Eerik Wissenz is a rather industrious fellow who has created his very own open source, solar concentrating device and he claims it can deliver power that comes in about 10 times cheaper than that of photovoltaics (PV).
Wissenz’s project is part of the “Global Village Construction Set“, which is “an open source, low-cost, high performance technological platform that allows for the easy, DIY fabrication of the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a sustainable civilization with modern comforts.” Some of the other machines included in the “Set” include a backhoe, baler, 50 kilowatt wind turbine, cement mixer and dairy milker, just to name a few. All of the projects in the set are meant to be DIY-friendly, cost effective and practical. Since it is all open-source, anyone can access the plans and build one of the machines for themselves and are invited to submit their suggestions for modifications or improvements.
In a video you can see below, Wissenz demonstrates his “Solar Fire P32″ concentrating device using 360 precisely tuned mirrors to intensely focuses sunlight onto a boiler. The boiler reaches 700 degrees in no time and begins feeding the steam to a steam engine, which is also said to be open source and can be built DIY-style. The engine can generate electricity, while the surplus steam, which emerges from the machine totally clean, can be used for heating purposes, water purification and other uses.
The remarkable thing about the Solar Fire system that Wissenz has created is that it seems particularly inexpensive to build. The materials cost for the Solar Fire P32, according to Wissenz’s post, runs a few thousand dollars and that includes the steam engine that was used in his demonstration. Wissenz claims that his design should allow for a solar conversion efficiency of around 15%, which he says equates to about 3 killowatts peak power.