Patent application title: Solar half parabolic shell smelter with a heliostat on a turntable
Martin E. Nix (Seattle, WA, US)
IPC8 Class: AF24J216FI
Class name: With concentrating reflector plural reflectors in optical series flat and curved
Publication date: 2012-02-16
Patent application number: 20120037152
Invented is a solar smelter that also manufactures hot air or hot fluids.
A curved parabolic-half-shell focuses the sun's rays unto a crucible,
which is buried into the ground. Using a heliostat, the sunlight is
reflected horizontally unto an interior reflective wall of the curved
parabolic-half-shell. Surrounding the crucible is a thermal-mass with
embedded pipes, that manufacture hot and compressed air, or heated gas or
fluid. On top of the thermal-mass is a clear
transparent-and-insulating-glazing that captures any stray solar rays,
adding heat to the thermal-mass. At the foci of the parabolic-half-shell
is a crucible for melting rocks, sand, glass or metals, or processing
1. A system comprising of: A vertical reflective-parabolic-half-shell;
said reflective-parabolic-half-shell curved to the 45 degree tangent; the
reflective-parabolic-half-shell focusing sunlight to a crucible mounted
in the ground; said crucible means to melt rock, sand, glass or metal;
the crucible means to process chemicals or process waste; the crucible
surrounded by a thermal-mass; said thermal-mass means to store solar
produced heat from the crucible; the thermal-mass bounded by an
insulating foundation for the reflective-parabolic-half-shell; the
thermal-mass dark color for solar absorption, and made of a thermal
conducting material; the thermal-mass embedded with pipes means to
convert gas, air or fluids to be hot; said pipes using a blower or fan or
pump to move gas or air or fluids through the pipes; a
transparent-and-insulating floor located on top of the thermal-mass; said
transparent-and-insulating floor means to capture stray solar rays, or
light from clouds to help keep the thermal-mass hot; the
reflective-parabolic-half-shell with a curved-reflective-overhang
positioned adjacent and in front; said curved-reflective-overhang means
to protect the crucible from rainfall, and means to reflect sunlight from
the side, as from sunrise or sunset, onto the crucible and thermal-mass;
a planar-reflector mounted on a rotating turntable; said planar-reflector
tiltable on top of said turntable; the planar-reflector means to redirect
sunlight horizontally and into the cavity of the
reflective-parabolic-half-shell; the planar-reflector means to reflect
sunlight onto the foci located at the crucible; said system means to
smelt and heat rock, sand, glass or metal or process chemicals or waste
or heat gas, air or fluids 24 hours a day year round.
FIELD OF INVENTION
 A system for melting rocks, sand, glass and metals and processing chemicals using solar energy, and for a system for manufacturing hot gas, hot air or hot fluid using solar energy is described.
 The invented device improves upon existing art.
 Nix (U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/286,583. Filing date Sep. 30, 2008, Projected publication date Apr. 1, 2010) is titled `Half Parabolic Dish Reflector with Planar Reflector Solar Smelter`. The invention uses a parabolic-half-shell to reflect the solar energy to a focal. Nix uses a fully rotating parabolic-half-shell, with an attached half circular tiltable planar reflector. The invented device improves upon Nix by using a turntable with a heliostat. The advantage is the parabolic-half-shell can remain in a fixed South position (or North position in the Southern Hemisphere), without rotating. This improvement allows for the addition of thermal-mass for storage of heat. Thermal-mass is heavy and it is advantageous to not to have to move such a heavy mass.
 Nix (U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/284,177. Filing date Sep. 19, 2008. Projected publication date Mar. 25, 2010) is titled `Wedge Shape Solar Cooker`. The invention illustrates the use of a tiltable planar reflector that also rotates to track the sun. The integration of both rotation and tilting allows for 4 degrees of freedom, thus permitting sunlight to be aimed at a target for use. The invented device uses a heliostat with a reflective plane, allowing the parabolic-half-shell to remain in a fixed position, moving only the heliostat.
 Nix (U.S. Pat. No. 5,11,845, issued May 19, 1992) illustrates the use of an overhang for a tabletop solar reflector. The overhang helps add additional reflection. The overhang helps protect the parabolic reflective surface from rainfall. The invented device uses a curved overhang to protect the crucible from rainfall, and to add light from sunrise or sunset.
 Nix (U.S. Pat. No. 5,308,187, issued May 3, 1994) illustrates the use of a thermal-mass to store solar heat, and illustrates the use of a transparent glazing to insulate and trap sunlight. The thermal-mass creates hot air, which can be used for combustion. A fan blows ambient air into an embedded pipe system to create hot air. The invented device uses a similar thermal-mass to trap stray rays that do not fall on the foci.
 Nix (U.S. Pat. No. 5,488,801, issued Feb. 6, 1996) illustrates the use of a solar photovoltaic powered fan. Air is blown when solar energy is present, removing hot air and replacing with cool air. The invented device uses a fan, or blower, possibly solar power, to move air through embedded pipes in a thermal-mass heated by solar energy.
 Nix (U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/623,312, Filed Dec. 5, 2006. Pub No. 2008/0131830 Jun. 5, 2008) is titled `Use of Renewable Energy Like Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Biomass, and Hydropower for Manufacturing Combustion Air for a Fossil Fuel Burner and Firebox`. Illustrated is the use of reneweable energy to assist combustion by preheating combustion air. Hot air is created from pipes embedded in a thermal-mass. FIG. 9 and FIG. 9A illustrate a half-shell-parabolic floating on a turntable. The sun's energy focuses on a hot air oven to create combustion air.
 The above art and science (Nix, Nix, Nix, Nix, Nix, Nix) show that the invented device is feasible, and integrates many of the features of the above prior art.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION
 A curved dish type parabolic is cut in half and placed vertically above the ground. In front of the open side is a fully tracking reflective-planar-surface, or heliostat. This heliostat rotates on a turntable, and tilts the reflective-planar-surface, adjusted by an actuator. The actuator can be hydraulic or compressed air powered, an inflated air spring, or electrically or manually powering. The net result is the heliostat on the turntable makes light horizontal and reflects sunlight off the interior of the parabolic-half-shell interior wall. The parabolic-half-shell focuses the sunlight ontoa foci, located centrally and in the ground.
 At the foci is a crucible, which can contain rock, sand, glass or metal for smelting. Also, the sun's focused energy can also process chemicals or process waste. By placing the crucible in the ground, not in the air as is common practice with other solar concentrators, it is safer and also helps trap heat.
 Surrounding the crucible is a thermal-mass, insulated on the bottom and sides. This thermal-mass stores solar heat from the crucible. The surplus heat stored in the thermal-mass can then be used at night time or in the winter, or on a cloudy day. Thus providing useful energy 24 hours a day. The thermal-mass can also preheat rock, sand, glass or metal before smelting. The thermal-mass is dark colored for solar absorption, and is made of a thermal conducting material, such as metal flake with a binder.
 Inside the thermal-mass are embedded pipes. A blower, possibly solar powered, blows ambient air into the embedded pipes. The pipes capture heat from the thermal-mass and make the air hot. Also the pipes can heat a gas or fluid. This air can be useful for drying, space heat, or making water hot, or for combustion as for preheating air to a charcoal grill, or fossil fuel fire box.
 Above the thermal-mass is a transparent-and-insulating floor. This floor captures any stray solar rays that are not captured by the crucible. This transparent-and-insulating floor is bounded by the foundation of the parabolic-half-shell. The transparent-and-insulating floor could be tiled, or made of plate glass, transparent glass rock, salt, quartz or any suitable glazing. This allows the thermal-mass to capture energy from clouds or light not used by the foci.
 The transparent-and-insulating floor is also underneath a curved-overhang. This curve-overhang is positioned in front and adjacent to the parabolic-half-shell. The interior of the curved-overhang is reflective so as to capture light from the side, as from sunrise and sunset. Its major purpose is to keep rainfall off the crucible, and prevent the crucible from cooling from rainwater. The curved light from the curved-overhang, also helps to heat the crucible, and surrounding thermal-mass.
 The net result is a total energy system that not only melts materials, such as household waste, but also provides hot air, fluids or gases 24 hours to a building, residence, or even preheat combustion air to a charcoal grill or cooking oven. The invented device can be as small as a few feet or on upwards to a 100 feet in diameter, creating a very powerful and ergonomic application of the sun's energy.
 FIGS. 1,2,3,4, and 5 illustrated the embodiments of the invented device. The parabolic-half-shell (1) is reflective on the interior of sunlight. The parabolic-half-shell (1) is of the dish type, and extends to the 45 degree tangent (2). The parabolic-half-shell (1) can be made of cement, fiberglass, aluminum, plastic, or other materials like brick or structural composites. The reflective material can be aluminum, silver, gold or even reflective paint.
 The parabolic-half-shell (1) reflects and concentrates sunlight at the foci (3), where also is a crucible (4). The concentrated sunlight can melt rock, sand, glass or metal, or also process chemicals and waste (5). Unlike other solar concentrators, the crucible (4) is safely in the ground where it can't spill. Also by burying in the ground it helps to trap heat better.
 The crucible (4) is surrounded by a thermal-mass (6). The thermal-mass (6) traps any surplus solar heat, and stores the heat for night use, or winter use. The thermal-mass (6) also helps to preheat the rock, sand, glass or metal or chemical or waste (5) for solar smelting. The thermal-mass (6) captures heat from the crucible (4), but also helps keep the crucible (4) hot.
 This thermal-mass (6) also has embedded pipes (7) that convert a gas, air or fluid to be hot. A blower (8) or pump (8) compresses and moves a gas, air or fluid into the pipes (7). The thermal-mass (6) thus can make gas, air or a fluid hot 24 hours a day, year round, even in cloudy or winter conditions. The thermal-mass (6) is dark color, for solar absorption, and is made of a thermally conductive material as metal flake with a binder.
 Underneath the thermal-mass (6) is an insulating layer (9), perhaps made of flyash and recycled Styrofoam, or other insulating materials. On the sides and boundary of the thermal-mass (6) is an insulating foundation (10) for the reflecting parabolic-half-shell (1). Above and on top of the thermal-mass is a transparent-and-insulating glazing (11). This transparent-and-insulating glazing (11) traps any stray solar rays, or any light from clouds, helping to keep the thermal-mass (6) hot. Thus the thermal-mass (6) receives heat from two sources, the transparent-and-insulating floor (11), and the crucible (4). The transparent-and-insulating floor (11) can be clear glass tile, or be plate glass, glass rock, quartz sand, salt, or any other transparent material.
 In front and adjacent to the parabolic-half-shell (1) is a curved-overhang (12). This curved-overhang (12) is also reflective on the inside, and redirects light from the side, as from sunrise or sunset, towards the foci (3), crucible (4) and towards the thermal-mass (6). Thus both direct and indirect sunlight is captured. The curve-overhang (12) also helps to protect the crucible (4) from rainfall and snow. This helps to keep the crucible (4) hot, and prevents moisture from robbing the heat. The curved-overhang (12) also helps to keep moisture away from the thermal-mass (6) and the transparent-and-insulating floor (11).
 In front of the entire assembly (1,4,6,12) is a turntable (13). Mounted on the turntable (13) is a planar-reflector (14) or heliostat (14). This planar-reflector is tiltable via an actuator (15) which can be powered from hydraulics, compressed air, electricity, or be manually operated and so on. The actuator (15) could be a compressed air spring. The turntable (13) can be rotated via steel or rubber wheels, or floated on a layer of oil, water or compressed air. The turntable (13) and actuator (15) combination moves and position the planar-reflector (14) so as to redirect sunlight horizontal into the cavity formed by the parabolic-half-shell (1). The reflection from the interior walls of the parabolic-half-shell (1) and heliostat (14) combination focus the sun's rays onto a foci (3) and helps melt materials (5) in a crucible (4).
 The net result is a solar collector (1,4,6,11,12,14) that captures both direct solar energy (sunlight) and indirect sunlight (clouds) to usefully process materials and waste (5), and also to manufacture hot gas, air or fluids for a residential, or commercial buildings. The hot air for example can heat hot water, create space heat, or be blown into a firebox to be used combustion air. Hot air for example could preheat air to a charcoal grill, thus conserving charcoal, and reducing smoke. The thermal-mass (6) stores heat, thus allowing energy to be used 24 hours a day, year round, even in the winter or on a cloudy day.
DESCRIPTION OF FIGURES
 FIG. 1 illustrates a side view of the invented device. A parabolic-half-shell is on a foundation with also a turntable with a tiltable heliostat, or reflective-planar-surface positioned in front.
 FIG. 2 illustrates an overhead view of the invented device. A parabolic-half-shell with a curved-overhang captures horizontal sunlight from a heliostat, which is amounted planar-reflector tiltable and rotatable on a turntable.
 FIG. 3 illustrates a cross sectional side view of the functionality of the invented device. A heliostat mounted on a turntable reflects sunlight horizontally into the cavity formed by the parabolic-half-shell. The interior walls of the parabolic-half-shell then focus the sunlight onto a foci or crucible. The crucible then melts rock, sand, glass or metal. Surrounding the crucible is a thermal-mass to capture and store solar heat.
 FIG. 4 illustrates a cross sectional frontal view of the functionality of the invented device. A parabolic-half-shell concentrates reflected sunlight unto a foci, or crucible for melting of rock, sand, glass or metal. Surrounding The crucible is a thermal-mass for storing solar heat. Above the thermal-mass is a transparent-and-insulating glazing, which captures any solar rays, or light from clouds, helping to to keep the thermal-mass hot. On the side is a curved-overhang, which captures any light from the side, as from sunrise or sunset.
 FIG. 5 illustrates an overhead cross sectional view of the functionality of the invented device. An insulating foundation serves as mounting for the parabolic-half-shell, and also boundary for the thermal-mass. Embedded in the thermal-mass is a crucible for melting or rock, sand, glass or metal, and also coiled pipes for heating of air, gas, or a fluid. The thermal-mass is topped by a transparent-and-insulating floor to capture any solar stray rays, or light from clouds.
Patent applications by Martin E. Nix, Seattle, WA US