Putting A Solar Twist On An Old Idea

Knoxville News Sentinel:

Matthew Davis, a 1995 industrial design graduate of Purdue University, has developed a solar boiler electrical generator and heat machine that converts solar energy to usable steam for heating, cooling and power generation.

At the heart of Davis’ system is a century-old idea — first developed by electrical pioneer Nikola Tesla — based on a highly efficient steam-driven turbine. The spinning turbine is used to drive a generator to produce electricity.

Davis has also designed a unique parabolic trough mirror that focuses the sunlight on a “receiver” that heats the water and makes steam to drive the turbine. The mirror is made of cast concrete covered in an acrylic reflective material.

“Concrete is easy to work with and the weight helps stabilize the mirror,” he said.

Photo by Abi Skipp

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