02 May 2012
3M’s Renewable Energy Division has teamed with Gossamer Space Frames to unveil a new parabolic trough solar collector technology designed to 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 7.3m, both world benchmarks for the industry, according to the companies.
The system combines the durability, design flexibility and high reflectivity of 3M Solar Mirror Film 1100 with the mechanical design innovations of Gossamer Space Frames; the result is a CSP solar collector system that reduces the installed cost of a parabolic trough solar field by more than 25%, 3M says. The demonstration system is fully operational and is installed at the Sunray Energy facility in Daggett, California. Sunray is owned and operated by Cogentrix Energy and is the longest operating CSP facility in the United States. An event and ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by Cogentrix, 3M and Gossamer happens today, 2 May 2012, at the Sunray facility to introduce the demonstration system.
3M Renewable Energy Division and Gossamer Space Frames, located in Huntington Beach, California, worked together closely on the LAT 73. The system’s technical and economic viability is enabled by 3M Solar Mirror Film 1100 reflector panels, which are 50% lighter than glass, and offer 94.5% reflectivity (solar weighted total hemispherical reflectance). The combination of the film’s superior optical performance and light weight enables the high accuracy, large aperture collector design. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has verified performance of the system, measuring an optical accuracy of more than 99%.
The new system began operating in October 2011 and provides a peak of approximately 275kw of electricity to the output of the Sunray facility, all of which is provided under contract to Southern California Edison.
A second LAT 73 project is underway in the Southern US, with the project commissioning scheduled for June 2012.