3M Solar Mirror Film Improves Efficiency of Abengoa Solar Thermal Installation

3M Solar Mirror Film is a highly reflective thin film that is especially well suited for solar thermal and concentrated solar energy applications. 3M has successfully deployed and demonstrated reliable operation of its 3M Solar Mirror Film 1100 in an Abengoa solar thermal installation equipped with 3M’s innovative film. Abengoa Solar Inc. designed and engineered the system, and selected 3M’s cost-cutting solar film to outfit the solar concentration troughs. The turnkey renewable energy system has been in operation since June 2010 and is performing above planned specifications to offset the energy required for hot water storage.

3M Solar Mirror Film is a highly reflective thin film that is especially well suited for solar thermal and concentrated solar applications. The film uses silver as a reflective layer, protected by a polymer film and backed with adhesive. In addition to performance advantages in reflectivity versus traditional options, 3M Solar Mirror Film has the added advantage of allowing for significant design flexibility.

“We are very pleased to see our new 3M Solar Mirror Film 1100 successfully performing as expected on a large scale. It has been great to work with Abengoa on this project,” said Dr. Dan Chen, business development manager for the 3M Renewable Energy Division. “We believe this project represents just the beginning of more widespread deployment of reflective films for concentrating solar applications.”

The 22,720-square-foot collector area spans 1.7 acres and is composed of 160 parabolic PT-1 troughs. A mixture of water and anti-freeze is pumped through the absorber tube and delivers heat to a 16,000-gallon water storage tank.

“Abengoa has a long history with solar thermal technology and has been a long proponent of reflective films. The 3M solar mirror film is a step forward in scaling up this industry, and we have been pleased with the product and the technical support that 3M has offered,” said Ken May, Division Director at Abengoa.

Under peak conditions, the solar field will collect more than 4M Btu/h (1170 kWh) of thermal energy, which is projected to reduce the consumption of natural gas to heat water by more than 50 percent over a year. Over 30 years, the system is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 13,000 tons.

3M’s Renewable Energy Division encompasses two major business units: Energy Generation and Energy Conservation. With a variety of new and existing product offerings, 3M is bringing more than 100 years of expertise in coatings, film, tape, adhesive and optical technologies to the rapidly expanding renewable energy market worldwide.