SHEC Labs develops new solar thermal technology

Solar Hydrogen Energy Corporation (SHEC) Labs has developed a solar concentrator and complementary solar receiver technology that is able to concentrate sunlight to a very high level.

The research and development company recently shared that sunlight has been concentrated up to 5,000 times the intensity of the sun and in commercial scale systems could be high as 11,000 to 16,000 times the intensity of the sun. This immense solar concentration creates high heat at the focal point that approach the surface temperature of the sun at 6,000 °C. Metal placed at the focus is instantly melted.

To harness this intense sunlight, a solar receiver has been developed to absorb this energy without destruction. Solar receivers radiate energy back into the environment. This is a phenomena called emissivity loss.

The amount of energy radiated from an object increases by the power of four in relation to its temperature. For example, an object twice as hot has 16 times the amount of emissivity loss. For applications operating at 850 °C (1,562 °F) for example, the emissivity loss becomes very high. This temperature is very useful for applications such as alternative fuel production and power generation. Many solar concentrating systems lose a great deal of energy due to emissivity loss. According to SHEC Labs, its technology only has a five percent emissivity loss at this temperature. This low energy loss means more of the collected energy is available for an application for a given size of solar collector and thus improving the economics.

SHEC's Solar Concentration technology can be applied on a commercial scale for industrial process heating and steam generation and for district heating or the heating of green communities.