Central-Station Solar Hydrogen Power Plant

[+] Author and Article Information
Gregory J. Kolb

Solar Systems Department, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM 87123gjkolb@sandia.gov

Richard B. Diver

Solar Technologies Department, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM 87123rbdiver@sandia.gov

Nathan Siegel

Solar Technologies Department, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM 87123spsiege@sandia.gov

If the volumetric receiver were used, 600°C air from the exit of the SAHT cycle would be reintroduced at the receiver inlet. Experimental data indicates >50% of the hot return air would be lost (17). This results in a recuperation efficiency of 58%. Other receiver concepts have recuperation efficiencies >90%.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 129(2), 179-183 (Apr 13, 2006) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2710246 History: Received May 19, 2005; Revised April 13, 2006

Solar power towers can be used to make hydrogen on a large scale. Electrolyzers could be used to convert solar electricity produced by the power tower to hydrogen, but this process is relatively inefficient. Rather, efficiency can be much improved if solar heat is directly converted to hydrogen via a thermochemical process. In the research summarized here, the marriage of a high-temperature (1000°C) power tower with a sulfuric acid∕hybrid thermochemical cycle was studied. The concept combines a solar power tower, a solid-particle receiver, a particle thermal energy storage system, and a hybrid-sulfuric-acid cycle. The cycle is “hybrid” because it produces hydrogen with a combination of thermal input and an electrolyzer. This solar thermochemical plant is predicted to produce hydrogen at a much lower cost than a solar-electrolyzer plant of similar size. To date, only small lab-scale tests have been conducted to demonstrate the feasibility of a few of the subsystems and a key immediate issue is demonstration of flow stability within the solid-particle receiver. The paper describes the systems analysis that led to the favorable economic conclusions and discusses the future development path.

Copyright © 2007 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1

Sulfur hybrid thermochemical process diagram (7)

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Figure 2

(a) Overall solar interface schematic for the HyS process including (b) the solid particle receiver (10)

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Figure 3

A tubular heat exchanger is used to transfer heat from the sand to the acid. Sand flows downward from hot tank to cold tank across the outside of the tubes (11)

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Figure 4

PSI-cell simulation results for the 2MW solid particle receiver. Particle temperatures are indicated near the back wall (∼0m). Air—velocity vectors are indicated by the black lines (15).




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