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Thursday, July 21, 2011

The right track: CSP trackers of the future


Until now, solar trackers have largely been developed in house and have been beset by issues over their efficiency, robustness and longevity. A new generation of high tech trackers looks set to change all that.
Sener's tracker for Heliostats
Although the latest generation of solar trackers do not claim to be a cost cutting solution in terms of price, they are designed to offer greater cost efficiency in terms operational longevity and better accuracy.
Roger Davenport, project manager at SAIC, a US-based specialist technology company comments: “The inherent value of accurate tracking, and the declining costs of computer and sensor components, make it worthwhile and cost-effective to implement the ‘latest-and-greatest’ trackers, especially in large fields of collectors.”
In parabolic trough and Fresnel plants single-axis trackers are most frequently used. Central tower and Stirling dish plants use dual-axis trackers, which have either a single central post or use a carrousel design with multiple supports. And it is here that the most noise is being made; if heliostats are not accurately positioned solar radiation cannot be accurately pointed to the central receiver or Sterling engine and the whole plant’s efficiency is reduced.

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