Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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LTA balloon solar colector

Giant helium balloon: top transparent, bottom inside: shiny milar mirror
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(+4, -1)
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A giant helium balloon, with top transparent while bottom is made of shiny milar, shaped as a hyperbolic mirror facing inward.

Concentrates sun, in order to heat a lightweigt strirling engine hanging inside (made of lightweight composite materials).

It won't be the most efficient, but since it doesn't take up land space, it can be set in (or rather flown from) any location, could be made extremely large, and at a very low cost. It could also be used to shadow desert areas in order to allow them to grow trees on them.

pashute, Feb 05 2011

Inflatable Solar Collectors (on youtube) http://www.youtube....watch?v=kROgE4Jdm-k
[pashute, Feb 10 2011]


       This is pretty baked, just Google "inflatable solar collector" and you'll get tons of links/video/etc. You've added the helium and sterling engine part, but I think floating would just make them harder to correctly aim and switching from PV to sterling is kind of standard. (-)
MisterQED, Feb 07 2011

       No! See link, and then read my idea again. It's not inflatable. Its lighter than air. I'm half solving the problem of roof space.
pashute, Feb 10 2011

       It uses helium, is a balloon, but is not inflatable?
RayfordSteele, Feb 11 2011

       Perhaps it could be constructed in a giant hangar full of helium so when complete it will be helium filled.
bungston, Feb 11 2011

       It is inflatable. But the ideas of inflatable solar collectors which are found extensively on the web, including a $1M angel funded company (coolEarthSolar) have not included the idea of floating them in air, and therefore are committed to heavy structure and large land usage, which are both costly, and hinder the growing of vegetation.
pashute, Feb 11 2011

       //No! See link, and then read my idea again. It's not inflatable. Its lighter than air. I'm half solving the problem of roof space.//   

       Yes! Read my anno again. As I stated your idea is unique, but what it adds is not actually beneficial. Yes it solves the problem of roof space, but at the cost of efficiency, due to loss of aiming, so it doesn't, as you'd need so many more for the same output.   

       It is like trying to fix a hole in a bucket by building a pump to get the water in faster. Or adding balloons to bicycles to make them lighter. Your attempting to solve one problem by adding a new larger problem.
MisterQED, Feb 11 2011

       Not true. Aiming can be achieved by 4 wires. It can be inserted in a completely ball shaped balloon. Thus it would not be affected by the wind. QED.
pashute, Feb 11 2011


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