Affected by the COVID-19, ICRA (International Conference on Robotics and Automation), which was supposed to be held in Paris, was recently held online. A new solar tracker driven by waves: from idea to implementation is published at ICRA, the first author of this paper, Xu Ruoyu, is a second-year PhD student of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen). His supervisor is Qian Huihuan, assistant professor of SSE of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen) and vice president of AIRS (Shenzhen Institute of artificial intelligence and robotics).
PhD student Xu Ruoyu's paper was accepted by ICRA 2020
Introduction of ICRA
ICRA is sponsored by IEEE robotics and Automation Society (RAS). As the largest conference in robotics field, ICRA attracts a large number of scholars every year.
Introduction of the paper
The solar tracker can adjust the attitude of the solar panel and aim at the direction of the sun to achieve maximum energy collection efficiency. Traditional solar tracker is usually driven by motor, which not only increases the cost, but also consumes energy to adjust the angle.
In this paper, through a new idea, a solar tracker is designed. We can adjust the attitude of the solar panel to the direction of the sun by using the shaking caused by waves on the sea. This is a new intelligent system with simple structure, low cost and easy maintenance.
The system uses two electromagnetic brakes to replace the two axis motors, and adjusts the attitude of the solar panel intermittently by using the shaking caused by waves. In order to control the attitude of the solar panel effectively, the acceleration of the solar panel is estimated as the input of the controller based on the dynamic model of the system. After that, a control algorithm is studied to determine the release and locking state of the brake.
The energy collection efficiency of the new solar tracker is evaluated by simulation. Using the energy collection model, the energy collected by the tracker in a day is calculated under different conditions. Then, the feasibility and accuracy of the controller and the dynamic model are verified by the water surface experiment of the physical system. The system can adjust the two degrees of freedom by 40 degrees in 28 seconds.
For details of the paper, please refer to:
Introduction and thoughts of the author
Xu Ruoyu is a phD candidate from SSE of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen). His major is computer information engineering. His research interests include robotics, dynamics, motion control of UAV and manipulator, optimization control, etc. currently, he is responsible for the collaborative takeoff and landing of unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles in the marine environment. His supervisor is Professor Qian Huihuan and his co-supervisor is Professor Tin Lun Lam.
Asked what he thought about this paper, Xu Ruoyu said: "we often encounter energy problems when we study ocean going unmanned ships. Effective path planning and energy saving are on the one hand, and collecting energy in an efficient way is the other. The original intention of this project is to develop the corresponding energy collection device according to the characteristics of marine environment. Ocean is different from land. The temperature difference between day and night in ocean environment is large. The movement of tide can change the hydrological conditions along the coast. The wave movement brings endless energy sources. All of these have been used to a certain extent. Among them, the friction nano generator proposed by Academician Wang Zhonglin can transform wave energy into tiny electric energy, which once attracted great attention. Therefore, we can use the mechanical motion of the wave to provide convenience for the energy collection device, and use the wave energy to adjust the posture of the solar panel to optimize its energy collection efficiency. After discussing with my tutor Professor Qian Huihuan, we all think that this is a feasible plan.
This paper mainly proposes the prototype of this new device, analyzes its energy efficiency through dynamic modeling, and constructs the relevant control strategy. The feasibility of the system control is verified in the experiment. If you are interested, you can learn the details in the article. Here, I want to say that this is only the rudiment of this system. Neither the mechanical structure nor the control strategy is mature, especially the control strategy. I hope to construct a new linear system considering wind disturbance, cloud cover and other external factors, and realize the optimal control through quadratic planning. Among them, the construction of the model is very complex and challenging.
Finally, I would like to appreciate Prof. Qian Huihuan, Prof. Tin Lun Lam, Prof. Sun Zhenglong and Dr. Liu Hengli for their guidance. I also want to thank the lab students for their great help during the experiment. "