Optimization of plant management and process control
Customary simulation programs for calculating annual reports on energy yields typically work with hourly time step sizes. However, real-life controllers generally have significantly shorter response times (e.g. PI controllers). Calculations based on these response times are necessary for the controller’s performance to be simulated realistically.
Fraunhofer ISE has developed the ColSim simulation environment to investigate and optimize control concepts in solar thermal plants. ColSim allows the same control algorithms that are used in real-life microcontroller units to be employed and enables the results to be exported thanks to an interface with the control hardware. A dynamic model for concentrating collectors is available, which can be used to simulate the collector’s behavior in the event of fluctuations in solar irradiance (clouds passing overhead). Furthermore, the influence of the collector’s dynamic range (as a result of direct steam generation, for example) on a solar-powered plant process can be investigated.
Using these short-term dynamic models as a basis, it is possible to create control concepts for actual collectors and plants which above all guarantee that the plant is operated safely. Operating strategies that ensure maximum possible yields are achieved, can also be developed.