Advanced Manufacture of Reflectors
The University of Arizona and its partners are developing technology to improve the optical accuracy and reflectivity of the self-supporting glass mirrors used in CSP collector systems.
The research team is working to optimize and validate a novel glass-molding technique that creates very precise mirrors in a variety of shapes. The focus is on developing a novel hot-glass molding process that could be used for high-speed production at low cost, which could also be easily integrated into a production line. In parallel, the research team is developing a novel way to boost second-surface silver reflectivity and inhibit soiling.
If successful, this major advance in the method for shaping float glass could reduce the time needed for the shaping step by a factor of 100—down to 200 seconds. In this way, the process would be compatible with mass production at high speed and low cost.
- Develop and prove new methods for rapidly shaping glass mirrors and coating them for higher reflectivity and soil resistance
- Allow for production of mirrors with point-focus as well as the cylindrical shape (line-focus) now widely manufactured for trough CSP
- Improve mirror optical accuracy to increase power per square meter
- Reduce the cost of the solar trough mirrors made in the future in very high volume by about 40 percent