Calibration targets installedPosted: Wednesday, 23rd March, 2011
On Tuesday two important components were added to the tower in Solar Field 2. They’re white plates which sit just below the receiver, which we will use to check the accuracy of movement of our heliostats. I took this picture from my office window as engineers Michael Rae and Michael Collins installed the last segment of the plate.
When the system is operating and all of the sunlight is being focused into the receiver, mirrors will be moved one by one so they shine onto these square plates. Once a computer confirms that a particular mirror is pointing where we expect – a process that only takes a few seconds – the mirror returns its focused sunlight to the receiver, and the process repeats for the next mirror in the queue. If there’s any inaccuracy in where the mirror is pointing, the computer makes the required adjustments to fix the problem.
This calibration system has been developed here at CSIRO, and it helps us make solar thermal power a lot less expensive. This is because, instead of needing to use extremely precise (and costly) heliostat components and installation methods, we can use simpler parts and more rapid construction techniques and then let the computers correct for any small imperfections.