Cheap Solar Power From Recycled Auto Parts

Can auto parts make solar power more affordable? That's what two teams at MIT think, according to an article in the Technology Review, an MIT campus publication. The two groups are each tackling alternative, cheaper ways to solar-base electricity, with the intent to "put the ability to harvest electricity from the sun into the hands of villagers in poor countries and backyard tinkerers alike." The concept is based on designs incorporating materials that are mass-produced for something else. MIT Graduate student Matthew Orosz's uses a feed pump and steam turbine, harvested from power-steering pumps used in cars and trucks, for his solar generator. The article gives more of the lowdown on Orosz's design, which, in simple terms, is a parabolic trough used to focus light on a pipe containing motor oil—ambitious readers could probably build their own. (Thanks to Mike for the tip):: Technology Review