solar thermal electric

PARIS "buffs up" solar fields

PARIS is half vehicle, half robot. It has been designed, patented and manufactured by Sener as an automated parabolic trough cleaning system for solar thermal electric plants. According to its designers, the cleaner will operate in the dark to keep the mirrors in tiptop condition so as to avoid affecting plant output during the day.
PARIS "buffs up" solar fields

According to Sener, PARIS "is a low-tonnage vehicle with self-levelling, 4x4 traction. This minimises its impact on the tracks in the solar field and boosts its manoeuvrability. It is a contact cleaning system employing rotating brushes and water, which ensures a high quality clean in a single pass – minimising fuel and water consumption – and is the most effective method for maintaining the optimum cleanliness of the mirrors".

PARIS vehicles stand out because they are automated, i.e. they perform the cleaning process without being manned, thanks to their guidance, navigation and control system. The vehicle only has to be positioned at the start of a collector loop and then it automatically adjusts its position and starts cleaning one collector after another. Once it completes a row, it closes the loop automatically by cleaning the front line of collectors.

The cleaning is performed with the parabolic troughs in a vertical and stationary position, which significantly reduces the risk of damaging any mirrors or collector tubes. Once a complete loop has been cleaned, PARIS moves independently to position itself at the beginning of the next loop and repeat the process. The only task an operator has to do is to start the robot up at the beginning of its shift, and make sure it does not run out of water or fuel.

Sener is using this new system for the first time at the twin 50-MW Valle 1 and Valle 2 plants in Spain, which are owned by Torresol Energy and have been in commercial operation since January 2012. PARIS is responsible for cleaning the 510,120 square metres of parabolic trough collectors at each plant.

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