Concentrated solar power

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Innovative solution

Airlight Energy’s technology is designed to be highly competitive in terms of efficiency and cost of energy. All this combined with simplicity and reliability, ready to leverage the economy of scale and with minimal environmental impact.

Key competitive advantages

  • High operating temperature
    (air up to 600 °C)
  • Non-polluting heat transfer fluid
  • Long lifetime: thanks to the use of robust production materials
  • Water recovery
  • Cost competitive and stable
    thermal energy storage
  • Easy to manufacture on site
  • Use of local workforce

Applications

Electricity generation
(50-100 MWel)


Industrial process heat
(10-300 MWth)

Airlight Energy Concentrated Solar Power system is designed for energy intensive industry
and large utilities.

"Our 5" major innovations

The potential of Airlight Energy CSP technology is based on five major innovations.
These were thought and designed to overcome the major hurdles of state-of-the-art CSP technology
on three major drivers: cost competitiveness, sustainability and security of supply.

Sezione collettore

 

  • Air-based receiver
  • Fiber-reinforced concrete structure
  • Film mirrors
  • ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) pneumatic enclosure
  • Packed-bed thermal energy storage

Concrete frame

The use of concrete provides a rigid frame that can be easily manufactured on-site, leading to a lower collector cost per primary aperture area.

structure
Advantages

  • Long lifetime (60 years)
  • On site manufacturing, use of local workforce and resources
  • Low cost per aperture area
  • Increased stiffness enabling larger
    trough apertures
  • Anti-seismic mechanism able to withstand seismic events

Multi-arc pneumatic mirror

The pneumatic system allows to achieve the focusing characteristics of a parabolic trough with high optical efficiency. The mirror foils are highly reflective (silvered polyester – 95% reflectance). They are kept in shape by differential pressures with a linear parabolic configuration.


Advantages

  • Large aperture (9,7 m with 2 mirrors)
  • High optical efficiency
  • High concentration (60 suns average without secondary)
  • Simple manufacturing
  • Low cost per aperture area
  • No production bottlenecks

Pneumatic enclosure

The mirrors and receiver are protected inside a pneumatic enclosure with a controlled atmosphere,
the external enclosure is made of highly transparent ETFE (92% transmittance on the solar spectrum).


Advantages

  • Excellent self-cleaning properties
    of ETFE film and greater resistance
    than glass against scratching
  • No dust and low humidity inside
    the enclosure
  • Easy to wash and recovery
    of washing water

High temperature (> 600 °C) air receiver

Air as heat transfer fluid (over 600 °C operation temperature) is used in a specifically developed receiver with secondary optics for re-concentration and spillage minimization, coiled cavity heat exchangers
and low thermal inertia radiative shields insulation. The receiver implements a cross-flow design and has inlet and outlet on the same side, which minimizes piping. This solution is optimally suited for high temperature operation, above 600 °C.


Advantages

  • High operating temperatures, up to 600 °C
  • Use of conventional materials and no need for high-tech coatings or vacuum insulation
  • Easy to manufacture
  • Inexpensive and non-polluting thermal fluid, easy to integrate in existing processes

Packed-bed thermal energy storage

Air as a heat transfer fluid makes it possible to create a simple storage that uses a closed container
filled with stone gravel.


Advantages

  • Continuous operation (24h/day) as well as power production on demand
  • Field output modulation
  • Simple, proven and effective technology (patented in 1929)
  • Similar thermal losses to molten salt solutions (thermal losses in the range
    of 1%/24h)
  • Highly competitive, robust,
    fail-safe technology
  • Filler material locally available,
    non-polluting, non-corrosive requirements competitive production costs
  • Simple manufacturing, on-site
    resource usage
  • No maintenance required

Process flow

Here a schematic view of the storage operation principle: during on-sun operation the process air flows
and charges the storage system; while during sun-less operations the storage discharges by giving back
the air stored before.

CSP_plant operation_generic-03-01-01