The Optical and thermal characterization of glass and quartz lenses under concentrated solar light (the OpThLenses project), presented by a group of Técnico researchers, was one of the projects that had the best classification in the 1st edition of SFERA-III programme, and was considered one of the most promising programmes. This classification allowed the team to access the High Temperature Processes Unit at the IMDEA Energy Institute.
“The OpThLenses project is just a part of a more ambitious project that aims to develop systems that capture, concentrate, control and conduct solar radiation through fiber optic cables”, says Luís Guerra Rosa, professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering (DEM) and principal investigator of the project. “Although this technology has already been proposed in the past, only now, in 2020, it proves to be effectively competitive”, he adds.
OpThLenses addresses an investigation of the behavior/performance of different commercial lenses subjected to concentrating solar light and identify the most suitable for long-testing periods. The Técnico team intends to build a demonstration prototype once funding is available, which should happen through a new project. “Concentrated solar power can be used directly for lighting and heating confined spaces or, indirectly, converted to other forms of energy, namely electrical energy. The efficiency of these systems, combined with the benefits of renewable energies, justify not only their scientific interest, but above all their economic potential ”, explains the Técnico professor.
In 2019, the OpThLenses research team competed for SFERA-III programme, “so as to be able to use the best converging and diverging lenses that we develop and plan to install at the entrance and exit of fiber optic cables”, recalled professor Luís Guerra Rosa.
“Both the theme and the approach, from the theoretical and experimental point of view, are actually new in terms of the achievement we want and this will only be possible if there is a multidisciplinary team”, says professor Luís Guerra Rosa.