IBM introducing Swiss army knife with solar arrays


IBM one of the largest tech giant is foraying into solar business,it is partnering  with Airlight Energy, ETH Zurich and Interstate University of Applied Sciences Buchs NTB for this big leap. The group recently won a three-year, $2.4 million grant from the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation to develop low-cost high-concentration photovoltaic thermal (HCPVT) systems.

Swiss Army knife, the system that’s being developed is capable of multiple things — concentrating the sun 2,000 times, capturing 80 percent of the sun’s energy, desalinating water and even providing air-conditioning. Researchers are planning to develop a 25 kw system.for this system they will be using a triple-junction photovoltaic cells on a micro-channel cooled module which can directly convert more than 30 percent of collected solar radiation into electrical energy.

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Highlights:

  • Use of parabolic dish to focus the sun’s light on a series of triple-junction high-efficiency PV cells
  • To keep them operating at high levels of efficiency and get the most out of the system, the cells are liquid-cooled, which provides more than enough heat to boil water
  • The liquid-cooled system that absorbs heat and draws it away is 10 times more effective than passive air cooling
  • Replacing expensive steel and glass with low-cost concrete and simple pressurized metalized foilst to focus on being cost effective.
  • Their goal is a CPV system with a levelized cost of energy under 10 cents per kilowatt hour, which is significantly less than where solar is at now, and a system that heats salt water to 90 degrees Celsius for a low-temperature desalination process. “Such a system could provide 30 to 40 liters of drinkable water per square meter of receiver area per day, while still generating electricity with a more than 25 percent yield or two kilowatt hours per day.

At present the project is in prototype stage and simultaneously the group is engaged in solving a host of locations related to locations. Many have an hunch that this kind of innovation will be a big leap in solar business taking it to another level.

 

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