3M’s 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.
Large Aperture Trough, engineered by Gossamer and 3M, sets a new benchmark in solar collector technology for the concentrated solar power industry. (Photo: Gossamer Space Frames)
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 over 25 percent. 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, LLC (Cogentrix) and is the longest operating CSP facility in the United States. An event and ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by Cogentrix, 3M and Gossamer is planned for May 2, 2012, at the Sunray facility to introduce the demonstration system. “The LAT technology is an exciting development for the CSP industry, as it demonstrates the possibilities in solar concentrating technology,” said Dr. Dan Chen, business development manager, 3M Renewable Energy Division. “By combining 3M innovations in materials and Gossamer Space Frames innovations in structure and alignment, we are leading the industry on a new cost-reduction trend,” said Glenn Reynolds, President and Co-founder of Gossamer Space Frames. “Many in the industry thought the re-birth of CSP was not possible, but we are delighted to prove them wrong. Not only does this design revitalize CSP, but the entire system comprises U.S.-manufactured components that, in turn, helps to create U.S. jobs. We are thrilled to continue leading the way in CSP.”