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First Application of Solar Power in Israel Produces French Fries

December 15, 1981
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The first application of solar power for commercial purposes began in Israel yesterday. A specially built computer activated 500-square meters of solar energy collectors to produce steam running an electric generator at the Tapud food factory in Shaar Hanegev. The product: French fried potatoes.

The solar power plant, known as the Luz system or LS-I, was designed by Arnold Goldman, an engineer who recently immigrated from the U.S. American experts described it as the most efficient solar generator in the world. The Tapud factory is the first to use it on a commercial basis.

The system is composed of a battery of long parabolic mirrors in the form of troughs which reflect sunlight on an oil-filled pipe in the center of the trough. The liquid in the pipe absorbs the sun’s heat and transforms it into steam energy at temperatures of up to 250 degrees C. The computer keeps the troughs pointed directly at the sun for maximum efficiency.

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