ARVADA, Colo., Oct. 10 /CNW/ -- SkyFuel, Inc. today secured its position
as the leader in the rapidly growing concentrating solar power (CSP) industry
by unveiling the SkyTrough(TM): the highest performance, lowest cost
utility-scale solar power system of any kind for generating electricity. With
glass-free mirrors, a highly engineered space frame that allows compact
transportation and rapid field assembly, and new more efficient drive &
control systems, the SkyTrough(TM) cuts the cost of the parabolic trough
concentrator by 35 percent compared to other commercially available systems.
The SkyTrough(TM) is the solar collector system at the heart of several large
solar thermal power plants currently planned for the southwestern United
The SkyTrough(TM) is 375 feet long, twenty feet tall, and features the
largest parabolic trough modules ever built. It was developed with the support
of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
and with a grant from New Mexico Governor Bill Richardon's Energy Innovation
Fund for SkyFuel's research partnership with the University of New Mexico.
SkyFuel CEO, Dr. Arnold Leitner, and chief technology officer (CTO),
Randy Gee, hosted a ceremonial unveiling and reception at SkyFuel's research &
development center in Arvada to present the SkyTrough(TM) solar collector
assembly. More than three hundred invited guests including power industry
leaders, renewable energy financiers and government officials attended the
"SkyFuel has harnessed two of Colorado's greatest resources: our state's
solar energy potential and our educated workforce. The company is a great
example of how Colorado is building a new energy economy and becoming a
national and international leader in renewable energy," said Colorado
Governor, Bill Ritter.
Advanced Materials & Innovative Design
The SkyTrough(TM) is a breakthrough design patterned after the best of
the previous utility-scale parabolic troughs with several critical innovations
that improve performance and significantly reduce cost. Chief among those
improvements is the use of ReflecTech(R) Mirror Film: a low-cost, highly
reflective and shatterproof silvered-polymer film, jointly designed by SkyFuel
CTO, Randy Gee, and scientists at NREL to replace the expensive, heavy and
fragile curved-glass mirrors, which are still used in all other parabolic
trough designs used for electric power generation.
In the SkyTrough(TM), ReflecTech(R) Mirror Film is laminated to thin
aluminum sheets to form light-weight, yet highly accurate mirror panels. This
allows for larger and fewer panel segments than in previous trough designs
that still use curved glass. In the SkyTrough(TM), ReflecTech(R) Mirror Film
cuts mirror costs by approximately 50 percent compared to the price of using
glass. ReflecTech(R) Mirror Film is also easily manufactured at high volume
thus eliminating one bottleneck that has slowed the deployment of other solar
The SkyTrough(TM) space frame is another major advance in parabolic
trough design. The all-aluminum tubular structure is 30 percent lighter per
unit of mirror area than even the best of the previous utility-scale parabolic
collectors -- a critical aspect in a world of rising commodity prices. The
SkyTrough(TM) space frame has 40 percent fewer parts and requires no welding
in the field resulting in significantly faster construction time and reduced
labor costs. In addition, all ready-to-assemble components of the 375-foot
long SkyTrough(TM) will fit onto one flat bed truck, an important advantage
with transportation fuel costs on the rise.
Top Technology Team
For SkyFuel Chief Technology Officer, Gee, the SkyTrough(TM) is the
culmination of three decades on the leading edge of solar power design. "I've
had the privilege of working with many of the pioneers and great innovators in
the solar industry," said Gee. "At SkyFuel we've built a team of CSP veterans
and highly skilled innovators from other fields. The result is the best
hardware in the solar power business."
The careers of key SkyFuel technology team members add up to well more
than 100 years' of experience in mastering the design and deployment of solar
thermal power systems. "By combining this deep experience with new talent we
have created an enthusiastic 'can-do' team. This superb team has delivered a
home run with the SkyTrough(TM)," said Gee.
-- Randy Gee, Chief Technology Officer: Prior to joining SkyFuel, Gee was
Director of Research, Development and Deployment for Solargenix (now Acciona)
where he designed the parabolic trough collectors for the 64 MW Nevada Solar
One plant commissioned in 2007.
-- Dr. David Kearney, Senior Technical Advisor: As vice president of
Advanced Technology in the US subsidiary of Luz International, Kearney helped
prove the commercial applicability of CSP with the deployment of the SEGS
plants in California's Mojave Desert which are still operating.
-- Coleman Moore, VP Research & Technology: Before joining SkyFuel, Moore
designed the control systems for the 64MW Nevada Solar One plant.
-- David White, VP, Engineering and Manufacturing: Prior to SkyFuel, as
principal researcher, he led a team of engineers and subcontractors on
multiple concentrating solar R&D efforts in partnership with the Department of
Energy's National Laboratories and private companies.
-- Adrian Farr, VP, Structural Engineering: Farr is a specialist in the
design of aluminum space frames. Prior to joining SkyFuel, he was a Senior
Structural Engineer with Conservatek Industries, a world leader in the design
and deployment of aluminum geodesic dome structures.
-- Dr. Randy Brost, VP, Engineering Science: Brost is a top analyst and
designer of complex automated manufacturing systems. He joined SkyFuel from
Eastman Kodak where he oversaw special projects in the company's commercial
copier division. Prior to his work at Kodak, Brost led a team at the Sandia
National Laboratories researching computerized robotics.
-- Robert Hawkins, VP, Quality Engineering: Hawkins carries over
experience from Oracle where he oversaw product lifecycle management from pre-
to post-sales for a broad array of the enterprise software giant's products.
At SkyFuel, Hawkins focuses on enhancing the efficiency and manufacturability
of the company's solar thermal power designs.
At the SkyTrough(TM) unveiling, SkyFuel founder and CEO, Dr, Arnold
Leitner put his company's work in context: "Despite stunning amounts of
funding and media attention for a variety of other, purportedly exotic, solar
thermal technologies, parabolic trough remains the world's only utility scale
design that is commercially proven and bank financeable. The SkyTrough(TM)
builds on the success of projects such as Nevada Solar One, but dramatically
reduces cost while solving some of the most vexing and costly problems such as
glass mirrors that shatter in the desert winds. Today's unveiling truly marks
The Sunrise of Solar Power(TM) toward being a major source in the world's
SkyFuel, Inc. is a solar power technology provider with headquarters in
Albuquerque, New Mexico, and research and development facilities in Arvada,
Colorado. SkyFuel is emerging as a world leader in the design and deployment
of concentrating solar power (CSP) systems. The Company designs turnkey
large-scale solar fields that produce steam for power generation and
For further information:
For further information: Katie Hays of Weber Shandwick, +1-425-452-5428,
firstname.lastname@example.org, for SkyFuel, Inc.