There are many new forms of alternative energy but maybe none as interesting as the Cool Earth Solar “Balloon.” The concept behind this design is that they create an “inflatable plastic thin-film balloon (solar concentrator) that, upon inflation, focuses sunlight onto a photovoltaic cell held at its focal point.
The design produces 400 times the electricity that a solar cell would create without the company’s concentrator.” Cool Earth has already began construction on a power plant in Livermore, CA that will utilize this new technology. The plant is modest in size, creating only 1.4 Megawatts but if this plant works as well as they expect it to, they plan on launching a full sized plant next summer. One great thing about this device is that it’s made up of a very common and cheap material. “Plastic thin film is abundant and cheap,” said Cool Earth Solar CEO Rob Lamkin. “It only costs two dollars for the plastic material necessary for our solar concentrator.”
It’s ideas like this that I think will stick. It’s cost efficient. It’s made of an easy to find material and it’s an environmentally sound concept.
Do you think this sounds like a good way to harness solar energy?