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 - Picture credits: © / paulrommer

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

System Structure

  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. TCP / IP
  6. TCP / IP
  7. Buzzer
  8. 19" main cabinet
  9. Interface to the control room and heliostate controller
  10. Camera
  11. Junction box

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.

United States

InfraTec infrared LLC
Plano, TX 75024 Los Angeles, CAUSA

Contact information

Los Angeles, CA - Sales Office
+1 844 226 3722 (toll free)

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

Infrared Cameras for SPTC