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Development of a low cost European desalination and process heat collector

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Parabolic trough collector for solar power

A solar parabolic trough collector has been developed incorporating advanced technology, achieving lower installation, manufacturing and operation costs as well as higher performance of the collector.

Energy

The European directive on the “promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources in the internal electricity market” brings increased interest in solar thermal technology and corresponding commercial applications, where parabolic trough collectors remain the key element. In this context the EUROTrough project has concentrated on developing an advanced solar parabolic trough collector, based on the existing wide knowledge and operating experience. This next generation of parabolic trough collectors is capable for various applications in the temperature range of 200-400 °C, appropriate for electricity generation, desalination and process heat applications, delivering energy from a few Mega Watts up to hundreds of Mega Watts. EUROTrough investigated different design support structures eventually reaching the optimum concept with a torque box with lower weight and less deformation of the collector structure, as well as designing appropriate drive and control systems, mirror attachments, manufacturing and transport scenarios up to the stage of the actual construction methods. The design developed in the program, although still at an intermediate stage is available for interested license takers. The project has achieved the very important objective of the economic implementation of the solar parabolic trough collector. It enables the connection of more collector elements on one drive, reducing the number of drives and interconnecting pipes required, eventually reducing installation costs as well as thermal losses, while significantly also reducing manufacturing and operation costs. The value of the above are also demonstrated at the prototype collector segment which has been manufactured, installed and is under testing at the existing solar facilities at Platforma Solar de Almería. The aim for lower costs and higher performance of the collector aims towards making solar power generation more competitive, targeting market penetration in the near future.

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