01 October 2008
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New fastener developed for solar plant construction

The power generation process at the Kuryamat solar power plant 90k south of Cairo, Egypt - due for completion next year - begins by solar panels (U-shaped parabolic glass mirrors) tracking the sun from east to west.

Once at 393ºC, fluid in an absorber pipe on the panels is pumped into a heat exchange system to create steam which is super-heated to power turbines and to generate electricity.

Subject to harsh desert conditions (from -30ºC to +45ºC) the fastening system used in the construction of the platform used to support the mirror structures could not be compromised. Jay Sahadew, marketing manager of Alcoa Fastening Systems, reports that "drawing from previous experience from work carried out in the Mojave Desert, the company developed the C50L30 Huck fastener".

The advantages of this solution are outlined by Dean Bradley, AFS, who says that "because of the extreme weather conditions during construction and operation our aim was the assure the integrity of the joint. This applied to the mirrors, which invert to protect the glass during winter sand storms, and the variations in temperature which threaten thermal loosening of the fastener. "The fasteners are quick and easy to install., require no maintenance, and meet the 30-year warranty specified in the original design."


Paul Gay

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