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The HELIOtube is an innovative inflatable solar concentrator with a length of 220m and a diameter of 9m. It is made of highly durable, flexible, lightweight, recyclable and commercially available plastic film. The inflatable solar collector itself is held in position by metal rings which are part of the modular design and help rotate the tube to track the sun.
The HELIOtube converts solar radiation into thermal energy of up to 400 degrees Celsius. Each HELIOtube produces 1MW of thermal energy and connected to each other, the HELIOtubes form a solar-thermal power station. The produced energy is used directly in various industrial processes or converted to electricity by a turbine.
The HELIOtube consists of three different plastic films that are connect and form an airtight system. At the top, there is a transparent ETFE film which allows the light to get inside the concentrator. ETFE is a very robust and UV stable material that has proven to be very suitable in architecture. (eg. FC Bayern Munich stadium)
Inside, the sun light hits the mirror film which is a PET film with a special reflective coating. The circular shape is completed with a PVC film that is still light but very durable. HELIOVIS relies on industry proven materials and manufacturing technics to ensure cost efficiency and a long-lasting product.
HELIOVIS sets itself apart from other players in the solar thermal technology field by the scalable, transportable and modular design of the HELIOtube concentrators.
The HELIOtube exchanges heavy steel frames with lightweight plastic films which allows for very flexible logistics in sea freight containers and a fully automated production process. Once the HELIOtube is transported to the solar field, it is drawn-in, inflated and ready to go. The plastic films are highly durable and can be cleaned with compressed air which saves precious sweet water. These advantages lead to cost savings of up to 55% compared to conventional parabolic trough systems.
1) Industrial process heat (drying, cleaning, boiling, sterilization, pasteurization, etc.)
2) Solar cooling (air conditioning, district cooling, food and beverage industry, etc.)
3) Water treatment / Water desalination
4) Enhanced oil recovery
Due to the volatility of renewable energy sources a lot of stress is put on local grids by electricity from renewable energy systems like photovoltaics. By detaching such applications from the main grid and running them decentralized can be greatly decrease the stress on the network. Another very important factor is that the efficiency in conversion from electricity to thermal energy. The conversion efficiency of a conventional AC system is approximately 10%, by substituting it with solar thermal cooling instead, efficiency can be increased up to 40%!
First of all both systems are fundamentally different and are not directly comparable. Photovoltaic cells can convert solar energy directly to electricity, whereas the HELIOtube produces thermal energy which then can be converted a turbine to electricity. The main advantage of solar thermal power plants over photovoltaic systems is the option to integrate very efficient storage capacity which leads to a much more stable energy output during the day as well as extended output after sunset.
HELIOVIS relies on its SMART principle in creating custom fit solution to its clients. Building capacity and knowledge on the practical aspects of various solar power projects, particularly on small and medium scale, helped HELIOVIS in diversifying its scope of services. Many years of experience in hybridization of CSP and PV, will help ensure that standalone PV projects are well-designed, well-executed, and built to last.
HELIOVIS believes that CSP and Photovoltaics (PV) are complementary technologies depending on demand profiles, climatic conditions, and site locations. By integrating both CSP and PV into hybrid “CSPV plants” (CSPV), HELIOVIS can cut costs of power plants significantly and increases the energy output simultaneously. Moreover our specially designed PV panels acts as an adaptive wind protection system and reduce wind loads on the HELIOtube.
The most important factors for feasibility calculations are the Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI), temperatures and output medium for the wanted application. Typically, regions with high DNI values (above 1900 kWh/m2) are optimal. Although areas with slightly lower DNI values can still be feasible depending on the application and implementation of the hybrid models.
HELIOVIS believes that renewable energy generation and sustainability will play a central role in the future. Many producers of solar concentrators create sustainable energy and aid in reaching this goal. However, the main composites are not sustainable. HELIOVIS intends to keep its entire value chain sustainable; from production to recycling and reusability. HELIOVIS aims at being a best practice model for new technologies by using smart-tech not high-tech.
HELIOVIS always takes extra precautions in developing and planning a project site in order to minimize the risk of a HELIOtube being damaged. However, not everything can be predicted and for this HELIOVIS developed several techniques for quickly repairing the HELIOtube. Depending on the severity and the location of the damage several techniques ranging from coating to flaming can be applied. If the HELIOtube is damaged beyond repair, the innovative draw-in technique allows for the HELIOtube to be replaced for a new one within 8-10h.