Zenman Energy

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Zenman Energy is attempting to create a low cost solar steam engine generator. This generator works by focusing a large surface area of sunlight onto a smaller area. The energy in the sunlight concentrates and produces vast quantities of heat. To increase the amount of energy, we increase the surface area of sunlight. We convert this heat into mechanical energy by boiling water and turning a steam engine. The steam engine will power an electric motor which ties directly into the power grid.

Initial Meeting - Notes

August 17, 2012

  • Prototype 1 - released in October - 7kw 10hp
  • Interested in help documenting it and building the next prototype
  • Cost reductions in shift from 10hp to 100hp
  • Is interested in helping with recruiting


  • Steel Pipe - runs parallel to the trough
  • Glass Pipe - two layers surround the steel pipe
  • Vacuum between the layers of glass - experimenting with gas types
  • The vacuum is the insulator
  • Parabola:
  • Using software to determine the ideal shape and dimensions
  • Steam:
  • 212 F entering the steam engine
  • Temperature is relatively stable, the pressure fluctuates
  • Dead steam leaves the engine and is routed through pipes underground at this point
  • In the future, dead steam can be routed to a boiler or piping system to heat a house
  • Tracking System:
  • Traditionally, a stepper motor moves a threaded bolt to pull the reflectors back and forth
  • Alternatively - a design that uses hydraulic pumps and Freon running through copper pipes along the focal point can be used that is mechanical instead of electrical and has greater longevity.
  • Team:
  • Half a dozen engineers - some with decades of experience - working together