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Proceedings Paper

Sun to fibers (S2F): massively scalable collection and transmission of concentrated solar light for efficient energy conversion and storage
Author(s): Juan J. Díaz León; Matthew P. Garrett; Junce Zhang; Katherine Han; R. Ernest Demaray; Roger W. Anderson; Allan Lewandowski; William Bottenberg; Nobuhiko P. Kobayashi
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Paper Abstract

Concentrated solar energy has proven to be an efficient approach for both solar thermal energy applications and photovoltaics. Here, we propose a passive optical device, the Adiabatic Optical Coupler (AOC), that efficiently couples concentrated solar light from a primary solar concentrator into an optical fiber, enabling light collection and energy conversion/storage to be geographically separated, thus maximizing the overall system efficiency. The AOC offers secondary concentration of concentrated solar light through an adiabatic optical mode conversion process. Solar light, highly focused by this two stage concentrator, is delivered by optical fiber to either be subsequently converted to electricity or thermally stored. The ability to transport high energy light flux eliminates the need for high temperature working fluids in solar-thermal systems. In order to design the AOC and related peripherals, we used various modeling tools to cover different optical regimes at macroscopic and microscopic scales. We demonstrated a set of optical thin films with spatially varied refractive index up to 3 and negligible optical absorption by using proprietary sputtering technique to fabricate the AOC. We further studied the films using experimental measurements and theoretical analysis to optimize their optical properties. Preliminary cost analysis suggests that solar thermal power generation systems that employ our S2F concept could offer the cost and efficiency required to achieve the 2020 SunShot initiative levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) target. Success of this endeavor could change the energy conversion paradigm, and allow massively scalable concentrated solar energy utilization.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 October 2014
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 9175, High and Low Concentrator Systems for Solar Energy Applications IX, 91750A (7 October 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2061527
Show Author Affiliations
Juan J. Díaz León, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz (United States)
Matthew P. Garrett, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz (United States)
Junce Zhang, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz (United States)
Katherine Han, Antropy Inc. (United States)
Demaray LLC (United States)
R. Ernest Demaray, Antropy Inc. (United States)
Demaray, LLC (United States)
Roger W. Anderson, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz (United States)
Allan Lewandowski, Allan Lewandowski Solar Consulting, LLC (United States)
William Bottenberg, Bottenberg Associates (United States)
Nobuhiko P. Kobayashi, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9175:
High and Low Concentrator Systems for Solar Energy Applications IX
Adam P. Plesniak; Candace Pfefferkorn, Editor(s)

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