FOCUS solar thermal parabolic dish concentrator begins field trials

With an improved design for volume manufacturing, the updated Solarflux FOCUS parabolic dish concentrator has commenced field trials to demonstrate it's solar-to-thermal conversion efficiency and operational reliability


Solarflux Energy Technologies is pleased to announce the start of field trials of an improved design FOCUS solar thermal parabolic dish concentrator. The trials are intended to demonstrate the solar-to-thermal conversion efficiency and operational reliability of the updated FOCUS concentrator. The trials build on the previous successful field trials of an advanced prototype of the FOCUS, which demonstrated 72% solar-to-thermal conversion efficiency.

The improved design of the FOCUS centers on design-for-manufacturing improvements and encompasses all aspects of the FOCUS parabolic dish concentrator with particular emphasis on the parabolic mirror, tracking mechanism, and control hardware and software. The new FOCUS employs a novel monocoque parabolic mirror structural design and a vision-based intelligent adaptive tracking system, amongst a host of other improvements. Additionally, design for rapid deployment and calibration of the FOCUS received significant attention with the inclusion of alignment features to support precision assembly in the field, and an automated calibration procedure utilizing the sensor suite built into the FOCUS.

“We are excited to begin testing of the improved FOCUS concentrator. This design incorporates a host of improvements that overcome past challenges with parabolic dish concentrator reliability and cost. With this design we capture the best-in-class performance offered by parabolic dish in a cost-competitive package – a combination previously not thought possible” – John Fangman, CTO, co-founder and principal engineer

Successful completion of the field trials – anticipated to conclude in late 2023 – will validate the performance of a low cost, scalably manufacturable parabolic dish concentrator – the most efficient of all solar energy collection technologies.

The FOCUS offers a low-cost, low-maintenance, zero-emission, modular thermal energy solution for a variety of use cases, including industrial process heat, water desalination and purification, space heating and cooling, hot water, and remote power generation.

Solarflux was founded in 2019 by a team dedicated to developing innovative technologies to help sustainably meet the growing energy demands of modern human civilization. The Solarflux team believes that parabolic dish concentrators offer unique potential to bring clean, inexpensive energy to a wide range of underserved market segments, particularly in regions of the world with an abundance of direct sunlight. Solarflux is backed by the Met-Ed Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania and private investors.

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