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Alternative Energy Tutorials on Energy Articles

Stirling Engine Generator

solar dish

The Stirling Engine is a heat engine design that operates by the cyclic compression and expansion of various gases at different temperatures. A Stirling engine is a closed-cycle regenerative heat engine which uses a gaseous working fluid permanently contained within the system to produce mechanical movement to drive an electrical generator. The heat source used to drive a Stirling engine is generally concentrated solar energy but solid waste heat and bioenergy can also be used

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Concentrated Solar Power

solar dish

Concentrated solar power uses mirrors, lenses or parabolic dishes to concentrate the sun’s rays and energy to small area producing enormous amounts of heat used to generate electricity. Concentrated solar power offers many environmental benefits compared to conventional nonrenewable energy sources because of the reduced green house gas emissions and air pollution and waste. However, concentrated solar power does requires the potential use of large areas of land in sunny areas to collect sufficient sunlight and high working temperatures to produce usable energy

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Solar Thermal Energy

solar thermal energy

Solar thermal energy uses the suns energy to heat water making solar thermal a viable solution for any future renewable energy heating system. As solar power is the main source of energy from the sun, different technologies exist in the form of solar heating and solar thermal power generation to reduce our dependency on more conventional fossil fuels. Solar thermal energy has a lower environmental impact, zero CO2 emissions or produce other toxic gases like the ones used to produce our current energy production. Solar domestic hot water systems use the sun’s energy collected by flat-plate solar collectors or tubes to transfer the suns heat to water or another liquid

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Solar Pool Heating

solar pool heating

Swimming pool heating systems use solar energy or heat pump technology to heat the water of a pool during the day. Solar thermal technology and heat pumps have long been used to heat houses and produce domestic hot water but they can also be used to heat your pool. During the summer months when the solar irradiance is strong, solar thermal panels and pumps can be used to heat water. In the cooler months when the temperatures drop, geothermal or hot air heat pumps can be used. Using solar energy can more than double your swim season as long as the sun keeps shining

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Solar Flat Plate Collectors

solar batch collector

Solar flat plate collectors capture and use the suns thermal energy to heat water or other such working fluids. Solar thermal water heating, commonly known as solar hot water, has a long history of use around the world going back many centuries. Solar water heating systems use a system of solar flat plate collectors to capture sunlight to heat a fluid that is then transferred from the collector to a storage tank. Typicaly solar thermal collectors consist of a rectangular box with a glass or transparent top to capture the solar radiation and minimise system heat losses allowing it to operate at high temperatures and efficiencies over a range of operating conditions

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Solar Power Tower

solar power tower

Solar power towers are the big daddy of all the different types of concentrating solar collectors. Solar towers uses hundreds if not thousands of small sun tracking mirrored solar dish collectors, called heliostats, to reflect the suns rays directly onto a centrally located heat absorbing receiver. As these heliostat mirrors concentrate the sun light energy on a very small area at the top of the tower. The concentrated radiant energy is then converted into heat using a heat exchanger which transfers the immense temperature generated into a transfer fluid such as oil, molten salt or super heated steam for electrical energy generation.

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Solar Dish Collector

solar dish cooker

Solar dish collectors are parabolic shaped concentrators very similar in appearance to large satellite TV or radar dish making it much smaller than the longer trough collector. The curved parabolic shaped dish makes use of the direct solar radiation for heating at its focal point and is the main solar component for this type of solar heating system. Concentrated solar power technologies using parabolic dish collectors are perfectly suited for generating high temperatures for applications where extreme heat is required as other renewable energy systems are not able to create such high temperatures.

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Parabolic Trough Reflector

parabolic trough collector

Parabolic trough reflectors concentrate the suns solar radiation to increase the efficiency of a solar thermal system. Solar energy can be too diffused and not very dense resource so it is sometimes necessary to concentrate the suns rays to produce high enough temperatures which can then be used for the production of hot water or a working fluid for electrical energy generation. Parabolic trough based solar systems are a type of solar concentrator which have a parabolic curve and are placed together in a straight line to maximise their effectiveness.

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Integral Collector Storage

solar batch collector

Integral collector storage systems use large diameter heat tubes inside an insulated and glazed box collector combined with a storage tank as a single thermal unit thus acting as both a collector and storage unit. Passive integral collector storage ICS systems used for solar water heating requires no pumps, controls, or electrical energy consumption for its normal operation thus can can potentially heat water at a much lower cost then conventional active solar thermal heating systems.

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Evacuated Tube Collector

evacuated tube collector

Evacuated tube collectors use advances in vacuum technology to heat liquids to high temperaters within a glass tube. The thermal performance of evacuated tube collectors is more superior to other more common solar therml technologies such as flat plate collectors and solar troughs. As solar conditions vary throughout the year depending on time and location, the presence of a vacuum between the absorber plate and the outer glass tube results in a substantial improvement in the solar collectors efficiency due to reduction in heat loss through convection and conduction.

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