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Tracking heat flux sensors for concentrating solar applications

United States Patent

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June 11, 2013
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Solar Tracing Sensors for Maximum Solar Concentrator Efficiency
Innovative tracking heat flux sensors located at or near the solar collector's focus for centering the concentrated image on a receiver assembly. With flux sensors mounted near a receiver's aperture, the flux gradient near the focus of a dish or trough collector can be used to precisely position the focused solar flux on the receiver. The heat flux sensors comprise two closely-coupled thermocouple junctions with opposing electrical polarity that are separated by a thermal resistor. This arrangement creates an electrical signal proportional to heat flux intensity, and largely independent of temperature. The sensors are thermally grounded to allow a temperature difference to develop across the thermal resistor, and are cooled by a heat sink to maintain an acceptable operating temperature.
November 30, 2010
374/29 ; 136/206; 374/121; 374/141; 374/179;
G01K 17/00 (20060101); G01J 5/14 (20060101); G01K 7/02 (20060101); H01L 35/00 (20060101);
374/120,121,124,137,166,167,43,44,29,100,141,179 136/200,206
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED R&D The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Department of Energy Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 with Sandia Corporation.