Submitted by: Parabolic Power
Implemented country: United States
Title: Solar-Fueled Combined Heat and Power Steam Turbine Generator
In today’s world energy is an indispensable requirement for economic development; however, over 2 billion people currently lack access to electricity, one third of which live in Sub-Sahara Africa. For these 450 million, darkness begins immediately after dusk. The lack of electricity not only prevents these communities from realizing their full human potential, but also jeopardizes their already poor prospects for economic growth. Villages in these poor, land-locked countries are forced to rely on expensive fuel imports as a power source for cooking, grinding, irrigation and other needs. One relatively cheap and simple method for resolving these problems is to harness the plentiful sunlight through a reflective parabolic trough concentrator, which converts solar radiation into thermal energy. This approach has been developed and implemented locally to cook bread. The original model successfully addressed the specific need but was difficult to construct and had no other functions. Working from this model, they developed a new trough design which is 1) easy to assemble using local skills and materials, 2) more efficient and 3) able to support multiple applications relevant to the needs of the local community. Several of these multi-function parabolic solar concentrators were deployed in 2005 and have been automatically tracking the sun for the last six months.