“In Jewish tradition, if someone has a coin, half will be used to buy bread and the other half for a flower. The gesture of giving a flower is nice, and soon we hope to provide many flowers in a variety of colors,” announced Haim Dotan, the architect of AORA’s new “Power Flower” at Kibbutz Samar.
On June 24, AORA Solar had its Kibbutz Samar Launch Event, to show off “flowery” new technology that generates 100kW of electrical power and 170kW of thermal power.
With an audience of around 250 journalists, investors, scientists, and curious individuals from around the world, the AORA team showed off their site and later signed agreements with Spanish and Australian firms to start introducing their technology outside of Israel.
AORA boasts that they have developed the world’s first commercial hybrid solarized gas-turbine power station, capable of producing green power 24/7. The hybrid nature of the system allows power to be generated around the clock, by operating on “Solar-only mode” during hours of sunlight, and “hybrid mode” using fuel to generate energy during hours of limited sunlight.
To make the system even cleaner, the objective is to use biofuels to power the hybrid mode.
Using a system of highly reflective mirrors called heliostats that move according to the position of the sun, heat is concentrated at 1000 degrees Celsius inside the flower part of the structure.
Elevated 30 meters above the ground, the tulip shaped flower has petals and contains a solarized micro gas turbine within. AORA’s flower structure and 30 heliostat mirrors are only able to supply 100 kW of power to the national grid (enough to sustain approximately 70 homes), but the system does have a number of advantages because of this.
Since the structure operates on a smaller scale, new plants can be erected in just a few months, allowing energy to be generated at a site quickly and with reduced contracting costs. The required land is only half an acre, so the system will be able to power smaller villages, and for larger projects more flowers and heliostats can be added quickly and independently of the original structure.
Part of the Aora’s goal is to generate solar power for smaller communities that can use the power in their daily lives and will be able to have an attractive symbol of sustainability in their community as a source of pride.
Visually, the flower is quite a site as it stands 30 meters tall in vibrant orange, and resembles a large tulip. Architect Haim Dotan said that one of the challenges, but also one of the beautiful things will be adapting the flower design to different places around the world. According to the climates, resources, and cultures of the various places where AORA hopes to build structures, each flower will likely require different materials, colors, and design adjustments.
AORA’s launch event was well attended and should generate more buzz about their product. While the heliostat technology has been a popular concept, AORA seems to be developing a niche for smaller scale projects, and for bringing creativity and art to the field of clean energy.
The AORA team, led by CEO Haim Fried, wants to be part of the movement to make the Negev the “Sun Valley” of the world, where new innovation is always emerging, and environmental ethics are ever present in the schools and in the community.
As David Ben Gurion’s dream was to make the Negev Desert bloom and populated with Israeli towns and cities, AORA’s Power Flower will help this happen in green and artistic fashion.