United States Patent Number: 4,051,834, October 4, 1977. 11 pages. Also available from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Website: http://www.uspto.gov
A solar heat collection system is provided by utilizing a line-focusing device that is effectively a cylindrically curved concentrator within a protected environment formed by a transparent inflatable casing. A target, such as a fluid or gas carrying conduit is positioned within or near the casing containing the concentrator, at the line focus of the concentrator. The casing can be inflated at the site of use by a low pressure air supply to form a unitary light-weight structure. When deflated, the collector, including casing, concentrator and target, is readily transportable.
A system constructed from a plurality of such line-focusing devices can be used either at ground level or on rooftops. A system may advantageously utilize a plurality of parallel aligned heat absorbing rigid conduits as targets, each conduit supporting an inflatable concentrator and casing. In particular cases the inflatable concentrator can be replaced with a rigid metal or other concentrator while maintaining the novel advantages of the whole solar heat collection system. The concentrator is supported in a manner that facilitates its manual movement in order to track the sun's movement, thereby keeping the line focus of the concentrator on the target.