Solar oysters produce power and heat instead of pearls


Since December, the Nuremberg Zoo has been home to a SunOyster. Its favorite activity is producing energy. Feeding is prohibited. (Copyright: SunOyster)

Since December, the Nuremberg Zoo has been home to a very special animal – a SunOyster. Like an oyster, the solar system can close itself up to protect against strong winds, the zoo reports. It was installed as part of a collaboration between the electricity supplier N-ERGIE and the manufacturer SunOyster. The unique solar technology combines photovoltaics and solar thermal technologies.

 “We don’t just produce electricity, we also produce heat, and we do so with a very high degree of efficiency: Up to 75% of direct sunlight can be turned into power. The conversion efficiency of conventional photovoltaic installations is far lower,” explains Dr. Carsten Corino, General Manager of SunOyster Systems. When the SunOyster is combined with thermal cooling units, the heat generated can easily be converted into cooling, thereby covering a building’s complete energy needs.

The SunOyster’s parabolic reflectors move around two axes to track the sun’s movement and concentrate direct sunlight in a single line. A receiver uses special glass lenses to concentrate the light a second time onto concentrator PV cells with very high efficiency (44%). These cells produce electricity with an electrical efficiency rating of up to 30%. Not only that, but as the cells heat up, the heat is absorbed into a liquid and transported to the user, achieving thermal efficiency ratings of up to 45%. Thanks to this technology, shadows and other poor lighting conditions have only minimal impact on the SunOyster’s performance. Nuremberg Tech serves as a scientific advisor for the project. (SP)

For more information, please visit: SunOyster


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