Maharishi Solar Technology, the youngest venture of Maharishi Group, has launched the Parabolic Trough - a low cost solar solution for Indian industries. The technology is a result of the strategic tie-up with Abengoa Solar Inc (ASI), a world leader in delivering solar technology solutions. Maharishi Group is India's leading international group with diversified interests.
Currently in India most of the industries use thermal energy obtained from tons of conventional resources like electricity, fossil fuels and bio fuels for their manufacturing processes. Costs of these fuels are increasing and pose serious environmental hazards. India uses about 200 million tons of fossil fuel annually.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Pradeep Khanna, chief executive officer, Maharishi Solar Technology (P) Limited said, "We are pleased to launch Parabolic Trough in India, a technology that can save million tons of fossil fuel that is being used annually. It is an efficient time tested technology that replaces expensive fuel and thus can save millions for Indian industries.”
Indian industrial sector uses about 50,000 crores of fossil fuel for process heat. India also imports about 200 million tons of liquid fuel annually. About 40% of this fuel is used in industries (80 million tons), 60 to 70% of industrial energy used is in thermal form (48 to 56 million tons), 70% of industrial thermal energy used in the range of 120 to 150 C (about 40 million tons). An estimated 30% of the 40 million tons of oil requirements can be met through Parabolic Trough Collectors.
Parabolic Trough can thus substitute the use of conventional resources and be cost and time efficient and save millions for Indian Industries.
Maharishi Solar has set a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility to manufacture Parabolic Troughs in NOIDA. Almost 91 per cent of the parts for this Parabolic Trough will now be manufactured in India. This will result in a significant cost reduction and this cost saving is passed on to the customers thus making it an affordable technology to use in manufacturing industries.
The cost benefit to the industries is generally determined by calculating a payback period with reference to the fuel that is being replaced by the beneficiary company: In case of replacement of electricity the payback period is 2 to 3-years; In case of diesel the payback period is 3 to 4-years; In case of natural gas the payback period is 4+ years; In case of bio fuels the payback period is 6-years
As the cost of these fuels is increasing the pay forward is even more enticing.
Parabolic Trough is basically parabola shaped trough concentrators that reflect direct solar radiation onto a receiver tube located in the focal line of the parabola (Linear –focus concentration). Since the reflector area is larger than the receiver surface, the direct solar radiation is concentrated. The concentrated radiation reaching the receiver tube heats the fluid that circulates through it, thus transforming the solar radiation into thermal energy in the form of sensible heat of the fluid. Depending on the concentration ratio this fluid can be efficiently heated even up to 400ºC.
Since PTC is an optical solar concentrator it has to face the sun all the time so that the incoming direct solar radiation is reflected to the receiver tube. If the concentrator is not is not in the right position, the reflected Sun rays will not intercept the receiver tube. For this reason the PTC is a dynamic device that changes its position as the sun moves in the sky during sunlight hours.
Tracking System: To keep the collector focused to the sun's movement a tracking devise is necessary that keep the PTC focused to the sun.
Drive system: The tracking device will track the sun but it will need a drive system that will rotate the PTC to keep it focused to the sun. Generally several parabolas are attached to the drive system, which will rotate PTC to keep it facing the sun.
Control System: In a solar field there could be several drive systems rotating the PTCs. Each of these fields will have their local controls and to monitor each of the local controls there needs to be master controller, which will keep all the drive systems in unison and collect solar energy generated by each of the different fields. These local controls and master controls are the critical aspects of the solar fields.
Maharishi Solar's PTC is the most sophisticated system in the market today. It is completely automated with over 70 different parameters that can be programmed to customise the system to suit a customer's need and also keep the system completely safe. It is also a very efficient system, which maximises the heat absorption and minimises the heat losses from the receiver tubes. The receiver tubes have an envelope of glass tube with a special anti-reflective coating that minimises heat losses.