NTN Developed “Motorized Linear Module for Tracking System of Solar Heat/Solar Light Power Generation”

NTN solar tracking 3

NTN Corporation (hereafter, NTN) has developed the “Motorized Linear Module for Tracking System of Solar Heat / Solar Light Power Generation*” with high precision positioning technology for use in solar heat and solar light power generation facilities.

Tower type solar heat power generation plants designed to use the sun’s energy effectively utilize a reflecting mirror to track the movement of the sun, with heat from the solar light collected at the central tower used to generate power. Devices used to track the sun are generally designed so that the angle of elevation moves linearly, with rotation and drive moving around the horizontal angle.

Until now, pneumatic and hydraulic cylinders had been used as the linear actuators of the drive mechanism for the angle of elevation due to their simple construction and high mass-production capabilities. Yet these designs required external compressors, special piping and other equipment connected to each cylinder, as well as significant power supplied to them. It was also difficult to completely eliminate air or oil leaks from the cylinders or piping, which subsequently required time and cost to conduct maintenance inspections and repairs.

The “Motorized Linear Module for Tracking System of Solar Heat / Solar Light Power Generation” developed by NTN uses a linear module type cylinder powered by an electric motor drive system. The use of a ball screw for the feed screw gives the module a high repeatability of the position and durability for extended use. Grooves have been machined into the track surface on the inner surface of the body that forms the part of straight guide, and a rolling bearing as the guide roller to ensure smooth linear guidance and a high rigidity.

Solar heat power generators are suited to larger areas of land with long hours of sunlight such as deserts. The developed product can be used under the tough environmental conditions found in desert areas, as it features a dust seal to prevent the entry of dust and other foreign matter, and comes with protection tubes to protect piping from UV rays and heat.

The developed product can also be used for solar light power generators, and installation of tracking systems mounted to solar panels are expected to increase the amount of power generated by 1.6-fold compared to fixed systems.

NTN has already supplied the developed product to manufacturers of solar heat power generation equipment for evaluation testing, and is focusing on sales activities in global markets.

* Motorized linear module: device that moves a cylinder linearly by extending/retracting it with an electric motor

[ Features ]

(1) High performance
? Repeatability of the position ±0.1 mm or less, high-rigidity with thrust of 3,000 N or more
(2) High weather resistance
? Dust protection and heat resistance for use in environments such as desert areas

[ Product photo ]
NTN solar tracking 1Motorized Linear Module for Tracking System of Solar Heat Power Generation
e.g.) Body: length 935 mm, 75 mm square, stroke length: 500 mm

[ Applicable parts ]

NTN solar tracking 2Image of tower type solar heat power generation plant

NTN solar tracking 3Heliostat mirror for reflecting solar light


source: NTN