Solar Thermal Panels and Concentrated Solar Plants

This is about converting Solar radiation into heat via specially designed collector panels or tubes conveying an energy conveyor fluid.

This technology principle is applied either as domestic Solar Thermal panels aimed for producing hot water for homes, while the largest scale of this energy is very large Concentrated Solar Plants, which are basically combining engineered mirrors to concentrate Solar radiation on the receiver tubes, and that can be based either on Parabolic trough design, or Tower design (even higher concentration factor). In this case of large concentrated solar plants (CSP Solar), the heat harvested via the fluid is then used either to produce electric power via secondary turbines, or to store the energy via thermal energy storage tanks containing phase-change materials or a load of bulk material exhibiting high thermal capacity 

Example of solar panels

The key components in this family of technology are essentially:

  • Performance of the Selective absorber Coatings : these coatings are designed to maximize the absorbance in solar radiation wavelength (the highest energy wavelengths) and to minimize the emittance in the IR region corresponding to the energy conveying fluid temperature. Such engineered coatings are usually multi-layer optical stacks engineered for exhibiting this selectivity, and are obtained by PVD sputtering technique. Our PVD Magnetron sputtering targets can enable such engineered coatings.
  • Lifetime of the selective absorber coatings : these thin-film based coatings usually need to be operating under vacuum atmosphere, requiring an encapsulating glass (or quartz) tube around them. An anti-reflective coating on this glass tube is needed to avoid losses via reflexion. These anti-reflection coatings can also be obtained by using our PVD magnetron sputtering targets. Alternatively, the use of Absorber coatings that would withstand the atmosphere, not requiring this encapsulating addition can be envisioned using our Blacksorb flexicord to produce an highly absorbing coating.
  • Thermal insulation & radiation reflectance in the hot section of the Tower design CSP. Our portfolio of Thermal Barrier Coatings (Ceramic Thermal Spray Powders) and more generally our solutions for Ceramic coatings including the Flame spray guns and the Flexicords Ceramic series can enhance your thermal insulation and radiation reflectance in the hot section of the tower CSP.

Renewable energy is our future, Solar energy is there to be harvested, Saint-Gobain Coating Solutions is proud to contribute to this technological revolution.