Portable Solar Collector/Concentrator Design Project
Dr. James Ferguson
The goal of the design team was to develop a portable unit to collect and concentrate solar energy to produce electricity. The purpose of the device will be to provide much needed power generation to remote areas which have no access to the electrical grid. The device could be used in many military, agricultural, and recreational applications. Some of the constraints for this project were to develop a method to collect the required amount of thermal energy, concentrate it, and transfer the heat into a power generating device. The device must be lightweight and have the ability to collapse into a compact form for transportation. For the purpose of collecting and concentrating the solar radiation, the device will be comprised of a reflective parabolic dish that will focus the sunlight to a central receiver. The receiving body will transfer the solar energy, in the form of heat, into a fluid which will be used to run a power generation device. In order to obtain consistent power generation, the device will contain a motorized tracking system enabling it to stay directed towards the sun. To ensure portability, the device will be constructed in a way that allows the support frame to be removed and taken apart. This will allow the device to have a compact form during transportation. The expected results of the project are to generate 750 W of power output, have a device weighing less than 15lbs, and have the compact size be comparable to that of a backpack.
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