Green Prophet Sees Aora’s Solar Flower Power Fire Up in the Desert
“In Jewish tradition, if someone has a coin, half will be used tobuy bread and the other half for a flower. The gesture of giving aflower is nice, and soon we hope to provide many flowers in a varietyof colors,” announced Haim Dotan, the architect of AORA’s new “PowerFlower” at Kibbutz Samar.
On June 24, AORA Solar had its Kibbutz Samar Launch Event, to showoff “flowery” new technology that generates 100kW of electrical powerand 170kW of thermal power.
With an audience of around 250 journalists, investors, scientists,and curious individuals from around the world, the AORA team showed offtheir site and later signed agreements with Spanish and Australianfirms to start introducing their technology outside of Israel.
AORA boasts that they have developed the world’s first commercialhybrid solarized gas-turbine power station, capable of producing greenpower 24/7. The hybrid nature of the system allows power to begenerated around the clock, by operating on “Solar-only mode” duringhours of sunlight, and “hybrid mode” using fuel to generate energyduring hours of limited sunlight.
To make the system even cleaner, the objective is to use biofuels to power the hybrid mode.
Using a system of highly reflective mirrors called heliostats thatmove according to the position of the sun, heat is concentrated at 1000degrees Celsius inside the flower part of the structure.
Elevated 30 meters above the ground, the tulip shaped flower haspetals and contains a solarized micro gas turbine within. AORA’s flowerstructure and 30 heliostat mirrors are only able to supply 100 kW ofpower to the national grid (enough to sustain approximately 70 homes),but the system does have a number of advantages because of this.
Since the structure operates on a smaller scale, new plants can beerected in just a few months, allowing energy to be generated at a sitequickly and with reduced contracting costs. The required land is onlyhalf an acre, so the system will be able to power smaller villages, andfor larger projects more flowers and heliostats can be added quicklyand independently of the original structure.
Part of the Aora’s goal is to generate solar power for smallercommunities that can use the power in their daily lives and will beable to have an attractive symbol of sustainability in their communityas a source of pride.
Visually, the flower is quite a site as it stands 30 meters tall invibrant orange, and resembles a large tulip. Architect Haim Dotan saidthat one of the challenges, but also one of the beautiful things willbe adapting the flower design to different places around the world.According to the climates, resources, and cultures of the variousplaces where AORA hopes to build structures, each flower will likelyrequire different materials, colors, and design adjustments.
AORA’s launch event was well attended and should generate more buzzabout their product. While the heliostat technology has been a popularconcept, AORA seems to be developing a niche for smaller scaleprojects, and for bringing creativity and art to the field of cleanenergy.
The AORA team, led by CEO Haim Fried, wants to be part of themovement to make the Negev the “Sun Valley” of the world, where newinnovation is always emerging, and environmental ethics are everpresent in the schools and in the community.
As David Ben Gurion’s dream was to make the Negev Desert bloom andpopulated with Israeli towns and cities, AORA’s Power Flower will helpthis happen in green and artistic fashion.
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