Why a parabola? Because it is a special shape which, when parallel rays of sunlight are reflected off of the surface, results in concentration of the light at the boilers (the two oblong "cans" suspended above the mirrored surface. The total surface area is 720 square feet (comprised of 240 individual mirrors), and the Sunfire concentrator is actually a hybrid between a two-dimensional (line) focus and a three-dimensional (point) focus. This offers much of the efficiency of a 3D collector without the difficulty of fabricating 3D parabolic glass mirrors.
Since approximately 600 watts solar energy per square meter reaches the surface of the earth during the daylight hours, a machine with as little as 10% efficiency can easily supply enough power for a house (3kW) using a collector 25 feet in diameter.
Preparing the Engine for installation (1979-1980)
Installing and adjusting parabolic mirrors (1979-1980)
The structure in azimuthal position | Cutting by Oxyacetylene torch (1980)
Webmaster: Sonia Balcer, (email@example.com)
[Sunfire Main page]
[NYT Article] [Photos:
Early] [Photos: Mid] [Photos:
[A poem about Welding-- Inspired by Sunfire] [Sunfire Index]