Meccanotecnica Umbra has developed and tuned a specific rotary joint system for CSP (Concentrated Solar Plant) plants.
This kind of plant technology is not new: SEGS plants in The Mojave Desert were built in the 80's using diathermic oil as an HTF (Heat Thermal Fluid). But oil is dangerous; it is flammable and, in the event of leakage, can be toxic for the environment. For that reason, MTU developed a zero leakage rotary joint (patent pending).
Nobel Prize winner Carlo Rubbia had an idea which would optimize this kind of plant with the aim to reduce the environmental footprint and increase efficiency: use molten salt as the HTF. This kind of fluid is environmentally friendly and can work at over 500°C, however they freeze down below 240°C: MTU rotary joint has a patent pending heating system that avoid this issue.
Moreover, one of the key aspects in CSP parabolic trough technology is the connection of an SCA (Solar Collector Assembly) both with a manifold and in the crossover (in the middle of the loop). The flexible hose has to withstand torsional stress, especially when the SCA is connected to a stationary pipe. In this case, the flexible hose lifespan decreases and catastrophic failure can happen.
Rotary joints completely avoid this failure increasing the reliability of the plant with a maintenance-free solution.
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