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The so-called “SunOyster” is capable of capturing up to 75 percent of solar radiation for the tri-generation of power, heat and cooling.

A Hamburg manufacturer has developed a concentrated solar system in a clever clamshell design which is capable of capturing up to 75 percent of solar radiation for the tri-generation of power, heat and cooling. The so-called “SunOyster” tracks the course of the sun throughout the day using pivoting parabolic mirrors and has a proprietary technology at its core. In stormy weather or high winds, the device will clam up.

In the “mouth” of the oyster is a hybrid receiver encased in a borosilicate glass tube filled with nitrogen. Inside the tube, high-powered glass lenses concentrate the light a second time to 500 times the power of the solar beam. Then solar cells, which were developed for spacecraft (44 percent efficiency), convert the light directly into electricity.

Because the cells operate at temperatures up to 170°C, the SunOyster is capable of supplying both domestic needs and industrial applications (such as desalination, process heating, high temperature storage and solar cooling). The original SunOyster 16 had a mirror area of 16 square metres and weighed over a tonne, but the newer SunOyster 8, with a mirror surface of 8 square metres, weighs less than 300 kilogram and can fit on a sloping rooftop of 20 square metres.

The award-winning company SunOyster Systems received just under EUR 500,000 from the state of Schleswig-Holstein in 2019 to develop and commercialise the system. With their new production facility on the GreenTEC Campus in North Frisia the start-up hopes to be able to sell the SunOyster 8 at EUR 3,000 per system. In sunnier regions, SunOyster promises to be the “cheapest solar energy on the market” for heating and cooling commercial or domestic premises.

In a press release, Tobias Goldschmidt, State Secretary in the Ministry for Energy, Agriculture, Environment, Nature and Digitalisation, commented: “This development makes state-of-the-art technology for the sustainable generation of electricity and heat accessible to a larger customer base. The project therefore not only has the potential to become an economic success, but also a real milestone for the further progress of the energy turnaround.”