Reduced complexity adaptive nonlinear control of a distributed collector solar field

M. Barão, J. M. Lemos, R. N. Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


An approach to the control of a distributed collector solar field relying on feedback linearization, Lyapunov based adaptation and a simplified plant model is presented. The control objective consists of manipulating the oil flow so that the outlet oil temperature is regulated around a given setpoint. For dealing with plant nonlinearities and external disturbances, a nonlinear transformation is performed on the accessible variables such that the transformed system behaves as an integrator, to which linear control techniques are then applied. Since the transformation depends on an unknown parameter, an adaptation law is designed so as to minimize a Lyapunov function for the whole system's state. For the sake of control synthesis a simplified plant model which retains the bilinear nonlinearity is employed. The resulting control law has the same control structure of the one yielding exact input-output linearization but assumes a different placement of a temperature sensor. In order to justify this procedure, plant internal dynamics is studied. Experimental results obtained in the actual field are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-141
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Process Control
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


  • Adaptive control
  • Distributed parameter
  • Nonlinear control
  • Solar energy


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