The system is a quick and accurate way to increase perform for parabolic trough Concentrated Solar Power plants.
TSK has developed an extensive optical system to test and assess parabolic collectors that could be faulty. The system developed by TSK and Prodintec is based on a reverse approach to how the parabolic torugh works. Instead of aiming with a laser to the mirror and check if it targets the pipe located in the focal line, the researchers have put the laser in the site of the pipe and aims the light towards the mirrors.
In parabolic trough plants, a factor for a high performance is the accuracy of the sunbeam concentrated and reflected towards the pipe where the heat transfer fluid is flowing inside. A faulty mirror or a defective assembling of them can lead to a poor concentration ratio and therefore a poor performance for some of the elements comprising th e loops found in a CSP plant.
So far, the systems to assess and test the mirrors’ shape and geometry is a tedious and slow task. "Only a 4 to 5% of total collectors installed in a plant are checked and this small number of items are not even tested completly, but only just a bunch of parameters and points", says Rogelio Peon, R&D Manager at TSK.
The company first tried with photogrametry systems, but the results were not adequate in terms of accuracy and speed. Engineers from TSK and Prodintec, a Spanish Technology Center, then looked for another way to carry out the test. They finally went with laser technology.
The laser maker a scan all along the parabolic trough and the reflected laser light is projected on a calibrated template on the ceiling. The laser lines projected on the template are captured and processed to determine the accuracy of the parabola and find possible distortions in the mirrors’ geometry.
This system allows to perform a complete test in less than a minute for every collector, thus allowing to perform tests for the 100% of the parabolic troughs to be installed in a plant.