Abstract

Heliostat tracking is a critical component of the solar field of concentrating solar power tower (SPT) systems and can be the source of significant losses in power and profit when it lacks the necessary accuracy. This paper presents an advanced heliostat drive system for the SPT generation plant. An integrated model for the heliostat drive system based on dual axes tracking is proposed using an inexpensive angle sensor. The mathematical model of the integrated drive system is developed, including the solar, tower, and heliostat models. The MATLAB simulation model for the proposed integrated drive system is developed and evaluated. An experimental prototype for a dual-axis heliostat is built using Class-E DC choppers and an inexpensive Gyro angle sensor. The prototype is tested and considered in the Dhahran region in Saudi Arabia under different operating conditions. A comparative study between simulation and experimental results is conducted to assess the efficacy and accuracy of the proposed controller drive system and validate the developed integrated model. Both simulation and experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed dual-axis trackers to follow the sunbeams throughout the year.

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