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IBM Water Cooling Enables a Super Solar Dish

It powers several houses and desalinates water.
9/25/2014 02:00 PM EDT
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R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Solar Power and Water
R_Colin_Johnson   10/20/2014 3:03:01 PM
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I agree with you wholeheartedly, but must try to answer readers questions as best I can rather than just say "I think they know what they're doing". That would sound ungracious coming from an editor, but again I believe you are 100% right and as a reader have the right to "let it all hang out" when commenting. Thanks so much for your comment.

betajet
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Re: Solar Power and Water
betajet   10/19/2014 10:34:45 PM
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R_Colin_Johnson wrote: Not sure why IBM prefers water--except perhaps its cheap--but I agree with you. Also a material that didn't short out circuitry in the event of a leak would also seem to be beneficial.

IBM has used water to cool mainframe computers for many decades.  I think they know what they're doing.

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Solar Power and Water
R_Colin_Johnson   10/19/2014 7:29:55 PM
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Not sure why IBM prefers water--except perhaps its cheap--but I agree with you. Also a material that didn't short out circuitry in the event of a leak would also seem to be beneficial.

DrQuine
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Re: Solar Power and Water
DrQuine   10/18/2014 9:38:25 PM
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@R_Colin_Johnson That makes a lot of sense since otherwise there would be a lot of foreign matter circulating through the electronics. I'd think that using a higher boiling point material would improve the effectiveness of heat transfer to the salt water for boiling and purification.

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Solar Power and Water
R_Colin_Johnson   10/17/2014 11:22:25 PM
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The circulating water is not salt water. Its just the heat from it that boils the salt water to desalinate it.

DrQuine
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Solar Power and Water
DrQuine   10/17/2014 10:24:08 PM
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Improving solar cell efficiency with a cooling system that also generates clean water sounds like a interesting idea. I can't help wondering, however, how the system will deal with the the concentrated salt and foreign matter that accumulates as the remaining water is boiled off. It would seem that the narrow tubes will be at risk of fouling. Perhaps the solution would be to circulate oil (or some other high boiling temperature material) as the coolant and then have a secondary circuit that is boiling the salt water and producing fresh water.

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Generating power at night.
R_Colin_Johnson   10/15/2014 12:10:31 PM
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Interesting question, thanks. Here is what IBM said about a full moon: "The light strength of the Moon is 1 Lux or 500,000x weaker than the sun and would result in the system to produce 0.024 W or almost no power (compared to 12'000W on sun). We can use the Moon to align and test the optics during the experimental phase, however (it needs the same opening angle like the sun)"

Darryl.Buchanan
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Generating power at night.
Darryl.Buchanan   10/14/2014 11:39:43 AM
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Just curious.  If this thing concentrates light 2000x, would it be capable of generating electricity under a full moon?

Douglas K McClelland
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IBM / Airlight water cooled CPV - here we go again
Douglas K McClelland   9/26/2014 9:30:05 PM
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I have been watching the CPV tech for over ten years now and it seems to be getting closer. What gets me is how short term the memory seems to be in the tech community. This CPV tech was original created for the space race and used 3 junction cells. Solar Systems of Austrilia tried to make a commercial run of it but failed, so I am hoping IBM's deep pockets can see this startup thru the tough times. the Solar System in AU also used a parobolic dish and prodiuces around 40 KW, but had air cooling. They built a solar farm of over 100 dishes I think. The company that made the 3J cells is in Illinois, I beleive and is now owned by Boeing

IBM_Research
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Re: Replace the mirrors every 10 years!
IBM_Research   9/26/2014 7:52:51 AM
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@Wilco1 Clearly you understand this industry and I'd be happy to arrange a call. If you are interested let me know. I can also provide you with a conference paper on the science.

The photovoltaic chips, similar to those used on orbiting satellites, are mounted on micro-structured layers that pipe treated water within fractions of millimeters of the chip to absorb the heat and draw it away 10 times more effectively than with passive air cooling. The 85-90 Celsius (°C) (183-194 Fahrenheit (°F)) hot water maintains the chips at safe operating temperatures of 105 °C (221 °F), which otherwise would reach over 1,500 °C (2,732 °F).

Feel free to email me at cia (at) zurich (dot) ibm (dot) com and I'll send you the scientific materials.

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