Faster and more frequent calibration of large heliostat fields in tower CSP/CST systems using UAVs

Faster and more frequent calibration of large heliostat fields in tower CSP/CST systems using UAVs

Technology Description

This technology uses Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) fitted with a camera to calibrate heliostats in large Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) or Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) tower systems. The UAV does not have a single fixed position and provides several advantages over traditional methods using a fixed light source and fixed camera.
Our research shows that heliostats calibrated with UAVs track the sun more accurately than heliostats calibrated using traditional methods. In addition, the use of multiple UAVs enables faster and more frequent heliostat calibration.

Target Industries

The target industry for this technology is Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) tower systems with large heliostat fields.

Unique Features/Benefits

Better and faster calibration of heliostats results in the overall plant efficiency improving. In addition, the ability to frequently calibrate the heliostats should enable savings in terms of the CAPEX required to build heliostats resistant to physical changes.

Innovation Status

The team performed in-field testing of the technology at Stellenbosch University's Mariendahl Experimental farm using the Helio100 heliostat field.

Principal Researchers

Dr Willie Smit, Solar Thermal Energy Research Group (STERG), Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, Stellebosch University.

Opportunity

Innovus is seeking companies looking to partner on and or invest in the further commercialisation and scaling of the technology.

Fund Requirements

Yes

Available for licensing

Yes

TTO

Joubert de Wet
sjdewet@sun.ac.za