Solar Design From MIT Does Double Duty
MIT researchers say a hybrid solar-thermoelectric system they’re working on would provide a big advantage over conventional solar cells or solar thermal systems, particularly for household use: the ability to produce heat and electricity simultaneously. They propose accomplishing this mean feat through a clever reconfiguration of the standard parabolic trough.
In a typical parabolic system (like the one pictured below), a curved mirror reflects sunlight onto a liquid-filled tube, and the hot water produced in that tube is used either to drive a turbine to produce power, or for heat for industrial uses or space heating. The MIT team — Professor Evelyn Wang and grad student Nenad Miljkovic — is working on hybridizing the system to do both at once by modifying that tube with a series of concentric tubes within it.
For further information and photo: http://www.matternetwork.com/2011/11/solar-design-from-mit-does.cfm