-technology development is in progress, based on innovative, low-cost dish collectors producing high temperature thermal energy which is converted to electricity
The worldwide market for solar electricity at present is estimated at $1 billion a year, which is supplied mainly by photovoltaic devices ("solar cells"), selling at upwards of $15,000 perkW installed. It is very remarkable considering the high price level. The solar thermal trough
(known as "Luz") technology, used to sell at $4,000/kW (30 MW plants), or $3,600/kW (80 MW). Our technology is aimed at a selling price of $2,000 – $2,500/kW. The world-wide market for solar electricity at this price is many folds higher.
Our technology concept is based on a proprietary dish design and fabrication techniques, costing about the same per square meter aperture
(collector) as the trough – however, with double thermal efficiency
(thermal output per square meter aperture collector) (solar to thermal)
(annual average),and at considerably higher temperature. This leads to halving the cost of the solar electricity produced via the special dish.
With our technology no evacuated glass tubes or graded glass-metal seals are necessary (and no glass receivers), no specially expensive material or gases, no thermal oils, and no need for extreme ground levelling for the solar farm installation.
With the new dish, high temperature steam or hot air (700 degC) will be produced by an advanced cavity receiver. The thermal energy will be converted to electricity by either a steam-engine generator, or by a particularly developed high-speed Brayton cycle spindle-convertor. Both central and distributed (generator) systems will be developed, amenable to either large scale or small scale applications, and various-size consumers.