A concentrated solar thermal (CST) based test rig facility has been set up in Hyderabad by the Union ministry of science and technology.
This initiative is to help India’s solar industry test the capability and performance of solar thermal components like solar receiver tubes, heat transfer fluids, and concentrating mirrors.
Set up by the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), the testing facility will validate indigenous components by assessing their performance at varying operating parameters such as flow rates of heat transfer fluids (HTFs), operating temperature and pressure, among others and different DNI (direct normal irradiance) conditions, the ministry said in a statement.
ARCI has been working on the development of cost-effective solar receiver tubes, coated glass covers, anti-reflective (AR), nanostructured material-based thermic fluids, and durable reflective mirrors to improve the performance of solar thermal systems in India.
Apart from this development, testing and validation of the components in real-field conditions are necessary for the deployment of solar thermal technology as well and in order to cater to this need, ARCI has constructed a concentrated solar thermal-based single-axis parabolic trough test rig facility which is sponsored by the Technology Research Centre (TRC) project of the DST.
This can conduct simultaneous testing of standard and indigenous solar receiver tubes. It also has a thermic fluid-based closed-loop system that can operate in the 50-350°C temperature range.
It can also conduct heat gain studies in real-field conditions with the actual measurement of solar irradiance condition and has electrical heater support for measuring the actual heat loss of solar receivers at different operating temperatures.
With a majority of the solar thermal companies importing solar thermal components, especially from China and Europe, there is an opportunity for indigenous solar thermal components manufacturing players to develop solar thermal technologies for low and medium-temperature applications, the ministry said.