Skysun, LLC’s ganged heliostat concept utilizes a tensile based support and actuation structure. Earlier research, circa 2009-2010, promised that a cost-effective concave concentrator could be tensile-based, but substantial optical aberrations, namely astigmatism, would need to be addressed. Tensile methods to eliminate astigmatism are embodied in Skysun’s issued parent patents 8,609,979 (Feb. 22, 2011) and 9,279,600 (March 8, 2016). Research with the prototype demonstrated that 24 reflectors, controlled by six actuators, could be focused to a fixed receiver while eliminating astigmatism. A method to eliminate the need for expensive vertical actuation was developed resulting in the filing of three provisional patent applications and a subsequent utility Patent Cooperation Treaty (International) application filed on January 27, 2016. Collaboration with NASA GRC demonstrated survivability given extreme exterior conditions (2015). Collaboration with Sandia National Laboratories and the National Solar Thermal Testing Facility has shown that accuracy, performance and survivability should scale to commercial and utility levels (2016 to present). This hybrid style of ganged heliostat implies substantial cost reduction when compared to the current art of heliostats and will exceed the SunShot goal of $75/m2 of collecting field installed cost.
Primary Application Area: Energy, Efficiency, Environmental
Technology Development Status: Prototype
Technology Readiness Level: TRL 4
Vetted Programs/Awards: GLIDE, Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise
Winner NASA Adopt a City Program
Burton D. Morgan Mentoring Program
Semifinalist Solar Power International Start-Up Alley
Invited Speaker CSP Sevilla 2017, J. Clair
Invited Speaker SolarPACES 2018, K. Armijo
Organization Type: Early-stage Startup (Seed)
Showcase Booth #: 8
GOVT/EXTERNAL FUNDING SOURCES
External Funding to Date: Innovation Fund Grant, $25,000.00, 2014
Phase A grant to develop prototype and advance intellectual property protection.