The technological advancements achieved in the field of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have positioned this technology as a key enabling technology for revolutionizing the entire energy industry by facilitating diverse operations and tasks that would otherwise be either impossible to carry out, costly, labour intensive, and, in some cases, dangerous. The plethora of UAV-based applications is enormous constituting a unique arsenal of capabilities, with the most dominant being the unparallelled access to remote long-range data collection, logging and transmission, and extended visual mapping. This paper provides a comprehensive review of integrating UAV-based applications and methods for the planning, operation and maintenance of Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) power plants. This review is based not only on the peer-reviewed literature, but on the analysis of the relevant patent landscape. In addition to presenting the current state-of-the-art, it delves into the perspective of UAV integration into the CST sector for the foreseeable future. Lastly, based on the key findings of the review, other key enabling technologies that could be employed in UAV-based applications for unleashing further automation and opportunities in the CST sector are discussed.
Kypros Milidonis, A. Eliades, Victor Grigoriev, M.J. Blanco,
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in the planning, operation and maintenance of concentrating solar thermal systems: A review, Solar Energy, Volume 254, 2023, Pages 182-194, ISSN 0038-092X, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.solener.2023.03.005.
Published in the April Issue of Solar Energy