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Sensors 2017, 17(6), 1329; doi:10.3390/s17061329

The Development of an Open Hardware and Software System Onboard Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Monitor Concentrated Solar Power Plants

Department of Graphic Engineering and Geomatics, Campus de Rabanales, University of Córdoba, Córdoba 14071, Spain
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Academic Editors: Felipe Gonzalez Toro and Antonios Tsourdos
Received: 20 April 2017 / Revised: 1 June 2017 / Accepted: 5 June 2017 / Published: 8 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue UAV or Drones for Remote Sensing Applications)
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Abstract

Concentrated solar power (CSP) plants are increasingly gaining interest as a source of renewable energy. These plants face several technical problems and the inspection of components such as absorber tubes in parabolic trough concentrators (PTC), which are widely deployed, is necessary to guarantee plant efficiency. This article presents a system for real-time industrial inspection of CSP plants using low-cost, open-source components in conjunction with a thermographic sensor and an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The system, available in open-source hardware and software, is designed to be employed independently of the type of device used for inspection (laptop, smartphone, tablet or smartglasses) and its operating system. Several UAV flight missions were programmed as follows: flight altitudes at 20, 40, 60, 80, 100 and 120 m above ground level; and three cruising speeds: 5, 7 and 10 m/s. These settings were chosen and analyzed in order to optimize inspection time. The results indicate that it is possible to perform inspections by an UAV in real time at CSP plants as a means of detecting anomalous absorber tubes and improving the effectiveness of methodologies currently being utilized. Moreover, aside from thermographic sensors, this contribution can be applied to other sensors and can be used in a broad range of applications where real-time georeferenced data visualization is necessary. View Full-Text
Keywords: UAV; monitoring; open hardware; concentrated solar power UAV; monitoring; open hardware; concentrated solar power
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Mesas-Carrascosa, F.J.; Verdú Santano, D.; Pérez Porras, F.; Meroño-Larriva, J.E.; García-Ferrer, A. The Development of an Open Hardware and Software System Onboard Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Monitor Concentrated Solar Power Plants. Sensors 2017, 17, 1329.

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