|Title of Invention||
"APPARATUS FOR COLLECTING AND CONCENTRATING SOLAR RADIATION COMPRISING A REFLECTOR DISH"
|Abstract||Apparatus and methods for collecting and concentrating solar radiation for the generation of electrical power, the apparatus comprising a rotatable reflector dish which is pivoted to one side so as to be positioned between a vertical position or lowered to a horizontal position. When horizontal the dish is protected by a surrounding weathershield for protection against high winds. The reflector dish is preferably parabolic and mounted so as to concentrate and reflect the solar radiation into a receiver.|
|Full Text||The present invention relates to apparatus for collecting and concentrating solar radiation comprising a reflector dish.
Systems are known for the generation of electrical power through the conversion of thermal energy produced by the concentration of solar energy by a suitable reflector, such as parabolic trough systems, planar mirror array systems and parabolic reflector dish systems.
In a parabolic reflector dish system, one or more parabolic dishes, each having a reflective surface, are driven in azimuth and elevation so as to track the diurnal and seasonal movement of the sun in order to collect and concentrate solar radiation in or on a suitable receiver. At the receiver, the thermal energy produced by the concentration of solar radiation is usually conducted away from the receiver to a heat engine, generator or the like for the production of electrical power.
In order for a parabolic reflector dish system to be of greatest effect, the area of the parabolic reflector dishes must be as large as possible. This is achieved either by having a large number of small reflector dishes or by having one, or only a small number of, very large reflector dish.
In systems comprising many reflector dishes, the cost of providing an equivalent number of drive systems so that each dish accurately tracks the movement of the sun becomes prohibitively expensive. Accordingly, large parabolic reflector dishes are frequently employed.
Unfocussed solar radiation has a peak solar flux of 1000W/m2 at ground level. At a latitude of
between 3 0° and 3 5°, the average power of unfocussed solar radiation during each day is approximately 700W/m2. At a typical system efficiency of aibout 30% therefore, in order to produce 1 Mw of electrical power, a parabolic reflector dish of about 4-5000nrS or of about 75m diameter would be required.
In order to mount and to move such a dish so as to track the sun a large dish support structure is required. However, a large dish presents a considerable cross-section to any wind, and so as to remain accurately aligned to the sun, the dish support structure must be made sufficiently strong to resist wind forces. In very high winds, both the dish and the support structure are liable to be damaged, thus both need to be strengthened to resist the effect of occasional high winds. Reinforcing the dish and the support structure increases the mass of the dish which lestds to an increase in their cost and also in the costs of the systems which move the dish so as to track the sun.
It is also usual for parabolic dish reflectors to be gimbally mounted, i.e. so as to pivot about an axis lying in a plane at the centre of the dish. Such a mounting enables the dish to be moved in both azimuth and elevation using simple drive means, and the mass of the dish can be counterbalanced. However, the gimbal mounting of a dish means that the dish must be supported so as to pivot about an axis which is at a height above the ground equal to the radius of the dish. In the event of high winds, such a dish cannot be moved out of the path of the wind, and therefore the dish support structure has to be reinforced adding to the mass and cost thereof.
Due to such factors, current parabolic solar radiation reflector dishes are; limited in size to between 10m and 15m in diameter. Accordingly, several such dishes are required in order to produce a significant amount of power (25 dishes of 15m diameter being required,to produce, the same power as a single 75m diameter dish), which becomes prohibitively expensive, as explained above.
Accordingly, the present invention relates to apparatus for collecting and concentrating solar radiation comprising a reflector dish, means for rotating the dish about a first, substantially vertical axis, means for pivoting the dish about a second axis, the second axis lying in a plane parallel to but not coincident with the vertical axis, the pivoting means being effective to pivot the dish to any position between-a first position in which the circumference of the dish lies in a substantially horizontal plane and a second position in which the circumference of the dish lies in a substantially vertical plane, and a weathershield extending around the vertical axis so as at least partially to surround the circumference of the dish in the first position, characterized in that the weathershield is rotatable and has a cut-away portion formed therein; the cut-way portion being orientable to prevent obstruction of solar radiation to the dish when the dish between said first and second positions.
With such an arrangement, in which the second axis is preferably substantially horizontal, the reflector dish and the support structure therefor need only be strong enough to resist the effect of moderate winds, which keeps the cost of the apparatus, including that of the means for moving the dish so as to track the movement of the sun, to a minimum. In the event of high winds, the dish can be lowered to the first', horizontal -' "' position so that it is below the upper level of the weathershield, which protects the dish from wind damage. The weathershield extends sufficiently downwardly to" prevent winds from getting under the dish and the whole apparatus, when the dish is in the horizontal position, presents a low profile to wind from any direction, enabling dishes of large diameter to be used even in locations where high winds occur relatively frequently.
Those skilled in the art will appreciate that there are many possible kinds of dish support structures which can be employed to provide the "non-gimbal" dish mounting in accordance with the invention. For the mechanically least complex dish support structure however, the second axis is preferably fixed in relation to the first, vertical axis.
Suitably the dish is mounted so as to pivot with respect to a cradle, which cradle is rotatable about the first, vertical axis. The weathershield may be mounted so as to rotate with the cradle. This is advantageous where the second axis lies within the circumference of the weathershield; it will be readily appreciated that in order for the weathershield not to shield or obstruct the lower part of the reflector dish when in the second, raised position, a part of the weathershield corresponding to that portion subtended by the second axis when the dish is in the second position may be cut away. Such an arrangement lessens the mass of the weathershield and, because it is mounted to rotate with the cradle, when the dish is lowered because^ of a high wind the whole apparatus can be rotated so as to locate the cut away portion of the weathershield on the leeward side of the apparatus, to keep wind out from under the dish.
For the apparatus to present the lowest possible profile to a high wind, the lower edge of the weathershield is preferably close to the ground and the height of the second axis above the lower edge of the weathershield is preferably equal to or greater than the maximum horizontal distance between the second axis and the circumference of the dish when the dish is in the first horizontal position. This means that, in the second, vertical position the lowermost edge of the dish comes close to but does not impact the ground.
The apparatus is provided with means for rotating and pivoting the dish so as to track the sun's movement
as is known in the art. In addition, means may be provided to sense the wind speed and direction and to lower the dish to the first position when the sensed wind speed exceeds a predetermined speed, i.e. a wind speed which might damage the dish. The means for rotating the dish would, as described above, be adapted to rotate the dish so that any cut away section of windshield lay in the lee of the apparatus, with the second axis perpendicular to the sensed wind direction. It is well known that wind speeds may increase over a short period of time; consequently the means to lower the dish to the first position may be adapted to lower the dish quickly. The means to rotate the dish may also be adapted to turn the apparatus quickly so as to put the cut away portion of the weathershield to leeward. Alternatively, as the rotation of the dish so as to track the sun is relatively slow, requiring only a lower power rotational drive, a removable portion of weathershield may be provided, either to cover the cut away portion of weathershield or the arc that portion passes through, which may be less expensive than providing a high speed rotational drive.
Preferably the reflector dish is a point focus parabolic dish and a receiver is provided, located adjacent the focal point of the dish, for absorbing the solar radiation collected and concentrated thereon by the reflector dish and for generating electrical power.
The receiver may be mounted to one or more legs extending outwardly from the receiver dish outwith the reflected ray path the circulation means extending between the receiver and the generator via one or more of the said leg(s).
Preferably shield means are provided so as to protect the exterior of the receiver and the or each leg in the region adjacent the aperture from concentrated solar radiation incident thereon, to reduce the possibility of damage. The thermal energy contained in concentrated solar radiation can be so great as to melt
The reflector dish is preferably parabolic, the exact shape of the parabola being determined so as to represent a compromise between a shape which gives a large surface area, in order to collect and concentrate the maximum solar radiation for a given dish diameter, and a shape giving a dish of minimum "depth", or height when the dish is in the first, horizontal position, so that the apparatus presents the least surface area to a high wind when the dish is in the first position.
In order to provide a dish which is inexpensive, light yet sufficiently strong and easy to construct accurately, the dish preferably comprises a plurality of reflective planar segments, or sheets, mounted to and supported by a frame. The frame may comprise a plurality of support members extending radially inwardly from the outer circumferential edge of the dish toward the centre thereof and having a planar segment supporting surface formed as a sector of a parabola or in a series of linear steps approximating thereto, adjacent support members being connected.
The maximum size of the planar segments is limited by the size of the the receiver, by the accuracy with which each planar segment is aligned so as to reflect solar radiation incident thereon into the aperture and by the overall shape of the parabolic dish.
Suitably, each support member has a connecting member mounted thereto so that when the connecting members of adjacent support members are connected together to form the frame, the connecting members form a circle, or cylinder, centred on the centre of the dish and with a radius of about 3/4 the radius of the dish. Each planar segment may be mounted so as to span the radial distance between two support members, and adjacent support members may be connected in such a way as to subtend a substantially equal angle at the centre of the dish.
So as to reduce the weight of the dish whilst maintaining its structural integrity, it is not necessary for all of the support members to extend the full distance from the outer circumferential edge of the dish to the centre thereof. Instead, some of the support members may only extend to a point half way along a radius of the dish. This takes advantage of the fact that, as the radius of a circle increases, the circumference also increases, and vice versa. Accordingly, a planar segment of a size sufficient to span the distance between two adjacent support members at the outer circumference of the dish would span the distance between three adjacent support members at half the radius (and between four adjacent support members at one quarter the radius, and so on) .
Each planar segment having, when mounted to the frame, an outer edge furthest from the centre of the dish which is substantially perpendicular to a line extending from the centre of the said outer edge to the centre of the dish, the length of the outer edge of each planar segment is preferably equal to or less than a predetermined maximum length substantially equal to the distance between adjacent support members at the outer circumferential edge of the dish. The predetermined maximum length is, as stated above, dependent upon the size of the receiver.
Suitably, a first support member is interposed between a second support member which extends from the circumferential edge of the dish to the centre thereof and a third support member, the first support member extending radially inwardly only to a point where the distance between the second and third support member is equal to the predetermined maximum length.
Such an arrangement not only reduces the overall number of planar segments, but reduces the lengths and hence the weights of at least some of the support members, without compromising the structural strength of
the frame supporting the dish. Only some of the support members need extend the complete distance from the outer edge of the dish to the centre; thereof; the exact number of such support members is dependent upon factors such as the overall size of the dish and the maximum size of the receiver (which determines the; maximum size of the planar segments) , as are. the sizes of those support members which are not as long as the radius of the dish.
Advantageously the frame comprises a plurality of sets of support members, each set comprising a series of support members having lengths llr 12, 1,. . . . . . lx, wherein
x is an even number and wherein the length of each support member is defined by the equations
(1) 1, = L
(2) 1 = L where n is even
(3) 1 (x , !» = 2L._L_i L
(4) where n is less than x and not even,
ln = % L where n + 1 is exactly divisible by 4 = % L where n +3 is e;xactly divisible by 8 = 15/16 L where n + 7 is exactly divisible by 16 = 31/32 L where n + 15 is exactly divisible by 32
(5) ln = 1 (x -» J - n) where n > x + 2
L being the distance from the circumferential edge of the dish to the centre thereof.
It will be appreciated that the features of "non-gimbal" mounting of a reflector dish and of the construction of a parabolic reflector dish as described above represent significant improvements over known apparatus for the conversion of solar radiation into electrical power. It will also be understood by those skilled in the art that each of these features is capable of being employed independently of the others.
Embodiments of apparatus in accordance with the invention will now be described by way of example and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
Figure 1 is a perspective view of a parabolic reflector dish apparatus in accordance with the invention;
Figure 2 is a plan view of one embodiment of part of the supporting frame for the apparatus of Figure 1;
Figure 3 is a plan view of another part of the supporting frame for the apparatus of Figure 1;
Figure 4 is a schematic side view of the frame shown in Figures 2 and 3 with the dish in a first, horizontal position;
Figure 5 is an enlarged view of the circled area of Figure 2;
Figures 6 and 7 are side views similar to that of Figure 4 but showing the dish in an intermediate and a second, vertical position, respectively,-
Figures 8, 9 and 10 aire views of a second embodiment of a frame mechanism for supporting and moving the dish;
Figure 11 is a perspective view of the apparatus incorporating the mechanism of Figures 8 to 10;
Figure 12 is a side view of another embodiment of a frame mechanism for elevating the dish;
Figure 13 is a perspective view of a preferred method of supporting the receiver;
Figures 14a and 14b are, respectively, perspective and end elevation views of a support member
forming part of a frame for supporting a parabolic reflector dish;
Figures 15a and 15b are views of alternative configurations for part of the support member of Figures 14a and 14b;
Figure 16 is a schematic plan view of a portion of a parabolic reflector dish comprising a plurality of support members and of reflective planar segments;
Figure 17 is a schematic plan view of a portion of a parabolic reflector dish in accordance with the invention comprising a plurality of reflective planar segments and a plurality of support members.
Figures 18a and 18b illustrate alternative forms of planar segments for use in a parabolic reflector dish;
Figure; 19 shows a method of fixing the reflective planar segments of Figure 18b to the support members of Figures 14a and 14b,
and Figure 2 0 shows a method or d ligning reflective planar segments forming part of a parabolic reflector dish.
Figure 1 shows an embodiment of an apparatus 1 in accordance with the invention for collecting and concentrating solar radiation for the generation of electrical power. The apparatus comprises a parabolic dish 3 for reflecting solar radiation into a receiver 5 mounted in a position adjacent the focal point of the dish by a number of legs 7.
The dish is mounted to a cradle, or chassis, 9, which includes a mechanism for elevating the dish 3 and the receiver 5, and which is described further below. The cradle 9 is mounted so as to rotate around a number of tracks 11 and has mounted to it a weathershield 13 which substantially surrounds the dish 3 whe>n it is lowered to a horizontal position.
The apparatus 1 works in the following manner. The cradle 9 is driven to rotate and elevate the dish 3 into a position facing the sun, whereupon solar radiation
incident on the dish 3 is collected and reflected so as to concentrate the solar radiation on, or in, the receiver 5. The receiver 5 is adapted to absorb thermal energy which is then converted to electrical power. This is achieved by pumping a working fluid, such as water/steam, which is heated in the receiver 5, to a turbine or heat engine (not shown), where the thermal energy in the working fluid is used to drive an electrical generator. The cooled working fluid is then circulated back to the receiver 5. The circulation lines for the working fluid advantageously pass along, or within, one or more of the legs 7 and, via a flexible linkage (not shown) at the base of the apparatus 1, to and from the generator. Heated working fluid may circulate from more than one such apparatus 1 to a single generator.
The rotational and elevational drive means (not shown) are effective to move the dish in azimuth and elevation so as to catch the diurnal and seasonal movement of the sun, as is known. In the event of a high wind, sufficient to damage the dish 3 or to topple the apparatus, the dish 3 is lowered so that it is horizontal. The height of the weathershield 13 is such that, when the dish 3 is horizontal, the top edge of the weathershield 13 is level with, or preferably slightly above, the circumferential edge of the dish 3. This prevents the wind from getting under the dish 3, and possibly causing damage to it.
It can be seen from Figure 1 that the weathershield 13 has a portion cut away. This portion corresponds to the lowermost portion of the dish 3, when in the raised position as shown, so that that portion of the dish is not in the shadow of the weathershield 13. This allows the dish 3 to be elevated by being pivoted about an axis which is as low as possible, which means that the apparatus 1 (with the dish 3 lowered) presents as low a profile as possible to a strong wind.
Referring to Figure 2, the dish chassis 9 is supported by and rotates on five concentric circular tracks 11, similar to railway tracks. The chassis 9 comprises two parallel beams 15 which run on tracks 11. Between and perpendicular to beams 15 are two similar beams 17, which also run on tracks 11. In the same plane as and connecting the ends of one end of beams 15 and both ends of beams 15 and 17 around the circumference are beams 19. On the long arcs between beams 15 and between beams 17 beams 19 go to a point directly above and run on the outermost of the tracks 11 at points 21.
Mounted on and perpendicular to beams 19 are a plurality of triangular frames 23 (see Figure 5). As shown by arrow 24 they are mounted at varying distances across beams 19, so that column 2 5 lies directly above the outermost track 11. Thus columns 25 form a circle above that track. To the columns 2 5 cladding sheets are attached to form the weathershield 13. Frames 23 only extend to points 27 shown in figure 2. Ballast boxes 29 are mounted on beams 15 and 17 and are filled with earth or other suitable material to stabilise the chassis 9 .
Mounted on the chassis 9 is a structure 31 (see Figure 3) for supporting and elevating the dish 3 . This structure 31 consists of two pairs of parallel beams 33. The gap between each pair of beams 33 is directly above beams 15. On the ends of and raised above, beams 33 are pivots 35. These pivot with two pivots on beams 15 and lie directly above the outermost but one of the tracks 11. Beams 37 lie between and perpendicular to beams 33. Referring to figure 4, on beams 15 is a rack 3 9 served by a pinion 41. Pinion 41 is on the end of column 43 and lies directly above the central track 11. Column 43 is telescopically extendable to almost twice of its original length by a further rack and pinion system 45 (see Figure 7). The other end of column 43 from pinion 41 is pivot 47 between beams 33. Beam 49 connects pivot 47 to pivot 35, and runs just below the dish 3 and through the dish
support members (described later). Beam 4 9 serves to strengthen the dish support structure.
As pinion 41 moves along rack 39 it raises the dish support structure about pivots 35 until column 43 is vertical, as shown in figure 6. At this point the pinion lies directly above the innermost track 11, column 43 and the rack and pinion means 45 then extends telescopically, until the dish 3 is vertical sis shown in figure 7.
The parabolic dish 3 comprises a reflective covering supported by a number of radially extending support members, to be described in more detail below. Adjacent support members are connected along a circle 5 1 shown in Figure 3.
The circle 51 is centered on the square formed by a line at the midpoint between each pair of beams 33 and the two outermost beams of beams 37. Pivots 47 are directly below the point where circle 51 intersects the midpoint between each pair of beams 33.
At point 53 (figure 3), where beams 33 meet the two outermost beams 37, are mounted the ends of legs 7 which support the receiver.
The motors which rotate the dish chassis and drive the rack and pinion systems need not be very powerful because the movement needed to track the sun is only very slow. However if high winds develop the dish 3 must be lowered and rotated quickly. The lowering could be achieved by disengaging the motors and using a controlled braking system. A high speed drive system would have to be provided to rotate the dish 3 into the wind.
The above embodiment has been designed to be as low as possible when the dish 3 is in the lowered position, to keep the weathershield 13 low and in the slower winds near the ground. This is a trade-off between keeping pivots 35 below the dish 3, and as far under the dish 3 as possible to keep beams 3 3 short and to reduce the bending moment on them, and keeping the
lowermost edge 55 of the dish (see figure 7} above tracks 11 when the dish 3 is in the duly raised position. Point 55 could be kept high by putting beams 15 and therefore each pair of beams 33 closer together but this would lengthen beams 33 and also reduce the twisting resistance of the dish support structure. It may be more cost effective to raise beams 33 until their ends are at the same level as pivot 35. Beams 4 9 would then not be needed, but the dish 3 would be around twice as high in the lowered position, requiring the weathershield 13 to be twice as high. This alteration would have the advantage that the means used to raise the dish 3 need not be so compact in the lowered position, because there would be more room between beams 33 and 15. It could also be more cost effective to allow beam 4 9 or even pivot 3 5 to protrude through the dish 3 and lose only a small fraction of the total reflective area of the dish 3, and this alteration would make the dish 3 and weathershield 13 lower than that described above.
The curvature of the dish 3 is also a trade off. If the dish 3 is deep the receiver 5 need not be as high, but deep dishes have several disadvantages. The area of the dish is greater for the area of sunlight it intercepts, and this requires more reflective material and is more expensive to manufacture. Deep dishes are also higher in the lowered position so higher weathershields are required. Perhaps most importantly, the angle at which the reflected rays of solar radiation strike the receiver 5 from the; outer edges of the dish (which is where the majority of the solar radiation is reflected from) is shallower.
Thus, the dish 3 is preferably kept shallow and one with a radius equivalent to x=0.2 giving a height of y=0.04 is chosen (the dish surface being defined by the equation y=x2) . The gradient at the outer edge of the dish 3 is then 0.4 which is about 22°, thus light rays strike the receiver 5 at about 45°. This places the
receiver 5 about 1.25 dish radii above the bottom centre of the dish 3.
The apparatus described above would be suitable for operation in wind speeds up to approximately 15 m/s. For a dish of 75m diameter, such a wind would produce a force of about 65-85 tonnes, when the dish 3 is fully raised and square on to the wind. Accordingly, the dish 3, receiver 5 and support structure 31 are preferably designed to weigh a similar amount. The ballast boxes 29 help prevent the structure from falling over in high winds.
In the event of high winds, the dish 3 is lowered to the horizontal position so as to be protected from the wind by the weathershield 13. The apparatus 1 is also rotated so that point 57 (see Figure 2) faces the wind, putting the open arc (between points 27 in Figure 2) of the weathershield 13 to leeward.
Alternative means of raising the dish may be provided, such as multiple stage bydraulic rams or single stage rams in combination with rack and pinion systems. A removable weathershield (not shown) could be placed around the arc where the weathershield 13 is not present. This may be more cost effective than providing a high speed rotating drive to rotate point 57 into the wind, should high winds be likely to develop without warning.
Figures 8 to 11 illustrate an alternative mechanism for supporting and elevating the dish 3. Beams 15', similar to beams 15 in Figure 2, extend through the weathershield 13 which extends as a substantially complete circle, broken only above beams 15'. Members 59 are mounted to the base of the dish 3 and are pivotally mounted, at point 61, to the end of other members 63. The other ends of members 63 are pivotally mounted, at point 65, to the ends of beam 15'. A rack 67 is fixed to the top of each of beams 15' and pinions 69 fixed to the ends of members 59. Rotation of the pinions 69 is effective to raise the dish 3 from the lowered position
shown in Figure 8 towards the vertical (Figures 10 and 11), Further tracks 11a, lib are provided, outside the circumference of the weathershield 13, for the ends of beams 15' to run on.
Figure 12 illustrates another mechanism for supporting and elevating the dish 3. As in Figure 2, beams 15" extend only within the circumference of the weathershield 13. At one end of beams 15" is fixed a post with a pivot 15. Beams 49 and 71 extend from this pivot and the dish skeleton sits on beam 33 which interconnects beams 49 and 71. Additional beams 72 and 74 are added between beams 71 and 3 3 for strength. Beams 3 3 are interconnected by beams 3 7 as are beams 74 by beams 76. A ram is connected between beams 71 and post 73 to elevate the dish 3 to the required position. The post 73 is preferably sufficiently high to prevent the lowermost edge 55 of the dish 3 from touching the ground.
If during operation solar tracking is lost, focused solar radiation may track across the receiver, and is of sufficient solar flux to melt steel. Thus any areas susceptible to being tracked by the focused solar image have to be protected with firebrick 111 or the like, see Figure 13. The receiver is preferably supported by beams 7 and 8 as shown in this figure. The underside of beams 8 are coated on firebrick 111 as is a portion of the undersides of beam 7. The arrangement minimizes the blocking of reflected solar radiation by the beams. Beams 8 ares preferably 0.08 dish diameters long.
Figures 14a, 14b, 15a, 15b and 16 illustrate the construction of a parabolic dish for reflecting solar radiation. A frame (a portion of which is shown in Figure 16) for supporting the parabolic reflective surface comprises a plurality of radially-extending support members 113 connected together at the centre of the dish and where rectangular plates 117 abut. Each support member 113 comprises a curved member 115 having a
parabolic or near parabolic surface for supporting the reflective surface of the dish and has longitudinal members 119, L21 joining the ends of the curved member 115 to the rectangular plate. Cross-bracing (not shown) may be provided to stiffen the support member 113. The curved member 115 may comprise a flat plate 123 having a curved edge to which another length of strip material 12 5 is mounted to form a curved T-section member, as shown in Figure 15a. Alternatively, the curved member 115' may be formed in a series of linear steps as shown in Figure 15b, to facilitate the mounting thereto of a reflective surface formed of a plurality of planar sheets, or segments, (this being considerably easier to produce and less expensive than a curved, integral reflective surface)
A portion of a reflector dish comprising such a frame is shown in Figure 16, adjacent support members i13 being joined together as described above, with a plurality of reflective planar sheets 127 mounted thereto. Each planar sheet 127 spans the distance between, and is mounted to, adjacent support members 113. As can be seen in Figure 16, the size of each planar sheet 127 decreases as its distance from the centre of the dish decreases. Thus, a reflector dish constructed as shown in Figure 16 will have a large number of planar-sheets 127 of varying size and shape and the dish so constructed will be unnecessarily heavy. The support and elevating mechanism for such a dish would therefore be similarly heavy, and the apparatus unnecessarily expensive.
An improved constructional arrangement for a reflector dish is shown in Figure 17. The maximum tangential length of the outermost edge of the outermost planar sheet 127 is determined by the size of t he aperture into which solar radiation is to be reflected (the same consideration applies to the maximum radial length of each planar sheet). Moving radially inwardly from the outermost edge of the dish, at a point equal to
half the radius of the dish, a planar sheet 127a having an outer edge of length equal to the maximum tangential length will span the tangentieil distance between three adjacent support members 115, 115a, 115b. Accordingly, the central support member 115a need only be half as long as the radius of the dish. At a distance of one quarter of the radius of the dish from the centre thereof a planar sheet of maximum length will span the distance between five adjacent support members 115, 115a, 115b, 115a, 115, and therefore the central support member 115b need only be three quarters as long as the radius of the dish, and so on.
Thus depending on factors such as the maximum size of the planar segments and the diameter of the dish, the lengths of adjacent support members may be expressed as numerically recurring series representing their lengths as proportions of the dish radius, namely:
1, XA, 1M, 1, H ; or
1, XA, 74, X, 1, XA, 74, * ; or
1, K, 74, X, 78/ X. 74, A, 1, K ; or
1, XA, 74, *, 78, K, 74, K, 15/16, y2l '/,, %, 7/s,
XA, V4, Vz, 1, 1A, and so on.
Each series may be represented as a recurring "set", each set comprising a number of support members
which is a power of 2, i.e. 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, or 2X
Thus, a dish may be constructed, as shown in Figure 17, which is both lighter and less expensive than conventional reflector dishes comprising a plurality of reflective planar sheets. The principle of construction of a supporting frame for a parabolic dish described above may be applied to dishes of any size.
Figure 18a illustrates planar sheets formed of a self-supporting material such as polished aluminium or steel 127a or of glass 127b (Figure 18b), like a conventional mirror. A glass planar sheet 127b would be supported by a frame 129 of strong but lightweight
material, such as aluminium alloy.
The planar sheets 12 7 are mounted to the support members 115, as shown in Figure 19, by an adjustable bolt system 133 passing through holes 131 in each planar sheet 127a or each frame 129 whereby each planar sheet 127 may be aligned so as accurately to reflect light into the receiver.
In a conventional mirror the reflective surface is the interface between the backing usually silver or aluminium. However light of wavelengths around 500nm is absorbed by normal or 'green' glass. This gives a maximum reflection efficiency of 85% with a silver back. This can be increased to 94% by reducing the iron content of the glass. This kind of glass is already used in some solar thermal applications.
The present invention provides a more efficient
and less expensive apparatus for generating electrical
power from solar radiation than known systems, and one
which is protected from wind damage. It will be apparent
that the features of dish construction may be applied
independently of the non-gimbal mounting and
weathershield structure herein described.
1. Apparatus for collecting and concentrating solar radiation comprising a reflector dish (3), means for rotating the dish about a first, substantially vertical axis, means for pivoting the dish (3) about a second axis, the second axis lying in a plane parallel to but not coincident with the vertical axis, the pivoting means being effective to pivot the dish (3) to any position between a first position in which the circumference of the dish (3) lies in a substantially horizontal plane and a second position in which the circumference of the dish (3) lies in a substantially vertical plane, and a weathershield (13) extending around the vertical axis so as at least partially to surround the circumference of the dish (3) in the first position, characterized in that the weathershield (13) is rotatable and has a cut-away portion formed therein; the cut-way portion being orientable to prevent obstruction of solar radiation to the dish (3) when the dish (3) between said first and second positions.
2. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the second axis is substantially horizontal.
3. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the second axis is fixed in relation to the first axis.
4. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, 2 or 3, having a cradle (9) and means to rotate the cradle about the first axis, the dish (3) being mounted so as to rotate with the cradle (9) and to pivot with respect thereto.
5. Apparatus as claimed in claim 4, wherein the weathershield (13) is mounted to the cradle (9) so as to rotate therewith or mounted so as to move independently of the dish (3).
6. Apparatus as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the second axis lies within the circumference of the weathershield (13).
7. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2, or in anyone of claim 3 to 6 when dependent on claim 2, wherein the height of the second axis above the lower edge of the weathershield (13) is equal to or greater than the maximum horizontal distance between the second axis and the circumference of the dish (3) when the dish (3) is in the first position.
8. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2, or in anyone of claims 3 to 7 when dependent on claim 2, wherein the weathershield (13) does not extend about that portion of the circumference of the dish (3) subtended by the second axis when the dish is in the first position.
9. Apparatus for collecting and concentrating solar radiation substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to and as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
2948-del-1996-complete specifiction (granted).pdf
|Indian Patent Application Number||2948/DEL/1996|
|PG Journal Number||01/2009|
|Date of Filing||26-Dec-1996|
|Name of Patentee||JOHN HARRISON|
|Applicant Address||CALDWELL, RICHMOND, NORTH YORKSHIRE DL11 7PU, ENGLAND.|
|PCT International Classification Number||F24J 2/00|
|PCT International Application Number||N/A|
|PCT International Filing date|