Sunflowers benefit from millions of years of evolution to harvest sunlight. Scientists find out it’s 20% more efficient than the best computer models, so they do the next logical thing: apply the design to a solar plant.
The well-tuned geometry of the florets on the face of the sunflower head has inspired an improved layout for mirrors used to concentrate sunlight and generate electricity, according to new research.
The sunflower-inspired layout could reduce the footprint of concentrating solar power (CSP) plants by about 20 percent, which could be a boon for a technology that’s limited, in part, by its massive land requirements.
“It is very scary that we did all the [numerical optimization] work and then we go back to nature,” Mitsos said.