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What is a solar concentrator?

What is a solar concentrator?


It is a system that serves to concentrate solar thermal energy. These technologies use the reflection of solar rays through reflective surfaces, in order to concentrate them in a receiver of contained size. This thermal energy subsequently generates steam that activates turbines, thus becoming mechanical energy through a thermal engine.

Types of solar thermal power plants

  • Central Tower Power Plants: Composed of a set of directional mirrors that concentrate solar radiation at a specific point. The concentrated heat is transferred to a fluid that circulates inside the boiler, and transforms it into steam, thus starting a conventional water-steam cycle.
  • Distributed Collector Plants: These amplify the intensity of solar radiation on a surface, thus producing steam at high temperatures. The energy generated by these types of plants is used to generate electricity and in other industrial processes.

Advantages in your application

The use of solar energy, as well as other renewable generation sources, present various advantages related to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as economic advantages for consumers.

The following may also be mentioned:

  • High energy efficiency: Energy losses due to convection and/or radiation are proportional to the area of ​​the receiving bodies.
  • Reduction in the use of fossil fuels, considering that it is clean and renewable energy.

Opportunities for improvement

Despite the wide range of possibilities for using solar thermal resources, it is still challenging to be able to guarantee that solar radiation strikes parallel to the axes and reflective surfaces throughout the day. To do this, a solar ray monitoring system would be needed that connects directly with the concentrator, so that energy can be generated for a greater amount of time during the day.

Likewise, operating costs are still high in relation to other technologies, which is why these plants are considered less competitive than others. On the other hand, considering seasonality, this type of energy continues to be, in general terms, intermittent, depending on the variability of solar radiation.

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