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New Solar Dish Could Revolutionize Global Energy Production Says MIT Team

Teresa Neumann : Jun 25, 2008
Staff - LiveScience

User friendly, affordable, and so powerful it could melt steel.

The Solar DishA report from LiveScience highlights a revolutionary new type of solar energy collector made of aluminum and mirrors that concentrates sunlight, increasing it by a factor of 1,000, into a beam so powerful it could melt steel. (Photo:

"This is actually the most efficient solar collector in existence," said Doug Wood, the inventor who patented key parts of the dish's design and then signed the rights over to a team of MIT students.

The improved 12-foot-wide solar dish is reported to be user-friendly so anyone can build it. According to the report, MIT engineering student Spencer Ahrens and his teammates have started a company called RawSolar to hopefully mass produce the dishes.

"They could be set up in huge arrays to provide steam for industrial processing," says an MIT statement, "or for heating or cooling buildings, as well as to hook up to steam turbines and generate electricity. Once in mass production, such arrays should pay for themselves within two years or so with the energy they produce."

Read more about this invention and how a puff of smoke is generated in a plank of wood within seconds of being exposed to one of its powerful beams.