Energy, solar energy
Energy, solar energy

Pointing accuracy for heliostats

Concentrated solar thermal power plants currently deliver power outputs of 100 megawatts or more. To generate this energy, thousands of mirrors must be precisely and continuously aligned with the sun to project a stable sunspot onto the central heat receiver to collect energy for the generation of steam for turbines. Technical pointing accuracy for the collection mirrors requires position sensors that deliver high resolution, accuracy, and repeatability.

Practical, reliable pointing accuracy requires position sensors built to withstand the extreme environmental conditions found in most desert installations, where wide temperature swings can occur throughout the day and night and with the change of seasons. Balluff's magnetic tape and ring encoders have a proven track record in this application, with an installed base in the tens of thousands.

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Application examples

  • Position heliostats

    High pointing accuracy, low-maintenance, low cost

    The solution

    The pointing accuracy of the heliostats in solar tower power plants contributes substantially to the efficiency of the entire system. Balluff's magnetically encoded position and angle measurement system is built to deliver high accuracy while surviving in the tough environmental conditions found in desert regions. The magnetic position sensing technology is non-contact for long service life with minimal downtime for maintenance.

    The features

    • Simple installation with few parts to mount
    • High resolution, high accuracy, high repeatability
    Energy, solar energy, positioning heliostats
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    Have any questions? Please give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

  • Sun tracking for parabolic troughs

    High efficiency through precision tracking and focusing

    The solution

    To achieve the highest possible level of efficiency in parabolic trough power plants, all troughs must be continuously adjusted to follow the sun's path across the sky. At the same time, the receiver tubes must also be located at the focal point. Practical, reliable sun tracking requires position sensors built to withstand the extreme environmental conditions found in most desert installations, where wide temperature swings can occur throughout the day and night and with the change of seasons. Balluff's magnetic tape and ring encoders deliver the right combination of accuracy, price, and environmental rugged to get the job done.

    The features

    • Direct position measurement at the moving member (more accurate and reliable than remote measurement at the motor)
    • Available in a range of accuracy classes to deliver the required performance within the project budget
    • Stable index signal provides a repeatable daily starting reference to obtain stable, low-drift tracking performance over time
    Energy, solar energy, guiding parabolic troughs according to the sun's path
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    Have any questions? Please give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

  • Align parabolic troughs with the angle of the sun

    Higher efficiency unlocked by precise and reliable angle measurement

    The solution

    Generating peak thermal energy in parabolic trough power plants requires the troughs to be well-aligned with the constantly changing position of the sun. Balluff's inclination sensors reliably ensure precise tracking, providing an absolute position indication - even after a power failure. This eliminates the need to "home" the system after a power loss, meaning that energy production can be resumed in a shorter time.

    The features

    • Detects the change in angle with respect to the horizontal
    • High accuracy over a measurement range up to 360° (one rotation)
    • Compact, robust metal housing enables simple installation
    • Absolute measuring signal eliminates the need to "home" the system to find a reference
    Energy, solar energy, aligning parabolic troughs with the position of the sun
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    Have any questions? Please give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

  • Align Fresnel mirrors with the angle of the sun

    Higher efficiency unlocked by precise and reliable angle measurement

    The solution

    For maximum efficiency, the individual of flat mirrors that form a Fresnel collector should simultaneously direct the sun to a single focal point. Balluff's inclination sensors reliably ensure precise tracking, providing an absolute position indication - even after a power failure. This eliminates the need to "home" the system after a power loss, meaning that energy production can be resumed in a shorter time.

    The features

    • Detects the change in angle with respect to the horizontal
    • High accuracy over a measurement range up to 360° (one rotation)
    • Compact, robust metal housing enables simple installation
    • Absolute measuring signal eliminates the need to "home" the system to find a reference
    Energy, solar energy, aligning and guiding flat mirrors
    Find suitable products Download

    Contact us

    Have any questions? Please give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.