Here Comes the Sun: Heliostat Optimization

Heliostats are solar power plants that collect sun light by mirrors - sometimes hundreds of them - sending it to a receiver where the energy is converted. The main challenge is how to distribute the mirrors such that a maximum of light is collected. Prof. Manuel Torrilhon from MathCCES collaborated with Prof. Alexander Mitsos and his graduate student Corey Noone (both from MIT) to find a bio-mimetic mirror layout that is inspired from the arrangement of sunflower seeds. The result decreases the area needed for the heliostat and increases the over-all efficiency at the same time. The paper will be published in the journal 'Solar Energy'. Additionally, MIT and RWTH are applying for a patent together with the involved researchers.
Alexander Mitsos was a Junior Research Group Leader at the AICES Graduate School of RWTH in 2008.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
January 11, 2012
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