Date of Award

3-2011

Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering

Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor

Saeed Niku

Abstract

This thesis presents a method of tracking and correcting for the swaying of a central receiver tower in concentrated solar production plants. The method uses a camera with image processing algorithms to detect movement of the center of the tower. A prototype was constructed utilizing a CMOS camera connected to a microcontroller to control the movements of three surrounding heliostats. The prototype uses blob-tracking algorithms to detect and correct for movements of a colored model target. The model was able to detect movements in the tower with average error of 0.32 degrees, and was able to correctly orient the surrounding heliostats to within 1.2 and 2.6 degrees of accuracy while testing indoors and outdoors, respectively.

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