Calibration and maintenance systems in solar thermal plants
The automatic calibration of heliostats in towers, the inspection of tubes (buckling, banana effect and / or vacuum losses), hot oil leaks (HTF), status of valves, pumps, pipes and salt tanks in case of storage, all of them monitored by thermography; as well as the unattended inspection of the condition of the coating of the glass and metal tubes, the dirt of the mirrors and the tube, the detection of breaks in mirrors and tubes and the inspection of rotating unions as an inspection and maintenance service in order to take advantage of maximum solar energy and keeping the set of heliostats in good condition for good energy capture, are some of the activities that bcb has developed solutions.
Each system is made up of three complementary platforms: fixed cameras with movement in azimuth and elevation, drones, and ground vehicles, fulfilling a specific function and integrating into the newest and most powerful software: the bcbMonitor4.0.
The main and most characteristic electrical and mechanical elements are made up of voltage sources, an ethernet and fiber optic network for communications, two or more FLIR cameras, two or more Pan-tilt units for movement in circular ways and manual mode of the cameras, a power circuit with contactors and relays, a communications cabinet, and computer control through the bcbMonitor4.0.
With the help of the central computer, the monitoring and calibration of the heliostats that make up a solar thermal plant or the monitoring of parabolic trough collectors is achieved, thanks to the most advanced technology in thermography, vision, and artificial intelligence.
Currently, the heliostat calibration system constitutes the most important solution with high added value in the renewable energy industry for solar thermal energy, which allows the measurement of the temperature of the receiver or the measurement of the solar attenuation, among others, as well as diversification in maintenance phases that manages to categorize the tubes of a parabolic trough a collector plant, according to the degree of damage and loss suffered, meaning a large saving of resources in terms of time, money and labor, and saving the information in images visible and with radiometric format in databases.