IBM Working on Sunflower-Shaped Dishes to Generate Electricity and Drinking Water


Tech heavyweight IBM is working with Airlight Energy to do something unique in the field of Alternative Energy Utilization. Here we are talking about solar panels which will work by sunlight concentration to generate electricity and produce fresh drinking water at the same time.

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They have developed a 30 foot sunflower shaped solar concentrators which will perform this dual purpose. A single concentrator has 36 mirrors made from recyclable plastic and are coated in sliver. These mirrors concentrate the sunlight upon photovoltaic chips which converts 80 percent of the collected sunlight into energy. Each chip has the capability to produce up to 57 watts each on a bright sunny day and an array with the entire dish can generate up to 12 kilowatts of electrical power and 20 kilowatts of heat.

The dish, made from a multitude of mirrors, is attached to a tracking system that angles it towards the sun Image: Dailymail UK, IBM/Airlight

The chips will get superheated, so to tackle that scientist embedded a system that passes cooling liquid through small channels, which will carry the heat away and prevent the photovoltaic cells from overheating. Along with some modifications, this system could also work to produce fresh water. IBM said in a press release:

“For example, salt water can pass through a porous membrane distillation system, where it is vaporized and desalinated. Such a system could provide 30 to 40 liters of drinkable water per square meter of receiver area per day…a little less than half the amount of water the average person needs per day according to the United Nations, whereas a large multi-dish installation could provide enough water for a town.”

You can apply here for a free unit from IBM and Airlight Energy. Two deserving applicants will be the winners.

Adarsh Verma

Adarsh Verma

Fossbytes co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email — [email protected]
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