Solar Trust of America tests solar thermal collector technology

Berkeley, Calif., February 9, 2010 – Solar Trust of America unit, Solar Millennium, is testing its advanced parabolic trough solar radiation collector technology, called HelioTrough, at an existing solar power plant in the southwestern U.S.

The testing is designed to assess performance efficiency under commercial operating conditions before being deployed at proposed solar thermal energy power plants throughout the world.

Developed by The Solar Millennium Group’s technology subsidiary, Flagsol GmbH, and its partners, the HelioTrough demonstration “loop” consists of two rows of collectors with a total length of 800 meters and was installed between September and November 2009.

Flagsol also developed the previous generation of solar radiation collectors called Skal-ET, which was also developed by the Solar Millennium Group and is in operation at the Andasol solar thermal power plants in Spain and at the hybrid solar field power plant in Kuraymat, Egypt, which is currently under construction.

Before being installed at the operating power plant for testing, the new HelioTrough technology was first deployed in a German factory to test the design and assembly concepts and verify the geometric precision of the collectors.

The German Federal Environment Ministry supported the early phases of the research and development for the HelioTrough. A financial award from the U.S. Department of Energy supports the set up, testing and operation of the HelioTrough collectors at the commercial operating plant.

One of the objectives for developing the new HelioTrough collector technology was to simplify its design as much as possible to decrease construction costs, while concurrently increasing its precision to maximize its efficiency.

The large HelioTrough collectors are constructed in an entirely new geometry. Its simplified design makes it less expensive to build and install and is significantly more efficient than earlier collector designs. Both the mirrors and the absorber pipes of the HelioTrough collectors are larger than current systems and provide for economies of scale and additional savings.


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