A small team managed to come up with a solution one of the world's tech giants couldn't solve
Google is widely known as one of the top tech firms in the world.
The company produces and manufacturers pretty much everything, from mobile phone operating systems to driverless cars.
So, when Google runs into a tech problem, it’s considered to be a rather big problem, to say the least.
What can be even more surprising, however, is when a smaller group of individuals solve this problem which has managed to stump even Google’s top employees.
And this is exactly what happened when a small team from Stellenbosch University in South African managed to figure out a conundrum that even stumped this tech giant.
While solar power has been around and utilized for years, the technology has never been cheap, and although it is easier than ever to convert, the overall cost is one of the main reason preventing the wider usage of solar technologies.
Back in 2007 Google set out to address this problem through their Project Heliostat. This initiative was aimed at finding a way to make solar power more affordable so that the average household could convert and not only save money, but reduce global warming by reducing their overall carbon footprint.
Despite having some of the top engineering minds in the world, Google simply could not crack the problem and although they made some instrumental discoveries, eventually admitted defeat by sighting that, “Our cost analysis projected that our heliostat field would be modestly less expensive than previous approaches. A fundamental cost challenge remains…”.
In order to help increase solar power generation and reduce the cost of the equipment, the team turned to a simple solution, namely Concentrated Solar Power, or CSP.
Essentially the team created a field of mirrors on the ground designed to track the sun’s movements while pointing the concentrated rays into an individual location. This concentrated beam naturally helps to heat a smaller region quickly, and this heat is then absorbed and converted into electricity.
With this technology and the capable shift to solar power, it is now believed solar energy could produce at least a quarter of the world’s energy by 2050, allowing countries around the world to move away from coal and fossil fuels towards the renewable energy.
In order to cut expenses of the solar paneling even further, the team also wants to make installation less expensive. Installation is often at least half the cost of solar paneling, and in the United States it makes up nearly 2/3 of the cost in some cases.
Gauché said that, “We are developing plonkable heliostats. Plonkable means that, from the factory to installation, you can just drop them down on to the ground and they work.”
With this latest advancement in solar technology, there may be no need for a trained workforce, wires or anything else of great significance, in fact.
This may yet become the most accessible form of solar technology ever developed, and it certainly proves one thing. Even with everything the solar industry has achieved, green technologies will continue to improve in order to accommodate the inevitable….a future built exclusively on renewable energy sources.