17
February
2011


Our first kWe from the new SG4 dish

Today, 17 Feb, the Solar Thermal Group at ANU produced its first kilowatt-hour of solar electricity from the new SG4 dish. Using a new dish control system developed by Greg Burgess and new steam pipework by Wie Joe, Geoff Major and Paul Scott, the existing reciprocating steam engine from the SG3 dish has been reconnected to the new dish.

Peak power output during our first tentative testing was 30 kWe, with peak steam temperature of 380 °C and peak pressure of 4.5 MPa. Due to the limited capacity of the steam engine, a large (but currently unmeasured) portion of the superheated steam was vented directly to the atmosphere. Initially the vented saturated steam was clearly visible, however as the steam progressed to superheated, it gradually became invisible, although certainly not silent.

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