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Case Study

+ NEM Energy b.v.


NEM engineers apply ANSYS solutions to optimize heliostats that concentrate solar energy to generate power. With simulation, we can improve performance and reduce cost of our heliostat designs at a much faster pace than could be accomplished solely by building and testing prototypes.
Ingmar van Dijk Solar Team NEM Energy b.v.

NEM Energy b.v.

A solar energy system benets from ANSYS structural simulation, leading to a sustainable, innovative power source.
Structural results show deformation of heliostat

Heliostat model

A concentrated solar power (CSP) system is a sustainable source of power. It uses mirrors or lenses to concentrate sunlight onto a small area to drive a heat engine connected to an electrical power generator. These systems are now experiencing rapid growth. The power tower system type of CSP uses a eld of sun-tracking mirrors called heliostats to concentrate light onto a receiver atop a tower. The heat is used to directly produce steam, or it can be stored to produce steam after the sun goes down. The steam powers a conventional turbine generator to produce electricity. Challenges A key design challenge for NEM is to increase the stiness of the mirrors for CSP. This ensures that as much reected light as possible is directed to the target, called a receiver, without paying a cost premium. Stiness is critical because just a 1 degree rotation error for a heliostat 380 meters away from the tower results in a 6.6 meter tracking error (the reected light is delivered 6.6 meters from the intended target on the tower). Technology Used ANSYS Mechanical Engineering Solution Model the 16 mirror segments, or facets, of the heliostat with shell (mesh) elements. Use ANSYS Workbench to automatically add more than 1,000 contacts using a 5 mm tolerance value. Employ plastic deformation calculations on small sections of the model to account for permanent deformations of the structure.

Use ANSYS Parametric Design Language (APDL) command snippets to evaluate the model at dierent angles and wind speeds as part of a batch process. Benets Shell elements save computational time and can export rotation angles important to study the deformation of the heliostat. Automatic contact creation reduces the amount of time compared to manually creating contacts. Plastic deformation calculations ensure that the permanent deformation is small enough to not aect the accuracy of linear analysis for structural predictions. The output from the APDL command snippets is exported to a ray tracing routine that determines the eect of structural deformation on the light reaching the receiver. These results are, in turn, used to calculate the potential amount of electricity that can be generated by each heliostat design. Simulation helps NEM to improve performance and reduce the cost of heliostat designs at a much faster pace than could be accomplished solely by building and testing prototypes. Company Description NEM Energy b.v. is a leading company in the eld of steam-generating equipment for power generation and industrial applications throughout the world. The rms driving forces are distinctive know-how and continuous technological innovation, leading to new applications such as steam generation from solar power.

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