Research Papers

A Review of Hybrid Solar–Fossil Fuel Power Generation Systems and Performance Metrics

[+] Author and Article Information
Elysia J. Sheu

Department of Mechanical Engineering,  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139

Alexander Mitsos1

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

Ahmad A. Eter, Esmail M. A. Mokheimer, Mohamed A. Habib, Amro Al-Qutub

Department of Mechanical Engineering,  King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia


Corresponding author.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 134(4), 041006 (Jul 17, 2012) (17 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4006973 History: Received January 08, 2012; Accepted April 25, 2012; Published July 17, 2012; Online July 17, 2012

A literature review of hybrid solar–fossil fuel power generation is given with an emphasis on system integration and evaluation. Hybrid systems are defined as those which use solar energy and fuel simultaneously, thus excluding the viable alternative of solar thermal plants which use fossil fuels as backup. The review is divided into three main sections: performance metrics, the different concentrated solar receiver technologies and their operating conditions, and the different hybridization schemes. In addition, a new linear combination metric for analysis of hybrid systems, which considers trade-off of different metrics at the fleet level, is presented. This metric is also compared to alternative metrics from multi-objective optimization. Some previous work only evaluates the hybrid cycle at a certain point in time, which can be misleading as this evaluation would not take into account certain aspects of hybrid cycle, such as fluctuating solar supply. Furthermore, almost all previous work designs the hybrid solar–fossil fuel systems for a certain point in time and then evaluates the performance of the system for an entire year. By not taking into account fluctuating solar supply and selling price of electricity in the design of the system, the best possible annual performance of the hybrid cycle may not be reached.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 4

ORMAT hybrid solar–fossil fuel gas turbine schematic (adapted from Ref. [73])

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Figure 5

Possible solar integration methods in a combined cycle: solar heat can be added to the top cycle, the bottoming cycle (preheating the feedwater), or both (shown here)

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Figure 6

Three different solar integration methods in the steam cycle (adapted from Ref. [57])

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Figure 7

General schematic of solar reforming

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Figure 8

Schematic of solar syngas fired power plant (adapted from Ref. [120])

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Figure 9

Schematic of SOLRGT cycle (adapted from Ref. [125])

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Figure 10

Trade-off comparison between LEC and CO2 emissions for various power plants (Tunisia LEC includes subsidy for solar)

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Figure 1

Fictitious example for linear combination metric: assumed parameters of solar only, fossil fuel only, and hybrid plants (hybrid cycle B is competitive while hybrid cycle A is not)

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Figure 2

Fictitious scenario for comparison of Pareto-optimal and linear combination metric (Pareto-optimal points are not necessarily optimal under the metric proposed)

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Figure 3

Example of hybrid solar–fossil fuel gas turbine: compressed air is heated before entering the combustor and when solar energy is not available, the air is directly sent to the combustor



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