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REEMAIN helps optimization of the Solera solar parabolic collector

German company Solera, a partner of the REEMAIN project specialized in solar technologies, has been focusing for years on issues related to the performance of solar collectors.

Interestingly, its researchers and developers had observed that even in geographical areas with perfect conditions in terms of radiation, collectors were not providing enough energy and their supply had to be integrated by fossil fuel. 

This was mostly due to the fact that flat plate collectors cannot reach the high temperatures which are needed for process heat, with particular regard for steam processes. Achieving those temperatures would actually help avoiding the consumption of big amounts of fossil fuel in summertime, used as an additional heat source.

“Moving from these observations- says Laura Truijlo, an engineer at Solera – we started to work on a concentrating Solarsysteme, of a parabolic shape, which has been developed in a manageable size, so that onsite fabrication time can be reduced to a minimum, although still bigger than other concentrating technologies”. Thanks to development enabled by the REEMAIN project, the quality of the collector fabrication can now be better controlled and quantified. Besides the quality control, the project will also support Solera in tackling the contamination of mirrors with sand and dust in hot southern countries, which is still considered as an aspect interfering with a successful adoption of concentrating technologies in these areas.

Solera is also working on direct interventions in the plant.  One of these interventions consists in the study of a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) for the parabolic collectors, which, along with the collectors themselves, is one of the main cost drivers. To address the problem, open source alternatives were researched to find a cheaper and free PLC, which is then to get integrated on the test field of Solera. Also different absorber tubes were and are being tested, in order to see if improvements are possible, in the temperatures that can be reached at given radiation and in the energy harvested.

 

17 June 2016