Operational Characterization of the Solar-Thermal Power System Near Willard, New Mexico

[+] Author and Article Information
G. A. Krivokapich

New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, N. M. 88003

D. L. Fenton

Department of Mechanical Engineering, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, N. M. 88003

G. H. Abernathy

Department of Agricultural Engineering, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, N. M. 88003

J. V. Otts

Sandia Laboratories, Albuquerque, N. M. 87185

J. Sol. Energy Eng 105(3), 268-276 (Aug 01, 1983) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3266377 History: Received November 13, 1981; Online November 11, 2009


The output capacity of the solar-thermal power system located near Willard, New Mexico was 19 kw (25 hp), with a primary application for irrigation pumping. Solar radiation was collected with north-south axis, east-west tracking, parabolic trough collectors having a total aperture area of 1275 m2 (13,720 ft2 ). Thermal storage was adequate for 20 hr. of power system operation utilizing a reaction-type turbine in conjunction with an organic Rankine-cycle heat engine. Operating efficiencies for the turbine component, heat engine, and the complete power system were 65–80 percent, 10–16 percent, and 1–3 percent, respectively. With the Willard system fully operational and near-term hardware improvement, an annual performance of 22 kw hr/m2 of collector aperature area could be expected. Examples of component operation under variable environmental conditions are presented for the winter and summer seasons. Maintenance experience with the Willard system is also given.

Copyright © 1983 by ASME
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