|05-11-2012, 04:29 AM||#1|
Largest SolarThermal Aperture Unveiled
For anyone interested in science and fellow environmentalists --
Solar Power World - May 2, 2012
"3Mís Renewable Energy Division has teamed with Gossamer Space Frames to unveil a new parabolic trough solar collector technology designed to significantly reduce equipment and installation costs for CSP systems used in power generation. The Large Aperture Trough 73 (LAT 73) features a concentration factor of over 100x and an aperture size of 7.3 m, both world benchmarks for the industry. ..."
FYI, that's a collector about 24 feet across and only made possible by replacing the glass mirrors typically used. Instead a 0.2 inch piece of acrylic, backed with a layer of highly reflective silver, is adhered to aluminum. 3M calls this Solar Mirror Film 1100 and, including the aluminum backing, weighs 50% of a typical mirror.
3M technical data Jan 2012 (one page)
While only recently reveled, this demonstration array has been operating since October and only produces 275kW peak output, but due to a total cost 25% lower than typical trough designs, is promising. What's even more promising is solarthermal may finally move away from glass mirrors permanently.
The next leap in solarthermal can only come once it moves from concentration via reflection and starts using refraction. Silver backing (near 100% reflective) is expensive and the aluminum structure required is still heavy and costly. Polycarbonate Fresnel lenses of similar thickness (0.2 inches) would be just as effective as the acrylic mirrors mentioned above, but the system significantly cheaper and lighter. Above is a Fresnel concentrator for the unfamiliar, though for an effective expanse of Polycarbonate it would likely need to be slightly curved and framed to maintain it's shape.
|06-07-2012, 03:55 AM||#2|
For anyone interested in science and fellow environmentalists, as well as continuation of Fresnel-concentrated SolarThermal --
A couple weeks ago POWER magazine (the go-to in that field) named a small solarthemal plant in Bakersfield, California one of the top plants of 2011. The reason this tiny 5MW plant that went online in 2009 made the list is because it was proof-of-concept for Linear Fresnel Reflectors.
The graphic I posted in the previous post shows a Fresnel refractor while this plant uses reflectors (mirrors) to concentrate sunlight.
But POWER magazine is still a bit late on scene. About a year ago (May 2011) a deal was signed for a 44MW version to be built in Queensland, Australia. Then in April of this year (link below and pic above) a deal was signed for a 250MW plant in Rajasthan, India set to go online in just a year. That's a significantly facility, on par with NatGas and Coal, and the time line is extraordinarily short due to the simplicity of manufacturing and construction.
Last edited by Boomhauer; 06-07-2012 at 04:00 AM..