What has inflatable lightweight mirrors and captures the same amount of energy from the sun, as traditional flat panel PV systems, while using 500 times less solar cell material? Cool Earth's cool Solar Balloons do and they're about to expand.
Since these Solar Balloons require less material to capture energy they are lightweight as well as cost efficient. Each balloons is 2 meter wide and is stable enough to withstand 125 mile an hour winds. In addition since the bubbles are lightweight they can easily be suspended on support cables above ground and are kept perpendicular to the sun's light.
How do the Solar Balloons function? "Instead of rigid aluminum or glass structure to focus light, we use metalized plastic films and instead of ribs, trusswork, or material heft to maintain the mirror shape, we use active inflation air," Cool Earth website.
The transparent bubble design forms a protective barrier around the reflective receiver and protects it from such things as rain, dirt, and bugs. The energy is concentrated and then focused onto photovoltaic cells thus increasing the energy impacting the cells in greater volumes. By controlling the inflation of the balloon the balloon's optical properties are optimized.
Earlier this month (Feb. 14, 2008) Cool Earth's developer and owner announced an initial closing of $21 million in its Series A financing. What does this mean? More funding is now available to improve the invention and expand Cool Earth's power plants and the Cool Earth's team.
What do you think of the Solar Balloons? Post your questions or comments below.
For more information on this invention visit Cool Earth .
Via Ecogeek .