The future of large-scale solar electricity will be low-profile platforms floating in foot-deep water, turning to face the sun. Long elevation-tracking modules hold sun-focusing lenses and high-power cells, cooled by the water on which they float. At the center of the platform is a hydrogen-producing electrolyzer. Any number of these circular platforms can be combined into a solar power plant, at only about 2 square miles per billion Watts peak, the performance of a nuckear power plant. These platforms cover 87% of the acreage and 80% of each platform is covered with solar-concentrating lenses, collecting an unprecedented amount of all the available direct sunlight.
Each PYRON solar electricity platform consists of a circular array of many of these mass-produced solar-electrical modules.
Each platform has its own tracking for azimuth and sun elevation, controlled by the platform's sun sensors. An electric motor of only 1W performs the azimuthal tracking by turning friction-wheel D. In addition, roll D pushes by spring-force in the direction of rolls F and S. At night the platforms are oriented with the troughs parallel to the prevailing wind.
|The sealed linear troughs float on a shallow layer of water. A thin layer of hydrophobic liquid pevents evaporative losses of the water. Up to ten lens modules are enclosed in each elevation-tracking trough. Since the troughs float on water they do not experience deformation or twist by lateral force. Inside of the air-sealed trough is a thin bladder connected to the outside air, which equalizes the meteorological pressure changes.
Multiple troughs are tracked in elevation by a pulsed motor with less than one watt. An equally small motor rotates the floating skeleton from east to west to follow the sun’s azimuthal movement. Adjacent troughs nearly touch when facing upwards, so they fill 80% of their circular platform. At all elevations of the sun above 27 degrees 95% of the radiation is captured by the rows of lenses.
The sprawling land-hungry solar designs of the past catch only a few percent of the land’s sunlight at best, using large, expensive tracking platforms and literally tons of metal to fight the wind. The PYRON system, however, is only knee-high, using far less mass per watt produced, and withstands far greater wind speeds, than conventional concentrators. From a distance it resembles agricultural fields covered with plastic, not heavy industry. It can even be installed on existing lakes and artificial ponds. It is appropriate technology for all the world’s deserts, with its high land density acting to locally suppress dust generation.