Meet the Sky Trough at the National Renewable Energy Labs

Planet Forward Host Frank Sesno travels to the National Renewable Energy Labs (NREL) to find out, what is a Sky Trough?

Utility-scale parabolic trough solar concentrators harness the sun's energy to make steam for electricity generation. The thermal efficiency of the trough is the percent of available sunlight that is converted into heat and available to generate electricity. This efficiency rating is used to predict the performance of a given parabolic trough and compare competing technologies.

The SkyTrough employs several advanced design elements. It uses the patented ReflecTech Mirror Film, developed jointly by SkyFuel and NREL. The special film is used in place of the traditional fragile, heavy glass mirrors. The film is incorporated into a large, continuous reflector, which eliminates the gaps and mounting complications associated with separate, small mirror modules.

SkyFuel expects that the results of their collaboration with NREL will help make concentrating solar power more economical and thus more attractive to utilities and their customers.

Related: Concentrated Solar Thermal Plant with Energy Storage: How it Works

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