Solar Spork - a combined heat / electric module
50% net efficient with 150ºC - 200ºC output
beats-down demand charges
You have found the research home of the 50% efficient high temperature hybrid solar collector project - the Solar Spork. Why Spork? Cheap, dual purpose. Think of it as a gestation name. If you have a better one hit me - I can take correction. :^) OK back to R&D disclosure...
Learn more with a white paper I wrote after the first and second round of optical evaluations. Things have advanced since those findings were issued but the arguments laid out there for why we should bother are still good ones. Things that have advanced since that publication include:
How much better could it get? That is still unclear. I don't expect to exceed 60% net efficiency with silicon as the PV engine (there are some inherent loss mechanisms we just have to accept.) Which puts us out in search of the other side of the value proposition: to wrestle the cost of goods into focus (mixed metaphors come along for free around here.) The cost of goods looked acceptable at the first passes but now I get to comb through yet again at a closer range. For the time being that remains proprietary but design intent is to exploit commodity priced ingredients and the two stage collection process to minimize losses and get the greatest utility out of every part.
You might enjoy this little blog of mine. You can use it to keep up with my (soon our) doings and musings about the energy business. There are lots of moving parts to the energy business and I try to quickly put my fingers in and report on which way they move.
A twitter stream (early days, so I have not tweeted much.)
I must have left something unsaid or you want to learn more. Write and let me know.