New fasteners, for easier installation of solar reflectors on support structures, were designed. Prototypes were manufactured and tested at the Plataforma Solar under real working conditions. Test results are promising. The development will continue towards mass production for their own product.
The objective of the EuroTrough II R&D project was to design a complete new collector structure for a solar parabolic trough power plant, being less expensive than existing collector structures of today, by having less parts, lower specific weight and being more easy to assemble on site. A new structure was found, consisting out of a 12 m long torque box with 14 cantilever arms on each side on which the mirrors were attached. The total collector weight was reduced to approximately 30 kg/m². Due to the high torque resistance of the EuroTrough design the numbers of 12 m Solar Collector Elements (SCE) could be increased from 8 SCE to 12 SCE per drive unit which led to an additional cost saving due to reduced drive systems. Within the course of the project the following results became available: 1. Detailed technical description and specifications of all components of the new Solar Trough Collector Design 2. Detailed results of the structural behaviour of the new structure under all operation conditions by FEM calculations 3. Construction and workshop drawings of all collector parts 4. Design drawings of all required collector-manufacturing jigs 5. Design drawings of the collector field assembling and erection jig as far as assembling procedures and required tools.
According to the construction and workshop drawings, the assembly jig and half a solar collector assembly (drive pylon with six collector elements strong type) have been manufactured. The six collectors have been assembled over the designed jig in order to get the required accuracy of the mirror supports. The solar collector assemblies have been erected with the six collectors elements to one side of the drive pylon (half a SCA 150 m) in order to test the torsion and bending of the structure during operation and the influence on the optical performance. The collector has been set-up in east-west direction at PSA, Almería, Spain. It is a steel structure with curved glass mirrors, hydraulic drive for one-axis tracking, and vacuum absorber tubes. The series product that it represents is able to heat thermal oil or process steam for solar electricity generation, water desalination or solar process heat applications in medium to large-scale applications. The industrial design and the prototype manufacturing have been terminated and evaluated. The results are available (license) through the project consortium partners. Applications are now under preparation in southern Europe, Morocco, Egypt and India with participation of project partners, utilities, power companies and manufacturers.
The EuroTrough collector prototypes have been investigated and test at PSA by a staff of scientist and technicians. The results of the testing have shown details of the performance of the collector prototype. Investigated qualities of the collector are: - Thermal performance under solar irradiation - Performance as function of the irradiation level - Thermal performance of the collector in stow-conditions - Optical properties of the collector geometry - Precision of the curvature of the concentrator - Capture fraction or intercept of the concentrated radiation with the absorber - Performance of bearings, friction - Deformation of the collector in operating conditions.