Solar Turbine


Solar Turbines are a self-contained system for utilizing environmentally available radiant energy to provide a new source of electricity. The lightweight device relies on a 19th-century concept that uses 21st-century technology. As a renewable source of energy, the Solar Turbine can generate electricity for ground-based units or on spacecraft. Essentially a cross between a modified radiometer and an otheoscope, the Solar Turbine incorporates temperature sensitive materials, unique turbine vane design, fractal-like geometries, magnetic bearings, and supercapacitors.

In addition to energy from the Sun, full-scale use of other forms of radiant energy is possible. This expands the range of use to a multitude of environments, in particular space. Due to the variety of radiation and the intrinsic vacuum, space may provide the ideal operating conditions to generate the highest amount of electricity. The lack of volatile chemicals in Solar Turbines also reduces the risk of explosion from orbiting space debris.

The technical objectives of the Solar Turbine are to:

  1. Build a working prototype that can be assembled and tested within the phase I allocation time
  2. Test the Solar Turbine with the purpose to identify ideal material and configuration for turbine vanes. Classification is determined from energy output.
  3. Measure the energy output and compare the results to photovoltaic cells in an identical environment.
  4. Design a battery storage unit that that interfaces directly with the Solar Turbine.

Work Plan & Deliverables:

  1. Tooling. Individual vanes and custom components will be fabricated at this stage. Various vane designs will be created to test for optimum power output.
  2. Electronics. A subcontractor will assemble and test the electronic components prior to integration. This includes the battery charging station.
  3. Solar Turbine Assembly. The parts fabricated in the above sections will be assembled to produce a working Solar Turbine. This unit will be ready for the final testing stage.
  4. Testing. A rigorous testing protocol is used to validate the power output of the Solar Turbine. Various vanes and vane configurations are part of the testing process. A comparison between the Solar Turbine and standard photovoltaic cells follows.
  5. Deliverables. A fully functional Solar Turbine. A final report detailing the testing results. Any unexpected results or benefits are included.




Applications of the Solar Turbine for Spacecraft include :

    1. Generate electrical power that is greater than conventional photovoltaic cells.
    2. Power spacecraft and satellites of various sizes. As a lightweight energy solution, payload weight is minimal.
    3. Provide eco-friendly power to nearby planetary bases.
    4. Transfer energy to a battery storage system for spacecraft.
    5. Operate as a satellite to transmit energy for orbiting spacecraft or as an orbiting energy grid.
    6. Space Propulsion by producing a high velocity molecular stream in a given direction.
    7. Generate coherent light in space (space beacon).
    8. Measure ambient radiant energy in a region of space.


Applications of the Solar Turbine on Earth include :

    1. Home based power system.
    2. Commercial power system.
    3. A lightweight electrical power generator for aircraft including electric unmanned aerial vehicles and electric planes.
    4. Battery storage chargers.
    5. Energy generators for ground based electric vehicles.


Orbotic Systems – Erik T. Long –