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Solar Tulips

Parabolic petals point at polycrystalline photoelectric photovoltaics.
  [vote for,

Imagine a photovoltaic crystal that was just a stick, sticking up, as opposed to a flat plane. Imagine parabolic curved reflectors that are shaped like a teardrop shaped satellite dish. Imagine a cluster of the teardrops arranged around the sticking up stick of kryptonite, I mean solar cell stuff, such that the reflectors resembled petals of a tulip, and the crystal resembles the bit that bees like in the middle of a flower.

With a small amount of movement to help the flower head on a stalk track toward the sun, it could be that tomorrow’s world is not only full of windmills, but fields of solar tulips.

Ian Tindale, May 02 2016

Old version of this Idea http://larryniven.w...ki/Slaver_Sunflower
A field of these things can fry any critter trying to eat them. [Vernon, May 02 2016]


       actually, if your PE cell is a stick, then a cone is what you want for a reflector.
FlyingToaster, May 02 2016

       Maybe, and in the case of a concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) you’d do it that way, but this has the potential to look nicer. It might also give the effect of error tolerance in that it won’t care too much about pointing exactly at the sun direction (after all, it isn’t trying to cook the cell).
Ian Tindale, May 02 2016

       This is good, but a much better solution would be to build one teensy, inconspicuous nuclear power station and then plant real tulips in the 20,000 acres thus liberated.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 02 2016

       Larry Niven's science fiction includes "sunflowers", a living version of this. They flex enough to burn down intruders.   

       In real life, solar cells that can handle reflected light can't take much. The cost difference between a good mirror and a simple PV cell isn't all that much, either.
baconbrain, May 02 2016

       hmm, ok I lied: a cone won't work right in 3d. But it's not a paraboloid either.
FlyingToaster, May 02 2016

       I regard solar cells as a technology museum exhibit still used in the wild. They really have not changed one smidgen since I had a bunch of them as a schoolboy in the ’70s. I used to think the same about loudspeakers, but I have new respect for paper as a material these days, so they can stay. Solar electronics really needs to move on somewhat. Yes, because I say so.
Ian Tindale, May 02 2016

       Well, they could start by slicing the silicon boules lengthwise, or even at an angle; that'd give a more interesting variety of shapes to work with: the bunch-o-squares is pretty unaesthetic.
FlyingToaster, May 02 2016

       //slicing the silicon boules lengthwise, or even at an angle// I thought you needed a particular crystal plane for solar cells?
MaxwellBuchanan, May 02 2016

       Polycrystalline is a bunch of crystals.   

       Monocrystalline (probably) has more than one plane it can be sliced through.
FlyingToaster, May 02 2016

       If you wired it up in reverse, would sunlight come out of the tulips?
hippo, May 02 2016

       Well, piezo technology works that way — either as a microphone / cheap record cartridge / ukulele pickup / ’80s electronic drum sensor ; or as an annoying beeping buzzer / fire alarm sound emitter / gas stove ignition spark make happen-er.   

       If solar tech worked like a laser diode, then it’d be unidirectional, light goes in, power comes out, or power goes in, laser comes out. However, I suspect that’d be being misled by a false wild red herring goose chase that wasn’t the correct path to take.
Ian Tindale, May 02 2016

       A lot of bridge over troubled water has passed under that stable door, [Ian].
MaxwellBuchanan, May 02 2016

       I should point out that I bent over backward to reach out only to find that they had gone behind our backs right under our very noses.
Ian Tindale, May 02 2016

       Don't count your chickens in the air before they're hatched, or shut the stable door after the gift horse you looked in the mouth of while leading it to water has bolted.
hippo, May 03 2016

       Wouldn't this end up melting your solar stick?
Cuit_au_Four, May 03 2016

       I don’t see how, unless you’ve made yours incorrectly.
Ian Tindale, May 03 2016


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