The generation of electricity from the energy collected from solar fields is a practice that has been promoted in recent years. Among the parabolic trough plants, heliostat field tower, Fresnel technology, among others, the growth of the solar thermal energy sector has been achieved, becoming an important source of energy in the industry. Its storage capacity, using molten salt tanks storing energy in the form of heat, is an advantage that makes it competitive with other sources of renewable energy.
In this sector, the bcbMonitor 4.0, integrated with FLIR artificial vision equipment, can be applied for different applications in solar thermal plants such as the automatic calibration of heliostats, the non-contact measurement of the receiver temperature, the estimation of the dirt on the mirrors. of the solar field or other preventive / predictive maintenance tasks, among others.
In these plants, due to their size (with radii even greater than one kilometer) it is very important to measure solar attenuation. bcb is marketing an innovative system for its measurement, and has installed it in Noor Energy 1, the largest solar platform in the world.
- Automatic calibration of the heliostats using artificial vision.
- Measurement of receiver temperature, be it cylindrical or cavity using thermal imaging cameras. In the first case, the cameras will be placed in the solar field using a greater zoom, while, in the second, the cameras are placed in the same receiver cavity, cooling them with water and air and using an optics with a larger aperture.
- Detection of leaks of HTF (heat transfer fluids), molten salts in the case of storage towers, in the areas of tanks, impulsion pumps and heated pipes.
Thermosolar plants with parabolic trough collectors are currently the most mature technology and with the greatest presence in the solar thermal sector. In this equipment, both the temperature of the collecting tube and the heat transfer fluid are important parameters when determining the state of the plant, as well as being critical control points. To this are added other parameters such as the level of buckling of the tubes, dirt on the mirrors, condition of the tube coating, among others.
To cover the need in these plants for a fast and efficient system for preventive / predictive maintenance, the bcbMonitor 4.0 is established as a continuous thermographic monitoring system that, integrated with FLIR cameras and high-performance drones (MTOW> 5 kg) , it is possible to carry out complete inspections in this type of plants to monitor different parameters such as:
• Pipes with losses
• Tubes with inhomogeneous temperature
• Oil temperature in tubes
• Measurement of tube buckling
• Condition of the glass tube coating
• Condition of the metal tube coating.
• Detection of HTF leaks, both oil and molten salts, in the case of a plant with storage.
• Dirt level in the tube
• Dirt level of curved mirrors
• Status of the glass-metal weld of the tube
• Inspection of rotating unions
• Mirror inspection
• Inspection of pipes, manifolds and lyres
• Power island inspection
The reason of why the measurement of solar attenuation in a solar power plant relies on solar extinction being the main cause of energy loss.The system consists of positioning the cameras one behind the other at a large distance and both taking images of the target.
The system will measure the intensity levels of the digital images, which will provide with the diffuse radiance coming from the target.
The intensity difference or light attenuation between both images, provides the attenuation, being βExt the attenuation coefficient considering both, the absorption and scattering mechanisms, and dependent on humidity, aerosols and particle concentration in the atmosphere.