It is a problem that has so far stumped even Google’s brainy engineers – how to generate cheap solar electricity using a small-scale array of mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy.
Now a team at a South African university – led by a former Intel strategic planner – believes they have cracked it. Once they have completed a prototype system in October they have big plans for rolling out the technology.
The idea behind the design – so-called Concentrated Solar Power or CSP – is simple. A field of mirrors on the ground tracks the sun and concentrates its rays on to a central point which heats up. That heat is converted into electricity.
Jeffrey Barbee is a photojournalist and award-winning film producer and director. He works for Global Post, presents the US national TV show Earth Focus for LinkTV and writes and photographs for the Guardian UK. His work also appears in the New York Times, the BBC, NOS Tv Holland, Smithsonian Magazine, RTL News, PBS, CBS, Al Jazeera, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Vanity Fair and others.
His 2012 film Creating a Climate For Change won best environmental film at the film festival of Colorado.
He is the Director of The High Cost Of Cheap Gas, a current feature film exposing the global gas industry.
He is the Director of Alliance Earth, a worldwide not-for-profit environmental and scientific reporting initiative and is a board member of the Mezimbite Forest Centre.