Article by Nicholas Sakelaris of Crain’s Dallas
June 24, 2016
New solar technology being tested now at The University of Texas Arlington Research Institute in Fort Worth could be a game-changer for hotels, hospitals and other buildings that need massive amounts of hot water.
Developed by Dallas startup Skyven Technologies, the technology uses solar panels to reflect the sun’s heat onto black receiver pipes with water flowing through them. The water can then be used for everything from showers to food preparation. Results from the initial tests could help prove that the technology is commercially viable.
Traditional solar panels absorb the sun’s rays to generate electricity, while Skyven’s panels reflect the energy. The water can get as hot as 500 degrees Fahrenheit for industrial applications. But it can also be dialed down to a more comfortable 110 degrees by speeding up the rate at which water flows through the system.
“It brings renewable energy to the heat domain,” said Arun Gupta, founder and CEO of Skyven. “Rather than using a gas flame, we’re using the sun’s flame.”
The 500-watt system at UTA’s research institute measures 10 square feet. It was just installed a few weeks ago and will remain there for a couple more months.
“We’re taking a bunch of measurements to make sure it’s really working as well as we say it’s working,” said Gupta, who was a researcher at Texas Instruments before starting Skyven.