HelioTube, a new concept of solar concentrator created from recycled plastics by the Austrian company Heliovis AG, returns to Spain to set up in a mushroom production plant in Albacete, after having set up its pilot plant in the same province, in which it has tested the results of this technology, which can revolutionize solar thermal energy with a cost saving of 55% and a reduction in CO2 emissions of 40% compared to conventional installations.
This hub in which the The European Commission sees huge potential to boost the concentrating solar energy, setting a new standard for its low carbon footprint, consists of a cylindrical structure 220 meters long and 9 meters in diameter in recycled plastic, flexible, durable and very light, its appearance reduces weight up to 90% compared to conventional parabolic installations, which generally use large quantities of steel and glass.
This hub is built with three plastic films integrated in a totally hermetic system. The first of these layers is a transparent film in ETFE which favors the entry of light, which hits the second sheet, in PET plastic, behind which another in PVC is placed.
The structure has two separate chambers which, thanks to a pressure difference, favor the concentration of light and the conversion of solar radiation into thermal energy.
In this video of the HelioTube experience in Castilla la Mancha, you can see how this system works, which incorporates a motor to turn on itself up to 340 degrees. According to the company that promotes these concentrators, each tube produces one megawatt of thermal energy.
Además de la producción, las ventajas de HelioTube respecto a los sistemas convencionales de energía solar térmica son muchas, entre ellas la facilidad para escalar el sistema, sus menores costes, su reducido impacto medioambiental y, además, las facilidades que supone para la logística y transportation. In fact, HelioTube is rollable and can be transported in standard containers to the place where they will be installed, for which it will be enough to inflate them and start working.
HelioTube can represent a breakthrough in energy supply thanks to solar thermal energy which, compared to solar photovoltaic, generally offers better results in terms of production stability and storage capacity. Its possible applications are very varied, but they include power supply, water desalination, refrigeration or industrial processes by heat, such as pasteurization, sterilization or drying.
Before this breakthrough enters the commercialization phase, it will be tested again in the province of Albacete, more precisely in an installation in Villalgordo de Lúcar, where a mushroom production plant of the Mercajucar cooperative will replace part of the energy obtained so far from diesel and pellets. by which HelioTube contributes. The company had already developed its pilot test in this region of Spain, one of the countries in the world that could benefit the most from this advance, specially designed for sunny regions.
More information in Heliovis.