Maintenance-free bearings for CSP

To comply with environmental regulations, the bearings use lightweight materials that are free of heavy metals and banned chemicals such as chrome VI and perfluorooctanoic acid materials. Additionally, the bearings operate without grease to avoid cleaning costs needed to remove drippings from the structures.

A new maintenance-free bearing is available for the solar market. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics’ Solglide bearings are applied at pivot points at all major tracking systems used in area of CSP. The company says fluoropolymer compounds in the bearings increase the long-term operational efficiency of solar equipment, reduce energy usage, and decrease long-term costs.

A thick layer of the fluoropolymer compounds helps lessen friction. Avoiding stick-slip effects in tracking systems allows mirrors to move more easily and efficiently toward the sun, resulting in less energy usage.

With excellent corrosion and wear-resistance, the new bearings can last the lifetime of a CSP tower, usually around 25 years, with no maintenance costs.  The bearings are offered with different backing layers, normal steel protected with a proprietary corrosion protection system, aluminium, or stainless-steel backings. All types are resistant to harsh outdoor elements such as radiation, water, and dust. Saint-Gobain engineers can also customise various parameters to meet specific applications