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Old 11-12-2009, 11:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Eco-Challenge: Plastic Mirror

Hi Everyone.

I have a stack of 2-foot-square plastic mirrors.
What would be the best eco-use for them?


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Old 11-12-2009, 02:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Ben,

A concentrating solar collector -- heat and/or PV would be my first suggestion.

A way of reflecting daylight "deeper" into an indoor space would be my second suggestion.
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Old 11-12-2009, 06:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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18 m^2... that's a lot of shiny. It should definitely be used to concentrate sunlight, but for what? Solar thermal is relatively cheap and easy, but 18m^2 is probably more than enough to heat your house and provide you with hot water.

If you can generate high enough temperatures, you can attach a heat engine + generator and cogenerate electricity and warm water, which would make it useful year-round. It also adds enormously to the expense and complexity, which probably makes it unsuitable for a small-scale project like this one.

Come to think of it, your best bet might be to use half of the mirror array to concentrate light onto solar thermal collectors, and half onto PV panels. So, what Neil said. ;-)
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Old 11-13-2009, 02:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Solar collector for hot water heater.
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:52 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You have bendable mirrors, so I'd take advantage of that. All you need now it a couple feet of cheap flint glass tubing and some use for the steam.
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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So, have you finished your solar power plant yet?
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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So far, all I have done with the mirrors are to give two pieces to photographer friends of mine.

I also have two 15-watt PV panels mounted vertically on my garage. I put one piece of mirror flat on the ground to reflect some of the low winter sun back up to one of the PV panels.

We are in the cold/cloudy/dark season now. Sunset is at about 4:30 pm right now. Also, my yard is skinny, and runs north and south, so I have a solar disadvantage.

One of the better suggestions I have had so far was to build solar oven to sell as a fund-raiser for local eco-groups.

Using 4 mirrors each, I could make at least 10 solar ovens. It does sound like a lot of work, and I don't know what the cost of all the other materials would be.

Some sort of a large solar-thermal project sounds like the most fun to me. I really do wonder how fast and how hot I could do some sort of solar heating.

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