Erlangen, 05.02.2008. Flagsol GmbH, a Solar Millennium (ISIN DE0007218406) technology subsidiary, has developed a new generation of parabolic trough collectors. A series of innovations means that the investment costs for solar collectors will be reduced by 15 to 20 percent in the future.
The new collector has been designed by Flagsol's engineering team in Cologne. The research and development project is subsidized by Germany's Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The collector is larger, more cost-effective to assemble and more efficient than previous collector designs. Flagsol is currently assembling a collector unit with which to test the assembly concept and to verify the geometric precision. Once these tests have been concluded the new collectors will be installed in an existing commercial parabolic trough power station as of autumn 2008 in order to assess the performance of the new collector and to demonstrate its deployment capability under real conditions.
The new generation of collectors already successfully developed a few years ago by Solar Millennium is in use in the first European parabolic trough power plant in southern Spain. These collectors are themselves ten percent more efficient than their predecessors in the existing commercial power plants in California. Solar Millennium's Technology Director (CTO), Dr. Henner Gladen, is especially pleased with the progress made: "With the new generation of collectors we are setting the standards for efficiency and cost-reduction in parabolic trough technology. This enables us to continue to expand out technology leadership and brings us one step closer to our goal of being able to do without subsidies within a few years."
Solar thermal power plants ensure sustainable energy supply for the world's population. Even in northern regions, these power plants are able to contribute to cost-effective and reliable electricity supplies. With the appropriate grid network, solar electricity from power plants in the world's Sun Belt can be efficiently transported over large distances, such as from North Africa to Germany, for example.
About Solar Millennium AG:
Solar Millennium AG, Erlangen, is a globally active company in the renewable energy sector, with its main focus on solar thermal power plants. Together with its subsidiaries, Solar Millennium specializes in parabolic trough power plants - a reliable, proven technology in which the company is a worldwide leader. The company covers all important business sectors of the value-added chain for solar thermal power plants, from project development to technology and the turn-key construction of power plants, to the operation and ownership of power plants. In Spain, Solar Millennium developed Europe's first ever parabolic trough power plants, two of which are already under construction. Further projects are planned with a capacity of several hundred Megawatts are located worldwide, with the focus upon Spain, the USA, China and North Africa. The company is also developing solar chimney power plants, with the aim of making this technology ready for the market.
About the technology:
Solar thermal power plants generate electricity using heat energy captured from solar radiation. In a parabolic trough power plant, trough-shaped mirrors concentrate the sun rays onto a pipe in the focal line of the collector. Their absorption causes a heat transfer fluid to be heated in the pipe, generating steam in the power block by way of heat exchange. As with conventional power plants, the steam is utilized in a turbine to generate power; by integration of thermal storage, this power can then be supplied on demand. Thus, solar power plants can also generate electricity after sunset.
You can download the press release here.