Electronic Sensor Patents (Class 126/578)
  • Patent number: 11179653
    Abstract: A desalination system includes a distillation unit to which a fluid to be desalinated is provided and through which a heat transfer fluid flows, and a solar concentration unit configured to heat the heat transfer fluid. The solar concentration unit includes an array of linear Fresnel reflectors, each linear Fresnel reflector of the array of linear Fresnel reflectors rotating about a respective axis, a receiver configured for absorption of light redirected by the array of linear Fresnel reflectors, the receiver comprising tubing through which the heat transfer fluid flows, and a frame supporting and positioning the receiver relative to the array of linear Fresnel reflectors. The frame defines a track along which the receiver is movable to adjust a relative position of the receiver along the respective axis of each linear Fresnel reflector of the array of linear Fresnel reflectors.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 16, 2019
    Date of Patent: November 23, 2021
    Assignee: The Regents of the University of Michigan
    Inventors: Pablo Taddei Arriola, Jose Alfaro, Rafael Enrique Cabanillas López, Iuliana Mogosanu
  • Patent number: 11105535
    Abstract: A novel portable solar energy system includes a solar concentrator, a thermal storage device, an azimuth adjustment system, an elevation system, and a heat exchanger, all mounted on a rotatable support frame. In a particular embodiment, the thermal storage device remains at a fixed vertical height and fixed tilt orientation when adjustments are made to the azimuth adjustment system and/or the elevation adjustment system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 26, 2019
    Date of Patent: August 31, 2021
    Assignee: Thermal Storage Systems
    Inventors: Frank Stephen Wyle, Alan J. Spero
  • Patent number: 11092558
    Abstract: A method of determining pathogen inactivation may include performing an energy balance on a fluid heating system. Performing an energy balance may include calculating temperatures of a fluid at a plurality of locations as the fluid flows through the fluid heating system. The method of determining pathogen inactivation may also include receiving inactivation kinetic data regarding a pathogen present in the fluid and determining pathogen inactivation amounts based on exposure to the temperatures. Performing an energy balance may include receiving a plurality of input parameters relating to the fluid heating system. The plurality of input parameters may relate to a solar collection system and an associated fluid control system. The solar collection system may include a parabolic mirror and the fluid control system may include an elongated flow element arranged along a focal axis of the parabolic mirror.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 30, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 17, 2021
    Assignee: WTS LLC
    Inventors: Brian Plourde, John Abraham, Douglas Plourde, Richard Pakonen
  • Patent number: 10913098
    Abstract: An arrangement for manufacturing a reflector for a PTC from a rectangular reflective structure. The arrangement comprises a tensioning device configured to tension a reflector portion of the rectangular reflective structure, such that a surface of the tensioned reflector portion acquires a curvature perpendicular to the tensioned reflector portion's longitudinal propagation, along the tensioned reflector portion's longitudinal propagation. The arrangement further comprises a fixating device configured to fixate the surface's curvature, such that the tensioned reflector portion remains tensioned. The tensioning device is configured to tension the reflector portion of the rectangular reflective structure by pre-forming the reflector portion to a pre-curvature, and adjusting the pre-curvature by applying a torque at a longitudinal borderline of the pre-formed portion. Because the reflector will be maintained tensioned by torques only, it will adapt a curvature of a high precision parabola.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 29, 2018
    Date of Patent: February 9, 2021
    Assignee: ABSOLICON SOLAR COLLECTOR AB
    Inventor: Joakim Byström
  • Patent number: 10848096
    Abstract: A rotating mechanism includes a base, a disk-shaped support, a traction rope, an input shaft, an output shaft, and a swing arm. The disk-shaped support is fixed to the base, in which a periphery of the disk-shaped support (2) has a winding end. The traction rope is wound around the winding end of the disk-shaped support. The input shaft is configured to tension the traction rope and drive the traction rope to slide along the winding end of the disk-shaped support. The output shaft is configured to connect to an external structure. The swing arm has a first end connected to the traction rope and a second end connected to the output shaft, in which the traction rope drives the swing arm to rotate, and the swing arm further drives the output shaft to rotate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 17, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 24, 2020
    Assignee: SHANGHAI SIPOOO NEW TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Weiming Bao, Xinming Guo, Keya Yang
  • Patent number: 10415854
    Abstract: A novel portable solar energy system includes a solar concentrator, a thermal storage device, an azimuth adjustment system, an elevation system, and a heat exchanger, all mounted on a rotatable support frame. In a particular embodiment, the thermal storage device remains at a fixed vertical height and fixed tilt orientation when adjustments are made to the azimuth adjustment system and/or the elevation adjustment system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 26, 2017
    Date of Patent: September 17, 2019
    Assignee: Thermal Storage Systems
    Inventors: Frank Stephen Wyle, Alan J. Spero
  • Patent number: 10294672
    Abstract: Improved building-integrated photovoltaic systems according to certain example embodiments may include concentrated photovoltaic skylights or other windows having a cylindrical lens array. The skylight may include an insulated glass unit, which may improve the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). The photovoltaic skylight and lens arrays may be used in combination with strip solar cells. Arrangements that involve lateral displacement tracking systems, or static systems (e.g., that are fixed at one, two, or more predefined positions) are contemplated herein. Such techniques may advantageously help to reduce cost per watt related, in part, to the potentially reduced amount of semiconductor material to be used for such example embodiments. A photovoltaic skylight may permit diffuse daylight to pass through into an interior of a building so as to provide lighting inside the building, while the strip solar cells absorb the direct sunlight and convert it to electricity, providing for SHGC tuning.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 24, 2013
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2019
    Assignee: Guardian Glass, LLC
    Inventors: Eric Walter Akkashian, Willem Den Boer
  • Patent number: 10190801
    Abstract: The solar heating apparatus includes driven and controllable reflectors for concentrating solar radiation on a solar tower or the like. Each of the reflectors provided in an array of reflectors is selectively driven to rotate about multiple axes of rotation. A plurality of groupings of optical reflectors, such as mirrors or the like, are mounted about a single, common longitudinally extending shaft, providing simultaneous rotation of the optical reflectors about a longitudinal axis. Through a two-axis bearing associated with each grouping of optical reflectors, the optical reflectors are also mounted on a laterally extending shaft associated with each individual reflector grouping. The laterally extending shafts are linked, each to the other, by a continuous belt or the like, providing selective simultaneous rotation of the optical reflectors about the lateral axis in addition to the simultaneous rotation about the longitudinal axis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 17, 2017
    Date of Patent: January 29, 2019
    Assignee: King Saud University
    Inventors: Yousef Abdullah Almotlaq, Mazen Abdullah Baabbad, Hany Abdulrahman Alansary, Essam Abdulaziz Al Ammar
  • Patent number: 10077920
    Abstract: A fixed target solar thermal tower design is provided that utilizes a low number of collector modules (32, 172, 191), e.g. 5 to 30, mounted on solar-tracking mechanisms. The collector modules may be rotatable so as to reflect incident sunlight onto a target receiver (1200, 192) mounted on a tower (31, 171), and substantially all of the collector modules for a given tower may be located in a rectangular area that extends polewards from the tower by a distance of approximately three times the height h of the target receiver and that is approximately h wide. Each collector module may have a plurality of reflectors (42, 43, 194, 201, 202, 203) that are angled so as to reflect incident light generally towards a common point on the target receiver. Multiple such solar thermal tower plants may be collocated and ganged together to provide higher overall power output.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 22, 2014
    Date of Patent: September 18, 2018
    Assignee: E-Cube Energy Technologies, Ltd.
    Inventors: Xiao Dong Xiang, Lu Wu
  • Patent number: 10017985
    Abstract: A system includes a window treatment adjacent to a window of a room. At least one motor drive unit is associated with the window treatment, for varying the position of the window treatment. A sensor measures a light level (e.g., an outdoor light level) at the window. A controller provides signals to the motor drive unit to automatically adjust the position of the window treatment so as to control a penetration distance of sunlight into the room when the window treatment is partially opened. The controller is configured to position the window treatment in a bright override position if the measured light level is at least a bright threshold value. The controller is configured to select the bright threshold value from among at least two predetermined values. The selection depends on an angle of incidence between light rays from the sun and a surface normal of the window.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 14, 2014
    Date of Patent: July 10, 2018
    Assignee: Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.
    Inventors: Stephen Lundy, Brent Protzman, Brian Michael Courtney
  • Patent number: 10006666
    Abstract: Solar heat collecting apparatus, wherein plural reflecting mirrors are disposed in north-south direction; the plural reflecting mirrors are provided with heliostat mechanism; the heliostat mechanism includes an east-west angle adjustment unit, having a rotating ring, to adjust the angle of reflecting surface of the plural reflecting mirrors in the east-west direction, and a north-south angle adjustment unit, having actuators, to adjust angle of reflecting surface of the plural reflecting mirrors in the north-south direction; the angle of reflecting surface of the plural reflecting mirrors on each reflection line is simultaneously adjusted via the frame by rotation of the rotating ring; the angle of reflecting surface of each reflecting mirror is individually adjusted by a back-and-forth motion of an arm of the corresponding actuator; and, each reception line is provided with a receiver, and the receiver collects heat from the reflected light of the sunlight reflected by the plural reflecting mirrors.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 18, 2013
    Date of Patent: June 26, 2018
    Assignees: SOLARFLAME CORPORATION, MIHAMA CORPORATION
    Inventor: Yutaka Tamaura
  • Patent number: 9933761
    Abstract: A method comprises measuring a light intensity at a window; determining if the light intensity exceeds a cloudy-day threshold; operating in a sunlight penetration limiting mode to control the motorized window treatment to control the sunlight penetration distance in the space; enabling the sunlight penetration limiting mode if the light intensity is greater than the cloudy-day threshold; and disabling the sunlight penetration limiting mode if the total lighting intensity is less than the cloudy-day threshold. The cloudy-day threshold is maintained at a constant threshold if a calculated solar elevation angle is greater than a predetermined solar elevation angle, and the cloudy-day threshold varies with time if the calculated solar elevation angle is less than the predetermined solar elevation angle. The cloudy-day threshold is a function of the calculated solar elevation angle if the calculated solar elevation angle is less than the predetermined solar elevation angle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 15, 2013
    Date of Patent: April 3, 2018
    Assignee: Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.
    Inventors: Brian Michael Courtney, Timothy Gill, Shilpa Sarode
  • Patent number: 9915445
    Abstract: Parabolic trough modules include a generally elongated parabolic trough including a pair of spaced-apart trough end walls and a trough panel extending between the trough end walls. The trough panel is generally semi-circular in cross-section and has a concave light reflective surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 21, 2015
    Date of Patent: March 13, 2018
    Inventor: James M. Murphy
  • Patent number: 9910156
    Abstract: The present invention is directed to systems, devices and methods utilizing a proxy device that indicates directional aspects of redirected light from a corresponding light redirecting element by the position of one or more redirected light beams in one or more directions or coordinates on such a proxy device. The position characteristics of light redirected from the proxy device correlate to the aim of the light redirecting element associated with the proxy. This allows the proxy information to be used to accurately determine and control the aim of the light redirecting element.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 27, 2013
    Date of Patent: March 6, 2018
    Assignee: SOLARRESERVE TECHNOLOGY, LLC
    Inventor: Braden E. Hines
  • Patent number: 9897271
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a flat wall-mounted sun-tracking and light-guiding device with built-in sensors, which comprises a sun-tracking and light-guiding member, a sun-tracking controller, a light concentrator, and a switchable light emitter. The sun-tracking and light-guiding member owns the function of tracking the sun and is coupled to the sun-tracking controller. The light concentrator faces the sun and is used for concentrating the sunlight. In addition, the light concentrator is connected with the sun-tracking and light-guiding member. The light concentrator includes a light-guiding optical fiber, which is used for guiding the concentrated sunlight. Besides, the switchable light emitter is connected with one end of the light-guiding optical fiber. The switchable light emitter can be disposed indoors or on plant chambers for lighting the interior or plants using the sunlight guided by the light-guiding optical fiber.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 1, 2016
    Date of Patent: February 20, 2018
    Assignee: Institute of Nuclear Energy Research, Atomic Energy Council, Executive Yuan, R.O.C.
    Inventors: Hong-Yih Yeh, Kuo-Chun Hsu, Jia-Rong Bi
  • Patent number: 9894887
    Abstract: A remote monitoring system and a method of remotely monitoring a feed environment that can sense feed stored within a filled container. The remote monitoring system can be configured to determine a distance between a level sensor and a top feed surface of the feed and to wirelessly send feed level data and, optionally, environmental data, to a communication device of a user.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 26, 2016
    Date of Patent: February 20, 2018
    Inventor: Wilson Collins
  • Patent number: 9856696
    Abstract: A system includes a window treatment adjacent to a window of a room. At least one motor drive unit is associated with the window treatment, for varying the position of the window treatment. A sensor measures a light level (e.g., an outdoor light level) at the window. A controller provides signals to the motor drive unit to automatically adjust the position of the window treatment so as to control a penetration distance of sunlight into the room when the window treatment is partially opened. The controller is configured to position the window treatment in a bright override position if the measured light level is at least a bright threshold value. The controller is configured to select the bright threshold value from among at least two predetermined values. The selection depends on an angle of incidence between light rays from the sun and a surface normal of the window.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 14, 2014
    Date of Patent: January 2, 2018
    Assignee: Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.
    Inventors: Stephen Lundy, Brent Protzman, Brian Michael Courtney
  • Patent number: 9722534
    Abstract: Described herein are technologies pertaining to computing the solar irradiance distribution on a surface of a receiver in a concentrating solar power system or glint/glare emitted from a reflective entity. At least one camera captures images of the Sun and the entity of interest, wherein the images have pluralities of pixels having respective pluralities of intensity values. Based upon the intensity values of the pixels in the respective images, the solar irradiance distribution on the surface of the entity or glint/glare corresponding to the entity is computed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 2, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 1, 2017
    Inventors: Clifford Kuofei Ho, Siri Sahib Singh Khalsa
  • Patent number: 9574352
    Abstract: Improved building-integrated photovoltaic systems according to certain example embodiments may include concentrated photovoltaic skylights or other windows having a cylindrical lens array. The skylight may include an insulated glass unit, which may improve the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). The photovoltaic skylight and lens arrays may be used in combination with strip solar cells. Arrangements that involve lateral displacement tracking systems, or static systems (e.g., that are fixed at one, two, or more predefined positions) are contemplated herein. Such techniques may advantageously help to reduce cost per watt related, in part, to the potentially reduced amount of semiconductor material to be used for such example embodiments. A photovoltaic skylight may permit diffuse daylight to pass through into an interior of a building so as to provide lighting inside the building, while the strip solar cells absorb the direct sunlight and convert it to electricity, providing for SHGC tuning.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 24, 2013
    Date of Patent: February 21, 2017
    Assignee: Guardian Industries Corp.
    Inventors: Willem Den Boer, Jian-gang Weng, Eric Walter Akkashian, Vijayen S. Veerasamy, Scott V. Thomsen
  • Patent number: 9568218
    Abstract: An array of solar collectors track the sun based on measured values of power output from the array and from a sun sensor on the array. The sun is tracked by periodically adjusting the altitude and azimuth of the array so the collectors remain pointed at the sun to maximize an amount of solar flux reflected from the collectors. The sun sensor, which detects alignment of the sun, recognizes when relative movement of the sun causes about a 10% reduction in power output of the array. The altitude and azimuth of the array are readjusted based on output from the sun sensor. While the array is being reoriented, power output from the array is monitored, and values for power output versus orientation of the array are recorded. Offset values between the power output, sun sensor output, and the ephemeral equations are calculated by comparing these values during operation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 2012
    Date of Patent: February 14, 2017
    Assignee: BRIGHTLEAF TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
    Inventor: Craig Hollabaugh
  • Patent number: 9494672
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a deployment method for high-concentration photovoltaic power generation system, According to the present invention, after acquiring the location parameters of a solar tracker array, the surface images of the receiving surface of the solar trackers are acquired subsequently. Afterwards, the numbers of the white and grey pixels in the surface images are analyzed for giving the shadowing ratio. According to the shadowing ratio, the estimated power generation can be calculated. Thereby, the related supplier can refer to the simulated data for improving the deployment. By adjusting to a better deployment for constructing the high-concentration solar tracker array, high power-generation benefit can be utilized given the existing land condition.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 10, 2014
    Date of Patent: November 15, 2016
    Assignee: Atomic Energy Council—Institute of Nuclear Energy Research
    Inventors: Wan-Li Hsu, I-Tao Lung
  • Patent number: 9423533
    Abstract: Certain example embodiments of this invention relate to patterned glass that can be used as a cylindrical lens array in a concentrated photovoltaic application, and/or methods of making the same. In certain example embodiments, the lens arrays may be used in combination with strip solar cells and/or single-axis tracking systems. That is, in certain example embodiments, lenses in the lens array may be arranged so as to concentrate incident light onto respective strip solar cells, and the entire assembly may be connected to a single-axis tracking system that is programmed to follow the East-West movement of the sun. A low-iron glass may be used in connection with certain example embodiments. Such techniques may advantageously help to reduce cost per watt related, in part, to the potentially reduced amount of semiconductor material to be used for such example embodiments.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 26, 2010
    Date of Patent: August 23, 2016
    Assignee: Guardian Industries Corp.
    Inventors: Alexey Krasnov, Willem den Boer
  • Patent number: 9404677
    Abstract: Increased utilization of solar power is highly desirable as solar power is a readily available renewable resource with power potential far exceeding total global needs; and as solar power does not contribute to pollutants associated with fossil fuel power, such as unburned hydrocarbons, NOx and carbon dioxide. The present invention provides low-cost inflatable heliostatic solar power collectors, which a range of embodiments suitable for flexible utilization in small, medium, or utility scale applications. The inflatable heliostatic power collectors use a reflective surface or membrane “sandwiched” between two inflated chambers, and attached solar power receivers which are of concentrating photovoltaic and optionally also concentrating solar thermal types. Floating embodiments are described for certain beneficial applications on. Modest concentration ratios enable benefits in both reduced cost and increased conversion efficiency, relative to simple prior-art flat plate solar collectors.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 17, 2010
    Date of Patent: August 2, 2016
    Assignee: RIC Enterprises
    Inventor: Mithra M. K. V. Sankrithi
  • Patent number: 9353970
    Abstract: A drive can include a positional sensor within an outer housing of the drive so as to provide an output indicative of a position of the drive. The positional sensor can be an inclinometer. The inclinometer can be used for feedback control of an inclination of the drive. The drive can further include control electronics within the same housing, so as to provide feedback control of a motor of the drive. The control electronics can include an input for receiving a requested inclination and can be configured to drive the motor until the inclinometer outputs a signal indicative of the requested angle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 28, 2012
    Date of Patent: May 31, 2016
    Assignee: SUNPOWER CORPORATION
    Inventors: Ryan Linderman, Nicholas Barton
  • Patent number: 9182470
    Abstract: Embodiments of the invention relate to an inclinometer for use in tracking movement of a moveable structure such as a solar array. The inclinometer includes a magnetometer for sensing changes in a magnetic field indicative of movement of the movable structure. This movement information is then used to determine a current position/orientation of the moveable structure. In the context of a solar array, this information is used to determine the current position/orientation of the solar array. In some embodiments where the movable structure is a solar array, sun position data either from a database listing sun position information for different times of day or data based on algorithmic calculations may be used to determine a difference between current position of the sun and a current position/orientation of the solar array. The solar array may then repositioned based on this determined difference.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 17, 2009
    Date of Patent: November 10, 2015
    Assignee: COGENTRIX DEVELOPMENT HOLDINGS, LLC
    Inventor: Charles W. Heckendorn
  • Patent number: 9182146
    Abstract: It is to heighten the heat collecting efficiency of a linear type solar heat collecting apparatus. A plurality of reflection lines and one reception line are included. The reflection lines are arranged in parallel substantially in the south-north direction on earth. Each reflection line L1, L2, . . . has a heliostat 1. The heliostat 1 is composed of a plurality of mirror segments disposed in series on each reflection line L1, L2, . . . . The reception line C extends in the east-west direction perpendicular to the reflection lines L1, L2, . . . , and is disposed at a predetermined position above the reflection lines L1, L2, . . . . The reception line C has a single receiver. The mirror segments disposed on each reflection line L1, L2, . . . radiate reflected light of sunlight that has impinged on the mirror surface toward the reception line C. The receiver 2 disposed on the reception line C collects the heat of the reflected light of sunlight radiated from the mirror segments disposed on each reflection line.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 2011
    Date of Patent: November 10, 2015
    Assignee: TOKYO INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
    Inventor: Yutaka Tamaura
  • Patent number: 9157656
    Abstract: The invention relates to a reflection device that can track the location of sun, focusing solar radiation on a radiation receiver. The tracking is controlled by means of an auxiliary mirror guiding an auxiliary beam to a target. The position of the point of incidence of the auxiliary beam on the target is detected by a video camera and an image capture system, and said actual position is adjusted to a prescribed target position. It is thus achieved that the main beam is always precisely aimed at the radiation receiver.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 30, 2010
    Date of Patent: October 13, 2015
    Assignee: Deutsches Zentrum Fuer Luft-Und Raumfahrt E.V.
    Inventors: Jan Peter Saeck, Boris Belhomme, Peter Schwarzboezl
  • Patent number: 9151879
    Abstract: Certain examples relate to improved solar photovoltaic systems, and/or methods of making the same. Certain improved building-integrated photovoltaic systems may include concentrated photovoltaic skylights having a cylindrical lens array. The skylight may include an insulated glass unit, which may improve the solar heat gain coefficient. The photovoltaic skylight and lens arrays may be used in combination with strip solar cells and lateral displacement tracking systems. Such techniques may advantageously help to reduce cost per watt related, in part, to the potentially reduced amount of semiconductor material to be used for such example embodiments. A photovoltaic skylight may permit diffuse daylight to pass through into an interior of a building so as to provide lighting inside the building, while the strip solar cells absorb the direct sunlight and convert it to electricity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 22, 2012
    Date of Patent: October 6, 2015
    Assignee: Guardian Industries Corp.
    Inventors: Willem Den Boer, Vijayen S. Veerasamy
  • Patent number: 9123848
    Abstract: A solar power generation method with non-equidirectional solar tracking stages and an apparatus thereof. At the sunrise stage, a solar power generation module is gradually pivotally rotated from an initial position to the sun in a direction reverse to the moving direction of the sun. After the solar power generation module is rotated to a position of first preset elevation and azimuth, where the solar power generation module right faces the sun, the solar power generation module starts to pivotally rotate along with the change of the position of the sun. When the sun and the solar power generation module synchronously move to a position of second preset elevation and azimuth, the solar power generation module is driven to gradually pivotally rotate back to the initial position in a direction reverse to the moving direction of the sun waiting for the next cycle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 29, 2013
    Date of Patent: September 1, 2015
    Assignees: Big Sun Energy Technology Incorporation
    Inventor: Chia Ching Luo
  • Patent number: 9097841
    Abstract: A Fresnel lens array is provided in which the vertical part of a lens element is replaced by a tilted surface designed to focus impinging light into the focal point of an adjacent lens in the array. Since the new surface forms an angle with the lens plane that is shallower than the vertical step, such a lens element configuration may ease the molding of the lens array in glass type materials. The configuration is not limited to cylindrical arrays, since another array with lens elements perpendicular to the first lens array may be molded on the other side of the lens sheet, resulting in an array of point focusing lenses. Furthermore, by placing mirrors at the edges of the lens array (or at the edge of a single lens thereof) with surfaces perpendicular to the lens plane, the edge light rays may be redirected back to the said focal point(s).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 14, 2011
    Date of Patent: August 4, 2015
    Inventors: Luigi Salvatore Fornari, Margaret Ree Fraelich
  • Publication number: 20140174430
    Abstract: A method of calibrating a mirror orientation system of a heliostat includes mounting an artificial light source to a heliostat mirror, providing an array of light sensors on a solar thermal tower and positioning the heliostat mirror at a first orientation. A control module is provided a signal indicative of a mirror drive mechanism position at the first mirror orientation. The control module correlates the signal indicative of the mechanism position with an energy distribution across the sensor array as the artificial light source is energized when the mirror is at the first orientation. The drive mechanism moves the mirror to a second orientation and directs artificial light on the sensor array. The drive mechanism position signal is correlated with an energy distribution across the sensor array based on the second mirror orientation. The heliostat is calibrated based on the energy distributions and the drive mechanism position signals.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 6, 2013
    Publication date: June 26, 2014
    Inventors: Brian M. Fitzgerald, John D. Zalewski, Peter M. Jacobsen, Franz Faschinger, Richard A. Bakowski, Philipp Ebner, David W. Wenthen, Burke Smith
  • Publication number: 20130333688
    Abstract: A solar energy collection system includes a solar energy collection device, a plurality of photoreceptors, a driving device, and a controller. The photoreceptors are arranged on different positions of the solar energy collection device. When one of the plurality of photoreceptors senses a beam of sunlight, the one of the plurality of photoreceptors outputs an electrical signal, the controller determines an included angle between the sunlight and the solar energy collection device according to the electrical signal and the position of the one of the plurality of photoreceptors. The controller controls the driving device to tilt the solar energy collection device to be always perpendicular to the beam of sunlight.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 22, 2013
    Publication date: December 19, 2013
    Applicants: HON HAI PRECISION INDUSTRY CO., LTD., HONG FU JIN PRECISION INDUSTRY (ShenZhen) CO., LTD.
    Inventors: TEN-CHEN HO, XIAO-LIAN HE
  • Publication number: 20130139804
    Abstract: A solar energy collection system can include a plurality of heliostats configured to reflect sunlight to a target mounted on a tower. Each of the heliostats can have a heliostat controller configured to control a respective heliostat so that the sunlight reflected therefrom is directed to at least one of a plurality of cameras. The cameras can be oriented to image the heliostat. A second controller can be configured to compute geometry data that defines a geometry of the surface of the heliostat from captured images thereof. The geometry data can designate a plurality of subsections of the surface. The computing by the second controller can include storing data indicating sections of the captured images corresponding to the plurality of subsections of the heliostat. The second controller can also calculate data indicating respective surface normals of each of said subsections of each of said heliostat.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 27, 2012
    Publication date: June 6, 2013
    Applicant: BRIGHTSOURCE INDUSTRIES (ISRAEL) LTD.
    Inventor: BRIGHTSOURCE INDUSTRIES (ISRAEL) LTD.
  • Publication number: 20130133640
    Abstract: In a solar concentrator of a type having a curved mirror adapted to focus light onto an energy collecting body mounted at the mirror's focal axis, an alignment correction apparatus and method includes a linear array of light detectors adapted to be mounted at a bottom of and across a centerline of the curved mirror so as to intercept the shadow cast by the energy collecting body mounted along the focal axis. Outputs of each of the detectors are measured and plotted according to an order of arrangement of the light detectors on the array. The output results in a dip across adjacent detectors when a shadow falls across the array. A shadow detection means is adapted to determine a center point of the dip and correction means are configured to output a correction command if the center point is different from an optimal position.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 30, 2011
    Publication date: May 30, 2013
    Applicant: U.S. DIGITAL CORPORATION
    Inventors: David Madore, Leonard Lee, Eric Martin
  • Publication number: 20130074824
    Abstract: The present invention relates to an apparatus capable of accurately tracking the movement of the sun. More particularly, the present invention relates to a solar position tracking apparatus comprising: a cylindrical light focusing device; an absorbing device consisting of solar energy absorbing plates; and a device which measures the amount of energy absorbed into each solar energy absorbing plate, and compares the measured amounts.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 3, 2011
    Publication date: March 28, 2013
    Inventors: Yu Bin Shin, Yu Hyun Shin
  • Patent number: 8360051
    Abstract: A solar energy collection system has a solar receiver with an external surface configured for high absorption of light incident thereon. The solar receiver also has a plurality of light-reflecting elements arranged on the external surface. The light-reflecting elements produce at least partially diffuse reflection of light energy incident thereon. Heliostats concentrate solar radiation onto the external surface of the solar receiver. An imaging device provides a digital image of at least a portion of the external surface of the solar receiver. A controller can control the heliostats in response to apparent brightness of the light-reflecting elements as represented in the digital image.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 12, 2008
    Date of Patent: January 29, 2013
    Assignee: Brightsource Industries (Israel) Ltd.
    Inventors: Yoel Gilon, Gil Kroyzer, Rotem Hayut
  • Patent number: 8344305
    Abstract: Disclosed is a solar power tower heliostat alignment system and method that includes a solar power tower with a focal area, a plurality of heliostats that each reflect sunlight towards the focal area of the solar power tower, an off-focal area location substantially close to the focal area of the solar power tower, a communication link between the off-focal area location and a misaligned heliostat, and a processor that interprets the communication between the off-focal area location and the misaligned heliostat to identify the misaligned heliostat from the plurality of heliostats and that determines a correction for the identified misaligned heliostat to realign the misaligned heliostat to reflect sunlight towards the focal area of the solar power tower.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 18, 2010
    Date of Patent: January 1, 2013
    Inventor: Mark R. Convery
  • Publication number: 20120266938
    Abstract: A system and method for tracking a position of the Sun includes a solar tracker controller that generates directional control signals responsive to sensing signals. A solar tracking algorithm controls operation of the solar tracker controller responsive to the sensing signals. The solar tracking algorithm includes a rough tracking mode of operation for causing a pointing axis of at least one solar receiver to point generally in a direction of the Sun as indicated by the sensing signals. A searching mode of operation positions the at least one solar receiver such that sunlight falls on at least one solar cell of the receiver. A fine tracking mode of operation positions a pointing axis of the at least one solar receiver responsive to the feedback signal from the at least one solar receiver.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 12, 2012
    Publication date: October 25, 2012
    Applicant: ASPECT SOLAR PTE LTD
    Inventors: ESMOND T. GOEI, TAO ZHAO
  • Publication number: 20120204859
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a method and apparatus to control a focal length of a curved reflector in real time. An energy generation system includes curved reflectors, a tower, and an energy storing unit connected to the tower. The curved reflectors reflect and concentrate light from a light source onto the tower. The tower converts the received light into usable energy which is stored in the energy storing unit. Each of the curved reflectors can include a curved body, a stand, and/or an actuation unit. The curved body reflects the light from the light source to concentrate it onto the tower. When the light source moves, the curved body pivots about the stand to track the light source. The actuation unit is activated to adjust a focal length of the focal point of the curved body to ensure that the reflected light is concentrated at the tower.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 16, 2011
    Publication date: August 16, 2012
    Applicant: TOYOTA MOTOR ENGINEERING & MANUFACTURING NORTH AMERICA, INC.
    Inventor: Umesh N. Gandhi
  • Publication number: 20120167871
    Abstract: An improved diurnal sun tracking system and methodology for use with a photovoltaic solar collector system mountable on flat roof industrial buildings or multi-unit apartment buildings is provided. The improved tracking system and method rotates or pivots the solar collector system to track the sun during the spring and fall Equinoxes in a first tracking mode, as well as from winter to summer solstices, when the angular rate of the sun's movement does not exactly follow the angular rate at the Equinoxes, in a second tracking mode.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 5, 2011
    Publication date: July 5, 2012
    Inventor: Gerald Falbel
  • Patent number: 8110786
    Abstract: A novel concentrator system is described, which increases the efficiency of collecting and concentrating sunlight energy onto a target. This method uses an array of small movable reflective or refractive concentrator components that can move via a feedback mechanism which tracks the sun and concentrates the suns energy on to a second array of energy converting elements. In order to improve the effective collected energy, the array of concentrator elements is placed on a moving or tiltable flat slab (or dish, substrate, plane, plate, holder, tablet, or similar flat or non-flat surface) that tracks the sun. An alternative method uses an array of target elements or linear elements and a second array of concentrator elements in harmony such that the suns energy is efficiently redistributed by the reflective or refractive array on to the energy converting array as the sun's position in the sky (elevation and azimuth) changes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 6, 2010
    Date of Patent: February 7, 2012
    Assignee: Ahura Energy Concentrating Systems
    Inventors: Fareed Sepehry-Fard, Mohammed Taghi Fatehi
  • Publication number: 20110303213
    Abstract: Methods of operating solar tracking apparatuses are described. For example, a method includes determining a minimum amount of energy required to move the solar tracking apparatus from a first position to a second position. An available radiance is estimated for a solar resource coupled to the solar tracking apparatus. The solar tracking apparatus is moved from the first position to the second position prior to a point in time when the energy derivable from the available radiance is less than the minimum amount of energy required to move the solar tracking apparatus from the first position to the second position.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 9, 2010
    Publication date: December 15, 2011
    Inventor: Steven M. Kraft
  • Publication number: 20110303214
    Abstract: A solar collector including a linear receiver and an array of linear mirrors positioned to concentrate sunlight onto the linear receiver, with all of the mirrors in the array tracking solar motion in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the receiver, a fraction of the mirrors tracking solar motion in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis of the receiver and a two-axis steering mechanism adapted to combine the linear images formed by each linear mirror into a single linear image that remains focused on the linear receiver as the mirrors rotate about the two axes, with the linear receiver incorporating a secondary concentrator, and concentrated sunlight heating an atmospheric-pressure gas-phase heat-transfer fluid.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 28, 2010
    Publication date: December 15, 2011
    Inventor: Richard Welle
  • Patent number: 8042534
    Abstract: A solar servo control tracking device is disclosed. The device includes: an integrated control device having a solar cell sensor unit detecting luminance at a solar azimuth, and an integrated control panel transmitting a control signal at a maximal solar azimuth, calculated by comparing a solar azimuth from the luminance at a solar azimuth; and solar tracking devices, respectively having a tracking device controller receiving the control signal via a wireless link, a high torque driving unit with an AC single phase inductor to generate driving torque by the control signal from the tracking device controller, solar module assemblies driven by the high torque driving unit to track the solar azimuth in accordance with the control signal, and an operating angle sensor unit installed to the high torque driving unit to detect operating angles of the solar module assemblies that track the sun by the control signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 15, 2008
    Date of Patent: October 25, 2011
    Assignee: SDN Company Ltd
    Inventors: Kee Hyok Choi, In Cheol Lim, Hyun Woo Kim, Hyeok Jae Woo, Kyoo Jae Shin
  • Publication number: 20110168161
    Abstract: A solar trough field system according to the invention comprises multiple parabolic reflectors; a thermal receiver tube, center of which coincides with the focus of the parabolic reflectors and which consists of a metal heat receiving pipe (1) and a glass tube (2) which are nested (the glass tube surrounds the metal heat receiving pipe from outside); a ‘vacuum seal and glass tube connector system’ (E) which connects the glass tubes (2) and the thermal heat receiving pipe (1) to each other; a rotating support unit (21), which connects the parabolic panel to the glass tube connector system (E) and provides the thermal receiver tube (1) to stay stationary while the parabolic panel is rotating around it; ‘flexible expansion unit’ (29) located at the end of each parabolic trough unit which provides vacuum seal while the Heat Receiving Pipe (1) is moving due to heat expansion; and a vertical loop (52) located at the discharge side of the parabolic unit, which can be used instead of water separator and which also pr
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 23, 2008
    Publication date: July 14, 2011
    Inventor: Rahmi Oguz Capan
  • Publication number: 20110162692
    Abstract: Solar apparatus for concurrent heating and power-generation duty having a base load bearing structure and a load bearing structure supported on the base load bearing structure secured to the plant solar concentrator so as to allow rotation of the concentrator with an established maximum rotation angle, with both a first alternate rotation movement in a circular direction and a horizontal plane along the base load bearing structure, and a second alternate movement along a curved path around a vertical plane orthogonal to the horizontal plane. The solar concentrator is actuatable with said first and second movement during the day by respective first and second actuators, controlled by a microprocessor, depending on the corresponding orientations of the concentrator, detected by first and second sensors, in a manner to orientate the concentrator for receiving maximum solar radiation during the day.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 6, 2009
    Publication date: July 7, 2011
    Inventors: Michele Luca Giacalone, Antonio Sichirollo, Ermanno Perenthaler
  • Publication number: 20110114079
    Abstract: Embodiments of the invention relate to an inclinometer for use in tracking movement of a moveable structure such as a solar array. The inclinometer includes a magnetometer for sensing changes in a magnetic field indicative of movement of the movable structure. This movement information is then used to determine a current position/orientation of the moveable structure. In the context of a solar array, this information is used to determine the current position/orientation of the solar array. In some embodiments where the movable structure is a solar array, sun position data either from a database listing sun position information for different times of day or data based on algorithmic calculations may be used to determine a difference between current position of the sun and a current position/orientation of the solar array. The solar array may then repositioned based on this determined difference.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 17, 2009
    Publication date: May 19, 2011
    Applicant: Cogentrix Energy, LLC.
    Inventor: Charles W. Heckendorn
  • Patent number: 7910870
    Abstract: A solar tracker includes a sunlight-detecting unit, a control unit, a first motor and a second motor. The sunlight-detecting unit detects the position of the sun. Based on the position of the sun, the control unit instructs the first motor to rotate a solar cell array and the second motor to tilt the solar cell array.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 7, 2008
    Date of Patent: March 22, 2011
    Assignee: Atomic Energy Council - Institute of Nuclear Energy Research
    Inventors: Hong-Yih Yeh, Cheng-Dar Lee, Shang-Lee Chyou, Pan-Chih Liu
  • Patent number: 7884308
    Abstract: A power solar panel is maintained in an optimum position relative to the sun during daylight as the sun traverses a solar track elevated above the horizon and extending from a sunrise location to a sunset location during each day of consecutive days of the year by utilizing solar energy to power a sun tracker which carries the power solar panel. The sun tracker includes pairs of solar modules wherein the solar modules are arrayed in an A-shaped cross-sectional configuration for being aimed directly at the sun in response to exposure to the sun, and the pairs of solar modules power motors which tilt the solar panel about a horizontal direction and rotate the power solar panel about a vertical direction to maintain optimum alignment with the sun during the course of a day.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 22, 2010
    Date of Patent: February 8, 2011
    Inventor: Manuel J. Mejia
  • Publication number: 20110000478
    Abstract: Systems and methods for a heliostat directing incident sun light to a receiver based on an estimate or predicted receiver location and an imaged sun location
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 2, 2009
    Publication date: January 6, 2011
    Inventor: DAN REZNIK