Capstone and Israel's HelioFocus Get Grants To Fire Up Solar Powered Micro-Turbines

heliofocus solar energyCaptsone’s microturbine could be fired up by solar power in new project with Heliofocus.

California based Capstone Turbine Corporation (NASDAQ:CPST) and Israel based HelioFocus Ltd,  have entered into an agreement to develop a micro-turbine to produce power from concentrated solar energy.  The project is being funded in part with a $800,000 grant from the B.I.R.D Foundation, as well as a larger grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE).

The goal of this project is to convert concentrated solar energy into super heated air which in theory will drive a specially designed C65 Capstone turbine to produce more efficient solar power.

The system will also have the option of using natural gas to supplement the solar energy and provide a continuous stream of energy.

Capstone has become well known for its manufacture of very efficient micro-turbines that range in size from those producing 30kw of electricity to larger ones producing up to 1 MW, and which can operate on a number of different fuels, including natural gas, biofuel (including methane gas produced from landfills and sewage treatment centers), diesel, and kerosene.

Its announced collaboration with HelioFocus, brings a new dimension to Capstone’s turbines, as they will also be operating on energy produced HelioFocus’s solar energy to produce the steam required to operate the turbines of large power plants.

Besides the above mentioned grant from BIRD a bi-national research and development foundation, organized to stimulate, promote and support industrial R&D of mutual benefit to the U.S. and Israel, Capstone is also receiving $2.5 million from the DOE for the development of a “flex-fuel” micro-turbine that will operate on a variety of non-food crop wastes, including biomass wastes.

Bringing HelioFocus into the project adds the dimension of solar energy into the picture as it will include a specially designed solar parabolic dish concentrator that focuses light onto a receiver that heats air to the temperature and pressure specification of micro-turbines, resulting in increased power. The system will also have a natural option to supplement the solar energy and supply a continuous supply of energy.

“The ability for solar projects to generate energy more efficiently and at night is the value proposition driving this joint product development effort between HelioFocus and Capstone,” said Darren Jamison, Capstone President and CEO. “Efficiency is extremely important in solar power systems as a means to reduce size, space, and ultimately drive down installation costs,” added Jamison.

The collaboration between the US based Capstone, and the Israeli HelioFocus is another example of the continuing mutual befits of these bi-national projects being a milestone in US-Israel cooperation in the areas of clean energy technology.

More about Capstone:

Capstone Turbine Corporation ( (Nasdaq:CPST) is the world’s leading producer of low-emission microturbine systems, and was the first to market commercially viable microturbine energy products. Capstone Turbine has shipped more than 5,000 Capstone MicroTurbine(R) systems to customers worldwide. These award-winning systems have logged millions of documented runtime operating hours.

Capstone Turbine is a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Combined Heat and Power Partnership, which is committed to improving the efficiency of the nation’s energy infrastructure and reducing emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. A UL-Certified ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001:2004 certified company; Capstone is headquartered in the Los Angeles area with sales and/or service centers in the New York metro area, Mexico City, Nottingham, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo.

::CNN press release

Photo via HelioFocus

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