3M and Gossamer Space Frames are celebrating the launch of their new parabolic trough solar collector technology today with a ribbon cutting event at Cogentrix’s Sunray Energy facility in Daggett, California. The companies noted that the Large Aperture Trough 73 (LAT 73) was designed to cut equipment and installation costs by 25% for CSP systems by featuring a concentration factor over 100x and an aperture size of 7.3m, both of which are new benchmarks for the industry.
LAT 73 technology is comprised of 3M Solar Mirror Film 1100 reflector panels, said to be 50% lighter than glass with a 94.5% reflectivity. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) verified the system’s performance and measured an optical accuracy of over 99%.
“By combining 3M innovations in materials and Gossamer Space Frames innovations in structure and alignment, we are leading the industry on a new cost-reduction trend,” said Glenn Reynolds, president and co-founder of Gossamer Space Frames. “Many in the industry thought the re-birth of CSP was not possible, but we are delighted to prove them wrong. Not only does this design revitalize CSP, but the entire system comprises US-manufactured components that, in turn, helps to create US jobs. We are thrilled to continue leading the way in CSP.”
The system began operation in October 2011 with the companies advising that it provides a peak of around 275kW of electricity to the output of the Sunray facility, all of which is supplied to Southern California Edison under a previously signed contract. 3M and Gossamer Space Frames noted that they have received considerable interest in their LAT 73 system from the global CSP industry. The companies currently have a second LAT 73 project underway in Southern US, which is expected to be commissioned in June.