-- This project is inactive --
Thermata, under the 2012 SunShot Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) R&D funding opportunity announcement (FOA), is demonstrating a collector system with enhanced optical tracking capability. The unit includes a control system that provides real-time information to adjust the location of the reflected sunlight. It demonstrates a prototype heliostat system that meets the cost, performance, and reliability objectives of the SunShot Initiative.
The research team is working to demonstrate that a heliostat system using Thermata's innovative closed-loop optical tracking technology can satisfy key technical requirements, including total optical error and wind-load requirements. The goals of this project are to:
- Demonstrate the effectiveness of a camera-based tracking system
- Validate the cost of Thermata heliostats going to $75/m2 when installed in high volumes
- Characterize the optical performance of the heliostat system.
Thermata's transformative concept is an innovation in closed-loop tracking. A camera system mounted on the central-receiver tower optically senses the focus of each individual heliostat and uses end-to-end closed-loop control to accurately place the sun on any receiver target. In addition, Thermata's heliostat is controlled through a wireless mesh network, is self-powered by photovoltaics, and is factory prewired, which eliminates field wiring, trenching, and related costs.
Publications, Patents, and Awards
The SunShot CSP R&D program seeks to accelerate progress toward the cost target of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour through novel and revolutionary research into CSP technologies. Learn about other DOE competitive awards for concentrating solar power research that are in progress.