Photo Optical Collectors

Among the photo-optical transmission methods, £inar (1995) has considered the collection of radiation by focused collectors. On the other hand, Baojun et al. (1995) have investigated the solar energy relationships with fiber-optic radiation.

The most advanced and recent method of solar energy collection, as well as transmission, is by using fiber-optics. Collection of energy directly as light by concentrator collectors causes almost no energy loss in the transmission. Since the collected solar radiation is in the form of light, it can be used directly for lighting purposes. However, it can also be used for heating and for conversion into electrical energy, if desired.

Fig. 7.9 Fiber optical collector system. 1 Large diameter convex collector, 2 small diameter convex reflector, 3 refining lens system, 4 lens system that renders the solar rays into parallel form, 5 fiber optic glass transmission cable

After collection of the solar energy through focusing, it is refined by means of a lens system and, finally, directed toward a fiber-optic glass transmission cable. The transmission is affected without any further loss to the desired area over long distances as shown in Fig. 7.9. It is obvious that large diameter convex collectors collect the incoming radiation, and then send it to another small diameter convex reflector.

The small dish in Fig. 7.9 reflects the incoming radiation to the refining lens system. This system refines the radiation twice after the focusing. The light ray that is refined down to the size of a needle goes through a collector which includes a set of lenses that render the radiation into a parallel beam. Such a condensed solar ray enters without any loss into fiber-optical cable which has a high transmission capability.

Through the aforementioned system, the transmission of solar energy will be possible, without losses, from solar radiation rich regions of the world to solar radiation poor regions. For this purpose, a regional energy transmission network must be constructed. In this manner, the solar energy can be transmitted to consuming countries where the solar radiation possibilities are rather poor. For instance, when the central European and Arabian conditions are considered, because of the low solar potential of the central Europe, the solar energy transmission from Arabian deserts is possible through the above-mentioned system. Figure 7.10 includes the fiber-optic glass cable transmission system among the selected regions of the Arabian and northern African desert regions to European countries.

The significance of this topic can be appreciated from the solar energy figures presented in Table 7.7 concerning central Europe and the Arabian Rub-Al-Khali desert, which covers about 660,000 km2 and from each square meter of which 1 kW/h solar energy can be generated.

The solar energy collection area is about 360 x 109 m2 and, hence, 360 x 109 m2 x 1 kWh = 360 x 109 kWh = 360 x 109 MW/h solar energy can be harvested which is equal to 1440 x 109 MW/year. By considering about 6 m2 of surface area for each collector, it is possible to find the number of necessary collectors to be 360 x 109 /6 = 60 x 109.

Due to the location and planning of some housing complexes, lighting problems might exist and such undesirable situations can be avoided by including fiber-optic

Fig. 7.10 Fiber-optic collector energy transmission
Table 7.7 Average solar energy per square kilometer in central Europe and Arabia

Region

Total annual

Radiation

Radiation

Energy

Energy

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