Environment

Meet CASPER, The Friendly Online Tool That Compares CSP Tech Performance

Solarflux has created an online tool called CASPER, which stands for CSP Performance Comparison. CSP Technology is in reference to Concentrating Solar Power, which focuses heat from sunlight to create steam to drive a turbine that generates electrical power. It is completely different from solar PV.

CASPER is a web-based tool that compares the energy collection and conversion efficiency of the Solarflux FOCUS parabolic dish concentrator with other widely used CSP technologies.

The goal is for users to be able to see which possibilities work better for them based on their location. CASPER has a location feature that allows a user to enter their city and see how much Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) is available. This is a snazzy term for direct sunlight. So, in laymen’s terms, it shows a user how much sun their city gets on a clear day; it breaks it down month by month for that location. This enables a user to see how much solar thermal energy could be captured and utilized by the FOCUS compared with how much solar thermal energy could be captured and utilized by other alternative CSP tech.

CASPER uses a NASA DNI database for the comparison, which is performed assuming equal reflective mirror area for each technology. Solarflux noted that claimed parabolic trough peak efficiency percentages can range anywhere from the mid 50s to the low 70s, but these measurements are usually under lab conditions.

FOCUS Compared To Other CSP Technologies

Solarflux created the FOCUS parabolic dish to be perfectly aligned with the sun from sunrise to sunset. This allows for optimal exposure of its reflective area. The FOCUS uses a two-axis tracking system, which sets it apart from other parabolic troughs using single-axis tracking systems. The company pointed out that as latitude increases, the advantage of two-axis tracking systems over single-axis tracking systems becomes more pronounced.

To demonstrated this, they compared the annual average efficiency of the FOCUS vs. trough across a year for Barcelona, Spain, which has a latitude of 41.4, and Aruba, which has a latitude of 12.5.

Barcelona, Spain

Image courtesy Solarflux, used with permission.

Aruba

Image courtesy Solarflux, used with permission.

 

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