(19)
(11)EP 2 683 991 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
03.10.2018 Bulletin 2018/40

(21)Application number: 11860476.8

(22)Date of filing:  08.03.2011
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
F24S 23/71(2018.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2011/027601
(87)International publication number:
WO 2012/121712 (13.09.2012 Gazette  2012/37)

(54)

TROUGH SOLAR COLLECTOR MODULE

SOLARKOLLEKTORMODUL MIT RINNENREFLEKTOR

MODULE COLLECTEUR SOLAIRE À BAC


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(43)Date of publication of application:
15.01.2014 Bulletin 2014/03

(73)Proprietor: Abengoa Solar Inc.
Lakewood, Colorado 80401 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • MARCOTTE, Patrick
    Lakewood, Colorado 80401 (US)
  • MAY, Edmund, Kenneth
    Lakewood, Colorado 80401 (US)

(74)Representative: Garcia-Cabrerizo y del Santo, Pedro Maria 
Oficina Garcia Cabrerizo, S.L., Vitruvio, 23
28006 Madrid
28006 Madrid (ES)


(56)References cited: : 
CH-A5- 637 202
US-A- 4 119 365
US-A- 4 546 757
US-A- 5 134 827
US-A1- 2005 163 564
US-A1- 2009 056 787
US-A1- 2010 252 030
US-B2- 7 240 674
DE-A1- 3 822 178
US-A- 4 205 659
US-A- 4 611 575
US-A- 5 191 876
US-A1- 2008 247 069
US-A1- 2009 056 787
US-A1- 2010 258 186
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND



    [0001] Concentrating solar collectors have a variety of uses, for example heating water for domestic or industrial uses, or for providing heat for power generation in a concentrating solar power plant. Figure 1 illustrates a schematic view of a portion of a conventional concentrating solar collector installation. A solar collector assembly 100 includes two solar collector modules 101a and 101b. The modules 101a and 101b are mounted on pylons 102a-c, and can rotate about an axis 103 to track the sun. Each module includes a trough- shaped reflector 104 that reflects incoming solar radiation 105 onto a receiving tube 106. For example, the reflector 104 may be in the shape of a parabolic cylinder, and the receiving tube may be placed at the focal line of the parabolic cylinder where the reflected solar radiation is concentrated. The receiving tube 106 carries a working fluid, for example water, oil, or another working fluid, that is heated by the concentrated solar radiation. The working fluid is piped to a central location for use. For example, heated water may be carried to an industrial process or used for hydronic space heating. Alternatively, the heat transfer fluid may be carried to a power generation plant that generates electric power using heat provided by the working fluid.

    [0002] While only two collector modules 101a and 101b are shown in Figure 1, many more modules may be present, and may be arranged in rows called solar collector assemblies. The modules in a solar collector assembly are interconnected so that they rotate in unison. A drive system (not shown) placed at an end or preferably near the center of a solar collector assembly provides torque for rotating the assembly. A solar collector assembly may include as many as dozens of modules, and the collector field may include hundreds or thousands of modules.

    [0003] In order to maintain proper aiming of all of the modules in a solar collector assembly to track the sun, the modules must transfer sufficient torque between them to drive the assembly and to withstand wind loading, and the modules and any torque transfer mechanism should be stiff enough that the torque is transferred without undue twisting of the assembly.

    [0004] It is also desirable that parts of a solar collector installation be configured such that they can be efficiently shipped to an installation site and assembled easily at the installation site.

    [0005] Other known concentrating solar collector modules are disclosed by US2009/056787 A1, CH637202 A5 and US2010/258186 A1.

    BRIEF SUMMARY



    [0006] According to the invention, a concentrating solar collector module comprises a reflector having a reflective front surface shaped to concentrate incoming solar radiation onto a focal line, the reflector having two lengthwise edges parallel to the focal line and two ends defining the length of the reflector. The module further comprises first and second rails disposed parallel to each other, one rail attached to the reflector at each of the lengthwise edges and extending substantially the length of the reflector, and a set of truss connectors attached to the rails. The truss connectors and rails comprise ways that enable constrained sliding engagement of the truss connectors along the rails before attachment of the truss connectors to the rails. The module further includes a plurality of framing members connected to the truss connectors.

    [0007] According to the invention, the framing members form a structural lattice that cooperates with the reflector to lend rigidity to the solar collector module, and at least some of the framing members are disposed in front of the front reflective surface. The ways may comprise dovetail protrusions on either the rails or the truss connectors, and complementary dovetail slots on the other of the rails or the truss connectors. The ways may comprise T-shaped protrusions on the either the rails or the truss connectors, and complementary T-shaped slots on the other of the rails or the truss connectors.

    [0008] According to the invention, the set of truss connectors comprises an end truss connector at each end of each rail, and the framing members comprise two end trusses, one end truss at each end of the solar collector module connected between the respective end truss connectors. According to the invention, the frame members comprise at least two diagonal framing members, each diagonal framing member connected to a truss connector on the first rail and a truss connector on the second rail, the diagonal framing members crossing the solar collector module in front of the reflective surface, wherein at least one of the diagonal framing members is configured such that it is tension adjustable. The frame members may comprise at least four diagonal framing members. In some embodiments, the frame members comprise at least one transverse brace connected to a truss connector on the first rail and a truss connector on the second rail, the transverse brace crossing the solar collector module in front of the reflective surface. The transverse brace may be identical to a member of each end truss.

    [0009] In some embodiments, the concentrating solar collector module further comprises a vertical support and a diagonal support for the transverse brace, and the vertical support and the diagonal support are identical to members of the end trusses. The concentrating solar collector module may further comprise a fixed receiver support extending from one of the two end trusses. In some embodiments, the receiver support flexes to accommodate thermal expansion and contraction in a solar collector comprising the module. The receiver support may comprise a reflective surface, to reduce end losses from the solar collector module. In some embodiments, at least one truss connector at a corner of the module is identical to another truss connector positioned other than at a corner of the module. Each rail may be hollow, and comprise at least one internal reinforcement web. In some embodiments, each rail comprises top and bottom edge features that include a protrusion on either the top or bottom edge of the rail and a complementary indentation on the other of the top or bottom edge of the rail, the protrusion and indentation aligned to mate when a precursor portion of the solar collector module is stacked with a precursor portion of another like solar collector module. In some embodiments, each rail comprises a tab tangent to the front reflective surface, the tab attached to the reflector. In some embodiments, the concentrating solar collector module further comprises a set of parabolic ribs in contact with a back side of the reflector, opposite the reflective front surface. The concentrating solar collector module may further comprise bearings that define a rotational axis of the solar collector module, the rotational axis parallel to the focal line.

    [0010] According to another aspect, an extruded rail for assembly into a concentrating solar collector module comprises an elongate hollow body, at least one ways feature formed on one side of the body and shaped to accept a truss connector and to enable constrained sliding engagement of the truss connector and the rail, mating features on a top and bottom of the rail, the mating features aligned to facilitate stacking of an assembly incorporating the rail with a like assembly, and an angled tab for attaching the rail to a reflector of the solar collector module, the angled tab positioned to be disposed tangent to a curvature of the reflector. The extruded rail may further comprise at least one internal reinforcing web. In some embodiments, the at least one ways feature includes a dovetail slot or a T-shaped slot. In some embodiments, the at least one ways feature includes a dovetail protrusion or a T-shaped protrusion.

    [0011] According to another aspect, a truss connector comprises a generally U-shaped body having a base portion and two spaced apart sides extending from the base portion, the body having a length, and at least one ways feature on the base portion shaped to cooperate with a complementary feature of another body, to form ways that enable constrained sliding engagement of the truss connector along the other body. The sides define at least one set of holes for receiving a fastener to connect a structural member to the truss connector. The base portion may define at least one hole for receiving a fastener to fix the truss connector to the other body. The ways feature may comprise a dovetail protrusion or slot. The ways feature may comprise a T-shaped protrusion or slot.

    [0012] According to the invention, a method of assembling a concentrating solar collector module comprises providing a reflector having a reflective front surface shaped to concentrate incoming solar radiation onto a focal line, the reflector having two lengthwise edges parallel to the focal line and two ends defining the length of the reflector, and first and second rails disposed parallel to each other, one rail attached to the reflector at each of the lengthwise edges and extending substantially the length of the reflector. The method further comprises providing a set of truss connectors, the truss connectors and rails comprising ways that enable constrained sliding engagement of the truss connectors along the rails, and engaging the truss connectors with the rails. The method further comprises connecting a plurality of framing members to the truss connectors, wherein the set of truss connectors comprises an end truss connector at each end of each rail, and wherein the framing members comprise two end trusses, one end truss at each end of the solar collector module connected between the respective end truss connectors, the framing members further comprising at least two diagonal framing members wherein each diagonal framing member is connected to a truss connector on the first rail and a truss connector on the second rail, the diagonal framing members crossing the solar collector module in front of the reflective surface tensioning the diagonal framing members to stiffen the solar collector module. In some embodiments, the method further comprises adjusting optical performance of the solar collector module by adjusting the tension in at least one of the diagonal framing members.

    [0013] According to another aspect, a concentrating solar collector comprises at least two collector modules, each module comprising a reflector having a reflective front surface shaped to concentrate incoming solar radiation onto a focal line, and the reflector having two lengthwise edges parallel to the focal line and two ends defining the length of the reflector; first and second rails, one rail attached to the reflector at each of the lengthwise edges and extending substantially the length of the reflector; a set of truss connectors attached to the rails, the truss connectors and rails comprising ways that enable constrained sliding engagement of the truss connectors along the rails before attachment of the truss connectors to the rails; a plurality of framing members connected to the truss connectors, forming a structural lattice that cooperates with the reflector to lend rigidity to the solar collector module, at least some of the framing members being disposed in front of the front reflective surface; and bearings that define a rotational axis of the module parallel to the focal line. At least one of the truss connectors extends beyond an end of its respective module, and the concentrating solar collector further comprises a connection between the extending truss connector and an adjacent collector module, to transmit torque between the two adjacent modules.

    [0014] According to another aspect, a receiver support in a concentrating solar collector module comprises a sheet metal shape having features for attaching the sheet metal shape to a structural element of the solar collector module and features for attaching a receiver tube to the receiver support. The receiver support is shaped to be stiff in directions transverse to the longitudinal axis of the receiver tube, and to be flexible in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis of the receiver tube. In some embodiments, the receiver support undergoes only elastic deformation in accommodating thermal expansion in the solar collector module. In some embodiments, the receiver support comprises reflective surfaces to reduce end losses from the solar collector module.

    [0015] According to another aspect, a structural lattice comprises first and second rails disposed parallel to each other, and a set of truss connectors attached to the rails. The truss connectors and rails comprise ways that enable constrained sliding engagement of the truss connectors along the rails before attachment of the truss connectors to the rails. The ways comprise protrusions on either the truss connectors or the rails, and complementary slots on the other of the truss connectors or the rails. The structural lattice further comprises a plurality of framing members connected to the truss connectors, the framing members comprising at least two transverse framing members and at least two diagonal framing members. The protrusions and slots may comprise dovetail protrusions and slots. The protrusions and slots may comprise T-shaped protrusions and slots. In some embodiments, the structural lattice further comprises a clevis at each end of each diagonal framing member, and each clevis is attached to its respective truss connector using a pin. In some embodiments, the effective length of each diagonal framing member is adjustable. In some embodiments, the framing members comprise end trusses, one end truss at each end of the structural lattice connected between the respective end truss connectors.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0016] 

    Figure 1 illustrates a schematic view of a portion of a typical concentrating solar collector installation.

    Figure 2 illustrates a solar collector module according to embodiments of the invention.

    Figure 3 illustrates the solar collector module of Figure 2 in an underside oblique view.

    Figures 4A and 4B illustrate oblique and end views of a portion of the module of Figure 2, according to embodiments of the invention.

    Figures 5A and 5B illustrate the stacking of precursor units of a number of solar collector modules, in accordance with embodiments.

    Figures 6A and 6B illustrate the assembly of a truss connector to a rail in the solar collector module of Figure 2, in accordance with embodiments of the invention.

    Figure 7 illustrates the connection of framing members to the truss connector of Figures 6 A and 6B, in accordance with embodiments of the invention.

    Figures 8A and 8B illustrate a system for mounting a receiver tube of the solar collector module of Figure 2, in accordance with embodiments of the invention.

    Figure 9 illustrates several instances of modularization of parts within the solar collector module of Figure 2, in accordance with embodiments of the invention.

    Figure 10 illustrates a torque transfer connection between two solar collector modules, in accordance with embodiments of the invention.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0017] Figure 2 illustrates a solar collector module 200 according to embodiments of the invention. The module 200 includes a reflector 201 having a curved front surface visible in Figure 2, and a curved rear surface 202. The reflector 201 is shaped to concentrate incoming solar radiation onto a focal line. For example, the reflector 201 may be in the shape of a parabolic cylinder, although it is contemplated that other reflective shapes may be used, including nonimaging shapes. It is also to be understood that a "focal line" includes any long narrow target area or volume, such as the surface of a receiving tube as described below. The reflector 201 may be made of sheet metal, for example sheet steel or aluminum having a thickness of between 0.020 and 0.100 inches, and may be polished, plated, coated, laminated, or otherwise treated such that its front surface is highly reflective. Other materials and surface treatments may also be used.

    [0018] The reflector 201 has two lengthwise edges 203a and 203b, and two end edges 204a and 204b. The distance between the ends 204a and 204b is considered to be the length of the reflector 201. Two rails 205a and 205b are attached to the reflector 201, one along each lengthwise edge of the reflector 201. In some embodiments, the length of the module 200 may be 240 inches and the overall width of the module 200 may be 90.75 inches, although embodiments of the invention may be of any workable size. A set of truss connectors 206a-f are attached to the rails 205a and 205b for connecting a plurality of framing members. The truss connectors 206a-f and rails 205a, 205b comprise ways that are configured to enable a portion of the truss connectors to be received into the rails and to slide along the length of the rails before the truss connectors are attached to the rails.

    [0019] The framing members connected by the ways include two end trusses 207a and 207b, one truss at each end of the reflector 201, a transverse brace 208 near the center of the reflector 201, and several diagonal braces 209a-d that cross the module 200 in front of the front reflective surface of the reflector 201. The framing members, including the rails 205a and 205b and the diagonal braces 209a-d, form a structural lattice at the front of the module 200. The reflector 201 itself may also be a structural member, and the reflector 201 and the structural lattice may cooperate to lend stiffness to the module 200. Preferably, the diagonal braces 209a-d are in tension, while the transverse brace 208 and portions of the end trusses 207a and 207b are in compression, to maintain the proper spacing between the rails 205a and 205b. In other embodiments, for example in a smaller collector module, the transverse brace 208 may not be present, and only two diagonal braces may be used, extending between truss connectors at the corners of the modules. In other embodiments, multiple transverse braces may be present, and more than four diagonal braces may be used.

    [0020] Figure 2 shows that a receiver tube 210 is held at the focal line of the reflector 201 by receiver supports 211a and 211b. The module 200 may further comprise bearings 212a and 212b, that define a rotational axis for the module 200 and support the weight of the module 200 when it is mounted on pylons (not illustrated in Figure 2). Alternatively, the module 200 may include only a shaft at each end, configured to mate with bearings on the pylons.

    [0021] Figure 3 illustrates the collector module 200 in an underside oblique view. The exemplary module 200 includes a set of ribs 301 fixed to the back surface 202 of the reflector 201. The ribs 301 serve to help maintain the shape of the reflector 201.

    [0022] Figures 4A and 4B illustrate oblique and end views of a portion of the module 200, showing the configuration of the rail 205b and its attachment to the reflector 201, according to embodiments of the invention. The rail 205b is preferably an extrusion, having a constant cross section along its length. The rail 205b preferably is hollow, and may include internal reinforcement webs 401. Exemplary rail 205b also includes a tab 402 for connecting the rail 205b to the reflector 201, for example by rivets, screws, or other fasteners 403. The tab 402 is preferably tangent to the reflective surface of the reflector 201 when the rail 205b is attached to the reflector 201. The rail 205b may also define one or more holes 404 and dovetail slots 405 on one side of the rail 205b, for attaching the truss connectors as is described in more detail below.

    [0023] The rail 205a is preferably identical to the rail 205b in cross section, and is attached similarly to the other edge of the reflector 201. As oriented in Figure 4B, exemplary rail 205a has a height greater than its width. This relationship may be helpful to maximize the area of the reflector 201 while keeping the overall width of the module 200 narrow, for example so that the components of the module 200 can be kept to a specified size for shipping. In other applications where the module components are not so constrained, the rails 205a and 205b may have other aspect ratios.

    [0024] The rail 205b may include mating features such as a beveled top edge 406 and a complementary angled protrusion 407 at its bottom edge, to facilitate stacking of precursor portions of modules for shipping. (Here, the reflective front surface of the reflector 201 is considered to face the "top" of the reflector, and the back side 202 is considered to face the "bottom" of the reflector. In actual use, the "top" and "bottom" of the rail may not always face directly up and down.) For example, the reflector 201, the rails 205a and 205b, and the ribs 301 of the collector module 200 may form a precursor unit that is preassembled for shipping to an installation site, where the framing members may be added. It is desirable that the components of many modules 200 be compactly packable for shipping, and that shipping damage be avoided.

    [0025] Figures 5A and 5B illustrate the stacking of precursor units of a number of modules 200, in accordance with embodiments. The rails nest to space the precursor units apart to avoid damage to the reflectors, and also to inhibit side -to-side motion of the units with respect to each other. While the precursor units are shown in Figures 5A and 5B as being stacked with the concave surfaces facing upward, they could also be stacked with the concave surfaces facing downward, or any other suitable direction. A concave -upward stacking arrangement may facilitate on-site assembly of the modules 200, as a particular module 200 may have its structure assembled to it while the precursor portion is still in the stack, and the completed module lifted away for mounting into the collector array. Thus the stack itself may serve as a kind of assembly fixture for each module.

    [0026] Figures 6A and 6B illustrate the assembly of truss connector 206c to rail 205b, in accordance with embodiments of the invention. The exemplary truss connector 206c is preferably formed from a generally U-shaped extrusion having a base portion 601 and two spaced-apart planar sides 602 extending from the base portion 601. The truss connector 206c has a length L. The base portion 601 also includes dovetail protrusions 603, which cooperate with the dovetail slots 405 of the rail 205b, to form ways that enable constrained sliding engagement of the truss connector 206c with the rail 205b. For the purposes of this disclosure, "ways" refers to a set of features that guide two mechanical components in relative motion.

    [0027] The sides 602 define at least one set of holes 604 for attaching a structural member to the truss connector 206c. Figure 6A shows the truss connector 206c poised for assembly to the rail 205b, and Figure 6B shows the truss connector 206c engaged with the rail 205b. Bolts, rivets, or other fasteners may be used via holes 605 and mating holes in the truss connector 206c (not shown). The other truss connectors may engage similarly with their respective rails. Center truss connectors 206b and 206e, if present, are preferably moved into position before the end truss connectors are all in place.

    [0028] While the exemplary rail 205b includes the dovetail slots 405 that engage with the dovetail protrusions 603 on the truss connector 206c, the ways may be formed using other kinds of features. For example, more or fewer features may be used. The positions of the protrusions and the slots may be reversed, so that the rail includes protrusions and the truss connectors include slots. Other shapes of slots and protrusions may be used, for example T-shaped protrusions may mate with T-shaped slots. Many other arrangements are possible.

    [0029] Figure 7 illustrates the connection of some of the framing members to the truss connector 206c, in accordance with embodiments of the invention. In the exemplary embodiment of Figure 7, the end truss 207b is bolted to the truss connector 206c, while the diagonal brace 209d is connected to a clevis 701, which is in turn attached to the truss connector 206c using a pin 702. The diagonal brace 209d may have a threaded end, and may be attached to the clevis 701 using nuts 703. The nuts 703 may also be used for adjusting the tension in the diagonal brace 209d, to stiffen the structure of the module 200, and to adjust the optical performance of the module 200. The other framing members may be connected similarly to their respective truss connectors. By adding tension to the diagonal braces 209a-d, the shape of the reflector 201 may be adjusted, either during assembly of the module 200, or later during the operation of module 200. Adding tension to the diagonal braces 209a-d, for example by adjusting the nuts 703 to reduce the effective length of the diagonal brace 209d and adjusting similar nuts at other truss connections, will tend to close the reflector 201, and may correct light spillage of light under the receiver tube 201. Reducing tension in the diagonal braces 209a-d tends to open the reflector 201, and may be used to correct light spillage above the receiver tube 210.

    [0030] Figures 8A and 8B illustrate a system for mounting the receiver tube 210 of the module 200, in accordance with embodiments of the invention. The receiver tube preferably includes a clear outer tube surrounding the conduit through which the working fluid flows. The clear outer tube serves to reduce thermal losses from the working fluid to the environment. In conventional collector modules, the receiver supports may be hinged at their connection to the other module structure, to accommodate thermal expansion and contraction of the module. However, the hinged connection adds complexity and cost to the conventional module.

    [0031] In accordance with embodiments of the invention and as shown in Figures 8A and 8B, the receiver support 211b is fixed to the end truss 207b by bolts, rivets, or another kind of fastener. The receiver support 211b may be made of made of a sheet metal, for example sheet steel or aluminum about 0.040 to about 0.100 inches thick or another suitable thickness selected for adequate strength. The receiver support 211b is shaped to be stiff in directions 801 transverse to the longitudinal axis of the receiver tube 210, so that the receiver tube 210 is fixed at the focal line of the reflector 201 and remains in the proper location as the module 200 rotates. However, in a direction 802, parallel to the longitudinal axis of the receiver tube 210, the receiver support 211b is relatively flexible, and can flex to accommodate thermal expansion of and contraction of the receiver tube 210 and the other structure of the module 200. The receiver support is preferably sized to accommodate all expected thermal expansion and contraction while undergoing only elastic deformation.

    [0032] In some embodiments, either or both faces 803 of the receiver support 211b may be polished, coated, or otherwise treated to be highly reflective. The reflective surface may serve to reduce end losses from the module 200, wherein incoming solar radiation escapes reaching the receiver tube 210 by exiting the end of the module 200, or by being absorbed by a relatively non- reflective receiver support. As is illustrated by ray 804, the reflective surface 803 may redirect some radiation that might otherwise not reach the receiver tube 210 back to the receiver tube 210. Additional similar receiver supports may be provided at other locations, for example receiver support 211a near the center of the module 200.

    [0033] According to some embodiments, the cost and assembly efficiency of the module 200 may be enhanced by using like parts in multiple locations within the module 200. This modularization may reduce the number of distinct part types that must be tracked during production and assembly of the module 200, and may reduce opportunities for error in the assembly.

    [0034] Figure 9 illustrates several instances of modularization of parts, wherein like parts perform multiple functions within the module 200, in accordance with embodiments of the invention. For example, in exemplary module 200 the center transverse brace 208 is identical to the upper members 901 of the end trusses 207a and 207b. In another example, vertical support 902 and diagonal support 903 for center transverse brace 208 may be identical to near-vertical and diagonal end truss members 904 and 905 of the two end trusses 207a and 207b.

    [0035] In another example, the center truss connectors 206b and 206d are longer than the corner truss connectors 206a and 206c, because the center truss connectors 206b and 206d receive diagonal braces at both ends, while the corner truss connectors 206a and 206c need only receive a single diagonal brace. However, longer parts identical to the center truss connectors 206b and 206e may be utilized for the other corner truss connectors 206d and 206f, to provide additional material for making a torque transfer connection between adjacent modules.

    [0036] Figure 10 illustrates an example of a torque transfer connection between two modules. Corner truss connector 206f of one module and corner truss connector 206d of another module protrude beyond the ends of their respective reflectors. Brackets 1001 and 1002 are attached to the corner truss connectors 206d and 206f. A threaded rod 1003 extends through the brackets 1001 and 1002, which are connected to the threaded rod 1003 using nuts 1004. The relative alignment of the two modules can be adjusted by adjusting the positions of the nuts 1004 on the threaded rod 1003. In addition, the connection provides a degree of compliance in the direction parallel to the rotational axes of the two modules, to accommodate thermal expansion and contraction.

    [0037] The invention has been described above in terms of presently preferred embodiments so that an understanding of the present invention can be conveyed. There are, however, many configurations for concentrating solar collector modules not specifically described herein but with which the present invention is applicable. In addition, aspects of the invention may be used in applications other than in solar collector modules. The present invention should therefore not be seen as limited to the particular embodiments described herein, but rather, it should be understood that the present invention has wide applicability with respect to collector systems generally. All modifications, variations, or equivalent arrangements and implementations that are within the scope of the attached claims should therefore be considered within the scope of the invention.


    Claims

    1. A concentrating solar collector module comprising:

    a reflector (201) having a reflective front surface shaped to concentrate incoming solar radiation onto a focal line, the reflector (201) having two lengthwise edges (203a-b) parallel to the focal line and two ends defining the length of the reflector (201);

    first and second rails (205a-b) disposed parallel to each other, one rail attached to the reflector (201) at each of the lengthwise edges (203a-b) and extending substantially the length of the reflector (201);

    a set of truss connectors (206a-f) attached to the rails (205a-b), the truss connectors (206a-f) and rails (205a-b) comprising ways that enable constrained sliding engagement of the truss connectors along the rails (205a-b) before attachment of the truss connectors to the rails (205a-b);

    a plurality of framing members connected to the truss connectors, wherein the framing members and the rails (205a-b) form a structural lattice that cooperates with the reflector (201) to lend rigidity to the solar collector module (200);

    characterised in that the set of truss connectors (206a-f) comprises an end truss connector (206a-f) at each end of each rail (205a-b), and wherein the framing members comprise two end trusses (207a, 207b), one end truss (207a, 207b) at each end of the solar collector module (200) connected between the respective end truss connectors (206a-f);

    the framing members further comprising at least two diagonal framing members wherein each diagonal framing member is connected to a truss connector (206a-f) on the first rail and a truss connector (206a-f) on the second rail, the diagonal framing members crossing the solar collector module (200) in front of the reflective surface; and

    wherein at least one of the diagonal framing members is configured such that it is tension adjustable.


     
    2. The concentrating solar collector module of claim 1, wherein the ways comprise dovetail protrusions on either the rails (205a-b) or the truss connectors (206a-f), and complementary dovetail slots on the other of the rails (205a-b) or the truss connectors (206a-f); or optionally wherein the ways comprise Tshaped protrusions on the either the rails (205a-b) or the truss connectors (206a-f), and complementary T-shaped slots on the other of the rails (205a-b) or the truss connectors (206a-f).
     
    3. The concentrating solar collector module of claim 1, wherein the framing members comprise at least four diagonal framing members.
     
    4. The concentrating solar collector module of claim 1, wherein the framing members comprise at least one transverse brace (208) connected to a truss connector (206a-f) on the first rail and a truss connector (206a-f) on the second rail, the transverse brace (208) crossing the solar collector module (200) in front of the reflective surface; and optionally wherein the transverse brace (208) is identical to a member of each end truss; or optionally further comprising a vertical support and a diagonal support for the transverse brace (208), and wherein the vertical support and the diagonal support are identical to members of the end trusses (207a, 207b).
     
    5. The concentrating solar collector module of claim 1, further comprising a fixed receiver support (211a-b) extending from one of the two end trusses (207a, 207b); and optionally wherein the receiver support (211a-b) is flexible to accommodate thermal expansion and contraction in a solar collector comprising the module (200); or optionally wherein the receiver support (211a-b) comprises a reflective surface, to reduce end losses from the solar collector module (200).
     
    6. The concentrating solar collector module of claim 1, wherein at least one truss connector (206a-f) at a corner of the module (200) is identical to another truss connector (206a-f) positioned other than at a corner of the module (200); or optionally wherein each rail (205a-b) is hollow, and comprises at least one internal reinforcement web; or optionally wherein each rail (205a-b) comprises top and bottom edge features that include a protrusion on either the top or bottom edge of the rail and a complementary indentation on the other of the top or bottom edge of the rail, the protrusion and indentation aligned to mate when a precursor portion of the solar collector module (200) is stacked with a precursor portion of another like solar collector module (200); or optionally wherein each rail (205a-b) comprises a tab tangent to the front reflective surface, the tab attached to the reflector (201); or optionally further comprising a set of parabolic ribs in contact with a back side of the reflector (201), opposite the reflective front surface; or optionally further comprising bearings that define a rotational axis of the solar collector module (200), the rotational axis parallel to the focal line.
     
    7. The concentrating solar collector module of claim 1, wherein each of the rails (205a-b) comprises:

    an elongate hollow body having at least one ways feature formed on one side of the body and shaped to accept at least one of the truss connectors (206a-f) to enable constrained sliding engagement of the truss connector (206a-f) and the rail (205a-b);

    mating features on a top and bottom of the rail, the mating features aligned to facilitate stacking of an assembly incorporating the rail with a like assembly; and

    an angled tab for attaching the rail to a reflector (201) of the solar collector module (200), the angled tab positioned to be disposed tangent to a curvature of the reflector (201).


     
    8. The concentrating solar collector module of claim 7, wherein each of the rails (205a-b) comprises at least one internal reinforcing web; or optionally wherein
    each of the rails (205a-b) comprises at least one ways feature that includes a dovetail slot (405) or a T-shaped slot; or optionally wherein each of the rails (205a-b) comprises at least one ways feature that includes a dovetail protrusion (603) or a T-shaped protrusion.
     
    9. The concentrating solar collector module of claim 1, wherein each of the truss connectors (206a-f) comprises:

    a generally U-shaped body having a base portion and two spaced apart sides extending from the base portion, the body having a length; and

    at least one ways feature on the base portion shaped to cooperate with a complementary feature of one of the first and second rails (205a-b), to form ways that enable constrained sliding engagement of the truss connector (206a-f) along the rail;

    wherein the sides define at least one set of holes for receiving a fastener to connect a structural member to the truss connector (206a-f); and optionally wherein the base portion defines at least one hole for receiving a fastener to fix the truss connector (206a-f) to the rail; or optionally

    wherein the truss connector ways feature comprises a dovetail protrusion (603) or slot (405); or optionally wherein the truss connector ways feature comprises a T-shaped protrusion or slot.


     
    10. A method of assembling a concentrating solar collector module, the method comprising:

    providing a reflector (201) having a reflective front surface shaped to concentrate incoming solar radiation onto a focal line, the reflector (201) having two lengthwise edges (203a-b) parallel to the focal line and two ends defining the length of the reflector (201), and first and second rails (205a-b) disposed parallel to each other, one rail attached to the reflector (201) at each of the lengthwise edges (203a-b) and extending substantially the length of the reflector (201);

    providing a set of truss connectors (206a-f), the truss connectors (206a-f) and rails (205a-b) comprising ways that enable constrained sliding engagement of the truss connectors along the rails (205a-b); and

    engaging the truss connectors (206a-f) with the rails (205a-b); connecting a plurality of framing members to the truss connectors (206a-f), characterised in that the set of truss connectors (206a-f) comprises an end truss connector (206a-f) at each end of each rail (205a-b), and wherein the framing members comprise two end trusses, one end truss (207a, 207b) at each end of the solar collector module (200) connected between the respective end truss connectors (206a-f);

    the framing members further comprising at least two diagonal framing members wherein each diagonal framing member is connected to a truss connector (206a-f) on the first rail and a truss connector (206a-f) on the second rail, the diagonal framing members crossing the solar collector module (200) in front of the reflective surface; and

    tensioning the diagonal framing members to stiffen the solar collector module and the method optionally further comprising adjusting optical performance of the solar collector module by adjusting the tension in at least one of the diagonal framing members.


     
    11. A concentrating solar collector comprising at least two adjacent concentrating solar collector modules of claim 1, each concentrating solar collector module (200) further comprising bearings that define a rotational axis of the module parallel to the focal line; wherein at least one of the truss connectors (206a-f) extends beyond an end of the module (200) and includes features to form a connection between the extending truss connector (206a-f) and a truss connector (206a-f) of an adjacent collector module (200), to transmit torque between the two adjacent modules (200).
     
    12. The concentrating solar collector module of claim 1, further comprising a fixed receiver support (211a-b) extending from one of the two end trusses (207a, 207b);
    wherein the fixed receiver support (211a-b) comprises a sheet metal shape having features for attaching the sheet metal shape to a structural element of the solar collector module (200) and features for attaching a receiver tube (210) to the receiver support (211a-b);
    and wherein the receiver support (211a-b) is shaped to be stiff in directions transverse to the longitudinal axis of the receiver tube (210), and to be flexible in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis of the receiver tube (210) and optionally wherein the receiver support (211a-b) undergoes only elastic deformation in accommodating thermal expansion in the solar collector module (200); or
    optionally comprising reflective surfaces to reduce end losses from the solar collector module (200).
     
    13. The concentrating solar collector module of claim 1, wherein:

    the ways comprise protrusions on either the truss connectors (206a-f) or the rails (205a-b), and complementary slots on the other of the truss connectors (206a-f) or the rails (205a-b); and

    the framing members further comprise at least two transverse framing members.


     
    14. The concentrating solar collector module of claim 13, wherein the structural lattice further comprising a clevis (701) at each end of each diagonal framing member, each clevis (701) attached to its respective truss connector (206a-f) using a pin (702);
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Konzentrierendes Sonnenkollektormodul mit:

    einen Reflektor (201) mit einer reflektierenden Vorderfläche, die so geformt ist, dass sie einfallende Sonnenstrahlung auf eine Brennlinie konzentriert, wobei der Reflektor (201) zwei Längskanten (203a-b) parallel zur Brennlinie und zwei Enden aufweist, die die Länge des Reflektors (201) definieren; erste und zweite Schienen (205a-b), die parallel zueinander angeordnet sind,

    eine Schiene, die an jedem der Längskanten (203a-b) an dem Reflektor (201) angebracht ist und sich im Wesentlichen über die Länge des Reflektors (201) erstreckt;

    eine Gruppe von Fachwerkverbindern (206a-f), die an den Schienen (205a-b) angebracht sind, wobei die Fachwerkverbinder (206a-f) und Schienen (205a-b) Wege umfassen, die einen eingeschränkten Gleiteingriff der Fachwerkverbinder entlang der Schienen ermöglichen (205a-b) vor der Befestigung der Fachwerkverbinder an den Schienen (205a-b);

    eine Mehrzahl von Rahmenelementen, die mit den Fachwerkverbindern verbunden sind, wobei die Rahmenelemente und die Schienen (205a-b) ein Strukturgitter bilden, das mit dem Reflektor (201) zusammenwirkt, um dem Sonnenkollektormodul (200) Steifigkeit zu verleihen;

    dadurch gekennzeichnet

    der Satz von Fachwerkverbindern (206a-f) umfasst einen Endfachwerkverbinder (206a-f) an jedem Ende jeder Schiene (205a-b), und wobei die Rahmenelemente zwei Endfachwerke (207a, 207b) umfassen, ein Endfachwerk (207a, 207b) an jedem Ende des Sonnenkollektormoduls (200), das zwischen den jeweiligen Endfachwerkverbinder (206a-f) verbunden ist;

    wobei die Rahmenelemente ferner mindestens zwei diagonale Rahmenelemente umfassen, wobei jedes diagonale Rahmenelement mit einem Fachwerkverbinder (206a-f) an der ersten Schiene und einem Fachwerkverbinder (206a-f) an der zweiten Schiene verbunden ist, wobei die diagonalen Rahmenelemente sich kreuzen das Sonnenkollektormodul (200) vor der reflektierenden Oberfläche; und

    wobei mindestens eines der diagonalen Rahmenelemente so konfiguriert ist, dass es spannungseinstellbar ist.


     
    2. Konzentrierendes Sonnenkollektormodul nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Wege Schwalbenschwanzvorsprünge an entweder den Schienen (205a-b) oder den Fachwerkverbindern (206a-f) und komplementäre Schwalbenschwanzschlitze an der anderen der Schienen (205a-b) oder die Fachwerkverbinder (206a-f) aufweisen; oder optional, wobei die Wege T-förmige Vorsprünge auf entweder den Schienen (205a-b) oder den Fachwerkverbindern (206a-f) und komplementären T-förmigen Schlitzen auf der anderen der Schienen (205a-b) oder des Fachwerkverbinders (206a-f) umfassen.
     
    3. Konzentrierendes Sonnenkollektormodul nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Rahmenelemente mindestens vier diagonale Rahmenelemente umfassen.
     
    4. Konzentrierendes Sonnenkollektormodul nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Rahmenelemente mindestens eine Querstrebe (208) umfassen, die mit einem Fachwerkverbinder (206a-f) an der ersten Schiene und einem Fachverbinder (206a-f) an der zweiten Schiene verbunden ist, die Querstrebe (208) kreuzt das Sonnenkollektormodul (200) vor der reflektierenden Oberfläche; und wobei optional die Querstrebe (208) mit einem Element jedes Endfachwerks identisch ist; oder optional weiter umfassend eine vertikale Stütze und eine diagonale Stütze für die Querstrebe (208), und wobei die vertikale Stütze und die diagonale Stütze identisch mit Elementen der Endfachwerke (207a, 207b) sind.
     
    5. Konzentrierendes Sonnenkollektormodul nach Anspruch 1, ferner mit einer festen Empfängerstütze (211a-b), die sich von einem der beiden Endfachwerke (207a, 207b) erstreckt; und wobei optional die Empfängerstütze (211a -b) flexibel ist, um Wärmeausdehnung und -kontraktion in einem Sonnenkollektor, der das Modul (200) umfasst, aufzunehmen; oder optional, wobei die Empfängerstütze (211a-b) eine reflektierende Oberfläche umfasst, um Endverluste von dem Sonnenkollektormodul (200) zu reduzieren.
     
    6. Konzentrierendes Sonnenkollektormodul nach Anspruch 1, wobei mindestens ein Fachwerkverbinder (206a-f) an einer Ecke des Moduls (200) mit einem anderen Fachwerkverbinder (206a-f) identisch ist, der anders als an einer Ecke des Moduls angeordnet ist (200); oder optional, wobei jede Schiene (205a-b) obere und untere Kantenmerkmale aufweist, die einen Vorsprung entweder an der Ober- oder Unterkante der Schiene und eine komplementäre Einkerbung an der anderen der oberen oder unteren Kante der Schiene, des Vorsprungs und Einkerbung, die so ausgerichtet ist, dass sie zusammenpasst, wenn ein Vorläuferabschnitt des Sonnenkollektormoduls (200) mit einem Vorläuferabschnitt eines anderen ähnlichen Sonnenkollektormoduls (200) gestapelt ist; oder optional, wobei jede Schiene (205a-b) eine Lasche umfasst, die die vordere reflektierende Oberfläche tangiert, wobei die Lasche an dem Reflektor (201) angebracht ist; oder optional weiter umfassend einen Satz von parabolischen Rippen in Kontakt mit einer Rückseite des Reflektors (201) gegenüber der reflektierenden Vorderfläche; oder optional weiter mit Lagern, die eine Drehachse des Sonnenkollektormoduls (200) definieren, wobei die Drehachse parallel zur Brennlinie verläuft.
     
    7. Konzentrierendes Sonnenkollektormodul nach Anspruch 1, wobei jede der Schienen (205a-b) umfasst:

    ein langgestreckter Hohlkörper mit mindestens einem Wegmerkmal, das an einer Seite des Körpers ausgebildet und zur Aufnahme mindestens eines der Fachwerkverbinder (206a4) geformt ist, um einen eingeschränkten Gleiteingriff des Fachwerkverbinders (206a-f) und der Schiene (205a-b) zu ermöglichen;

    zusammenpassende Merkmale auf einer Oberseite und einer Unterseite der Schiene, wobei die zusammenpassenden Merkmale ausgerichtet sind, um das Stapeln einer Anordnung zu erleichtern, die die Schiene mit einer ähnlichen Anordnung enthält; und

    eine gewinkelte Lasche zum Befestigen der Schiene an einem Reflektor (201) des Sonnenkollektormoduls (200), wobei die gewinkelte Lasche so positioniert ist, dass sie tangential zu einer Krümmung des Reflektors (201) angeordnet ist.


     
    8. Konzentrierendes Sonnenkollektormodul nach Anspruch 7, wobei jede der Schienen (205a-b) mindestens eine innere Verstärkungsbahn aufweist; oder optional, wobei
    jede der Schienen (205a-b) umfasst mindestens ein Wegmerkmal, das einen Schwalbenschwanzschlitz (405) oder einen T-förmigen Schlitz umfasst; oder optional, wobei jede der Schienen (205a-b) mindestens ein Wegmerkmal umfasst, das einen Schwalbenschwanzvorsprung (603) oder einen T-förmigen Vorsprung umfasst.
     
    9. Konzentrierendes Sonnenkollektormodul nach Anspruch 1, wobei jeder der Fachwerkverbinder (206a-f) umfasst:

    ein allgemein U-förmiger Körper mit einem Basisabschnitt und zwei voneinander beabstandeten Seiten, die sich von dem Basisabschnitt erstrecken, wobei der Körper eine Länge aufweist; und

    mindestens ein Wegmerkmal auf dem Basisabschnitt, das so geformt ist, dass es mit einem komplementären Merkmal der ersten oder zweiten Schiene (205a-b) zusammenwirkt, um Wege zu bilden, die einen eingeschränkten Gleiteingriff des Fachwerkverbinders (206a-f) entlang der Schiene ermöglichen;

    wobei die Seiten mindestens einen Satz von Löchern zum Aufnehmen eines Befestigungselements definieren, um ein Strukturelement mit dem Fachwerkverbinder (206a-f) zu verbinden; und wobei optional der Basisabschnitt mindestens ein Loch zum Aufnehmen eines Befestigungsmittels definiert, um den Fachwerkverbinder (206a-f) an der Schiene zu befestigen; oder optional

    wobei das Merkmal des Fachwerkverbinders einen Schwalbenschwanzvorsprung (603) oder einen Schwalbenschwanzschlitz (405) umfasst; oder optional, wobei das Merkmal des Fachwerkverbinders einen T-förmigen Vorsprung oder Schlitz umfasst.


     
    10. Verfahren zum Zusammenbauen eines konzentrierenden Sonnenkollektormoduls, wobei das Verfahren umfasst:

    Bereitstellen eines Reflektors (201) mit einer reflektierenden Vorderfläche, die so geformt ist, dass einfallende Sonnenstrahlung auf eine Brennlinie konzentriert wird, wobei der Reflektor (201) zwei Längskanten (203a-b) parallel zur Brennlinie und zwei Enden, die die Länge des Reflektors (201) definieren, und erste und zweite Schienen (205ab) aufweist, die parallel zueinander angeordnet sind, eine Schiene, die an jedem der Längskanten (203a-b) an dem Reflektor (201) angebracht ist und sich im Wesentlichen über die Länge des Reflektors (201) erstreckt;

    Bereitstellen eines Satzes von Fachwerkverbindern (206a-f), wobei die Fachwerkverbinder (206a-f) und Schienen (205a-b) Wege umfassen, die einen eingeschränkten Gleiteingriff der Fachwerkverbinder entlang der Schienen (205a-b) ermöglichen; und

    In ein griffbringen der Fachwerkverbinder (206a-f) mit den Schienen (205a-b); Verbinden einer Mehrzahl von Rahmenelementen mit den Fachwerkverbindern (206a-o), dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Satz von Fachwerkverbindern (206a-f) einen Endfachwerkverbinder (206a-f) an jedem Ende jeder Schiene (205a-b) umfasst, und wobei die Rahmenelemente zwei Endfachwerke umfassen, wobei ein Endfachwerk (207a, 207b) an jedem Ende des Sonnenkollektormoduls (200) zwischen den jeweiligen Endfachwerkverbindern (206a-f) verbunden ist;

    wobei die Rahmenelemente ferner mindestens zwei diagonale Rahmenelemente umfassen, wobei jedes diagonale Rahmenelement mit einem Fachwerkverbinder (206a-f) an der ersten Schiene und einem Fachwerkverbinder (206a-f) an der zweiten Schiene verbunden ist, wobei die diagonalen Rahmenelemente sich kreuzen das Sonnenkollektormodul (200) vor der reflektierenden Oberfläche; und

    Spannen der diagonalen Rahmenelemente, um das Sonnenkollektormodul zu versteifen, und das Verfahren, das optional ferner die Anpassung der optischen Leistung des Sonnenkollektormoduls durch Einstellen der Spannung in mindestens einem der diagonalen Rahmenelemente umfasst.


     
    11. Konzentrierender Sonnenkollektor, der wenigstens zwei benachbarte konzentrierende Sonnenkollektormodule nach Anspruch 1 umfasst, wobei jedes konzentrierende Sonnenkollektormodul (200) ferner Lager umfasst, die eine Drehachse des Moduls parallel zur Brennlinie definieren; wobei mindestens einer der Fachwerkverbinder (206a-f) sich über ein Ende des Moduls (200) hinaus erstreckt und Merkmale aufweist, um eine Verbindung zwischen dem sich erstreckenden Fachwerkverbinder (206a-f) und einem Fachwerkverbinder (206a-f) zu bilden ein benachbartes Kollektormodul (200), um ein Drehmoment zwischen den zwei benachbarten Modulen (200) zu übertragen.
     
    12. Konzentrierendes Sonnenkollektormodul nach Anspruch 1, ferner mit einer festen Empfängerstütze (211a-b), die sich von einem der beiden Fachwerke (207a, 207b) erstreckt;
    wobei die feste Empfängerstütze (211a-b) eine Blechform mit Merkmalen zum Befestigen der Blechform an einem Strukturelement des Sonnenkollektormoduls (200) und Merkmale zum Befestigen eines Empfängerrohrs (210) an der Empfängerstütze (211a-b);
    und wobei die Empfängerstütze (211a -b) so geformt ist, dass sie in Richtungen quer zur Längsachse des Empfängerrohrs (210) steif ist und in einer Richtung parallel zur Längsachse des Empfängerrohrs (210) flexibel ist wobei optional die Empfängerstütze (211a-b) nur eine elastische Verformung erfährt, um eine Wärmeausdehnung in dem Sonnenkollektormodul (200) aufzunehmen; oder
    das optional reflektierende Oberflächen umfasst, um die Endverluste von dem Sonnenkollektormodul (200) zu reduzieren.
     
    13. Konzentrierendes Sonnenkollektormodul nach Anspruch 1, wobei:

    die Wege umfassen Vorsprünge an entweder den Fachwerkverbindern (206a-f) oder den Schienen (205a-b) und komplementären Schlitzen an dem anderen den Fachwerkverbindern (206a-f) oder den Schienen (205a-b); und

    die Rahmenelemente umfassen ferner mindestens zwei querverlaufende Rahmenelemente.


     
    14. Konzentrierendes Sonnenkollektormodul nach Anspruch 13, wobei das Strukturgitter ferner einen Gabelkopf (701) an jedem Ende jedes diagonalen Rahmenelements umfasst, wobei jeder Gabelkopf (701) an seinem jeweiligen Fachwerkverbinder (206a4) unter Verwendung eines Stiftes (702) befestigt ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Module de capteur solaire à concentration comprenant :

    un réflecteur (201) ayant une surface frontale réfléchissante formée pour concentrer le rayonnement solaire entrant sur une ligne focale, le réflecteur (201) ayant deux bords longitudinaux (203a-b) parallèles à la ligne focale et deux extrémités définissant la longueur du réflecteur (201) ; des premier et second rails (205a-b) disposés parallèlement l'un à l'autre,

    un rail fixé au réflecteur (201) sur chacun des bords longitudinaux (203a-b) et s'étendant sensiblement sur la longueur du réflecteur (201) ;

    un ensemble de connecteurs en treillis (206a-f) fixés aux rails (205a-b), les connecteurs en treillis (206a-f) et les rails (205a-b) comprenant des voies permettant un engagement coulissant contraint des connecteurs en treillis le long des rails (205a-b) avant la fixation des connecteurs en treillis aux rails (205a-b);

    une pluralité d'éléments d'encadrement connectés aux connecteurs en treillis, les éléments d'encadrement et les rails (205a-b) formant un réseau structurel qui coopère avec le réflecteur (201) pour conférer une rigidité au module de capteur solaire (200);

    caractérisé en ce que

    l'ensemble de connecteurs en treillis (206a-f) comprend un connecteur en treillis d'extrémité (206a-f) à chaque extrémité de chaque rail (205a-b) et dans lequel les éléments d'encadrement comprennent deux treillis d'extrémité (207a, 207b), un treillis d'extrémité (207a, 207b) à chaque extrémité du module de capteur solaire (200) connecté entre les connecteurs en treillis d'extrémité respectifs (206a-f) ;

    les éléments d'encadrement comprenant en outre au moins deux éléments d'encadrement diagonaux dans lesquels chaque élément d'encadrement diagonal est relié à un connecteur en treillis (206a-f) sur le premier rail et un connecteur en treillis (206a-f) sur le second rail, les éléments d'encadrement diagonaux traversant le module de capteur solaire (200) devant la surface réfléchissante; et

    dans lequel au moins l'un des éléments d'encadrement diagonaux est configuré de telle sorte qu'il est réglable en tension.


     
    2. Module de capteur solaire à concentration selon la revendication 1, dans lequel les voies comprennent des saillies en queue d'aronde sur les rails (205a-b) ou les connecteurs en treillis (206a-f), et des fentes en queue d'aronde complémentaires sur l'autre des rails (205a-b) ou les connecteurs en treillis (206a-f); ou éventuellement les voies comprennent des saillies en forme de T sur les rails (205a-b) ou sur les connecteurs en treillis (206a-f), et des fentes complémentaires en forme de T sur l'autre des rails (205a-b) ou les connecteurs en treillis (206a-f).
     
    3. Module de capteur solaire à concentration selon la revendication 1, dans lequel les éléments d'encadrement comprennent au moins quatre éléments d'encadrement diagonaux.
     
    4. Module de capteur solaire à concentration selon la revendication 1, dans lequel les éléments d'encadrement comprennent au moins une entretoise transversale (208) reliée à un connecteur en treillis (206a-f) sur le premier rail et à un connecteur en treillis (206a-f) sur le second rail, l'entretoise transversale (208) traversant le module de capteur solaire (200) devant la surface réfléchissante; et éventuellement dans lequel l'entretoise transversale (208) est identique à un élément de chaque treillis d'extrémité; ou éventuellement comprenant en outre un support vertical et un support diagonal pour l'entretoise transversale (208), et dans lequel le support vertical et le support diagonal sont identiques aux éléments des treillis d'extrémité (207a, 207b)..
     
    5. Module de capteur solaire à concentration selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre un support de récepteur fixe (211a-b) s'étendant depuis l'une des deux treillis d'extrémité (207a, 207b); et éventuellement le support de récepteur (211a-b) est flexible pour permettre la dilatation et la contraction thermiques dans un capteur solaire comprenant le module (200); ou éventuellement dans lequel le support de récepteur (211a-b) comprend une surface réfléchissante, pour réduire les pertes d'extrémité du module collecteur solaire (200).
     
    6. Module de capteur solaire à concentration selon la revendication 1, dans lequel au moins un connecteur en treillis (206a-f) dans un coin du module (200) est identique à un autre connecteur en treillis (206a-f) placé ailleurs que dans un coin du module (200); ou éventuellement dans lequel chaque rail (205a-b) est creux et comprend au moins une bande de renforcement interne; ou éventuellement dans lequel chaque rail (205a-b) comprend des éléments de bord supérieur et inférieur qui comprennent une saillie sur le bord supérieur ou inférieur du rail et une indentation complémentaire sur l'autre bord supérieur ou inférieur du rail, la saillie et l'indentation alignées pour s'accoupler lorsqu'une partie précurseur du module de capteur solaire (200) est empilée avec une partie précurseur d'un autre module de capteur solaire similaire (200); ou éventuellement dans lequel chaque rail (205a-b) comprend une patte tangente à la surface réfléchissante avant, la patte étant fixée au réflecteur (201); ou éventuellement comprenant en outre un ensemble de nervures paraboliques en contact avec un côté arrière du réflecteur (201), opposé à la surface avant réfléchissante; ou éventuellement comprenant en outre des paliers qui définissent un axe de rotation du module de capteur solaire (200), l'axe de rotation étant parallèle à la ligne focale.
     
    7. Module de capteur solaire à concentration selon la revendication 1, dans lequel chacun des rails (205a-b) comprend :

    un corps creux allongé comportant au moins une voie formée sur un côté du corps et façonnée pour accepter au moins l'un des connecteurs en treillis (206a4) pour permettre un engagement coulissant contraint du connecteur en treillis (206a-f) et du rail (205a-b) ;

    des éléments d'accouplement sur le haut et le bas du rail, les éléments d'accouplement étant alignés pour faciliter l'empilement d'un ensemble incorporant le rail avec un ensemble similaire ; et

    une patte inclinée pour fixer le rail à un réflecteur (201) du module de capteur solaire (200), la patte inclinée étant positionnée pour être disposée tangente à une courbure du réflecteur (201).


     
    8. Module de capteur solaire à concentration selon la revendication 7, dans lequel chacun des rails (205a-b) comprend au moins une bande de renforcement interne ; ou éventuellement dans lequel
    chacun des rails (205a-b) comprend au moins une voie qui comprend une fente en queue d'aronde (405) ou une fente en forme de T ; ou facultativement dans lequel chacun des rails (205a-b) comprend au moins une voie comportant une saillie en queue d'aronde (603) ou une saillie en forme de T.
     
    9. Module de capteur solaire à concentration selon la revendication 1, dans lequel chacun des connecteurs en treillis (206a-f) comprend :

    un corps généralement en forme de U ayant une partie de base et deux côtés espacés s'étendant depuis la partie de base, le corps ayant une longueur ; et

    au moins une voie sur la partie de base façonnée pour coopérer avec une caractéristique complémentaire de l'un des premier et second rails (205a-b), afin de former des voies permettant un engagement coulissant contraint du connecteur en treillis (206a-f) le long du rail ;

    dans lequel les côtés définissent au moins un ensemble de trous pour recevoir un élément de fixation afin de connecter un élément structurel au connecteur en treillis (206a-f) ; et éventuellement dans lequel la partie de base définit au moins un trou pour recevoir un élément de fixation pour fixer le connecteur en treillis (206a-f) au rail ; ou éventuellement

    dans lequel la caractéristique de voie de connecteur en treillis comprend une saillie (603) ou une fente (405) en queue d'aronde ; ou éventuellement la caractéristique de voie de connecteur en treillis comprend une saillie ou une fente en forme de T.


     
    10. Procédé d'assemblage d'un module de capteur solaire à concentration, le procédé comprenant :

    fournir un réflecteur (201) ayant une surface avant réfléchissante façonnée pour concentrer le rayonnement solaire entrant sur une ligne focale, le réflecteur (201) ayant deux bords longitudinaux (203a-b) parallèles à la ligne focale et deux extrémités définissant la longueur du réflecteur (201), et des premier et second rails (205a-b) disposés parallèlement l'un à l'autre, un rail étant fixé au réflecteur (201) au niveau de chacun des bords longitudinaux (203a-b) et s'étendant sensiblement sur la longueur du réflecteur (201) ;

    fournir un ensemble de connecteurs en treillis (206a-f), les connecteurs en treillis (206a-f) et les rails (205a-b) comprenant des voies qui permettent un engagement coulissant contraint des connecteurs en treillis le long des rails (205a-b) ; et

    engager les connecteurs en treillis (206a-f) avec les rails (205a-b); relier une pluralité d'éléments d'encadrement aux connecteurs en treillis (206a-o), caractérisé en ce que l'ensemble de connecteurs en treillis (206a-f) comprend un connecteur en treillis d'extrémité (206a-f) à chaque extrémité de chaque rail (205a-b), et dans lequel les éléments d'encadrement comprennent deux treillis d'extrémité, un treillis d'extrémité (207a, 207b) à chaque extrémité du module de capteur solaire (200) connecté entre les connecteurs en treillis d'extrémité respectifs (206a-f) ;

    les éléments d'encadrement comprenant en outre au moins deux éléments d'encadrement diagonaux dans lesquels chaque élément d'encadrement diagonal est relié à un connecteur en treillis (206a-f) sur le premier rail et un connecteur en treillis (206a-f) sur le second rail, les éléments d'encadrement diagonaux traversant le module de capteur solaire (200) devant la surface réfléchissante; et

    la tension des éléments d'encadrement diagonaux pour rigidifier le module de capteur solaire et le procédé comprenant en outre éventuellement le réglage des performances optiques du module de capteur solaire en ajustant la tension dans au moins l'un des éléments d'encadrement diagonaux.


     
    11. Capteur solaire à concentration comprenant au moins deux modules de capteur solaire à concentration adjacente selon la revendication 1, chaque module de capteur solaire à concentration (200) comprenant en outre des paliers qui définissent un axe de rotation du module parallèle à la ligne focale; dans lequel au moins l'un des connecteurs en treillis (206a-f) s'étend au-delà d'une extrémité du module (200) et comprend des caractéristiques pour former une connexion entre le connecteur en treillis extensible (206a-f) et un connecteur en treillis (206a-f) d'un module collecteur adjacent (200), pour transmettre un couple entre les deux modules adjacents (200).
     
    12. Module de capteur solaire à concentration selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre un support de récepteur fixe (211a-b) s'étendant depuis l'un des deux treillis d'extrémité (207a, 207b) ;
    dans lequel le support de récepteur fixe (211a-b) comprend une forme de tôle présentant des caractéristiques pour fixer la forme de tôle à un élément structurel du module de collecteur solaire (200) et des caractéristiques pour fixer un tube récepteur (210) au support de récepteur (211a-b) ;
    et dans lequel le support de récepteur (211a-b) est formé pour être rigide dans des directions transversales à l'axe longitudinal du tube récepteur (210), et flexible dans une direction parallèle à l'axe longitudinal du tube récepteur (210) et éventuellement dans lequel le support de récepteur (211a-b) ne subit qu'une déformation élastique pour permettre une dilatation thermique dans le module de capteur solaire (200) ; ou
    comprenant éventuellement des surfaces réfléchissantes pour réduire les pertes d'extrémité du module de capteur solaire (200).
     
    13. Module de capteur solaire à concentration selon la revendication 1, dans lequel :

    les voies comprennent des saillies sur les connecteurs en treillis (206a-f) ou sur les rails (205a-b), et des fentes complémentaires sur les connecteurs en treillis (206a-f) ou les rails (205a-b) ; et

    les éléments d'encadrement comprennent en outre au moins deux éléments d'encadrement transversaux.


     
    14. Module de capteur solaire à concentration selon la revendication 13, dans lequel le réseau structurel comprend en outre une chape (701) à chaque extrémité de chaque élément d'encadrement diagonal, chaque chape (701) étant fixée à son connecteur en treillis respectif (206a4) à l'aide d'une goupille (702).
     




    Drawing


























    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description