Energy and Climate

The Distributed Receiver Test Facility (DRTF) has two 11-m-diameter parabolic dishes, known as Test Bed Concentrators (TBCs), which provide 75 kW total thermal power each, and are used for testing solar components and performing reimbursable tests. The dishes track the sun in two axes to provide very high concentrations (1500 W/cm² of solar power over a small area).

The Test Facility provides:

  • 75 kW total thermal power each
  • Peak flux up to 1500 W/cm²
  • Tailoring of power level and flux distribution by varying the alignment of facets
  • Square-wave transients from shutters mounted at the focal plane
  • Data acquistion equipment
  • IR-camera imaging and storage
  • Data

Applications using these dishes include:

  • Testing heat engines connected to electrical generators at the focal point of the dish
  • Measuring the thermophysical properties of materials
  • Simulating aerodynamic heating, as would occur in reentry vehicles
  • Evaluating thermal and photocatalytic solar receivers
  • Using the dishes as optical telescopes for astronomy
  • Collecting light for atmospheric sounding with Lidar

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