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Heliotrope Sun-tracking System

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Heliotropics solar panel prototype / Ned Thomas, .. / LicenseCopyright - All Rights Reserved

Solar panes track sunlight without motors

Inspiring Strategies


Product or process
Plants in areas with short growing seasons need to make the most of their time above ground. This is their one chance to capture solar energy and convert it into sugars they need for energy. They do this by maximizing their exposure to  sunlight by a process called heliotropism. In 2009, a team of MIT students, honoring the source of their inspiration by calling themselves Heliotrope, won a prize for their design of a sun-tracking solar panel.

Solar panels are often immobile devices, aimed at the best angle and direction to catch sunlight throughout the day. However, because they don't move, they aren't as efficient as they could be. Those that do move to follow the sun use motors and electronic control systems, thus costing money to run, and making them unaffordable in many developing countries. Solar panels that track the angle of the sun can be 38 percent more efficient at generating power than fixed panels.

To make their solar panels responsive to sunlight, students Forrest Liau, Vyom Sharma, and George Whitfield used the difference in temperature between shaded and sunny areas to change the properties of the material supporting the solar photovoltaic cells. The solar panels are mounted at the top of a curved arch made up of two kinds of metal, such as aluminum and steel. The apparatus is expected to be durable enough to withstand the elements with little or no maintenance
The biomimicry story
Plants in areas with short growing seasons need to make the most of their time above ground. This is their one chance to capture solar energy and convert it into the sugars they need for energy. They do this by maximizing their exposure to the sunlight by a process called heliotropism. In 2009, a team of MIT students, honoring the source of their inspiration by calling themselves Heliotrope, won a prize for their design of a sun-tracking solar panel.

Solar panels are often immobile devices, aimed at the best angle and direction to catch sunlight throughout the day. However, because they don't move, they can't work at highest efficiency throughout the day. Those that do move to follow the sun use motors and electronic control systems, thus costing money to run, and making them unaffordable in many developing countries. Solar panels that track the angle of the sun can be 38 percent more efficient at generating power than fixed panels.

To make their solar panels responsive to sunlight, students Forrest Liau, Vyom Sharma, and George Whitfield used the difference in temperature between shaded and sunny areas to change the properties of the material supporting the solar photovoltaic cells. The solar panels are mounted at the top of a curved arch made up of two kinds of metal, such as aluminum and steel. The apparatus is expected to be durable enough to withstand the elements with little or no maintenance.
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pooja
over 4 years ago
the project has impressed me alot as i working on the same.please help regarding the solar panels and the details.thanks..
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About the Product

Product Phase: Concept

Product Type: Heliotropic solar panels