Research Papers

Integration of a Pressurized-Air Solar Receiver Array to a Gas Turbine Power Cycle for Solar Tower Applications

[+] Author and Article Information
Peter Poživil

Department of Mechanical and
Process Engineering,
ETH Zürich,
Zürich 8092, Switzerland

Aldo Steinfeld

Department of Mechanical and
Process Engineering,
ETH Zürich,
Zürich 8092, Switzerland
e-mail: aldo.steinfeld@ethz.ch

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING: INCLUDING WIND ENERGY AND BUILDING ENERGY CONSERVATION. Manuscript received August 16, 2016; final manuscript received April 23, 2017; published online May 22, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Werner J. Platzer.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 139(4), 041007 (May 22, 2017) (8 pages) Paper No: SOL-16-1369; doi: 10.1115/1.4036635 History: Received August 16, 2016; Revised April 23, 2017

The thermal performance of an array of pressurized-air solar receiver modules integrated to a gas turbine power cycle is analyzed for a simple Brayton cycle (BC), recuperated Brayton cycle (RC), and combined Brayton–Rankine cycle (CC). While the solar receiver's solar-to-heat efficiency decreases at higher operating temperatures and pressures, the opposite is true for the power cycle's heat-to-work efficiency. The optimal operating conditions are achieved with a preheat stage for a solar receiver outlet air temperature of 1300 °C and an air cycle pressure ratio of 9, yielding a peak solar-to-electricity efficiency—defined as the ratio of the net cycle work output divided by the solar radiative power input through the receiver's aperture—of 39.3% for the combined cycle configuration.

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Fig. 1

Schematic of the solar receiver: The modular design consists of a cylindrical SiC cavity surrounded by a concentric annular RPC foam contained in a stainless steel PCV, with a secondary concentrator (CPC) attached to its windowless aperture [11]

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Fig. 2

Exemplary array of solar receiver modules arranged in a honeycomb structure consisting of 85 receiver-CPC units grouped into two clusters: 43 high-temperature units located in the center (black) and 42 low-temperature preheat units located at the edges of the array (white)

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Fig. 3

Energy balance of heat losses as a function of the receiver outlet air temperature [16]

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Fig. 4

Cycle schematics: (a) simple Brayton, (b) recuperated Brayton, and (c) combined Brayton–Rankine cycle

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Fig. 5

Fluid temperature versus relative heat transfer in an exemplary heat recovery steam generator consisting of (1) economizer, (2) evaporator, and (3) superheater [23]. The hot air flow (45) heats, evaporates, and superheats the water/steam flow (BC).

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Fig. 6

Cycle efficiency versus pressure ratio of (a) Brayton cycle and (b) solar Brayton cycle for receiver outlet air temperatures ranging from 700 °C to 1400 °C

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Fig. 7

Cycle efficiency versus pressure ratio of (a) recuperated Brayton cycle and (b) solar recuperated cycle for receiver outlet air temperatures ranging from 700 °C to 1400 °C

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Fig. 8

Cycle efficiency versus pressure ratio of (a) combined Brayton–Rankine cycle and (b) solar combined cycle for receiver outlet air temperatures ranging from 700 °C to 1400 °C

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Fig. 9

Peak BC, RC, and CC cycle efficiency as a function of the preheat contribution. The dashed lines indicate the performance of the single-stage receiver array.

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Fig. 10

Cycle efficiency as a function of receiver outlet air temperature and pressure ratio versus the specific work output of (a) the solar Brayton cycle and (b) the solar combined Brayton–Rankine cycle. Cases with insufficient steam production are not displayed.



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