Compound Parabolic Trough

After being intriqued by the subject for some time, I finally came up with what seems to be a practical design for a compound parabolic trough. Materials for the prototype should be less than $200 for a 4'x8' collector, and a huge part of that is the two 3/4 copper tubes I decided to run down the middle (to keep my connections at one end and increase heat transfer). I used Google SketchUp to draw the frame in 3-D and exported a pic. There's an interesting Wiki article about the subject of this shape here: Non Imaging Optics

The Vision

Imagine that the sun comes up in the morning, and your PV panels orient themselves to catch the light. While a few of the heliostats in the yard point towards the compound parabolic solar reception unit for heating water, another heliostat directs an extra beam of light into your breakfast nook and helps warm it up while providing light for the room. As soon as the water has heated up enough, or sooner if your batteries had been low, your heliostats direct themselves to your 1kw Stirling engine generator system.

Getting Started

We've just got our website up and there's lots of work to do!


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