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2014 International Conference on Control, Instrumentation, Communication and Computational Technologies (ICCICCT)

Design and Implementation of Temperature

Controller for Solar Furnace
Mythily.R.S Dr.Glan Devadhas
PG Scholar: Dept. of E&I HOD: Dept. of E&I
Noorul Islam College of engineering Noorul Islam College of engineering
Kumara coil, India Kumara coil, India

Abstract— This paper explores different control techniques desired level considering the nonlinear effect between the
to control the temperature of material samples in a solar incident energy and the
he temperature of the sample.
furnace. Solar furnaces
naces provide the means to concentrate
solar radiation on samples placed at their foci. The II. PLANT DESCRIPTION
objective of the system is to control the temperature of the The 6KW solar furnace (Fig.1) mainly consist of a
samples for testing purpose and the solar furnace are continuously solar tracking, flat heliostat, a parabolic
characterized to provide concentrated solar energenergy for concentrator, an attenuator or shutter and the test zone located
testing applications. Control techniques including PI, PID, in the concentrator focus[1]. The heliostat reflects the sunlight
Fuzzy MPAC are implemented and simulation results into the parabolic collector which in turn reflects them on to
demonstrate the effectiveness of each methodology. the focus; the test area where the sample whose temperature is
to controlled is positioned. The heliostat system operates
independently of the
Linearization,fuzzy,Nearal network model predictive
adaptive control, Solar furnace, Thermal stress test

Due to high demands on different renewable energies they are
becoming one of the most important topics in society industry
and research. In fact the damages caused by pollution of non-
renewable sources of energy and the exhaustion of fossil fuels
increases the interest towards green energy. Solar energy has
been in the spotlight of investigation in Mankind’s quest for
the ultimate, unlimited source of power. It is one of the most
interesting and important source of renewable
newable energy and
various technologies like solar water heaters or photovoltaic Fig.1 Schematic of solar furnace
panels take advantage of this.
The concentrated solar radiation is used in a solar furnace by temperature control system in such a way that the heliostat
using an optical system to focus a large area of sunlight into a movement is autonomously controlled by a computer system
smaller area. Solar power is exploited in a solar furnace for which calculates and position thee heliostat which depends on
thermal and chemical treatments or resistance test for high the geographic latitude, longitude, sun trajectory etc. The
temperature or thermal shocks [1]-[3]. amount of incident light is regulated by a computer controlled
In Odeillo, France, the solar complex plant has many types of louvered attenuator or shutter between the concentrator and
solar furnaces that are used for such experiments.
ents. Mainly, a the heliostat with a dimension of 11.5m x 11.2m
11 and 15896
6KW furnace is capable of focusing a total of 5500KW/m2 in positions between 550(closed) and 0o(open). The parabolic
a 0.5cm wide focus. In this paper, the work is mainly focussed collector concentrates the incident light from the heliostat and
to obtain an automatic control system that can be applied to multiplies the radiant energy in the focal zone. The parabolic
this system is. Obtaining a robust and reliable temperatu
temperature surface is achieved by using curved facets with a total surface
control system is of significant importance as it allows for of 98.5m2 and a reflectivity of 92%.
repeatability of experiments as well as accurate ways to The test table where the samples are placed is mobile on
subdue samples to desired temperature profiles. three axes perpendicular to each other with a dimension of
The aim of this work is to design a control system that is 0.7m x 0.6m. Te movement of test table is performed
capable of producing large gradients of temperature on the manually by acting on 6 cursors placed in the operation board
tested sample and to control the sample temperatures to that activate the corresponding step motor of the positioning
system of the table to allow the displacement in three axes and

978-1-4799-4190-2/14/$31.00 ©2014 IEEE 426

2014 International Conference on Control, Instrumentation, Communication and Computational Technologies (ICCICCT)

to place the sample in the accurate focus before starting the linear control techniques to the obtained model equation
experiment. Once the table is positioned on the focus where (1)must be linearized.
the solar radiation is concentrated the table stands a fixed Let U(t) = Gs(t)S(θ(t)), the amount of radiation that reach the
position. Neither the positioning system of the heliostat or the sample be the input to the system. If the system is in the
movable table is useful for controlling the temperature of the equilibrium point (U0, T0), where the energy variation on the
sample. sample is null, and if a small perturbation on the input (U =
The function of the heliostat positioning system is to provide U0+u, Ts=T0+δ) is induced, a linearized model of the thermal
the maximum amount of concentrated solar energy and that of balance is obtained. Using Taylor’s Theorem for nonlinear
the table is to place the sample in the focus before each test. functions the following equation defines a linear
So as from the control side the input signal to the system is the approximation for Ts(t)
aperture of the shutter and the output signal is the temperature
of the sample. .
. . d T s (t )
T s ( t )  T s (t ) | (U U 0 ),T s  T0 )  | (U U 0 ,T s  T0 )  (T s  T 0 )
The basic sample temperature model is described in [1][5]. d T s (t )
The model consists of the first order nonlinear differential  | (U U 0 ,T s  T0 )  (U  U 0 )
equation: du
dTs ( ) (3)
 -1 [Ts4 (t) - Te4 (t)] -  2 [Ts (t) - Te (t)]   3G s (t)S( (t)) With (1) the linear differential equation for the temperature
(1) dynamics is obtained
Here Te(K) is the temperature of the environment. The
parameters α1, α2, α3 are temperature dependent and are δ (t) = -4α1To3 δ - α2δ+α3U (4)
defined by the following equations:
Now considering initial null conditions the Laplace transform
1  may be applied with U(t) U(s) δ Ts(s) the resulting transfer
Cpm function for the linearised model is given by
hconv As
2 
Cpm Ts ( s ) 3

 s As g f hr U ( s) s  4 1To 3   2
3  (2)
Cpm Ts ( s ) b (5)
 ; where
Assuming the average available solar power of 1000W/m2 the U ( s) s  a
gain of the furnace is then Gf=2525 b  3
It is assumed in this work that the sample being tested is a disk
a  4 1To   2
of alumina (Al2O3), allowing the specification of certain
matter properties required to test the developed model. This
material is commonly used in these types of experiments that
will be considered Convection factor (Hconv), heat capacity
(Cp) and emissivity () are temperature dependent and is IV. P & PI CONTROL SCHEMES
described in [2] As usual in the development of automatic control scheme the
Parameter Description Value first step in the design is the design of classical PID control
M(kg) Mass of sample 2.651×10-3 schemes[7]. As a first step proportional controller is analysed.
 Emissivity 0.85 Introducing fine tuning by trial and error method Kp value is
σ[Wm-2k-4] Stefan-boltzmann 5.67 ×10-3
const chosen as 0.5. Fig. shows the simulation result of step
As Exposed sample 7.068 ×10-4 response with a P controller corresponding to two different Kp
area values. As the plant can be approximated as a first order system
αs Sample’s solar 0.14 and considering the system specifications a PI controller is
absorption factor tuned and implemented. The gain values are found using
Gf Solar furnace gain 2525 Ziegler Nichols tuning method. Introduction of the integral
Hr Heliostat& 1
gain reduces the settling time and also the steady state error.
mirror gain Table shows different values of Kp and Ki used and their
Gs(t)[kw m-2] flux 1 corresponding rise time settling time and overshoot. Fig.6.2.
Table 3.1: Parameters for the thermal Table dynamics model. shows the corresponding simulation results using PI controller
using three different ranges of gains. Table 4.1 shows the
The model obtained has nonlinear properties and hence characteristic values of the parameters and corresponding time
linearization techniques will be used to obtain a linear model, domain characteristics
allowing application of linear control theory. In order to apply

978-1-4799-4190-2/14/$31.00 ©2014 IEEE 427

2014 International Conference on Control, Instrumentation, Communication and Computational Technologies (ICCICCT)

output. This difference

nce or comparison is then fed to another
neural network which is the controller part. This neural
network controller is designed in such a way that the plant
Fuzzy logic is used to mimic the expert’s way of operating output follows the reference model output whose dynamics are
on samples [9].. In fuzzy logic fast responses without well known.Fig.5.1
Fig.5.1 shows the Simulink block of neural
overshoots were achieved
chieved without the use of any physical network MRAC
model of the system. In FLC architecture the inputs were error
and the derivative of the error of the controlled variable;
which is the sample temperature. The Simulink block for the
Fuzzy logic controlled solar furnaceace is shown in Fig. The
fuzzy controller is developed in the FIS editor provided by the
MATLAB/SIMULINK software. Fig.5.1 shows the Simulink
model of the fuzzy logic controlled solar furnace. Fig.6.3.
shows the simulation result for the fuzzy and PID controller.

Fig.5.1. Simulink block of Neural Network MRAC

The training algorithms are used to optimize the performance
function. When the weights and biases of the network are
initialized the network is ready for training. The
Th process of
training a neural network involves tuning the values of the
weights and biases of the network to optimize network
performance. Levenberg Marquardt (LM) training algorithm is
being used. ‘trainlm’ is the training function which supports
trainingg with validation and test vectors. The network
performance function is the mean square error(mse) which is
given by
1 N
1 N
 (E ) i

 (Y p  Ym ) 2
A neural network based Model Reference Adaptive Controller i i

(MRAC) is implemented to control the temperature of sample Where Ei is the error Yp is the plant output and Ym is the
in the solar furnace. Neural network theory can be applied model output. Objective of model reference control system is
successfully for identification and control of dynamic to obtain a control law and an updating law of the controller
systems[10].. Model reference control NN architecture is being parameters such that the tracking error
used.It requires a NN plant model and a separate NN limt    ( y P (t )  ym (t )   ;   0
controller. The neural model reference control architecture Should be a minimum for some specified constant >0. The
uses two neural networks; a control network and a plant control loop is adjusted by an adaptation mechanism which
network. attempts to make the responses of process and reference model
identical. Control law is developed so that the closed loop
plant has transfer function equals the reference model. Control
algorithm or adjustment mechanism constructed by the
adaptive control rule called MIT rule which performs the
algorithm as follows;

Tracking error, e = Yp – Ym
1 2
Cost function , J ( )  (e ( ) ;
Where θ is controller parameter
The MIT rule says that the time rate of change of θ is directly
First the plant model is identified using a NN plant model.The
proportional to the negative gradient of J
controller is a neural networkork that is trained to control the
That is,
plant so that it follows a reference model. Plant identification
involves the recollection of information about the dynamic U  U C
plant to be controlled.
ontrolled. First a neural network is designed to
identify the plant that is it learns the plant behavior through d dJ de
training and the knowledge thus obtained is used to generate    e ;where γ is a tuning parameter
dt d d
an output signal which is then compared with the actual plant

978-1-4799-4190-2/14/$31.00 ©2014 IEEE 428

2014 International Conference on Control, Instrumentation, Communication and Computational Technologies (ICCICCT)


Different control techniques have been used in sample
temperature control of solar furnace. In [6] an adaptive plus 400
feed forward control technique is being used with the same
physical model. The disturbance rejection problem is treated 200
in [7].In [8] the same physical model as in [5] is being used
with a simple algorithm. In [9] fuzzy logic techniques are
implemented. 600

In the above study certain conclusions can be derived by a

comparative study between different control techniques used 400

here. Initially the response with a PI controller is verified.

Fig.6.1.shows a comparative response between two values of
Kp. It shows that increasing the value of proportional gain 0
considerably reduces the rise time and settling time. KP=0.5,Ki=0.005
Continuing the analysis by adding an integral; the introduction 600

of integral gain reduces the settling time and also steady state
error. Comparative response of of PI controller with different
values of controller parameters is shown in Fig.6.2. From the 200
figure it can be inferred that introduction of the integral gain
reduces the rise time and settling time but there is a 0
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200
considerable increase in overshoot. Reduction in integral grain
reduces the overshoot from 6.98% to 2.69%

Fig.6.2. Simulation of PI controller with three different values

of controller parameters
Controller Parameter Settling Rise time overshoot
values time
P Kp=0.2 195.6 109.8
300 Kp=0.5 15 8.45
Kp=0.5 51.2 6.88 6.98
200 PI Kp=0.5 43.7 7.98 2.69
100 Kp=0.5 15.69 8.78 0
0 Table 1.Values of characteristic parameters

500 800

400 700
300 600

200 500

100 400

0 300
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200


Fig.6.1 Simulation result of P controller with Kp=0.2 and 100

0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350

Fig.6.3 simulation result for Fuzzy and PID control

978-1-4799-4190-2/14/$31.00 ©2014 IEEE 429

2014 International Conference on Control, Instrumentation, Communication and Computational Technologies (ICCICCT)

The Neural Network MRAC will considerably reduce the

rise time and also account for the constraints in the
temperature of furnace











250 300 350 400 450 500

Fig. 6.4. Simulation of neural network model reference

adaptive controller
A comparative study of the control techniques for the
temperature control of solar furnace is proposed in this paper.
Control schemes incorporating P, PI and fuzzy controllers and
Neural Network Model Reference Adaptive controllers are
presented. Different plant simulation results have been shown
and a comparative study is being presented.


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