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The Indian Institute of Technology Madras, or IIT Madras, has developed a solar ‘parabolic trough collector’ (PTC) system for concentrating solar energy for industrial applications like desalination, space heating and space cooling.
The PTC is lightweight and has been developed to have high energy efficiency. It is designed to function under India’s various climatic and load conditions, said a statement issued by IIT Madras.
The research was led by Prof K Srinivas Reddy, Heat Transfer and Thermal Power Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Madras and his team member Mr C Ananthsornaraj.
Prof Reddy said in the statement: “Solar energy technology is the most propitious technology for clinching sustainability in the energy domain... States such as Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, among others, have great potential to harness this energy, which can reduce the combustion of non-renewable and polluting sources of energy such as coal and petroleum.”
“We intend to commercialise this product and demonstrate the application of PTC technology with energy storage for sustainable energy solutions in agriculture, food, dairy and industrial process heat sectors,” Prof Reddy further added.
As per the IIT Madras statement, the PTC can be “integrated effectively with various process heat applications” to help manufacturers and researchers in solar energy make devices with higher efficiency.
The PTC concentrates sunlight into a small area where it is absorbed and utilised for heating to generate energy, explained the statement.
This system consists of a concentrator or reflector, receiver, supporting structures like pylon, torque tube, mirror supporting arm and receiver support and a tracking unit. The tubes absorb sunlight from reflectors, have a glass exterior and metal interior to hold a heat transfer liquid. To minimise thermal loss in the process, the space between glass exterior and metal interior is maintained at low-pressure conditions.
The national solar mission launched in 2019 with the target of providing 20,000 MW through solar power by 2022. IIT Madras researchers-developed PTC can “help meet this target”, says the statement.