Frank Shuman, US engineer and inventor

Frank Shuman, US engineer and inventor

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Credit: HAGLEY MUSEUM AND ARCHIVE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Frank Shuman (1862-1918), US engineer, inventor and solar power pioneer. In 1897 Shuman demonstrated a solar energy system that used a parabolic trough to capture the sun's energy to produce steam to power an engine. Over the next decade Shuman improved and scaled up his design and in 1912 patented a complete solar engine system. Between 1912 and 1913 he built the first solar thermal power station, located in Maadai, Egypt. It used parabolic troughs to power an engine that pumped water from the Nile to irrigate cotton fields. The outbreak of World War I and the discovery of large oil reserves in the Middle East stopped the advancement of solar energy. Photographed in 1907.

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