First Heliostats Successfully Aimed at the Unit 1 Boiler
Last week, the Ivanpah team reached a major milestone by successfully aiming the project’s first three heliostats at the boiler of the Unit 1 tower. Three heliostats aimed sunlight onto the lower protection panels (white area) of the boiler, creating a visible spot on the panels (see photos below). This concentration of sunlight is known as “flux.”
When the plant is operational, heliostats will be aimed at the black boiler panels which are comprised of many tubes that circulate water. The black panels have a special coating that efficiently absorbs the sun’s energy and heats the water inside the tubes to create high-temperature steam. The steam will ultimately reach over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit and spin a steam turbine generator to create electricity. As the heliostat commissioning process continues, the team will commission each heliostat individually and use the SFINCS (Solar Field Integrated Control System) software to calibrate the heliostat onto the protection panels. Once the Unit 1 solar boiler is fully complete and ready to accept the sun’s energy, the team will begin putting flux onto the boiler in preparation for plant operation.