Heliogen's ICARUS will reduce time to deploy solar facilities by AI driven robot
Post date: 13/12/2021 - 10:40
Heliogen Inc., provider of AI-enabled concentrated solar power, announced »a new technological breakthrough« in the production of low-cost renewable energy. In field tests at Heliogen’s Lancaster, California facility, the company completed the first technical demonstration of an autonomous field maintenance system called »ICARUS« (Installation & Cleaning Autonomous Robot & Utility Solution). »It is expected to significantly reduce the time to deploy concentrated solar facilities, as well as the costs associated with construction and ongoing maintenance«.
Heliogen’s concentrated solar facilities employ arrays of mirrored heliostats that require upkeep and cleaning to ensure peak optical performance and a high level of energy generation efficiency. With traditional solar plants, conventional manual cleaning methods are expensive and labor-intensive, and as such, are only completed once every few months. To improve cost savings and operational efficiency, Heliogen designed the ICARUS system, which utilizes GPS, ultrasonic rangefinders and light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors for completely autonomous operation. According to Heliogen, the ICARUS system is designed to autonomously clean a field of mirrors on a predetermined schedule, keeping the system at peak performance with minimal human intervention required.
Furthermore, ICARUS can also be used to reduce the cost of system installation by autonomously delivering heliostats from an assembly or inventory location to the field and installing them with an accuracy of up to two centimeters. Solar plant installations »could be built around the clock, day or night, with computer-vision precision and with minimal physical labor«, says Bill Gross, founder and CEO of Heliogen. »This first technical demonstration of ICARUS is a leap forward in realizing Heliogen’s mission to replace fossil fuels with concentrated sunlight – cost-effectively and at scale.« ICARUS is expected to be deployed across Heliogen’s full-scale facilities by 2023.