The NS1Solar Pump, the first NOVA SOMOR srl product, finally made its society debut just like a young lady from a good family! A major conference took place on 10th October in Brescia, at the Museum of Industry and Labour in Rodengo Saiano: “History and current affairs of CSP with an Italian contribution” organized by GSES (Group for the History of Solar Energy). The event began at 10:30 in the morning and ended late in the afternoon at 6.30 pm. Our Solar Pump remained on display at the museum next to the remains of the 50s SOMOR pump for the entire day. A high school student body and all the conference participants were able to appreciate the evolution of the specific technology and were amazed at our NS1 which was really successful.
The location was splendid and the GSES chairman, Eng. Cesare Silvi, organised a conference with a rich and interesting program, with speakers of great quality and competence. The speakers’ large horseshoe table and the participants’ chairs were placed at the centre of the museum, among the huge shelves full of machines and artefacts of all kinds from different periods. The morning was dedicated to reports on the history of solar thermal power in Italy and to what one wants to accomplish next year for the occasion of “The year of the light” (The year of light and related technologies) and to the activities that GSES has achieved during its 10 years’ existence.
Early afternoon was devoted to low-temperature solar thermal power. After the intervention by Professor Marino Ruzzenenti, who recalled the earliest period of the technology between 1920 and 1940, three speakers from the University of Brescia described their work for disassembling, analysing and 3D modelling of the 50s solar motor and SOMOR pump kept at the Musil. We then listened to the exciting testimonies by Gildo Gasperini, son of Daniel Gasperini, inventor of SOMOR and by Angelino Olmeo, the son of a canny Sassari farmer who in 1956 allowed installing the solar pump in a well in his land. It was Gildo himself who installed that specific solar pump and Angelino, who was only 12 years old at the time, was assigned to the well. After these historical speeches it was my and Roberto Belardinelli’s turn to talk about current affairs and the future with our report entitled: “From SOMOR to Nova Somor srl: an Italian story that gets back on track”.
The final part of the conference was devoted to solar thermal power at medium and high temperatures, with highly experienced speakers on the state of the art technologies for tower and peak system boilers, and Fresnel systems for molten salts in systems using pipes placed in focal concave mirrors. The speech by Francesco Flora of ENEA concerning sundials and the newest solar compasses, which are essential for correctly pointing the mirrors of high-temperature thermodynamic systems, was also extremely interesting.
At the end of the event, a video message by photographer and artist Jamey Stillings was shown, which made us reflect on the fact that technologies for renewable energy also always involve an environmental impact. Unlike other types of power plants that are more “discreet” and therefore outside our perception, power stations such as the one in the screening have the advantage of being much more visible to our eyes. This increases the perception of how difficult it is to produce electricity and how it must never be wasted. The documentary showed us how the construction of the solar concentration station of Ivanpah, the largest in the world, has deeply changed the fascinating area of the Mojave Desert in California. Alongside the prerogative of saving electricity, the NOVA SOMOR low-temperature thermodynamic systems are inspired by the widespread micro production of energy, with an immensely reduced environmental impact compared with that of the large power plants.
The debut of NOVA SOMOR and of its NS1 prototype could not have occurred under better conditions or in a better place. The choice by President Cesare Silvi to organise something which resembled a round table conference more than a classic mass convention, allowed the participation of a very high concentration of competent people concerning the topics of the meeting and all those present to meet and discuss issues of common interest. The fact of being right in the museum where the exhibits of the 50s SOMOR solar pump are preserved, was a further plus, both cultural and emotional.
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