The challenge

Load-bearing systems which are designed exclusively for tensile stress are characterized by an extremely favorable power/weight ratio. A conventional parabolic trough is a uni-axially curved structure that needs a separate load-bearing system for the curved mirrors. The parabolic trough as a whole contributes significantly to the power generation costs. Is it possible to concentrate sunrays on a focal line by a single-axis tracked concentrator that uses mirrored membranes?

The invention

For an up to 50-fold concentration of sunrays on a target a conventional parabolic trough can be replaced by a much more efficient biaxially curved mirrored membrane which is stretched out in a rigid frame. The RES-Double-Curved Parabolic Trough also relates to double-curved shell structures made out of composite materials such as fiberglass or fiber-reinforced concrete with a mirrored surface.

The advantages

  • Significant reduction of power generation costs by the use of advanced lightweight structures and materials
  • Construction of large scale parabolic troughs with an aperture up to 30 m
  • Pneumatic stabilization of a mirrored surface

The applications

  • Solar thermal power plants
  • Design of a power tower
  • Architectural compatibility