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

SunShot Initiative

Advanced Manufacture of Reflectors

University of Arizona logo Photo of a man standing next to a table holding a large silver, square-shaped reflective material.

Principal investigator Dr. Roger Angel evaluates a self-supporting second-surface glass reflector made by the new molding process.

The University of Arizona and its partners, under the 2012 Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) SunShot R&D funding opportunity announcement (FOA), are developing technology to improve the optical accuracy and reflectivity of the self-supporting glass mirrors used in CSP collector systems.

Approach

The research team is working to optimize and validate a novel glass-molding technique that creates very precise mirrors in a variety of shapes. The focus is on developing a novel hot-glass molding process that could be used for high-speed production at low cost, which could also be easily integrated into a production line. In parallel, the research team is developing a novel way to boost second-surface silver reflectivity and inhibit soiling.
The goals of the project are to:

  • Develop and prove new methods for rapidly shaping glass mirrors and coating them for higher reflectivity and soil resistance
  • Allow for production of mirrors with point-focus as well as the cylindrical shape (line-focus) now widely manufactured for trough CSP
  • Improve mirror optical accuracy to increase power per square meter
  • Reduce the cost of the solar trough mirrors made in the future in very high volume by about 40%.

Innovation

If successful, this major advance in the method for shaping float glass could reduce the time needed for the shaping step by this technique by a factor of 100—down to 200 seconds. In this way, the process would be compatible with mass production at high speed and low cost.

Publications, Patents, and Awards

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

SunShot logo

The SunShot CSP R&D program seeks to accelerate progress toward the cost target of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour through novel and revolutionary research into CSP technologies. Learn about other DOE competitive awards for concentrating solar power research that are in progress.