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SENERtrough®-2: New optimized Solar Collector

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  • Country: Spain
  • Start date: --
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SENER, as part of its effort to reduce the price of the solar thermal technology, has designed a new, larger SENERtrough® collector model to improve the efficiency and to reduce the cost of the previous SENERtrough® collector model.

The new development is based on the know-how achieved by SENER in over 20 thermosolar plants. In fact, a complete loop is fully in operation in the Valle 2 thermosolar field (Cádiz – Spain) since 2012. Additionally, Senertrough®-2 has also been installed in thermosolar plants NOORo II (Morocco) and  Kathu (South Africa).

The technology of SENERtrough® cylindrical-parabolic collectors allows the concentration of the solar radiation in a central absorber tube through which thermal oil is continuously running. A high-precision driving system follows the sun during the day from east to west using adequate software and different sensors (thermal, optical, flow, etc.). The hot oil, which is heated up to close to 400ºC, is used to vaporize water which, by means of expansion in a steam turbine, fi nally drives an electrical generator that injects the energy into the grid.

Like the previous models, the new structure comprises a central body (torque-tube), the arms that connect the torque tube to the mirrors, and the elements to connect the HCEs (Heat Collector Elements) to the torque-tube. All these elements are made out of carbon steel, due to its good cost/strength ratio.

Each new SENERtrough®-2 collector has an opening that is nearly 25% larger than the previous versions, reducing the number required to collect the same amount of energy. A reduction in the total number of collectors gives rise to a global reduction in the solar field total cost, as size has been optimised from the perspective of features and manufacture.

In the new through, the arms are larger and have been designed to make better use of the material. Stamping technology provides high precision and repeatability, also reducing costs.

An overall of 4,200 Senertrough® loops have been (or are being) installed, the equivalent of more than 2,500 km of SENERtrough® collectors.

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