What do you get when you combine solar concentrators with “wasteheat generators” build to convert heat into electricity?
If you’re inHawai’i, you get something like Holaniku at Keahole Point. (Holaniku isHawai’ian for “a location that has everything required forself-sufficiency,” according to the manufacturer of the solarconcentrators used for the project.) The solar concentrators are made by Sopogy, an innovative solar company based in Hawai’i.The 2 MW capacity solar thermal plant is located on the western side ofthe Big Island, on desert land. A thousand solar units heat liquidwhich is then stored in large tanks.
Turning that heat into electricity is the job of twin ElectraTherm Green Machines,which are themselves innovations in engineering. The Green Machine haswon several awards, including Best of Show from the 2007 GeothermalEnergy Association and was selected as one of Popular Sciencemagazine’s “Best of What’s News” in 2008.
The machine was designed to turn “waste heat” from industrialprocesses into electricity. The unique idea here is combining theefficiency of the co-generator with the solar thermal technology (whichefficiently converts solar radiation into heat).
It’s innovations like these that are powering the renewable energy revolution.