Progress on Water Free Cleaning of Solar Power Collectors using Electrodynamic Screens (EDS)
Natural dust deposition, called soiling, and the loss of output power due to the decrease in collected irradiance, can be a significant challenge for solar power plant operators in arid climates. The current industry standard is deluge or brush washing, which can consume significant volumes of water, disrupts plant operation, and is labor intensive. The Electrodynamic Screen (EDS) film, under development at Boston University, is a device which consists of rows of interdigitated electrodes that is then installed on the surface of the solar collector. When the EDS is activated by an external power supply, an electric field charges and then sweeps dust particles from the surface. Cleaning with the EDS system has been shown to restore the output power of a photovoltaic panel to 95% of its original output, and to restore the specular reflectance of a solar mirror to 90% of its original output in laboratory tests. Furthermore, the EDS can clean more frequently than other soiling mitigation techniques, allowing or an improved performance ratio for the field. Work is now underway to test the EDS in solar fields in the southwestern United States and in international locations and we would like to present the updated progress of this work.