Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technologies are important for climate-neutral energy supply. Their high energy storage potentials enable projectable energy supply and in cooperation with photovoltaics and wind energy a cost reduction of the basic load.
In solar power tower systems, a large number of sun-tracking mirrors (heliostats) concentrate the solar radiation onto a receiver at the top of a tower. A heat transfer fluid heated in the receiver is used to generate steam, which, in turn, is used in a conventional turbine generator to produce electricity. A typical commercial power tower system with around 100MW has a total reflecting surface of around 106m2. With a mirror size of 10m2 to 150m2 this correlates with up to 100,000 heliostats. Currently, every heliostat is controlled individually and each is connected to the control station with one power and one data wire.
Since there are extreme conditions with high material requisition inside the solar receiver, reliable and time-critical control of the heliostats is needed. At the same time, the solar thermal power unit is subject to high-cost pressure. To reduce the cost of wiring the heliostats, while maintaining a reliable control system, a convenient wireless communication solution is discussed.
In this context, 5G mobile networks represent a promising technology. Against the background of the requirement profile for massive and critical Machine Type Communication, 5G networks assure reliable communication for the large number of participants. Additionally, parallel wireless communication within the same 5G network can be used to deploy monitoring and maintenance devices inside the heliostat field. The aim of the research project „5hine“ is the identification, analysis, and development of technical and economically efficient solutions for 5G campus networks with a focus on solar power tower systems.
The team of the optimization and control group at ie3 will work on new methods to enable automation and control via 5G networks.
- Project Duration: 01.01.20 – 30.06.25
- Funding: Förderwettbewerb 5G.NRW