HelioTrope: An innovative and efficient prototype for solar power production
Ioannou, Petros A.
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The solar energy alternative could provide us with all the energy we need as it exist in vast quantities all around us. We only should be innovative enough in order to improve the efficiency of our systems in capturing and converting solar energy in usable forms of power. By making a case for the solar energy alternative, we identify areas where efficiency can be improved and thereby Solar Energy can become a competitive energy source. This paper suggests an innovative approach to solar energy power production, which is manifested in a prototype given the name HelioTrope. The Heliotrope Solar Energy Production prototype is tested on its' capabilities to efficiently covert solar energy to generation of electricity and other forms of energy for storage or direct use. HelioTrope involves an innovative Stirling engine design and a parabolic concentrating dish with a sun tracking system implementing a control algorithm to maximize the capturing of solar energy. Further, it utilizes a patent developed by the authors where a mechanism is designed for the transmission of reciprocating motion of variable amplitude into unidirectional circular motion. This is employed in our prototype for converting linear reciprocating motion into circular for electricity production, which gives a significant increase in efficiency and reduces maintenance costs. Preliminary calculations indicate that the Heliotrope approach constitutes a competitive solution to solar power production.