Research Papers

Optimal Design and Operation of a Solar Energy Receiver and Storage

[+] Author and Article Information
Amin Ghobeity

Hatch Ltd., Specialized Engineering Analysis Design (SEAD), 2800 Speakman Drive, Mississauga, ON, L5K 2R7, Canada

Alexander Mitsos1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139amitsos@alum.mit.edu


Corresponding author.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 134(3), 031005 (Apr 04, 2012) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4006402 History: Received September 18, 2011; Revised February 27, 2012; Published April 03, 2012; Online April 04, 2012

Optimization of design and operation is presented for a solar energy receiver combined with a thermal energy storage. The concentrated solar power on-demand (CSPonD) concept, which can be described, in brief, as a volumetric solar energy receiver system combined with a modified raft thermocline concept, is considered. The CSPonD concept is assumed to be providing heat for a general cogeneration scheme where power production is the main product of the cogeneration. With a constant power production, a secondary process is assumed to consume the process heat from the CSPonD and power cycle. Models are developed for thermal analysis of the energy storage, taking into account hourly and seasonal variations in the solar energy as well as the heliostat field efficiency. Nonlinear programming (NLP) is used for optimization of the design and operation. The sequential method of optimization and a heuristic approach (parallel computing) are implemented using an equation-oriented modeling environment and gradient-based local solvers. A strategy is presented to design and operate the plant, considering the significant seasonal variations in the solar energy. Three case studies are presented. The first one optimizes the design based on a design day and a desired thermal duty. The other two address optimal yearly operation of the plant. The results of the optimization case studies show that (a) the CSPonD concept aids in handling variations (hourly, daily, and seasonal) in solar energy, (b) CSPonD is a promising concept for cogeneration, (c) the mass of salt required in the CSPonD concept is not significantly lower than the salt required in a single-tank thermal energy storage system.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 5

Optimal time-variable operation found from simultaneous optimization design and operation on the design day (Case Study 1, Sec. 4)

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Figure 4

Heat duty requirements from the CSPonD for full-load operation of the power plant considered [17]. As discussed in Sec. 4, a secondary process utilizes the excess heat in summer and days with excess heat available.

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Figure 3

Flow diagram of the design and optimization

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Figure 2

The simplified process flow configuration. The steam cycle and the secondary user of the process heat are not modeled herein, but heat transfer to them is allowed and modeled.

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Figure 1

Schematic of the virtual two-tank concept with integrated solar energy receiver and energy storage [16]

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Figure 6

Energy flow diagram resulted from optimal operation of CSPonD (Case Study 1, Sec. 4)

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Figure 7

The percentage of heliostats required for a fixed operation. Fixed heat extraction from the pond assumed, i.e., Qpond in Fig. 4 is set to zero and Qlid throughout the year is optimized.

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Figure 8

Optimal yearly heat extraction rate from the pond and the lid, along with the operating temperatures in the pond and the lid. The operating conditions are optimized for maximum exergy extracted from the CSPonD (Case Study 2B), assuming the fixed design found from Case Study 1.

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Figure 9

Daily optimal operation for a sample day (Jun. 21). The optimal operating conditions are found from Case Study 2B, assuming the fixed design found from Case Study 1.




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