Connor Buch, Cristian Jacome, Matthew Maloney, Nathan McElwain, Inge Mueller, Rachel Robbins, Braydon Shepherd
The Tri-beam Solar Automated Reflector (TSAR) is a dual-axis solar tracking reflector intended for use in a concentrated solar power plant. Our design aims to achieve precise solar tracking using the fewest number of motors per individual reflective surface. This design goal focuses on achieving maximum efficiency by minimizing the cost to produce each module and extending module lifetime by incorporating fewer, higher quality motors in the design. Additionally, this design goal optimizes the ratio of the number of motors used per reflective surface to the individual heliostat maneuverability and solar concentration. The TSAR incorporates a strong and dense welded steel frame to which the other the subsystems are anchored. The design also features a durable yet lightweight aluminum rotating structure with three highly reflective panels. The tri-beam design allows for individual reflector control in the attitudinal rotational direction, giving a higher concentration ratio than conventional reflector designs. The TSAR is powered by a system of stepper motors with planetary gears. Stepper motors provide precise positioning abilities coupled with an ability to hold loads in place, allowing the module to be statically stable and precise when tracking the sun. The rotating structure incorporates 5 inch wheels in order to alleviate the load on the central motor shaft.