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Fresnel Sun House Generates Electricity from Thermal Energy

Solar Fresnel Lense 300x235 Fresnel Sun House Generates Electricity from Thermal EnergyJapanese company Riken and Da Vinci Co Ltd have invented a cogeneration system to collect the thermal energy of sunlight. This collection uses Fresnel lenses and collects light from rising and setting suns and then heats up water in a storage tank. Voila, electricity is generated and hot water is supplied.

Riken and Da Vinci Co Ltd. discovered that thermal energy created by sunlight has the ability to act as a heat exchanger. Fresnel lenses have concentric slits, so my combining these lenses three-dimensionally, energy can be efficiently collected, regardless of any angle of sunlight.

Even with thickness is small, Fresnel lenses can converge light efficiently since the lens is based upon a telephoto lens which is under development to observe ultrahigh energy cosmic rays.

A Fresnel Sun House was created when the lens was attached to the top and lateral sides of a cubic unit. An inverted-t shape aluminum alloy heat exchanger takes light converged by the Fresnel lenses. Under this method, heat energy is collected regardless of which lens the sunlight passes through. The resulting heated water is then moves to a rotary heat engine to generate power.

Rotation of the rotary heat engine comes from evaporating an alternative chlorofluorocarbon – which becomes a thermal catalyst, generating electricity.

Rotational energy is able to achieve high power efficiency despite low pressure and a low heat source. In fact, it can operate with a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius.

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About the author

Leigh is a Senior Technical Communicator working in the energy sector in Dallas, Texas. Prior to her work in the energy industry, Leigh spent years specializing in life saving engineering projects for the US Department of Defense. In her spare time, Leigh pursues her passions of environmental awareness, vegan baking, dog rescue, and defending the place of art, literature, and music in a world that values science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.


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