Solar steam piston? Answered
Right. Still hung up on this whole solar energy thing I've been looking into steam but it all seems: complicated, dangerous, expensive, and all kinds of freakin hassle. I think this is largely because people working in this field now are just trying to plug solar energy into where the fire would normally go, but in many ways light is a lot more versatile, and this might take a complete rethink. So, after twenty minutes of ill-informed and distracted thought, how about this: Two or more pistons, each with a little bit of water or other fluid. Base is thick glass, both attached to a shaft or gear to generate rotation. Concentrated light (like 6 kW worth, or whatever) is shone in through the base of one piston. The fluid vaporises and the piston expands. When it's fully extended the light beam flips over to the other piston. That one starts expanding while the first one starts contracting. you might have some sort of heat sink which is oly applied during the contraction bit. This would be fairly low speed, but should generate a fair bit of torque and would be really really simple. Someone just stole my patent, didn't they?