News

Feb
2019

REhnu is Awarded Competitive NSF Grant

With this Phase 1 $225,000 National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research grant, REhnu will conduct research and development of new approaches to light-concentrating optics and dual-axis trackers. Principal Investigator Nick Didato said in the press release, “We will use this award to test ways to concentrate sunlight more efficiently than previously possible, and reduce costs by using less steel.” REhnu will work with solar and manufacturing companies to develop the simplest and least expensive approaches and will apply in August 2019 for a $750,000 Phase 2 grant to further develop this technology for commercialization.

Jan
2019

REhnu Develops Furnace for 2.5 m Lightweight Telescope Mirrors

With funding from the University of Arizona, and building on its solar mirror expertise, REhnu has designed and built a unique furnace to make large, thin, telescope mirror blanks, targeting 1/10 the cost of conventional manufacture. Initial tests of the furnace (left) show it capable of fast heating to 1,000°C (right) as needed to fuse together 2.5 m diameter meniscus mirrors from inexpensive borosilicate glass. These mirrors will have multiple astronomical and sensing applications worldwide.

Aug
2018

Biosphere 2 Exhibits REhnu’s Solar Trackers

REhnu’s 12 kW installation at Biosphere 2 (Oracle, AZ) teaches visitors from around the world about innovations in energy conversion, while delivering electricity to Biosphere 2’s grid (10,000 kWh in the first six months of operation). The heat produced as a byproduct will be used to warm the water in the nearby ocean exhibit. The installation was funded by Research Corporation Technologies, Tucson.

July
2017

SRI Installs REhnu Mirrors

REhnu’s silvered glass panels were successfully installed by SRI International in a new 13 m diameter reflector dish. The 60 glass panels have 60 different shapes, and together form the surface of this off-axis dish. They were made using a new technology developed by REhnu. A single shaping mold was used, with its shape adjustable under computer control.

June
2017

Three Months of Energy Production at Tech Park

In fully automated operation at the U of A Tech Park, REhnu’s M-8 tracker produces 3,000 kWh of electrical energy.

May
2017

Progress Reported on M-8 and a New M-1 Design

Progress in evaluating the M-8 tracker and in developing a new M-1 single mirror tracker, for dense packing on commercial rooftops, is presented by Roger Angel at the CPV-13 conference in Ottawa. This work is reported in two papers for the conference proceedings:

April
2017

Operation at Tech Park Commences

Operation of the first REhnu M-8 tracker starts at the University of Arizona Tech Park. Four more are under construction.

Dec
2016

REhnu Explores Copper Electrowinning Application

REhnu visits Grupo Mexico to explore combined heat and electricity generation for copper electrowinning.

Nov
2016

60 mirrors shipped to SRI International

REhnu used its unique computer-controlled mold to complete sixty 1.65 m square mirrors,
every one a different shape.

April
2016

First M-8 Tracker Installed

REhnu installs its first 8-mirror solar tracker at the Green Valley Pecan Company in Arizona.

REhnu engineers Andy Whiteside (left) and Tom Stalcup with the M-8 tracker

Nov
2015

Custom Mirror-Shaping Moves Forward

Under contract to SRI International, REhnu is developing a system to make glass reflectors of different shapes from the same mold, using computer commands to change the mold shape. REhnu is now building a full-scale version, following the successful demonstration of a prototype mold and furnace, shown here. The new computer-controlled mold will be available to fabricate solar collectors of customer-specified shape and size up to 1.65m x 1.65m.

Mira Frenkel helped build and test the prototype system.

Mira Frenkel helped build and test the prototype system.

Nov
2015

REhnu’s Founder Receives National Honor for Inventions

Roger Angel, REhnu’s Founder and Chief Technology Officer, will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in a ceremony next May.

UA's Roger Angel Inducted Into Inventors Hall of Fame

Oct
2015

New M-2 Installations

M-2 unit at Plataforma Solar de Hermosillo

REhnu has installed two M-2 units. One is at the Plataforma Solar de Hermosillo, in collaboration with University of Sonora, Mexico; the other is in Tucson. A third M-2 system is approaching completion at REhnu’s Tucson headquarters.

May
2015

REhnu moves into new headquarters

The 6000-square-foot facility, located near Tucson International Airport, houses REhnu’s R&D, manufacturing and testing.

REhnu’s new headquarters

20150604_121326

Tracker delivery


Apr
2015

Completion of first commercial M-8 dual-axis tracker

Jose Alfredo Soto of SOGO (left) and Andy Whiteside of REhnu with the tracker.

REhnu’s first commercial M-8 tracker, built by Grupo SOGO in Hermosillo, Mexico, has passed mechanical performance testing and will now be shipped to Tucson for installation of mirrors and power converter units.


Mar
2015

New Contract with SRI International

On March 25, 2015, REhnu signed a two-phase, ~ $1.5M contract with SRI International, a research and innovation center headquartered in Menlo Park, California, to develop a computer-controlled mold system that would permit easy adaptation of REhnu’s patented mirror-shaping technology to produce different reflector shapes through computer commands. Click here for more details.

Mar
2015

REhnu supplies solar mirrors and tracker to the University of Sonora

REhnu delivered 10 mirrors and a 2-module tracker to the University of Sonora in Hermosillo, Mexico.

Completed dish mirrors, ready for installation.

M-2 dual-axis tracker in Tucson, prior to shipment
to Hermosillo.

Feb
2015

REhnu completes initial on-sun tests for commercial mirror modules

2-module prototype in operation.

Two of REhnu’s commercial mirror modules have undergone extensive testing on a fully automated dual-axis tracker, accumulating 500 hours of on-sun data and demonstrating 31% end-to-end conversion efficiency. Reliability testing and verification is continuing.

Jan
2014

Construction of commercial M-8 units begins

Construction of 8-module steel trackers

Construction of 8-module steel trackers.

SOGO, a steel fabrication company in Hermosillo, started construction of REhnu 8-module trackers.

Dec
2014

REhnu completes DOE Incubator program, demonstrates
31% system efficiency

REhnu completed its $1 million DOE SunShot Incubator program and delivered its final report. Operated in a mirror module, the production-ready power converter unit (PCU) built under this program demonstrated an end-to-end conversion efficiency of 31%.

Assembled PCU ready for installation

Assembled PCU ready for installation.

PCU fully illuminated and in operation

PCU fully illuminated and in operation.

Dec
2014

World’s most accurate glass solar reflectors made by REhnu

A technical report published by SciTech Connect describes mirrors made by REhnu—using a gravity sag facility and method developed at the University of Arizona with a SunShot Award—as exceeding by a factor of two the current accuracy for standard solar trough reflectors, which are made of glass of the same size and thickness.

Left pair: x and y slope maps for a 1.65 m x 1.65 m square replica from the REhnu mold, rms slopes 0.65 mrad. Right: Map of absolute slope, 0.89 mrad rms

Left pair: x and y slope maps for a 1.65 m x 1.65 m square replica from the REhnu mold, rms slopes 0.65 mrad. Right: Map of absolute slope, 0.89 mrad rms.

Dec
2013

EPRI affirms REhnu’s potential to lower capital cost

The Electric Power Research Institute, published a briefing on REhnu’s technology that concludes: “This combination of technology advancements could enable increased efficiencies and better reliability at lower capital cost than competing PV and CPV products.”