|Stirling Energy Systems(SES) and the Tessera Solar to develop an advanced solar power collection dish, the SunCatcher. At sunrise, each SunCatcher automatically rotates to face The Sun, and with automation software, tracks, collects, and focuses the sun¡¯s energy onto a single point, the Power Conversion Unit.
The SunCatcher is a 25-kilowatt-electrical (kWe) solar dish Stirling system which consists of a unique radial solar concentrator dish structure that supports an array of curved glass mirror facets, designed to automatically track the sun, collect and focus, that is, concentrate, its solar energy onto a patented Power Conversion Unit (PCU). The PCU is coupled with, and powered by, a completely re-engineered SES Stirling engine that generates power grid-quality electricity.
The PCU converts the focused solar thermal energy into grid-quality electricity. The conversion process in the PCU involves a closed-cycle, high-efficiency four-cylinder, reciprocating Solar Stirling Engine utilizing an internal working fluid that is recycled through the engine. The Solar Stirling Engine operates with heat input from the sun that is focused by the SunCatcher¡¯s dish assembly mirrors onto the PCU's solar receiver tubes which contain hydrogen gas. The PCU solar receiver is an external heat exchanger that absorbs the incoming solar thermal energy. This heats and pressurizes the gas in the heat exchanger tubing, and this gas in turn powers the Solar Stirling Engine.
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