Nathan Brett, Kateland Hutt, Karl Jusino-Ortiz, Trevor Perez, Joseph Rios, Samantha Scholl, Devon Yon
The dual–wing heliostat team believes in the beauty of simplicity. With fewer parts that can be easily assembled and readily sourced, this team aims to make solar thermal power generation more accessible. This design was built upon the vision of a full, sparkling solar field. Each module is controlled with its own microprocessor board which takes in local data from each heliostat and reports this information back to the central tower, allowing the central tower controller to optimize the entire solar field for maximum efficiency. The module’s reflectors are mounted in a “window–pane” arrangement, with their corners tilted in towards a central vertex, giving useful light focusing ability to flat mirrors. The mounts which support these reflectors can be injection–molded as one piece, lending them to large–scale manufacturing. These mounts are slid onto either end of a cross–bar, and bolted on. The structural core of the dual–wing heliostat module consists of two PVC pipes, one acting as a central pillar and axis for azimuthal rotation, and the other as a cross–bar which rotates the reflectors altitudinally to reflect sunlight. The motor which controls altitudinal motion sits within the central pillar to protect it from the harsh desert. The base is made of square PVC tubing to offer a cost–effective but stable support for the design. The dual–wing heliostat may be small in scale, but the realm of possibility is as large as a desert solar energy field.