Open Source Ecology, an organization that promotes free and open source technology throughout the farming world, has successfully crowd sourced the prototype for their solar concentrator, a device that can absorb sunlight and turn water into steam to produce electricity.
In particular, it is the French branch of Open Source Ecology (OSE) that has developed the concentrator. One of founders of the branch, Andrea Sannuto, explains that it is not meant for large scale endeavor such as to extract petrol, but rather for small scale craftsman.
The water that flows through the pipes is heated by reflected sunlight and can produce up to 5kw of power. It may not seem like much on one level, but the product can be constructed simply and the plans are available free for people to use. One man, for example, grows apples, potatoes and lavender and sells his crops raw. With this concentrator he could "cook the fruit, sterilize jars and turn the lavender into essential oils," says Sannuto.
Here's an image of the working prototype.
Open Source Ecology is a movement that encourages developing all the tools you would need to run a sustainable homestead and is committed to keeping all the plans online for anyone to use for free.
The plans for the solar concentrator can be found here.
Here is a TED talk from 2011 where OSE founder, Marcin Jakubowski, explains the tenets and desires of the organization.
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