The design, which the researchers call a “solar vapor generator,” requires no expensive mirrors or lenses to concentrate the sunlight, but instead relies on a combination of relatively low-tech materials to capture ambient sunlight and concentrate it as heat.
The RAISELIFE project is funded by the European Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and is coordinated by DLR Institute of Solar Research.
The photovoltaic (PV) cells in traditional solar cells convert sunlight efficiently within a narrow range of wavelengths determined by the material used in the PV cells.
The cell will be used for solar thermal energy applications and has the potential to reach much higher temperatures than simple black surfaces because it can minimise the emission of thermal radiation.
At the end of the 1970s, the building of the first solar thermal pilot plants with outputs of a few megawatts began in the USA and Europe.
BrightSource Energy, Inc., a concentrating solar power technology (CSP) company announced advanced solar field technologies currently being deployed at the 121 megawatt (MW) Ashalim Solar Thermal Power Station located in Israel’s Negev Desert.