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Research Papers

High Flux Central Receivers of Molten Salts for the New Generation of Commercial Stand-Alone Solar Power Plants

[+] Author and Article Information
Jesús M. Lata

 SENER Ingeniería y Sistemas S.A., Avenida Zugazarte 56, 48930 Las Arenas, Vizcaya, Spain; SENER Severo Ochoa 4, Parque Tecnologico de Madrid, 28760 Tres Cantos, Madrid, Spain; CIEMAT, Avenida Complutense 22, 28040 Madrid, Spainjesus.lata@sener.es

Manuel Rodríguez, Mónica Álvarez de Lara

 SENER Ingeniería y Sistemas S.A., Avenida Zugazarte 56, 48930 Las Arenas, Vizcaya, Spain; SENER Severo Ochoa 4, Parque Tecnologico de Madrid, 28760 Tres Cantos, Madrid, Spain; CIEMAT, Avenida Complutense 22, 28040 Madrid, Spain

J. Sol. Energy Eng 130(2), 021002 (Feb 28, 2008) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2884576 History: Received September 21, 2006; Revised October 03, 2007; Published February 28, 2008

Molten salt technology represents nowadays the most cost-effective technology for electricity generation for stand-alone solar power plants. Although this technology can be applied to both concentrating technologies, parabolic through and central receiver systems (CRSs), CRS technology can take advantages from its higher concentration, allowing to work at higher temperatures and therefore with a reduction in the size and cost of the storage system. The receiver system is the “door” for which the energy passes from the field collector to the thermal-electric cycle; it represents, therefore, the core of the CRS and its performance directly affects plant production. Starting from the published lessons from SOLAR TWO receiver technology, the validation of an improved receiver for molten salt technology was assumed as part of the SOLAR TRES solar thermal power commercial plant development. Main challenges for the new receiver were to increase its allowable peak flux up to 1MWm2 in order to maximize the thermal efficiency of the CRS solar power plant, and to improve its safe life without limiting the incident fluxes that the field of heliostats is able to deliver with an optimized pointing strategy. Several advanced features in geometric and thermodynamic aspects and in its material selection have been implemented on the receiver. With the results of a sensitivity analysis carried out with an own code developed by SENER (SENREC), a prototype receiver panel was designed, fabricated, and installed in a proper test bed at the PSA. Test validation on this panel was carried out in 2007. The initial test results show a very good behavior of the prototype receiver, which allows to anticipate that the objectives of its design can be fulfilled. SENER and CIEMAT have joined forces to face up the challenge of sizing and designing a new molten salt receiver of high thermal efficiency, able to operate at high fluxes without compromising its durability (at least 25years). Main challenges for the new receiver design were to optimize the receiver dimensions and receiver tube sizes and material selection to surpass the operating conditions in the new plants with respect to SOLAR TWO.

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Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Receiver for SOLAR TRES

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Figure 2

Energy balance of the receiver (design point: equinox at noon)

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Figure 3

Typical temperature distribution along a tube cross section

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Figure 4

Graphs showing the variation of the receiver efficiency, pressure drop, and maximum tube temperature versus the external diameter of the receiver tubes

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Figure 5

NaNO3∕KNO3 mixture melting behavior

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Figure 6

Test facilities for immersion tests in molten NaNO3∕KNO3 mixture

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