A New Solar Energy System from Tenkiv Uses Thermal Instead of Photovoltaic Technology

solar energy system
Image Source: Mountain/ Ash, CC BY 2.0

Tenkiv, Inc., a company based in Sacramento, California, has introduced a modular solar energy system that uses thermal instead of photovoltaic technology to power up anything.

Called Nexus, the system is initially created for water purification purposes in places like Africa and Asia. But generally, it can be used to generate energy for other applications.

The objective of the company in creating such a solar energy system is to revolutionize sustainable energy and water access. Basically, the system can be used to produce enough power to purify water at a low cost, as well as store, convert, and distribute solar thermal energy to a number of users. This is especially useful in regions where infrastructure is poor or non-existent.

According to Tenkiv, the technology can “power anything for 1/13th the cost of existing solar panels and 1/5th the cost of fossil fuels without any subsidies.” This means that it will be a significant tool in meeting the needs of the estimated 1 billion people who have no easy access to clean water.

The company favors the use of solar thermal over solar photovoltaics, as there is no need to convert heat energy into other forms—a process that leads to conversion losses. The company stated:

“Tenkiv Solar Collectors can quickly and efficiently distribute thermal energy harnessed from the sun. It doesn’t matter if you’re heating water for a bath, a cup of tea, or a pack of ramen noodles— all of these tasks require energy. The energy used in most modern systems is sourced from a complex and inefficient daisy chain where it takes power to make power. With the Tenkiv Nexus, we collect the heat directly from the sun without consuming any finite resources. There is no needless conversion between you and your energy.”

Also, the company said that the new system does not seek to entirely reinvent how water is purified, as it uses thermal distillation rather than filtering or reverse osmosis. This means that it will be very suitable for water desalination and purification because it does not require clean feed water.