Today, someone passed on an important link. The Swiss company Nolaris is building a solar concentrator power system that matches the Factor e Farm Solar Power Generator very closely. In particular – both systems use flat mirrors in a linear fresnel configuration, and a water-filled collector tube. Nolaris is using a turbine, while we are using a steam engine as the heat engine of choice. The point of this blog post is to demonstrate to the disbelievers that our approach to solar power generation is sound. To clarify, we believe that a linear flat mirror system has the highest potential for replicability on the kW unit of scalability, given the simplicity of the approach. See the video from Nolaris, in French, with sprinkles of English in the encounter with the Arabs.
Another solar conentrator power developer fellow from France told me about a parabolic trough system that he is putting into production in 2009, via Chinese mass production. We will collaborate on developing a steam engine, since that’s an area of common ground. This fellow is doing critical review of our design, and says that the main challenges will be the accuracy of the linear array, and feedback for aligning the array on the receiver tube. He is convinced that once we go through some more calculations, we’ll switch over to his parabolic design. I don’t think so – but if it is indeed so, we welcome an even more cost-effective design. We do have many issues that we need to work out, so if you are interested in getting involved, see the video that discusses all of the development issues in front of us. At best, come to Factor e Farm if you truly want to change the world by making the solar power generator an open source reality.The question is not if it is possible, but how we end up accomplishing that goal. We’re willing to go as deep as we need, in technological recursion – to make this work. It will likely require developing dedicated tooling – in the framework of community supported manufacturing (CSM). We believe that CSM will outperform global outsourcing of the manufacturing process because of improved service and a humane face of the product.
Moreover, I must report the events that transpired since the ‘historic solar convergenece’ discussed in a former post. It turns out that our collaboration with the UK team has ended abruptly. There was some confusion over the license – and when it became clear that we work openly, they retracted all support. I have not heard any responses to several emails. This made me think that in addition to the GFDL copyleft license for the wiki, I should have an explicit disclaimer in my email signature. This disclaimer should clarify to those unfamiliar with open source methods that we mean business only in terms of creating a better world for everybody – which means by sharing information, and especially economically significant information.
With this said, we don’t have ready access to reflector slat mounting, alignment, and feedback for tracking – so we’ll have to reinvent the wheel on these. Conceptually, this is trivial, but it appears that it’s not trivial to implement. Join in to make this happen.