Solucean has developed, tested, and iterated a new kind of solar collector. Based on a simple technology similar to air mattresses, our flexible, floating solar collectors have heated water with an efficiency of over 60% at a projected cost of $5 per square meter. Our data shows that this hot water (at 85 C) can be run through an open cycle OTEC plant to produce power and water much more efficiently than is possible with current technology. The solar collector area can be sized to provide excess hot water for overnight or inclement weather power generation. Details of our process are readily available on the World International Property Organization under patent number WO/2014/035643 seen here.
The CAD drawing of the solar collector at left shows a flexible black water pipe on an inflated plastic floating parabola. The upper surface is clear, the lower surface is reflective, which concentrates sunlight on the black pipe. The SEAOTEC system uses water at between 185°F and 200°F to generate steam, powering a turbine to generate electricity, and condensing the steam to provide potable (distilled) water. At sea level, water boils to steam at 212°F. As Denver residents know, at higher altitudes (lower pressures), water boils at lower temperatures.
SEAOTEC uses the same method of energy generation which is used by OTEC, namely, warm water is sprayed into a vacuum chamber, causing some of the water to vaporize (turn to steam). This low pressure steam flows out of the evaporation chamber through a turbine and into another vacuum chamber, where the steam is cooled and condensed, which maintains the vacuum in the condensing chamber. In an open loop system, the condensed steam, now distilled water, is collected for sale as potable water, for drinking or irrigation.