The REPA test facility is the result of merging CIEMAT activities in Task 14.4 of the European project SFERA-II (finished in 2017) and DLR activities within the national German project StaMeP. The facility is now used by CIEMAT-PSA and DLR in the framework of a joint collaboration.

The test bench is divided into two functional sections, the so called kinematics unit, to hold and move the pieces REPAs to be tested, and the balance of plant unit for supplying the conditioned heat transfer fluid (see Figure 15, a).

The balance of plant unit is composed of a variable speed HTF pump which circulates the HTF through a pipe with an adapted electrical heater collar type before passing through REPA to be tested, placed in the kinematics unit. The return line runs directly to the suction side of the pump closing the circuit. The system is connected to an expansion vessel able to compensate the volume difference caused by the density variation of the working fluid when its temperature changes.

The kinematics unit (see Figure 15, b) is prepared to accommodate test samples of ball joints and flexible hoses with varying and adjustable geometries, e.g. focal lengths. It is prepared to accomplish both rotational and translational movements with the following characteristics:

  • Drive pylon: modified EuroTrough drive pylon structure
  • Rotating angle is 205° and stow position in 25° facing down
  • Up to 45° of lateral motion, representing absorber tube thermal expansion
  • Prepared for dimensions of new PTC designs (focal lengths from 1m to 2.3m)
  • Measurement of the reaction forces and torques of the assemblies under testing
Figure 15. Schematic diagram of the REPA test loop at PSA (a) and north view of the test facility (b).