Small and flexible concentrated solar power by Heliolab

Heliolab plonkable, low cost, small scale, flexible, scalable heliostat system enhances the benefits of concentrated solar power (CSP). It does this by removing the hurdles typically faced by this power source such as inflexibility and large scale requirements along with requiring significant site preparation and civil works, and having a definite limit to cost reduction potential. In addition, it has a smart control system that dynamically compensates for reduced precision.

Concentrated solar power is widely acknowledged as having a key role to play in the global energy puzzle today and in future. This is confirmed by the International energy agency’s projection that 11% of global electricity supply will in future be supplied by CSP, with Africa projected to have 26% and the Middle-east 40% from CSP.

Although not destined to replace PV or Wind power it offers a solution to some of the key problems that is typical of renewable energy – intermittency and inability to deliver energy on demand. CSP can provide true base load (on-demand) energy by incorporating low cost storage and thereby actually reducing the unit cost of energy.

Heliolab with its international technology partners further enhances the benefits of CSP by removing additional hurdles typically faced by CSP - inflexibility and inability to be done at small scale, requiring significant site preparation and civil works, and having a definite cost reduction potential limit.

If technologies like Helio can supply only 0.07% of the electricity demand by 2026, they will save more than 22 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

The team has in consultation with a number of industry participants including its technology partners concluded that the next project will be a roughly 800m2 concentrator system to deliver heat and/or power to an industry client via a proper off-take agreement. The Helio800 project will be kicking off in June 2016 and completed in 12-18 months.

The story of Heliolab is the story of a team of highly capable individuals from diverse engineering backgrounds brought together by their combined interest in solar thermal energy through the Stellenbosch Thermal Energy Research Group.