Solar Steam Pump

With animation etc.

Which is pretty cool – AND they’ve actually made them, which is even cooler.

Looks like it might need to be hand-aimed though. Bit of a pest, but less of a pest than the water needing to be hand-pumped.

I’ve been looking at quite a lot of these recently… eg:

Which is the Solar-Fire variant that uses 360 (6m by 6m) slightly curved mirrors to focus on an area about the size of a plastic-bucket bottom, or like a small and very very overdone pizza. The solar fire one is also manually controlled

6m by 6m is pretty big… I quite like the idea of having lots of de-coupled mirrors, each with their own inbuilt guidance system… so the turn to face the sun like flowers etc… and you could put them on the side of houses or on top fences etc… up on rooves… and you can just add more, as they’re needed etc.

Like these, but smaller and crapper.

controlled by those little photovore robots

So that’s my theory etc.

Mind you, one of those dishes does 3kw… which is about what it takes to run an average house (if you tweak your boiler down a couple of degrees)… and the cheap-end of retailer solar-electric is around $1.5 a watt now – and for that ($4.5k) you’re getting a system with no moving parts, and without a 700° C thing that’s too bright to look at in your back yard.

If you don’t mind sewing your own, crystaline laminates are about 50c a watt. Theoretically these things last for 25 years… but I think it’s a fair bet that the solar-moore’s law will deal to that – and after about 10 or so, the cheapness of solar will change the way people use electricity – possibly by having dual-systems… eg: a 12v DC system and separate 120/240 volt systems – for big legacy appliances. Really it’s a waste of energy converting up and down. The only reason we do it is because we’re grid-tied.

This is a bloke playing with the bendy 120w ones you can get off ebay for about $280 a go

Which is about $2 a watt – not including the inverters and batteries and whatnot that you’ll need. You’ll need about 24 of these to match the parabolic thing at the top… but something tells me they’ll be a lot less grief to look after.

I think a large chunk of the energy crisis is probably going to just go away – if this stuff proliferates. I think innovation on this front is going to go from trying to make physical machines, to using the output of the bendy-solar-manufacturers as a platform… the way people build on twitter etc.