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FOCUS Technology Snapshot - Sharp Lab's Partially Transmitting Mirror

Starting with a concentrated parabolic trough system, we propose to split initially concentrated solar radiation into two components, one which is further concentrated and directed onto high performance PV cells and the other which is directed to an efficient heat collection device.  In addition, collection and management of thermal energy associated with PV cells will also be optimized.  The output of the system will be a high quality thermal stream (400°C) and electrical current.  In order to achieve the proposed performance, Sharp Labs of America (SLA) and University of Arizona (UA) will work together on optical system development, particularly focusing on optical design, material selection, and device fabrication. 

The first task is to design/fabricate/characterize dichroic mirrors with characteristics similar to classic cold mirrors.  At least two designs for each case will be analyzed, comparing performance vs. cost.  The secondary concentrating optical system, further focus the reflected PV light down to CPV cells, will also be designed and fabricated.  Issues dealing with integration of the dichroic and secondary optics into the overall system will require special attention and is handled by Solargenix LLC, an experienced CSP builder.  Concurrent with optical system development, SLA and University of Missouri (UM) will design a thermal management system to maintain PV cells at the optimum temperature and/or harvest as much associated waste heat as is economically feasible; subsystem integration will also be carried out.  SLA will coordinate fabrication of prototype optical and thermal components and Solargenix will fabricate a 5x8 m2 trough prototype which will be installed and characterized in Tucson, AZ using University of Arizona facilities there. 

The target is a robust design able to provide exergy greater than 35% at cost less than $1/W.