A project in Morocco is looking at how parabolic troughs could help make solar energy cheaper.
Young Moroccan enterprise Alto Solution aims to come up with solutions for improving access to both clean water and renewable energy. One such project, Parabolic Trough for Solar Energy involves the design and manufacture of cylindro-parabolic solar concentrators.
These troughs are capable of meeting the needs of industry in place of traditional fossil fuels, explains Mehdi Berrada, the founder of Alto Solution. “Our aim is to promote new types of industrial zone that are powered largely by solar energy.”
The basic principle lies in mechanically bending the mirror plates and holding them in position, so as to create a perfect parabola. This technology reduces optical error and increases energy production, while also guaranteeing a very high resistance to wind. The cost of this technology – around $75 per square metre – is consistent with the objectives of the Sunshot programme launched by the US Department of Energy, Berrada explains.
The company has already installed a demonstration model at the Copag Cooperative in Taroudant, in the south of Morocco. Since the power plant located there only has a small output (50KW) this model serves for demonstration purposes only, whereas Alto Solution’s objective is to work with units offering a minimum of 500KW.
Ultimately the idea is to offer this solution for the production of electricity to larger companies in need of efficient and cost-effective concentrators.