A new efficiency world record of 34 percent has been set. A Swedish technology company has installed a new solar electricity generation system in South Africa’s sun-soaked Kalahari desert, saying it’s not only the most efficient system of its kind in the world, but it doubles the efficiency of standard solar panels.
The system, which features a pair of huge, 12-metre mirror dishes, runs on a Stirling engine – a type of closed-cycle regenerative heat engine that was invented way back in 1816, and uses trapped gas instead of water to propel the internal pistons and flywheel. The dishes are slowly rotated throughout the day to capture the maximum amount of solar rays and focus them into a specific point, which kicks the Stirling engine into gear.
Adopted by the Swedish military for use in their submarines almost three decades ago, Stirling engines have since been touted as the perfect match for renewable energy systems because they can function with almost any heat source, are quiet to run, and don’t take up much space. Swedish-based company, Ripasso Energy, licensed the technology from the military, and together with their colossal parabolic mirror dishes, the system requires just 2 hectares to produce a megawatt of energy. Source: This is the world’s most efficient solar electricity system, Swedish researchers claim