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Solar Dish Stirling Engine Seminar Report

Concentrating solar power plants produce electric power by converting the sun's energy into high-temperature heat using various mirror configurations. The heat is then channeled through a conventional generator. The plants consist of two parts: one that collects solar energy and converts it into heat, and the second part that converts heat energy to electricity. Solar dish/ engine system is one of the world widely used concentrating solar power plant system.
The sun's energy is concentrated by parabolically curved, trough-shaped reflectors onto a receiver pipe running along the inside of the curved surface. This energy heats the liquid flowing through the pipe and the heat energy is then used to generate electricity in a conventional steam generator. A collector field comprises many troughs in parallel rows aligned on a north-south axis. This configuration enables the single-axis troughs to track the sun from east to west during the day to ensure that the sun is continuously focused on the receiver pipes. Individual trough systems currently can generate about 80 megawatts of electricity.
Large parabolic dish concentrator mirrors are an important component of many solar energy systems. They need to be relatively precise and are expensive to fabricate and to transport. Therefore a new concept for designing and fabricating large parabolic dish mirrors is presented. The dish mirror is formed from several optimal-shaped thin flat metal petals with highly reflective surfaces. An analytical model to optimize the shape and thickness of the petals is presented. The validity of the concept is demonstrated using Finite Element Analysis(FEA) and laboratory experiments.

Solar/Dish engine system technology has made huge technological and cost improvements, but more research and development remains to be done to make it cost-competitive with fossil fuels. Costs can be reduced by increasing demand for this technology worldwide, as well as through improved component design and advanced systems. Solar/Dish engine system technologies currently offer the lowest-cost solar electricity for large-scale power generation (10 MW-electric and above). New innovative hybrid systems that combine large concentrating solar power plants with conventional natural gas combined cycle or coal plants can further reduce costs. Advancements in the technology and the use of low-cost thermal storage will allow future concentrating solar power plants to operate for more hours during the day and shift solar power generation to evening hours. Researchers are developing lower cost solar concentrators, high efficiency engine/generators, and high-performance receivers. The goal is to further develop the technology to increase acceptance of the systems and help the systems penetrate growing domestic and international energy markets. Developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America where half the population is currently without electricity and sunlight is usually abundant represent the biggest and fastest growing market for power producing technologies. Concentrating solar power technologies use many of the same technologies and equipment used by conventional power plants; they simply substitute the concentrating power of the sun for the combustion of fossil fuels to provide the energy for conversion into electricity. Estimates have predicted that, by 2020, more than 20 gigawatts of concentrating solar power systems could be installed throughout the world. Such a situation translates to a cleaner and reliable power in the third world countries.

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