Greentech Lead America: LightManufacturing in Pismo
Beach, California has developed a heliostat – sun tracking mirrors – that
delivers over 2000 watts of heat and light energy to a target, and multiple H1s
can be combined into hugely powerful arrays.
While it is a well-known fact that heliostats can provide
low-cost heat and light for buildings and even for industrial processes,
commercial deployment has not been highly successful due to issues associated
with reliability, cost, fragile mirrors and tricky-to-use control systems.
Though “consumer-grade” heliostats have been in
use in many applications, they don’t offer the flexibility and reliability
needed for industrial work.
Heliostats are used to capture light on building rooftops
and pipe the light to lower floors for providing low-cost illumination. In
LightManufacturing’s own SRM (Solar Rotational Molding) systems, an array of H1
heliostats delivers over 20,000 watts of energy to make plastic parts without
the use of natural gas. They can also find applications in steam generation,
drying food in agricultural operations, warming greenhouses, melting ice,
enhancing oil extraction, and much more.
“Any process that uses fossil-fuel generated heat is
a candidate for conversion to heliostat energy,” said LightManufacturing
CEO Karl von Kries. “We developed the H1 for our own internal use,
and field-proved it in our SRM plastic molding systems. Now we’re making the H1
available to everyone who needs low-cost heat and light.”
LightManufacturing has developed a unique
high-performance heliostat that combines simple setup and operation with the
lowest cost per mirror area of any heliostat. It is the first and only
heliostat to use a tensioned-film reflector.
Instead of fragile glass, the H1’s mirror is made of thin
but incredibly tough metalized plastic stretched onto an aircraft-grade
aluminum frame. The shatterproof mirror is lightweight, safe and has better
reflective properties than glass. The tensioned film mirror used in the H1 is
dismounted and rolled for compact shipment.It’s shipped in 3 sections, and
easily assembled onsite.
The H1 also features an available wireless control system
that allows the user configure, aim, and control many heliostats from a
simple-to-use computer program. Unlike the home-oriented designed that
are locked on a single target, the H1 heliostats can be aimed at any number of
targets on demand.