Commercializing a Disruptively Low Cost Solar Collector

Cutting the cost of solar collectors in half.

Hyperlight Energy

Recipient

Lakeside, CA

Recipient Location

38th

Senate District

71st

Assembly District

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$747,567

Amount Spent

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Active

Project Status

Projects Updates/The Results

A prototype reflector of 20 feet by 50 feet was tested to 10,000 cycles representing a 30-year lifetime, and results of the testing showed minimal degradation. The project site preparation work was completed and the pilot system has been operating as designed. Total system annual solar-to-thermal efficiency of 1/2 acre module plant was in the range of 60% to 85%. Important milestone achieved in this project include the mass manufacture and installation of the tube structural components required to achieve cost-savings. This project was completed in March, 2019. Hyperlight energy will design and install this technology, at Saputo Cheese plant in Tulare to convert solar energy into supplemental heat for thermal processes required to process milk into cheese. In addition, this technology has a good chance of utilization to boost output of geothermal plants.

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The Issue

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) is a promising form of renewable energy that has been hampered by high solar collector costs and high power block costs. In addition, there is need to enable use of geothermal power plant turbines that are underutilized due to resource decline at many sites in California.

Project Innovation

This project has developed a low cost Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) collector to advance the market readiness of this technology. Hyperlight's CSP collector is based on the linear Fresnel reflector (LFR) and is able to make cost reductions through breakthroughs in materials, design, manufacturing, and installation. A major innovation of the system involves use of mirrors attached to UV stabilized and low-cost plastic tubes that are mounted on a sealed water bed foundation. The project has developed: (1) a single 1,000 square foot module used for lifecycle testing and validation of upgraded design elements; (2) a one-half acre system for pilot testing and demonstration; and (3) a front end engineering design study to establish the feasibility and requirements to scale the system up to ten acres and to co-locate with other renewable energy such as a geothermal facility. EPIC funds are being used as cost share funding to Hyperlight's $1.5 million grant from the US DOE.

Project Goals

Scale up production capability of Hyperlight Energy to 30 MWth per year.
Achieve solar collector cost equal to or less than $99 per square meter of reflector surface area.
Design, build and operate a demonstration of the technology at 1/2 acre scale.

Project Benefits

The project will support technological development by advancing a low-cost CSP collector to commercial availability. In addition to the value of demonstrating the collector through the physical installation, the front end design study and the availability of this low cost collector could inform geothermal power plant owners on the potential to use this innovative system to boost the output of their plants and provide more renewable energy to the grid. The resulting increase in heat transfer fluid temperature from 200 to 300 C expands the market for this technology from food processing to biofuel process plants and petroleum refining.

Lower Costs

Lower Costs

This project will develop solar collectors that are roughly half the cost of current collectors, reducing overall system costs for concentrated solar to $99/m2 compared to existing cost of $200/m2. The LCOE from this technology i

Environmental & Public Health

Environmental & Public Health

This project will generate 3,500 mmbtu of heat per year, resulting in 50 tons of CO2 offset annually.

Key Project Members

John King

John King

Co-Founder, CEO
Cory Cunningham

Cory Cunningham

Chief Operating Officer
Hyperlight Energy

Subrecipients

Rocket

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Rocket

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