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cleaning PV panels
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dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 42958
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 21 2:03 pm    Post subject: cleaning PV panels Reply with quote
    

they are in rows
a rail along the line could be part of the frame
it is not beyond engineers to make a "thing" run backwards and forwards along that
the "thing" has a hard core vacuum cleaner, collection vessel and can propel itself along and, if needs be, pause to deal with each panel individually while moving a small head over the surface

compared to the dust loss to the energy harvest would the energy to run a vac cleaning system be effective would the capital expenditure make sense?

full auto is plausible
no water
they only work if it is dusty, or to prevent build up(that needs resolving)

does that seem possible?
old tech with new tech for new tech

Shane



Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 3467
Location: Doha. Is hot.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 21 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Could work, but would need a combination of rotary brush and vacuum, I think, as the dust is sticky once settled. Abrasive effect of sand + brush would eventually take its toll on the panels, and at times of high humidity it would probably need a manual clean as you'd just end up with streaks, but it's worth a thought. When are you building the prototype?

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 42958
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 21 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

i will consider the machine and try to find out what it needs to do

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 34535
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 21 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41378-020-00197-z

Or use titanium dioxide, like self cleaning glass.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 42958
Location: yes
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 21 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Nick wrote:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41378-020-00197-z

Or use titanium dioxide, like self cleaning glass.


interesting, it seems to have promise at proof of concept scale

having met Iraqi dust on various bits of surplus kit, that stuff is well sticky, ditto saharan stuff that drops out of africus winds now and again.
it does require water, although less than a mop and bucket.
iirc there are 2 issues, a contant ish build up and a major dustfall from regular dust storms.

if i understand it enough, i recon it might be good for some situations, my roof for example, where there is water and mixed muck depositing at a fairly low constant rate

i am not sure if it is practical for fettling after a major dustfall or if the droplet would still be liquid by the time it ended its run in the hot sun and breeze for regular maintenance cleaning

where does the muck go? can the water be recycled?

how long does it survive when it gets sandblasted?

ps fluorine is a useful element, but it does have some huge downsides as many of its compounds are long term legacy chemicals with nasty environmental and biological payloads

it has promise but a hoover on a rail or robotruck is tried and tested tech, it can be built to deal with a steady cleaning and "snowplough time" spec

due to the thermal issues, 0 to 40 C is an average sort of day, any system on rails has some mechanical issues, robotruck has quite a lot of merit as a cleaner, it can hide in storms and snooze if it is too hot, it only needs a reasonably smooth access path and it can empty itself and recharge at central points

much easier to program than a domestic cat hoverboard vac

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 6362
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 21 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Did you hear about the recent innovation in cleaning the solar panels on one of them martian rovers? They did a hail Mary and scooped more martian soil on to their own panel and that helped to shed the sticky light dust that was in the panel!

Shane



Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 3467
Location: Doha. Is hot.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 21 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

So I should pour sand on the car to get the dust off? Interesting theory!

Shane



Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 3467
Location: Doha. Is hot.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 21 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Just to highlight the issue out here, this is what a few days dust build up looks like, graciously modelled by Bumblebee here:



I took a little dust off with a wet finger just to highlight the amount of build up. Not had any particularly dusty days, either - there's just a constant, slow settling of dust all the time, even on days when the sky looks perfectly clear. The stuff on the car survives my daily commute at 70 mph (ish, ahem), too.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 42958
Location: yes
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 21 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

like doing parquet flooring with damp tea leaves
that has some promise, but the abrasion thing may be an issue

roborover is usually planned for a shortish working life, a panel rig should last 20 years or more

i recon if water is essential, which it may be, a version of my vax carpet cleaner might work for the slurping head
it sprays water and vacs it into a "dirty" tank, the spinning brush loosens stuff

stick that on a robo cleaner etc

with some sensible engineering, it should be possible to separate and reuse the water with the bits concentrated and delivered to "service" points where the robocleaners get fed and fettled

this stuff is tried and tested tech, just not in combination for this job

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 42958
Location: yes
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 21 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

that is the sort of dust we bought on the surplus kit

beasty stuff, oddly sticky when dry or wet
abrasive as well, which is an issue for any machinery involved

i recon a patent trawl might be my next move, shoulders etc but not stepping on toes is good

afaik most of the places with reliable sun have also got dust of some sort

Shane



Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 3467
Location: Doha. Is hot.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 21 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

dpack wrote:
beasty stuff, oddly sticky when dry or wet
abrasive as well, which is an issue for any machinery involved


Yep - exactly why I always clean the cars myself!

"Waterless wash, Sir?" is a recipe for paint removal by a thousand cuts.

Ty Gwyn



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 4455
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 21 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

What is the life span of these PV panels in your area Shane given the problems with the sand?

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 42958
Location: yes
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 21 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Shane wrote:
dpack wrote:
beasty stuff, oddly sticky when dry or wet
abrasive as well, which is an issue for any machinery involved


Yep - exactly why I always clean the cars myself!

"Waterless wash, Sir?" is a recipe for paint removal by a thousand cuts.


i am glad i am thinking of the right type of dust

a few observations based on " random samples from abroad"
it sticks more to some things than others, almost nowt in the ropes of helicopter nets, a black plastic water butt could hold remnants of the stuff for a couple of years in use under a spring in a temperate rain forest
some packaging not other stuff
clean metal may be immune, metal with any sort of coating maybe not(brass eyelets seemed very immune)

any sort of machine in those conditions needs as much consideration as what it has to do

electrostatic, physical, chemical and just being "difficult" all seem likely factors

Shane



Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 3467
Location: Doha. Is hot.
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 21 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Ty Gwyn wrote:
What is the life span of these PV panels in your area Shane given the problems with the sand?

No idea, to be honest. They are only just starting to tinker with solar out here (unbelieveably...), and I've not had any feedback as yet.

Shane



Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 3467
Location: Doha. Is hot.
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 21 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

dpack wrote:
Shane wrote:
dpack wrote:
beasty stuff, oddly sticky when dry or wet
abrasive as well, which is an issue for any machinery involved


Yep - exactly why I always clean the cars myself!

"Waterless wash, Sir?" is a recipe for paint removal by a thousand cuts.


i am glad i am thinking of the right type of dust

a few observations based on " random samples from abroad"
it sticks more to some things than others, almost nowt in the ropes of helicopter nets, a black plastic water butt could hold remnants of the stuff for a couple of years in use under a spring in a temperate rain forest
some packaging not other stuff
clean metal may be immune, metal with any sort of coating maybe not(brass eyelets seemed very immune)

any sort of machine in those conditions needs as much consideration as what it has to do

electrostatic, physical, chemical and just being "difficult" all seem likely factors


Another thing to bear in mind - if the dust is mixed with water and left to dry out again, it sets hard, a bit like a breakable form of concrete. Any solution that rinses it off needs to make sure it doesn't gather in pools anywhere sensitive - mixed with leaves, the slurry is very good at blocking small-bore drain pipes when it sets, for example.

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