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Proceedings Paper

First-generation hybrid solar lighting collector system development and operating experience
Author(s): David Beshears; D. Duncan Earl; Jeff Muhs; L. Curt Maxey; Gary Capps; Scott Stellern; David Bayless; Shyler Switzer
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Paper Abstract

Research is underway at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) that could lead to entirely new, highly energy-efficient ways of lighting buildings using the power of sunlight. In addition to providing light, the hybrid lighting system will convert sunlight to electricity much more efficiently than conventional solar technologies using thermo-photovoltaic cells. In commercial buildings today, lighting consumes more electric energy than any other building end-use. It accounts for more than a third of all electricity consumed for commercial use in the United States. Typically, less than 25% of that energy actually produces light; the rest generates heat that increases the need for air-conditioning. ORNL is developing a system to reduce the energy required for lighting and the air-conditioning loads associated with it, while generating power for other uses. The system uses roof-mounted concentrators to collect and separate the visible and infrared portions of sunlight. The visible portion is distributed through large-diameter optical fibers to hybrid luminaires. (Hybrid luminaires are lighting fixtures that contain both electric lamps and fiber optics for direct sunlight distribution.) When sunlight is plentiful, the fiber optics in the luminaries, provide all or most of the light needed in an area. Unlike conventional electric lamps, they produce little heat. During times of little or no sunlight, sensor-controlled electric lamps will operate to maintain the desired illumination level. A second use of the hybrid lighting collector system is to provide sunlight for enhanced practical photosynthesis carbon dioxide mitigation. In this project the hybrid lighting collector system is being used to provide sunlight to a lab-scale photobioreactor for growing algae that is being used for CO2 mitigation. The end goal of this project is to provide a photobioreactor that can be used to mitigate CO2 in fossil fuel fire power plants. This paper will discuss the development and operating experience to date of two hybrid lighting solar collectors installed at ORNL and at Ohio University. The first hybrid lighting collector system was tested at ORNL and then installed at Ohio University in June of 2002. A second collector of the same design was installed at ORNL in September of 2002. The Ohio University collector system has been running continually since its installation while the ORNL unit has been operated in a research mode on most sunny days. They have operated with very little human interaction and this paper will summarize the development, operating experience, collection efficiency, as well as providing information on additional data being collected as part of the system operation.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 January 2004
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 5185, Nonimaging Optics: Maximum Efficiency Light Transfer VII, (8 January 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.509166
Show Author Affiliations
David Beshears, Oak Ridge National Lab. (United States)
D. Duncan Earl, Oak Ridge National Lab. (United States)
Jeff Muhs, Oak Ridge National Lab. (United States)
L. Curt Maxey, Oak Ridge National Lab. (United States)
Gary Capps, Oak Ridge National Lab. (United States)
Scott Stellern, Oak Ridge National Lab. (United States)
David Bayless, Ohio Univ. (United States)
Shyler Switzer, Ohio Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5185:
Nonimaging Optics: Maximum Efficiency Light Transfer VII
Roland Winston, Editor(s)

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