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Novel imaging closed loop control strategy for heliostats

: Bern, G.; Schöttl, P.; Heimsath, A.; Nitz, P.


Al Obaidli, A. ; American Institute of Physics -AIP-, New York:
22nd SOLARPACES 2016, International Conference on Concentrating Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems. Proceedings : 11-14 October 2016, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
New York, N.Y.: AIP Press, 2017 (AIP Conference Proceedings 1850)
ISBN: 978-0-7354-1522-5
Art. 030005, 10 pp.
International Conference on Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems (SolarPACES) <22, 2016, Abu Dhabi>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer ISE ()

Central Receiver Systems use up to thousands of heliostats to concentrate solar radiation. The precise control of heliostat aiming points is crucial not only for efficiency but also for reliable plant operation. Besides the calibration of open loop control systems, closed loop tracking strategies are developed to address a precise and efficient aiming strategy. The need for cost reductions in the heliostat field intensifies the motivation for economic closed loop control systems. This work introduces an approach for a closed loop heliostat tracking strategy using image analysis and signal modulation. The approach aims at the extraction of heliostat focal spot position within the receiver domain by means of a centralized remote vision system decoupled from the rough conditions close to the focal area. Taking an image sequence of the receiver while modulating a signal on different heliostats, their aiming points are retrieved. The work describes the methodology and shows first results from simulations and practical tests performed in small scale, motivating further investigation and deployment.