Project Name: Development of a Front-Surface CSP Reflector Using Ultra-Barrier Technology
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Team: Concentrating Solar Power
Location: Arvada, CO
SETO Award Amount: $321,000
Awardee Cost Share: $81,000
Planned Timeline: 2019-2021

-- Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations --

This project is developing a reflective surface for heliostats in concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) plants that is more effective and less expensive than existing reflective surfaces. Front-surface reflectors involve mounting a reflective surface on a plate rather than placing it behind a protective glass barrier. These front-surface reflectors are more effective at reflecting light and cost less to manufacture owing to continuous manufacturing processes, but they degrade faster because the reflective surface lacks an effective protective layer. The design of this new reflector moves the silver from the back of the glass to the front of it, allowing for better reflection without sacrificing product lifetime. The reflector will also have a novel coating that can withstand both ultraviolet radiation from the sun and impact from scrubbing the mirrors clean.

APPROACH

The project team will create laboratory-scale reflector specimens and then develop manufacturing techniques for them. In conventional reflectors, water can pass through the reflector’s barrier and lead to degradation, but the team aims to solve this problem by developing a polymer coating for thin oxide layers. The polymer coating will be designed to be suitable for continuous roll-to-roll manufacturing techniques, which will reduce costs.

INNOVATION

The polymer coating under development will be lab-tested to ensure the reflectors can deliver high reflectance and low degradation. The project will also demonstrate its front-surface reflectors using continuous manufacturing processes, which are ready for field testing. If successful, this project will increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of CSP mirrors.