With his concentrating solar technology “SunOyster,” Dr Carsten Corino and his team already caused a minor sensation last year: In spring 2017, the startup based in Halstenbek (small town close to Hamburg) was chosen as one of just two German companies from hundreds of applicants for Phase 2 SME funding.
The SunOyster technology not only allows electricity to be produced far more efficiently than before, it simultaneously generates heat as a by-product. The heat generated by SunOyster can also be converted to cooling energy. This allows SunOyster to supply all the electricity, heat and cooling a building needs. “That makes it economically ideal for hotels, office buildings and villa owners with pools – as SunOyster’s trigeneration (combined power-heat-cooling) is particularly efficient. Accordingly, the 15 kW of direct solar irradiation on the mirrors of the production version of “SunOyster16” will be converted into roughly 5 kW of electricity, 5 kW of cooling and 12.5 kW of useful heat. To use horse power as an analogy, it turns the roughly 20 bhp of solar irradiation into no less than 30 bhp of useful output,” says Corino. He wants to continue his plans: “SunOyster 8”, a smaller version in an attractive design for budget-conscious home owners, is to be introduced in the year to come.
The SunOyster is easy to maintain and has a service life of at least 20 years. The name “SunOyster” says it all: In high winds or other dangers, the parabolic mirrors are folded into a flat safety position – they close up like an oyster. That is why it is also suitable for roof installation in spite of the eight mirrors, each measuring one m².
Thanks to the EU funding, the company was able to concentrate fully on developing the system. To do so, it rented a hall and built a fully-functional clean room from a marquee – at SunOyster, every cent goes towards developing the product: The ambitious team made a breakthrough in increasing efficiency with its patented receiver: a new glass lense in the receiver tube, dubbed the “SunOyster Crystal.” It boosts the total efficiency by a further 5 percent. The installation process was also optimised, so that the SunOyster can now be assembled and connected by two installers in two days, which is to be reduced to 1 day in the final production version.
In the first half of 2018, the startup from Halstenbek aims to install the 13 existing prototype systems around the world (e.g. in Chile, Egypt, India and China), including installations at power supply companies like “engie” and “n-ergie”. By appointment, interested parties are welcome to view the SunOyster live in Halstenbek or on the GreenTEC Campus in Enge-Sande (North Frisia).