What is Concentrated Solar Power?

December 4, 2021

A quick look at CSP and the Hyperlight™ difference. 

When most people talk about solar power, they think of photovoltaic (PV) panels, or perhaps an open fields full of bright mirrors reflecting the sun back to a singular tower in the middle. This is one example of concentrated solar power (CSP). All CSP configurations have one thing in common, they redirect light onto a common target.  This usually generates high quality heat.  The heat can be used to make steam and directly power industrial processes that need heat, or it can be used to generate electricity in a turbine for use in the power grid for homes and commercial businesses.

Our concentrated solar power technology generates solar heat like the others, but with a huge difference.  Instead of using the standard steel and concrete others use to hold the mirrors structures in place and accurately track the sun, we replace that approach with a domestically produced, recyclable plastic structure.

Other technologies can require a Golden Gate Bridge worth of steel. It’s an expensive process that not every industry or factory can reasonably take on.

The company has been asked how it thought of doing it this way and the answer might surprise you.  It was an accident.  Cofounders King and Kramer had selected plastic as a material choice because they were working on a system to produce algal biofuels and plastic was a common choice for this application. They were having overheating issues and developed a reflector system to reflect out portions of light that were causing the overheating. They then realized the system used to rotate the tubes to achieve algae mixing could be used instead to aim this unwanted light and concentrate it on a target.  They saw pretty quickly they had stumbled onto the world’s lowest cost solar concentrator.  They abandoned the technical and market application of algal biofuels and began developing the CSP application in earnest. 

The low-cost nature of this plastic platform enabled an order of magnitude lower-cost development pathway, funded by government grants and contracts over a decade which allowed many generations of the technology to be designed, built and tested, to get to the commercial product the company markets today – Hylux™.