One team of Makers have developed a way to create clean, free heat or steam by harnessing the power of the sun.
Although using solar energy to create steam isn’t exactly a groundbreaking idea, one team of French Makers has its sights set on doing things a little bit different. Created as part of the Open Source Écologie initiative, Solar-OSE is a linear Fresnel reflector that collects clean and inexhaustible energy from the sun to generate heat up to 480°F (250 °C) and eventually vaporize.
Ideally, its reduced size lends itself to applications throughout smaller industries as well as by folks like farmers and artisans. Solar-OSE is designed specifically to power industrial and craft processes such as cooking, sterilization, pasteurization, extraction of essential oils, water purification and heating, to name just a few.
Impressively, the project only takes about a week to be assembled, from start to finish, by a group of four individuals at a cost of no more than $2,200.
Solar-OSE is comprised of multiple mirror strips at the base of its structure, each controlled by an Arduino, to reflect rays onto a central pipe filled with water. What’s more, it can automatically track the sun and ensure that the maximum amount of energy is being captured.
The solar heat energy can be used directly without any conversion, thus allowing a very high energy efficiency. By combining a motor to the Solar-OSE, it could also be used for electric cogeneration, refrigeration and compressed air.
“We dream of a near future where a large part of current industrial production would be performed locally, using renewable energy. Today, heat represents two thirds of the total energy needs of the European industry market. Our Solar-OSE therefore concerns many production processes currently consuming fossil fuels,” its creators explain.
Solar-OSE was recently demonstrated at POC21 — an eco-hacking conference held inside a French castle — and its build process has been made available in an exhaustive step-by-step tutorial.