Deep in the heart of the Negev Desert, there is but one natural resource: the sun. David Faiman from Ben Gurion University has found a way to use solar energy to concentrate the light of a 1,000 suns.
Using reflective mirrors made from silicon, David has built a series of mirrors that concentrate the penetrating desert rays back to a large reflector dish.
The solution is one of a few in the world that may make solar energy a viable energy alternative within the next few years. And if Faiman and his startup company Zenith Solar are right, their solution will be able to provide enough energy for 10% of Israel’s population (1,0000 MW) using only 12 square kilometres of land.
This equals pollution-free energy for about one million people.
Says Faiman: “Traditional photovoltaic cells do two things: collect sunlight and generate electricity from it. What we’ve done is simply split those two functions, so that the sunlight is collected and concentrated by a dish-shaped mirror, and a small number of concentrator cells generate electricity from that highly concentrated sunlight.
“Photovoltaic material is far too expensive to waste on something that can be accomplished with cheap glass and steel.”
People are dying in Israeli cities from pollution. New solutions can’t come fast enough.
Update: Zenith Solar filed for bankruptcy in 2013.