A team at the Australian National University has developed a solar thermal dish with a high sunlight to steam conversion ratio which they believe makes it the world’s most efficient solar receiver.
The solar concentrator dish measures 500 square meters. The reflectors are able to focus the power “of 2,100 suns” onto the receiver and heat water to 500°C. The heat is stored in molten salt and used to drive a steam turbine when required.
The receiver design is described as “a cavity that resembles a top hat with narrow opening and a wide brim” .
Sunlight is focused onto pipes on the outside of the concentrator. This heats the water as it enters at the brim and spirals up into the cavity, reaching peak temperature deep inside the cavity.
The researchers say that the overall efficiency of this receiver is 98.7% and that they have already had commercial interest in the system.