The limited supply and environmental impact of fossil fuels has become an urgent problem. To aid in overcoming this problem a team from New Mexico Tech (NMT) is improving existing heliostat technology to create a more cost-effective and mobile heliostat design. The team has devised an innovative patent pending liquid-ballast heliostat drive system which reduces the cost of heliostat drive mechanics, utilizes a cost-effective mirror design, and eliminates an unnecessary support pedestal. By implementing this new design the team will help to create a more economically viable, clean energy source that will benefit all energy consumers as well as the environment. The team’s goal is to create a heliostat that reduces the cost of production and operation by thirty percent. In doing so, the team must also meet strict accuracy and lifetime specifications created by Sandia National Labs (SNL) and NMT. In pursuit of meeting these specifications the team is currently completing fabrication of a prototype. Using this prototype the team will evaluate drive system performance through semi-automated testing. After testing, the team will continue the design process with the ultimate goal of creating multiple improved prototypes.

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