U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

SunShot Initiative

High-Concentration, Low-Cost Parabolic Trough System for Baseload CSP

SkyFuel logo Overhead photo of horizontal metallic troughs in the center.

The revolution in trough aperture, from Nevada Solar One (foreground), through SkyTrough® (middle), and the SkyTrough DSP (back) being developed under the Baseload CSP FOA.

SkyFuel, under the Baseload CSP FOA, is developing an advanced, low-cost CSP collector using higher-concentration, higher-temperature, parabolic trough technology to substantially reduce the cost of baseload utility-scale solar power generation.

Approach

SkyFuel is working toward two anticipated outcomes:

  • A baseload parabolic trough collector that is optimized for high-temperature service with a maximum temperature of 100°C above prior state-of-the-art systems (up to 500°C or more). High-temperature design points demand larger apertures and concentration ratios (40%–90% greater than the prior state of the art) with associated improvements in optical accuracy (30%–75% over the prior state of the art).
  • A baseload trough that realizes significant reductions in cost because of the larger aperture, while incorporating additional advancements that substantially lower installed solar field costs. For example, the reflective film surfaces are being upgraded to improve reflectance and specularity. A surface coat is being developed to provide anti-soiling and abrasion resistance.

Innovation

SkyFuel is demonstrating the SkyTrough DSP - a novel parabolic trough with a 25% increase in concentration ratio, a 40% increase in aperture width, and a 50% increase in length compared to today's troughs.

The increased concentration ratio coupled with an operating temperature 100°C higher than the current state-of-the-art trough designs supports higher efficiency power cycles and substantially reduced thermal storage costs.

Publications, Patents, and Awards

At this time, this project does not have published articles, patents, or awards.

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Quarterly Progress Reports

Learn about other DOE competitive awards for concentrating solar power research that are in progress.