Development and demonstration of intelligent non-c.. (INTERSOLAR)
Development and demonstration of intelligent non-contact inspection technology for concentrated solar power plants
Start date: Sep 1, 2013,
End date: Aug 31, 2015
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) is the renewable energy source with the highest potential for growth. From a strict techno-economic aspect, the two CSP technologies which are currently commercially viable are those based on parabolic trough and Linear Fresnel Reflector designs. Parabolic trough concentrators are the most widely deployed type of solar thermal power plant. Most of the existing parabolic trough plants operate up to 400°C, but with recent technological advances the maximum operating temperature of newly commissioned plants can reach 550°C. Solar thermal power plants still face several technical problems related to the structural integrity and inspection of critical components such as the absorber tube and piping of the coolant system. It is currently impossible to inspect the absorber tube as it is located inside a glass envelope under vacuum. Moreover a significant proportion of the coolant system is insulated to minimise heat losses and therefore it cannot be inspected unless the insulation has been removed beforehand. One of the highest priorities for the European solar thermal energy industry is the significant improvement of the structural reliability of critical components of CSP plants. This should involve a solid reduction in inspection and maintenance costs mainly associated with unpredicted failures and leaks.INTERSOLAR seeks to decrease by a noticeable margin the number of failures associated with the coolant system and absorber tubes of CSP plants resulting in the minimisation of corrective maintenance costs. The consortium members of the project will achieve this through the development and successful implementation of an intelligent guided waves inspection platform based on the use of preferably non-contact Electromagnetic Acoustic Transducer Sensors (EMATs).
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