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Posted by seahunt on January 30, 2004 at 08:21:07:

In Reply to: seahunt... what is a heliostat? n/t posted by stephen clark on January 30, 2004 at 06:56:25:

It is a telescope to observe the sun.
More importantly it is also the name of a solar energy device.
Remember ARCO Solar One. It was the first energy source to provide solar energy for cheaper than oil. It is mirrors reflecting sunlight at a heliostat (the actual solar furnace) that heats water (really a different liguid for heat exchange) and runs a turbine on a generator. It avoids the high cost of solar cells.
Recently, a gent in Pasadena used evolutionary software (self modifying software) to create a smaller heliostat to run a stirling engine to produce power. The parameter of the software was to keep the cost of the unit down. I want to see the thing in production, but have not heard any more about it.
The first large heliostat was a NASA R&D project built with off the shelf parts. It paid for itself in 2 years. Pretty impressive for an R&D project. I got all that info from an engineer that worked on the project. ... So where is it now? I did see Solar One. Pretty neat.
If there are any valid conspiracy theories about what the oil companies don't want us to know, I think this is likely the truest one. Doing Google searches, one might think that a heliostat is only a solar telescope. I cannot find any reference to ARCO Solar One or anything like it, but it was at least a 10 acre facility.
Enjoy the diving, seahunt

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