The Parabolic Trough Test Loop (PTTL) facility is implemented in a 420mx180m plot of the PSA and it is composed of two solar fields:
- the North field is designed to install with a E-W orientation complete parabolic trough collectors with a maximum unit length of 180 m. Up to four complete collectors can be installed in parallel.
- the South field is designed to install complete loops of parabolic trough collectors (PTCs), i.e. several collectors connected in series, with a maximum length of 640 m and oriented North-South. Up to four complete loops can be installed in parallel.
Each field is provided with a complete oil circuit installed on a 30mx30m concrete platform between the two fields, and both circuits share: an oil expansion tank with a capacity of 30 m3, a gas-fired oil heater with a thermal power of 250 kW, a meteorological station equipped with solar radiation, ambient temperature and wind sensors, and the data acquisition system (DAS). Additionally to these common elements, the oil circuit associated to the North and South fields are composed of:
- North field: one oil pump (75 m3/h) provided with speed control, one oil cooler refrigerated by air (1.5 MWt) able to cold the oil down to 70°C when the ambient air temperature is 40°C, oil piping connecting the circuit to the common elements (i.e., expansion tank and oil heater).
South field: one oil pump (125 m3/h) provided with speed control, one oil cooler refrigerated by air (4 MWt), oil piping connecting the circuit to the common elements (i.e., expansion tank and oil heater).
This outdoor life-size test facility offers the following capacities:
- qualification of complete PTC prototypes assessing their optical peak efficiency, incidence angle modifier and thermal losses,
- evaluation of durability and reliability of PTC mirrors, receiver tubes, ball-joints, flex hoses, sun tracking systems and all the elements installed in complete rows of collectors,
- Evaluation of PTC solar field control algorithms