High Performance, Low Cost

SkyTrough is SkyFuel’s high performance parabolic trough solar concentrator for use in utility scale solar thermal power plants for generating electricity or for industrial process heat applications.

SkyTrough is based on proven parabolic trough geometry but incorporates several innovative features that set it apart from previous trough designs:

  • Lightweight, shatterproof, glass-free reflector panels made with ReflecTech® Mirror Film
  • Lower cost reflector panels that are two times faster to install than conventional glass mirrors
  • Lighter aluminum space frame with fewer parts than conventional torque tube or torsion box trough designs
  • Field assembly at least two times faster than conventional trough designs
  • Larger diameter and longer receiver tubes to reduce cost and increase performance
  • More robust, higher performance and lower cost tracking, drive and control system
  • Compact shipping
Attributes:

Low Capital Cost

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High Efficiency

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Unbreakable Mirrors

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Rapid Field Assembly

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Compact Transportation

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Low Maintenance

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Proven & Reliable

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DESIGNED FOR COST REDUCTION

SkyFuel took an integrated design approach to reduce the cost of SkyTrough without compromising performance or durability.

Mass Reduction

SkyFuel first addressed the two most important cost drivers for parabolic trough collectors: material mass and part count. SkyTrough’s unique space frame reduces transportation mass by 30% and part count by 40% per unit area of mirror aperture as compared to most conventional trough designs. In addition, SkyTrough’s lightweight, non-glass, module length reflector panels are a fraction of the weight and part count of glass panels.

Fast Assembly

The reduced part count of the SkyTrough system results in much simpler and faster installation. On-site assembly time required for SkyTrough’s space frame (per unit area of mirror aperture) is half of that needed for most conventional trough frames. SkyTrough’s assembly process uses a joint fastening system that has long been proven in the aerospace industry.

Reliable, Accurate Tracking

The OnSun™ tracking, control and drive system constantly and accurately positions SkyTrough to collect the maximum available solar radiation. OnSun consists of a customized L30 helical, hydraulic rotary actuator, manufactured by the Helac Corporation, SkyFuel’s proprietary SkyTrakker™ embedded control system, and the WinCC Open Architecture SCADA system by SEIMENS. Together, these technologies deliver superior performance and reliability, reduce operating cost, and simplify the installation of parabolic trough solar fields.

Designed for High Performance and Reliability

SkyTrough draws upon the engineering and operational experience of past and proven parabolic trough designs to innovate for better performance and reliability.

Shatter-proof Reflectors

SkyTrough mirrors are non-glass and shatter-proof ReflecTech reflective mirror panels, eliminating mirror breakage during transport, installation, and operation.

Conventional parabolic trough designs are composed of glass mirrors. Glass mirrors are subject to breakage, especially along the edge of a field where wind exposure is the highest. SkyTrough mirrors are much more durable and will not shatter under the same environmental conditions. Even damaged by dings caused by hail or other hard projectiles, SkyTrough mirrors continue to function.

Replacement of the reflective mirror panels is a simple matter of sliding the damaged mirror out, switching it out with a new panel that slides into position, perfectly aligned with no additional adjustments needed, which dramatically reduces operating and maintenance (O&M) costs.

Highly Accurate Optics

SkyTrough’s design results in a highly accurate and rigid monolithic parabolic reflector. Extensive testing of SkyTrough at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) confirmed that SkyFuel’s glass-free, aluminum space framed system has the highest optical accuracy seen-to-date in parabolic trough collector technology and an overall thermal performance of the highest standard for parabolic trough systems.