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T160 Solar collectors tested in the Atacama Desert

To run a simulation in extreme environmental conditions, we decided on the Atacama Desert in Chile.

Solar radiation makes the site extremely suitable for the use of solar energy, but the lack of rain creates challenges as the self-cleaning function of the solar collectors depends on rainwater.

This makes Chile´s Desert a perfect scenario to test our technology for Mining purposes.

Artificial desert Simulation provides real results in extreme environments.

To run the simulation, 27 kg of sand from Chile has been imported to create an artificial desert and tearing sandstorms, to investigate the performance of T160 solar collectors in extreme environments.

Previously Absolicon T160 Solar collector was tested at the Swiss Institut für Solartechnik (SPF) in Rapperswil, according to the standards EN 12975-1:2010 and ISO 9806:2017 and was the first of its kind to be certified according to Solar Keymark.

Confident in the patented tracking system that allows the solar collector to follow the movement of the sun during the day, our engineers accepted the challenge to keep testing our products in extreme weather conditions.

The hypothesis of the project is that the Absolicon T160, thanks to its rotating position, can easier self-clean itself in dusty environments compared to flat solar panels or fixed solar collectors.

One advantage is that some dust and sand simply fall off the solar collector during the day as it rotates to follow the sun, another is that the T160 turns the receiver glass to the ground during the night. This reduces the condensation on the surface and the risk of dust reacting with the moisture and forming a permanent coating, called cementation.

Solar Industrial free infographic

The mining industry in Chile, interesting!

The tests with desert sand are examined in two stages, on two continents. The constructed test station is ready to be shipped to the Atacama Desert in Chile to collect data on-site.

The results are then compiled with observations from the artificial desert created from Absolicon to draw definitive conclusions about the performance of solar collectors in this extreme environment.

It is hoped that in the near future they will also be able to offer Absolicon’s sustainable energy solutions to industries in areas such as the Atacama Desert.

Chile, including its mining industry in the region, is of interest to Absolicon.

“We know that the solar conditions are perfect and believe that ongoing projects will prove that the environmental challenges are manageable and that our solar collectors are performing well despite the conditions,” Jonatan Mossegård, Technical Manager, Absolicon.

The project is part of SIKT – a three-year project run by the High Coast Industry Group. SIKT is financed by the European Regional Development Fund, Region Västernorrland, Härnösand, Kramfors and Sollefteå municipality, and participating companies.

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