Researchers of the Instituto Dom Luiz (IDL) and Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa (FCUL) developed a prototype of a passive solar tracker system which follows the sun in the sky without using any electricity, for increased solar energy harvesting. This prototype is installed on the campus of the FCUL and results from a research project developed by members of the IDL.

To know more about this project see a publication on the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy here.

See below an interview with Miguel Centeno Brito (MCB), researcher of the IDL about this project.

– Could you briefly explain the research project that you are developing?

MCB. The objective of the project was to develop and test a new concept of passive solar tracking to increase the efficiency of a photovoltaic panel for power a luminaire.

– How long was the project?

MCB. It was a 3-year research project.

– Who financed the project?

MCB. The project was financed by the Quadro de Referência Estratégica Nacional (QREN).

– Who coordinated this project?

MCB. The project was led by the AST, an aircraft company from Coimbra, with Martifer Solar e Ciências (I have coordinated the contribution of the IDL to the project).

– Who else was on the project team?

MCB. The core of the research group included José Mário Pó, Daniela Pereira, Fernando Simões, Roberto Rodriguez, José Carlos Amador, and myself. Also, the project involved people from the AST and Martifer.

– What are the results expected by the group?

The project demonstrated a concept. At this moment we are looking for industrial partners for its commercialization.

– What is the purpose of this research, particularly for society?

The main merit of this approach is to develop an autonomous solar street lighting system, particularly relevant for regions without access or with limited access to electricity.

– Other papers published besides this “Passive solar tracker based on the differential thermal expansion of vertical strips” recently published in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy were published under the project?

No.