Solar Concentrator/Research Development

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Solar Concentrator
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Research pertaining to the Solar Concentrator.

Links to DIY Projects

  • Fresnel Type, circular from the Ukraine - [1]

Research could have some useful code and application to this. It would probably only use one of these systems displayed. Also generally an amazing resource for realtime 3d, robotics, arduino control.


Open Source Ecology driven projects

In France, We proceeded using the iterated method product development lifecycle, defining the functional requirements, building table models, building the actual project. We started with a proof of concept developped in August 2015 during POC21 event in France, it was named Solar-OSE We are moving toward the first "alpha" version, not yet optimized in terms of costs, method of build and quality but full size, named Alpha-Sole it will be built in Autumn 2016. We will then develop the third and final version of this machine that will be fully optimized, yet to be named and conceptualized based on the findings over Alpha Sole and Solar Ose.

Development status

Demonstrator SolarOSE (proof of concept of 1KW peak power) : completed

the Functional requirements
Full builduing guide Open Hardware on
Full builduing guide Open Hardware on instructables
Complementary to this manual, you can find online more information on:
   Software, Electronics, Modelling (once finalized), documentation, licence details: see Github
   discussions on our Forum
   the documentation and collaborative writing in French on our Wiki
   functional requirements giving a comparison between the present demonstrator and the next prototype
   the project in French:
   you can subscribe to our newsletter and more on our website: osefrance :)

AlphaSole (first module of 5KW Peak power) : on development


  August 2016: Design, final Functional requirements
  September 2016: BOM + Models
  Octobre/Novembre 2016: Workshop
  December-March 2017: Testing 
  March 2017 : on production

Gantt chart (need ganttproject)

Functional requirements of Alphasole Prototype

English version  here 
 French version  here 
 Spanish version here 

Design requirements

Within the scope of collaborative research, we work on the requirements of each element developped thereafter in the following sections. The discussion history between contributors is available through the links to the forum (in French):

 * Structure forum [2] ,
 * Concentrator optic forum [3] ,
 * Engines, Program, Captors forum [4] ,
 * Absorber forum [5] .


Requirement Demonstrator Prototype Comments for protototype
Reduce risks Pay attention to parasitic reflexions * optical risks ; * risks related to high pressure and high temperature hydraulic circuit
Cost (material, production, manufacturing, assembling) Minimum Minimum: <300€/m² Savings possible with respect to demonstrator but not yet optimized

Concentrator optic


Requirement Demonstrator Prototype Comments for protototype
Optical efficiency Reflectivity (at normal angle) 0.9 60-70% To finetune: relevant/optimized geometry, cf cf [[6]] ; reflectivity of mirrors >= 0.9 ; other parameters : fouling, cleaning frequency, evolution through lifetime
Robustness and lifetime no requirement 3 to 5 years To be studied : * time? * warranty? * what efficiency loss? * renewal point, maintenance frequency. * economic balance? * also to be written in other sections : structure, optic. *to define: expensive elements, frame elements last longer: 20 years or more
Accesibility for cleaning and maintenance no requirement yes *easy cleaning of the mirrors; *maintenance and tuning of the facets once mounted; *access to receptor once mounted
Thermal efficiency of the receptor secondary concentration on the receptor > 1.5 70-80% efficiency as a goal
Total concentration factor between 15 and 30 between 15 and 30 With 20 mirrors, it reaches about 15
Secondary reflector (CPC) : design coordinated with absorber 60% yes



Frame of mirrors set and receptor

Requirement Demonstrator Prototype Comments for protototype
Independant structure: mirror, receptor yes No Fixed relative position, to be set in accordance with latitude
Resistance to ambiant environment yes, punctually yes, permanently wind speed, hail, rain, snow, dust
Sufficient stiffness against vibrations and deformation yes yes
Ground fixing Adjustable feet Fixed Concrete base to be planned or fixation to an existing structure, roof... Study carefully stiffness, stability...
Assembling easiness yes yes kit possible
Transport easiness yes no
Welding the least possible Ok No requirement initially, compromise between : building complexity and assembling easiness
Limitation of accident risks yes yes at all stages : manufacturing, assembling

Structure of mirrors facets

Requirement Demonstrator Prototype Comments for protototype
Fresnel mirror: area defined by the power need (5KW )
Mirror deformation limitation deflection lower than 5 mm / 0.1° facet orientation, respectively 1cm on the receptor (a priori) depends on receptor height, valid for 1.5m height
Sun tracking (east west) >120° respectively 8h tracking 12h tracking respective rotation of 90° in 12h
Bad weather protection yes yes for instance: 180° range (mirrors down)
Optical alignment possible through a tuning needless of special tools yes yes Better: procedure to be updated for calibration
Easy switching of mirror facets yes yes more generally: easy maintenance

6) tracking system (engines, program, sensors)


Requirement Demonstrator Prototype Comments for protototype
Real time accurate tracking of the sun motion yes yes Plan a failsoft mode in case of a failure of the tracking system
Motorisation of mirrors yes yes
Electricity consumption - Minimum achievable Plan an autonomous working mode (no connection to electical grid)? (photovoltaic pannel?)
Number of engines Minimum One per module or one for all the system To be validated regarding the other technical choices (structure)
Sun tracking to get the right angle yes yes, with necessary accuracy Goal: send all the beams of each mirror on the width of the recptor (CPC width)
Sensors (weather condition detection) - yes * ambiant temperature, direct sun radiation. (as a complement of process sensors (boiler and use))
Fluid temperature and pressure measurements yes drive the circulating pump controlled by pressure and/or temperature (according to use). Steam flow rate sensor? Liquid water level sensor? => depends on type of use
System automatic shutdown Optional Safety in case of electrical outage (circulating pump stopped => temperature increase) + in case of a storm (mirrors down (if possible)). (Resistance to hail?)
Simple controlling panel yes Programming expert mode when needed, but simple to use ideas: remote access ? consultation des informations de fonctionnement (et historique ?)To be scheduled

7) Receiver unit (absorber)


Requirement Demonstrator Prototype Comments for protototype
Specific design for the working fluid, natural or forced circulation 100% yes
Selective material: High absorption qualities through all the solar spectrum : 100% , Absorbance 90%, infrared emissivity 15% : material intrinsically absorbant (or absorptive coating) = high absorbance through all the solar spectrum and low infrared emissivity
High thermal exchange between absorber and fluid 60% yes material and conduction-convection in the fluid
The system should be thermally insulated (with respect to ambiant air, infrared radiation) 60% yes see requirement for the overall thermal efficiency (insulation material above and glass below)
Good resistance to temperature variation (material expansion, tightness) 60% yes In particular, risks related to high temperatures and pressure of fluid


  • modularity is hardly compatible with the high constraints of the absorber (pressure, temperature variation etc.)
  • In case of frost, the absorber should be emptied (or the frost might destroy it). =>Ambiant temperature sensor + electric valve? =>design of the absorber enabling the complete emtying.


Requirements to be better defined with user


Requirement Demonstrator Prototype Comments for protototype
Position: avoid building shadow and other masks -  ?
Running range -  ? *for a sun exposure not in first hour nor in last hour, *for which hour range in the day, in the season, * for which latitude
Temperature level -  ? Optic and best technology may be different with respect to temperature. Example: *Hot water production at 80°C; *Steam production at 130°C from liquid water; *Steam Superheating from 150°C to 250°C

Hydraulic circuit

Requirement Demonstrator Prototype Comments for protototype
Pressure losses - Minimum Limit pressure losses, above all for light fluids : air, steam
Open/closed circuit -  ?
Mineral scale risks -  ? Gives good reason to run in a closed circuit...
Fluid -  ?

Ideas: Could we have a feedback from the user? Which power (mini, maxi average) does he need? During how many hours? And for which season. At my parents', lavander distillery: July. Canned food and Jam from June to september.

See Also

The Global Village Construction Set
Habitat CEB Press Cement Mixer Sawmill Bulldozer Backhoe
Agriculture Tractor Seeder Hay Rake Well-Drilling Rig
Microtractor Soil Pulverizer Spader Hay Cutter Trencher
Bakery Oven Dairy Milker Microcombine Baler
Industry Multimachine Ironworker Laser Cutter Welder Plasma Cutter
CNC Torch Table Metal Roller Rod and Wire Mill Press Forge Universal Rotor
3D Printer 3D Scanner CNC Circuit Mill Industrial Robot Chipper Hammermill
Drill Press Induction Furnace
Energy Power Cube Gasifier Burner Solar Concentrator Electric Motor Generator Hydraulic Motor
Steam Engine Heat Exchanger Wind Turbine Pelletizer Universal Power Supply
Nickel-Iron Battery
Materials Aluminum Extractor Bioplastic Extruder
Transportation Car Truck

Imprimante 3D Scanner 3D Extracteur d'Aluminum Pelleteuse Four à Pain Presse à balles de paille Extrudeuse à bioplastiques Bulldozer Voiture Presse BTC Betonnière Broyeur à marteaux Imprimante de circuits électroniques Table de découpe numérique Trayeuse Perçeuse à colonne Moteur électrique Gazogène Faucheuse Râteau à foin Moteur hydraulique Fourneau à induction Bras robotisé Poinçonneuse Découpeur Laser Laminoir à plaques Microcombine Microtracteur Multimachine Batterie Ni-Fe Machine à granulés Torche plasma Power Cube Presse hydraulique Laminoir à barres et fils de fer Pulvérisateur de terre Scierie Semoir Concentrateur solaire Roto-bêche Moteur à vapeur Echangeur de chaleur Tracteur Fraiseuse de tranchée Camion Alimentation électrique universelle Rotor universel Poste de soudure à l'arc Plateforme de forage de puits Eolienne

Key Design Planning Prototype Almost done Full Release