Bourne-based energy firm seeks funding help to demonstrate new solar technology

Bourne-based Lark Energy is seeking funds to test its new renewable solar thermal system in Mexico.

Monday, 8th August 2016, 12:14 pm
Updated Monday, 8th August 2016, 1:15 pm
Larkfleets Solar Steam array. Funding could see its commercial viability demonstrated at a site in Morelos, Mexico.

Larkfleet’s ‘solar steam’ technology concentrates the power of the sun’s rays to heat water to create steam that can be used in industrial processes.

The firm, which has just been granted patents for the technology, is seeking financial help for the three year test and demonstration project that will cost £800,000.

It has made its application for funding to the Mexico-UK Collaborative Industrial Research and Development Programme.

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If the request is successful, Larkfleet will develop the pre-commercial demonstrator jointly with academic and industrial partners in Mexico and with the support of Cranfield University and the Queen Mary University of London.

The demonstration of solar steam will be carried out at a site in Morelos in Mexico.

Lark Energy will contribute £160,000 to the total costs.

Simone Perini, renewable energy development engineer at Lark Energy, said: “Solar steam builds on existing ideas about using solar radiation to generate heat and takes them a step further.

“We are taking this technology to a wider market where we believe it will have a positive impact on the generation of sustainable and renewable heat.

“To show this we are collaborating with academic, commercial and international funding partners to deliver a demonstration installation in Mexico.

“We are also seeking to demonstrate the viability of this technology in other regions.”

The Larkfleet solar steam system works by focusing the sun’s rays through a lens array onto a tube containing water. The water is heated to create steam which can be used in industrial process heating and cooling applications.

The angle of the lens array can be adjusted to track the sun and is seated on a circular track which allows the array also to follow the sun’s progress across the sky.

The potential for renewable power generation using a solar steam array is greatest in sunny regions like Mexico, which is one of the fastest growing solar markets worldwide.

Industrial facilities that use fossil fuels to provide the thermal energy required for their processes can instead install the Larkfleet solar steam collector to generate low carbon heat.