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Parabolic Trough Solar Technology Provides Hot Water, Heating and Cooling

Abengoa Solar’s parabolic trough technology is used to deliver heat that can be used to generate steam, to heat hot water or air, or to drive an absorption chiller for air conditioning. (Click on the image for an enlarged view.)

DENVER - Abengoa Solar is building large-scale parabolic trough solar installations in Arizona, at a facility operated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and in New York, for piano maker Steinway & Sons. The hot water produced at the Arizona plant will be used in the treatment of contaminated water. In the New York application, solar energy will deliver heating, cooling, and humidity control for the manufacturing facilities at a piano factory.

These two projects follow Abengoa Solar’s installation completed last year in California, which is said to be the largest solar process heat system in the world, generating steam used by a major food processor to cook potato and corn-based snack foods.

The new Arizona installation is located in Tuba City on the Navajo Indian reservation, at a facility operated by the DOE. This installation, which started operations in January 2009, provides supplemental heat to displace coal-based electricity at a plant that treats ground-water contaminated by a former uranium-processing mill. Abengoa Solar said it will also provide lessons regarding the operation of industrial solar systems and the delivery of renewable energy in a remote area. The successful operation of the solar plant will provide the opportunity for duplication on a larger scale at similar sites throughout the U.S.

The system being built for Steinway & Sons is in Long Island City, N.Y. Abengoa Solar said this will be the first project in the U.S. to integrate a parabolic trough collector system with a two-stage absorption chiller. This 90-ton machine will provide cooling and humidity control to a manufacturing area within the factory. The control of humidity will reduce waste produced in the manufacture of the precise wooden components used in pianos. Heat not required for cooling will be used to generate 15 pounds per square inch of steam for process or space heating.

Installation of the collectors at the piano factory was completed in January 2009. The system will start up later in 2009 with the integration of the chiller and steam generator. The project received funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and will serve to test the efficiency of Abengoa Solar-developed technology in regions of higher latitude and lower levels of solar radiation.

Abengoa Solar’s parabolic trough technology uses a silver polymeric reflector. The troughs track the sun’s movement continually during the day to concentrate solar radiation onto a heat-absorbing pipe at the focal point of the parabola. A heat transfer fluid circulating inside the pipe reaches high temperatures and by means of a heat exchanger delivers heat that can be used to generate steam, to heat hot water or air, or to drive an absorption chiller for air conditioning.

For more information, visit www.abengoasolar.com.

Publication date: 09/21/2009

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