Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 49.70
Liaison Whitney Crooks
Submission Date April 27, 2012
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.1

Red River College Polytechnic
IN-2: Innovation 2

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Sara MacArthur
Sustainability Manager
Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

RRC is conducting an applied research project to assess the feasibility of using concentrating solar power in a cold northern climate as an alternative to conventional energy sources.

This project, with a budget of $476K co-funded by the Manitoba Hydro Research and Development Program, involves monitoring the performance of eight parabolic solar troughs at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus. The solar troughs were installed in late 2011 and will become operational in early 2012.

With reduced heat losses, parabolic solar thermal trough systems have higher solar conversion efficiency in cold climates compared to flat plate and evacuated tube collectors. They produce thermal energy at temperatures suitable for district heating, even at ambient temperatures below freezing. The higher temperatures produced by parabolic solar trough systems can also be stored to provide heat or to generate electricity during off-production periods.

In regions such as California and New Mexico, solar troughs are used to generate electricity, achieving good efficiencies year round. However, using the solar thermal energy directly for district heat and cooling applications rather than producing electricity from the solar heat may be more advantageous in Manitoba. Shorter daylight hours, increased heat loss due to cooler ambient temperatures and reduced solar irradiance in winter may favor thermal applications.

Although Manitoba has one of Canada’s best solar resources, parabolic solar troughs have not yet been tested here. Temperatures obtained from solar thermal concentrators in Manitoba’s harsh climate are uncertain and will fluctuate significantly. Thus, there is uncertainty with respect to the application of this technology.

The monitoring of the system installed at RRC will address these uncertainties. The project will also provide valuable insights about the effects of icing, snow, freezing temperatures and high wind loading on trough performance. This expected to lead to the development of strategies, specialized materials and equipment to address these issues.


A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
The website URL where information about the innovation is available:

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