Thermographic Monitoring of Solar Tower Power Plants - SPTC

Solar tower power plants belong to the category of solar-thermal power plants whose basic principle relies on the absorption of direct radiation from the sun and its conversion into thermal energy. This takes place in a highly effective absorber, which is located in the upper part of a solar tower of up to 250 metres in height. Around the solar tower on the floor, thousands of motorized, movable mirrors (so-called heliostats) are arranged in concentric circles, which are aligned permanently by a control system in such a way that the solar radiation concentrates on the absorber as optimally as possible.

This heat energy is normally conducted from the absorber by liquid salt as a carrier medium and used to generate steam for the subsequent generation of electricity with conventional steam turbines and generators by means of a heat exchanger.

The very good storage capacity of this hot, liquid salt as a heat-transfer medium offers great benefit compared to other forms of solar energy generation by the fact that the generation of electrical energy can take place continuously.

With Solar Power Tower Check (SPTC) InfraTec offers a high-performance system for fully automatic remote monitoring of the surface temperature for the entire absorber of a solar tower. SPTC works on the basis of infrared thermography technology and provides important measurement data reliably for optimum and safe operation of a key point of the solar tower power plant.

Solar Power Tower Check - Mirror arrays and solartower

Special Solution Solar Power Tower Check

  • The system includes up to eight high-resolution HD-infrared thermographic cameras with special calibration for accurate temperature measurement with the highest lateral resolution
  • Super-telephoto lens with a 265 mm focal length to ensure the best possible measurement conditions
  • Accurate temperature measurement of each individual tube (diameter 50 mm) for all absorber panels
  • Fully redundant industrial solution
  • Special software displaying the exact absorber temperature distribution
  • Connection to the power plant control system for data transfer, backup and storage
  • Weatherproof housing with heating, cooling, additional solar protection and a special protective window mounted on a mast with fine adjustment
Solar Power Tower Check - Mirror arrays and protective housing

System Structure

Solar Power Tower Check - Sketch

  1. Several IR-cameras built in protective housing with junction box
  2. Parameter setting, supervision, operation, display, evaluation and playback on standard PC at different sites and levels
  3. SPTC system
  4. Solar tower
  5. Buzzer
  6. Camera
  7. Junction box
  8. 19" main cabinet
  9. TCP/IP
  10. Interface to the control room and heliostate controller
  11. TCP/IP

Automated Monitoring of Thermal Solar Tower Plants by Means of Thermography

The absorber tubes of a solar tower power plant are heated up intensely by the concentrated solar radiation of the heliostats during operation. The SPTC measures the resulting temperatures and their local distribution on the absorber panels without any interaction of an operator. The system transfers the measured values to the control system, which calculates the signals for controlling the individual heliostats. In this way, optimum absorption behaviour is set, which ensures the efficient operation of the plant.

Solar Power Tower Check - Software screenshot
Solar Power Tower Check - Software screenshot
Solar Power Tower Check - Software screenshot

Corresponding limit values resulting in automatic warnings if they are exceeded, can be defined for monitoring the temperature development of the entire solar absorber and for preventing overheating.

Highly reliable components and a flexible structure characterise the turnkey SPTC monitoring solution. Thus, it can be easily adapted to the different conditions and system environments in the solar tower power plant.

Get in contact with InfraTec thermography division

Would You Like to Know More?

It is not unusual for tasks to be associated with special requirements. Discuss your specific application needs with our specialists, receive further technical information or learn more about our additional services.

Europe & Rest of World

InfraTec GmbH
Infrarotsensorik und Messtechnik
Gostritzer Str. 61 – 63
01217 DresdenGERMANY

Features and Benefits

  • Excellent geometrical resolution with (1,024 x 768) IR pixels as well as special telephoto lenses ensure precise and reproducible measurement of the absorber temperatures even at great distances
  • Fully automatic operation and monitoring around the clock reduce maintenance costs and guarantee optimum processes
  • Reliable alerting with defined pre-limit and main limit values
  • High measurement accuracy by means of automatic temperature adjustment
  • Complex compensation of environmental influences
  • Temperature curve recording and analysis
  • Customized system adjustment and setting
  • Main display with options for setting parameters, monitoring, operation, display, evaluation and reproduction with SPTC software
  • Retrieval of all measured data for comparisons and optimisation
  • Optional remote access
  • Flexible structure to ensure easy adaptation to different system environments
  • Turnkey solution with commissioning, approval, training and service for the entire system
  • Reliable 24/7 operation under diverse environmental conditions
  • Innovative measurement technology developed based on expertise from more than 25 years of experience in the field of thermography

Example Projetcs of SPTC Solutions

Solar Power Tower Check - Mirror arrays
Further information

Luneng Haixi 50 MW Molten Salt Tower – Concentrated Solar Power Project

Solar Power Tower Check - Picture credits: © / paulrommer
Further information

Solar Tower Power Plant in Cerro Dominador

Solar Power Tower Check - Aerial view Jülich - Picture credits: Stadtwerke Jülich GmbH
Further information

Jülich Solar Tower – Test Facility for Commercial Solar Thermal Power Plants

Use of SPTC for these Industries & Applications

  • thermal imaging for thermal optimisation
    Thermal Optimisation

    Thermal Optimisation

    Identify possible problems already in the development phase well before serial production.

InfraTec service
Comprehensive Service from InfraTec

Comprehensive Service

Our Company’s own service department accompanies you even with complex automation solutions far beyond the actual sale. In the event of malfunctions, your enquiry is forwarded directly to the employees via a hotline. By remote maintenance, you will receive an initial diagnosis. Together with you, we analyse the cause of the problem and quickly find a solution.

InfraTec Service - Technical Support
Advice from Specialists

Advice from Specialists

For more than 25 years, InfraTec has been implementing thermographic solutions with partners worldwide. Based on this wealth of experience, a thorough analysis of the initial situation is one of the first steps in cooperation. We prepare feasibility analyses and advise you on the planning of your future thermographic system. Afterwards, you will receive an offer adapted to your specific requirements.

Thermography trainings
Training of your Employees

Training of your Employees

In our training centre in Dresden, you can attend practical thermography training courses. After the transfer of the turnkey system, upon request qualified employees of our service team will introduce you step by step to your automation solution and instruct future users on your premises.

Camera protective housing for infrared cameras by InfraTec
Wide Range of Protective Housings

Wide Range of Protective Housings

The InfraTec product range includes numerous protective housings. The all-weather and robust metal housings allow the use of the thermographic cameras in harsh environments and protect against mechanical stress, dust and splash water. Depending on requirements, users can also choose ATEX-certified protective housings that can be used in potentially explosive atmospheres.

InfraTec camera equipment
Ask for your suitable accessories

Suitable Accessories for Extended Requirements

InfraTec offers high-quality accessories for all camera series. This allows users to flexibly adapt their camera to changing test and measurement environments and optimize it for daily indoor and outdoor use. The corresponding components are specially designed for the corresponding model and open up new possibilities – for current applications and new tasks.

Infrared Cameras for SPTC

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