Solar Thermal Power Technology / Science in Manifold Sky | World Anvil

Solar Thermal Power

Although daylight works differently in the Manifold Sky setting that it did during The Curved Time, the light of the star Selevati still heats whatever it touches. By concentrating this light on a thermal conductor and applying the resulting heat to a thermoelectrig generator or Brayton/Sterling heat engine, useful electricity can be produced. This is known as solar thermal power.

Utility

If the heat sink for a solar thermal generator installation can be placed in a very cold place - for example, in an adjacent Caudal-associated cube - then the temperature gradient between the collectors and the heat sink can be maximized, thereby maximizing the amount of electrical power it generates. This makes the technology especially popular in places like Craterhold, where a combination of dry, clear air, bright sunlight, and proximity to a cold cube (namely Medial D) make for excellent conditions for solar thermal power generation.   Freelanders and expeditions in places where access to biodiesel infrastructure is limited make liberal use of solar thermal power because of its relative simplicity and abundance, though they often have to pair this power source with batteries or a power rationing schedule to account for the night-time loss of generation.
Inventor(s)
The use of solar heat to perform various functions - from cleaning to warming homes to heating bath water - has been 'discovered' numerous times in various cultures throughout the Manifold since at least the 4500s AC. It was only after the year 9590 AX, with the discovery of the electric dynamo, that people thought to apply sunlight to the problem of generating electric power, though water wheels and steamtech engines beat solar thermal collectors to become the primary motive force for these dynamos.
Complexity
While weather-dependent and less potent overall than dieseltech generators burning biodiesel, solar thermal power generation has the benefit of being far less complex and maintenance-intensive than its dieseltech counterpart. For example, while a proper biodiesel power plant must be fed with the output of fuel biosynthesis reactors, a self-contained solar thermal generator simply requires a series of parabolic reflectors routed with heat pipes to create its power. Solar thermal power in the Manifold Sky also benefits from the fact that, no matter what time of day it is, the 'sun' never moves - it merely emanates from all around, especially from the inflection layer directly overhead.


Cover image: by BCGR_Wurth

Comments

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Mar 25, 2021 11:03 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

This is an interesting little article. :D I don't have much to comment on, but I enjoyed the read. I really like your science-y articles. :D