Google’s green energy czar Bill Weihl says that the internet giant has developed a new prototype mirror that could potentially halve the cost associated with building a solar thermal plant. Apparantly, not quite content with ruling the internet, the company wants some piece of the “physical” world too. It is still an internal prototype in early stages, but Bill Weihl says it could be ready for use in the next three years.
Google intends to reduce the costs associated with heliostats, the mirrors that track the position of the sun for these solar thermal plants. The company has been working with unusual materials for the mirror’s reflective surface and the substrate. Since it is these mirrors that help collect solar energy, and focus it on the heated substance, they essentially play a very important role in solar thermal plants.
Google currently has stakes in solar companies eSolar and BrightSource, and says that both of them are interested in the new Google prototype, which is still some time away from being tested externally.