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Sunflowers Inspire Solar Efficiency

Researchers at MIT, in collaboration with RWTH Aachen University in Germany, have come up with a design that reduces the amount of land required to build a CSP (solar power) plant, while increasing the amount of sunlight its mirrors collect. The researchers found that by rearranging the mirrors, or heliostats, in a pattern similar to the spirals on the face of a sunflower, they could reduce the pattern’s ‘footprint’ by 20 percent and increase its potential energy generation. The sunflower-inspired pattern allows for a more compact layout, and minimizes heliostat shading and blocking by neighboring mirrors.

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