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Research Papers

Thermo-Economic Optimization of Hybridization Options for Solar Retrofitting of Combined-Cycle Power Plants

[+] Author and Article Information
Erik Pihl

Division of Energy Technology,
Chalmers University of Technology,
Göteborg SE-412 96, Sweden
e-mail: pihl.power@gmail.com

James Spelling

Department of Energy Technology,
Royal Institute of Technology,
Stockholm SE-100 44, Sweden
e-mail: james.spelling@energy.kth.se

Filip Johnsson

Division of Energy Technology,
Chalmers University of Technology,
Göteborg SE-412 96, Sweden
e-mail: filip.johnsson@chalmers.se

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Solar Energy Engineering. Manuscript received April 13, 2012; final manuscript received March 5, 2013; published online August 21, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Markus Eck.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 136(2), 021001 (Aug 21, 2013) (9 pages) Paper No: SOL-12-1102; doi: 10.1115/1.4024922 History: Received April 13, 2012; Revised March 05, 2013

A thermo-economic optimization model of an integrated solar combined-cycle (ISCC) has been developed to evaluate the performance of an existing combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant when retrofitted with solar trough collectors. The model employs evolutionary algorithms to assess the optimal performance and cost of the power plant. To define the trade-offs required for maximizing gains and minimizing costs (and to identify ‘optimal’ hybridization schemes), two conflicting objectives were considered, namely, minimum required investment and maximum net present value (NPV). Optimization was performed for various feed-in tariff (FIT) regimes, with tariff levels that were either fixed or that varied with electricity pool prices. It was found that for the given combined-cycle power plant design, only small annual solar shares (∼1.2% annual share, 4% of installed capacity) could be achieved by retrofitting. The integrated solar combined-cycle design has optimal thermal storage capacities that are several times smaller than those of the corresponding solar-only design. Even with strong incentives to shift the load to periods in which the prices are higher, investment in storage capacity was not promoted. Nevertheless, the levelized costs of the additional solar-generated electricity are as low as 10 c€/kWh, compared to the 17–19 c€/kWh achieved for a reference, nonhybridized, “solar-only” concentrating solar power plant optimized with the same tools and cost dataset. The main reasons for the lower cost of the integrated solar combined-cycle power plant are improved solar-to-electric efficiency and the lower level of required investment in the steam cycle. The retrofitting of combined-cycle gas turbine plants to integrated solar combined-cycle plants with parabolic troughs represents a viable option to achieve relatively low-cost capacity expansion and strong knowledge building regarding concentrating solar power.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

ISCC power plant layout for a retrofitted CCGT; existing components are shown within the dashed box

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Fig. 2

ISCC power plant flow-sheet within the Ebsilon modeling environment

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Fig. 3

“Solar-only” reference plant layout

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Fig. 4

Pareto-optimal front for a generic trade-off between quality and cost

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Fig. 5

Feed-in tariff as a function of market pool price for the solar-produced electricity from the ISCC

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Fig. 6

Electricity market pool prices used for economic evaluations of the ISCC concepts

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Fig. 7

Algorithm convergence for the ISCC case with 20 generations of 40 individual cases

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Fig. 8

Parameter ranges for the optimal ISCC design (fixed tariff), based on the parameters and within the boundaries set in Table 2

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Fig. 9

Algorithm convergence for the solar-only case with 20 generations of 40 individual cases

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Fig. 10

Parameter ranges for the optimal solar-only designs, based on the parameters and within the boundaries set in Table 3

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Fig. 11

Pareto-optimal collector field sizes for the retrofitted ISCC design; the solar share is measured in terms of electrical output

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Fig. 12

Pareto-optimal storage tank sizes for the retrofitted ISCC designs under different FIT schemes

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Fig. 13

Comparison of Pareto-optimal storage tank sizes for the retrofitted ISCC and solar-only designs

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Fig. 14

Solar equipment investment as a function of the collector field size for Pareto-optimal power plant designs

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Fig. 15

Solar levelized electricity cost as a function of the collector field size for Pareto-optimal power plant designs

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Fig. 16

Net present value of the retrofitting investment as a function of the collector field size for Pareto-optimal power plant designs

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Fig. 17

Internal rate of return of the retrofitting investment as a function of the collector field size for Pareto-optimal power plant designs

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Fig. 18

Differences in solar electricity cost for optimization at locations with different DNI values

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