Infinia’s Modular Solar Dish Gets Funding

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Infinia is a company with a modular product: a mirrored solar dish that looks like a home satellite receiver, and produces 3.5 kilowatts of energy. Infinia announced Monday that it had received $50 million in investment. The dish focuses the sun’s rays on to a Stirling engine (a 17th century invention), this heats a gas inside that drives pistons to generate electricity (see the engine in action here). The free-moving piston requires no lubricants, and thus no maintenance.

It is also designed to be assembled with common mass-produced parts that an auto-parts supplier could manufacture. Getting the cost down is the key to creating a technology that is competitive with other forms of energy.

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“What makes this unique is the no-maintenance profile,” says chief financial officer, Gregg Clevenger, “the ability to deploy a Stirling engine out in the desert and it is engineered to run for 20 years without you having to do anything.”

Infinia are working towards building 50 to 100 of these giant solar dishes which would produce the same amount of energy as a small power plant. Each dish costs $20,000.

Using its Stirling engine technology, Inifnia thinks it can eventually produce electricity 20 to 30 percent cheaper than today’s existing solar panels. And in times of peak energy demand—on a hot summer day, for instance—it could even be competitive with electricity from gas-powered or coal-fired plants.

Link: Infinia

Comments

  1. says

    REPower Education
    661-823-1463

    A picture is worth a thousand words; a video is worth a thousand photos…we will post this on our blogs, and then contact the company to ask them to share their videos with our sponsor: GreenEnergyTV.com With over 300 videos on the GreenEnergyTV site, the industry can see what the other guys are doing behind the cubicles…

  2. John B says

    The engine is key to the design; its a wonderful use of solar power!
    The dish and stand could use some work. I’m curious as to why that dish size was picked. Can costs be brought down enough to make the system effective at a small size?

  3. AtariJedi says

    The bigger it is, the more sunlight it can collect. One thing I would recommend with this design is to make the bottom of the stirling engine out of black diamond rod, diamond being the best conductor of heat.

  4. says

    Truly wonderful and simple design. The frame could be produced very cheaply, the main cost is Stirling engine. I hope, they are going to be ready for the real market, soon.

  5. coop says

    Looks nice but it would be more efficient to use a heat sink buried under the ground. The heat has to be dissipated somewhere and the bigger the difference between the sink and the collector the more power is produced. Since the temp underground is almost constant once you get a few feet under it would serve as pretty reliable sink

  6. says

    Another company that received millions of dollars for a genuinely great product which never seen the “light” of day…..I hate stumbling onto all these (several) years old posts about promising technology that has never been utilized…

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