The Caloris Basin
The Caloris Basin is a new way to concentrate sunlight. Using very inexpensive materials, it produces temperatures high enough to fry food and boil water. The Caloris Basin team is Jamie O'Shea, Ezer Lichtenstein and Bjorn Quenemoen.
Bjornqorn is popcorn popped in sunlight, the first commercial product to use the Caloris Basin.
We served the small amount of water from our water maker in artist Nova Jiang’s Cloud Vessels. Not sure if this system could be made practical or not, but it was fun to wrangle some precious water from the lovely desert.
Here’s Bjorn by the complete lamination- there’s still a bit of finish work to cap the rim and the center and give it a good polish. We finished too late on Sunday to test it, but we’ll start getting numbers- and popcorn- in the next couple of weeks. Pretty exciting. Our plastic lamination is 1/5 the cost of glass mirror, and way less labor than tiling a mosaic. We’ve shown it can withstand the elements in materials trials, but now we will put it into real world use to see if it can handle the unknown- particularly large animals like ourselves.
Laminating the silver, 10 degrees at a time. We were delayed last weekend because of a math mistake in the creation of the slices, but we got back on track this weekend. 10 hours to lay in and seal the reflective petals.
We’ll laminate the basin this weekend, and then this baby will be focusing sunlight. Here’s an image of our present kettle boom design, which must have 2 axis tracking that can lock against the wind, confined to surface of a sphere half the radius of the bowl, while keeping the kettle level, and easily removable every 5 minutes without resetting the focus, while holding a tube in line with the sun through the center of the sphere.
The completed mortar shell. Low slump concrete was pressed in using the radially constrained mattock, and then troweled smooth. Bjorn and Jamie worked 6 hours on Saturday, and Ezer joined in for a 9 hour day on Sunday to get it done. We hand-shoveled all the material into a cement mixer, which mixed the whole shell on less than half a gallon of gas. Gas is awesome.
Bjorn looking stoic at the end of the second day
Construction has begun for Bjornqorn’s 5 meter basin. Hard work, but Bjorn, Stephanie, Joanne and I carved it in a weekend, with an excavator removing the dirt from the hole. We undershot by a few inches so we’re aiming at 6000 watts of peak power. The basin is tilted 20 degrees to the south and has an active pump for rain water. Mortaring will happen in 2 weeks, then onto lamination and a whole lot of popcorn.