SkyFuel’s Solar Thermal Parabolic Trough Powers Desalination

Skyfuel Sky Trough supplying heat to WaterFX desalination system.
Skyfuel Sky Trough supplying  heat to WaterFX desalination system.

Skyfuel Sky Trough supplying heat to WaterFX desalination system.

 Solar Thermal Parabolic Trough design for desalination.

SkyFuel’s parabolic trough concentrating solar collector was installed in a trial of WaterFX’s new Aqua4™ solar thermal desalination technology. The single collector, which is 6 meters wide and 115 meters long, produces up to 8 gallons per minute of fresh water and will be expanded to 50 SkyTrough collectors at the same location to produce 2,200 acre-feet per year. The system has been in operation at the Panoche Water District facility in Firebaugh, California for six months. The SkyTrough’s excellent performance at converting solar radiation into heat has helped make the Aqua4™ the most efficient solar desalination system on the market.

Aqua4™ uses the SkyTrough® to drive an absorption heat pump and multi-stage distillation system. Solar heat storage plus a propane heater ensure 24-hour/day operation. The design is modular and moveable, has a compact footprint, and can easily scale up or down. High efficiency thermal evaporation makes the system very robust and operates well with a variety of water streams including d

rainage water, wastewater, produced water and seawater. The Aqua4™ system will also reclaim extracted metals and salts, removing them from the water system entirely and eliminating brine discharge. It is capable of producing over 200 acre-feet of freshwater per acre of solar collection area.


SkyFuel’s Chief Commercial Officer Kelly Beninga said, “The Panoche thermal desalination project is a perfect example of the variety of industrial applications for which SkyTrough provides an ideal solar heat solution.” WaterFX’s Chairman and founder, Aaron Mandell added, “Skyfuel’s technology is a great fit with our system. There is a lot of potential to utilize solar thermal energy to generate new sources of water in the California market.”

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