The Portasol Tracker system is motorless and uses no electricity. Instead, it uses a hydraulic system powered by the sun heating a fluid to create the pressure to drive the tracker. It is ideal for small installations, where spare current to run a tracking motor is a serious drawback.
"The device works by absorbing heat from a combination of increasing ambient air temperature and direct solar radiation to provide an expansion of a liquid at a controlled rate. Increasing hydraulic pressure drives the mechanism until sundown when the liquid cools and contracts allowing gravity and a small spring bias to return the array to the morning position."
There are several different versions, including a two-axis system that will also adjust to solar altitude according to the season. According to a company contact, the system will function in cold weather and in conditions of as much as 60 to 70 percent overcast.
The inventor is appearing on an Australian reality TV show for inventors. There are other eco-friendly projects there as well, including several projects dealing with water purification in various forms. Check the sidebar list of related inventions in the category 'Ecological.' This is an Australian product, and may not have North American distribution yet. But if this works as well as the developers claim, it's likely to be useful for many small solar applications, and we expect they'll start supplying them to the northern hemisphere soon.
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