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Research Papers

Economic Potential of Innovative Receiver Concepts With Different Solar Field Configurations for Supercritical Steam Cycles

[+] Author and Article Information
Csaba Singer

Institute of Solar Research,
German Aerospace Centre (DLR),
Pfaffenwaldring 38-40,
Stuttgart 70569, Germany
e-mail: csaba.singer@dlr.de

Reiner Buck

Institute of Solar Research,
German Aerospace Centre (DLR),
Pfaffenwaldring 38-40,
Stuttgart 70569, Germany
e-mail: reiner.buck@dlr.de

Robert Pitz-Paal

Institute of Solar Research,
German Aerospace Centre (DLR),
Pfaffenwaldring 38-40,
Stuttgart 70569, Germany
e-mail: robert.pitz-paal@dlr.de

Hans Müller-Steinhagen

TU Dresden,
Helmholtzstraße 10,
Dresden 01069, Germany
e-mail: rektor@tu-dresden.de

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Solar Energy Engineering. Manuscript received January 9, 2012; final manuscript received April 17, 2013; published online September 16, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Manuel Romero Alvarez.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 136(2), 021009 (Sep 16, 2013) (10 pages) Paper No: SOL-12-1006; doi: 10.1115/1.4024740 History: Received January 09, 2012; Revised April 17, 2013

The cost reduction potential of solar power towers (SPT) is an important issue concerning its market introduction. Raising the steam process temperature and pressure can lead to a cost reduction due to increased overall plant efficiency. Thus, for new receiver configurations, a supercritical steam cycle operated at 300 bar/600 °C/610 °C live steam conditions was assumed. The considered systems include innovative direct absorption receivers, either with conventional or beam down heliostat field layouts. For the beam down option, the receiver is assumed to be a cylindrical vessel with a flow-through porous absorber structure at the internal lateral area of the cylinder. The direct absorption receiver option consists of a cylindrical barrel with downwards oriented aperture, whose absorber structure at the internal lateral area is cooled by a molten salt film. For the assessment, CFD based methods are developed and able to examine the receiver efficiency characteristics. Based on the receiver thermal efficiency characteristics and the solar field characteristics, the annual performance is evaluated using hourly time series. The assessment methodology is based on the European Concentrated Solar Thermal Roadmap (ECOSTAR) study and enables the prediction of the annual performance and the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). Applying appropriate cost assumptions from literature, the LCOE are estimated for each considered SPT concept and compared to tubular receiver concepts with molten salt and liquid metal cooling. The power level of the compared concepts and the reference case is 200 MWel. The sensitivity of the specific cost assumptions is analyzed. No detailed evaluation is done for the thermal storage, but comparable storage utilization and costs are assumed for all cases. At optimized plant parameters, the results indicate a LCOE reduction potential of up to 0.5% for beam down and of up to 7.2% for the direct absorption receiver compared to today's state of the art molten salt solar tower technology.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic layout of the BD receiver model

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Fig. 2

Schematic layout of the DAR receiver model

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Fig. 3

Film thickness adjustment

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Fig. 4

Comparison between the two flux method and the combined methods used in this work

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Fig. 5

Characteristics of the receiver concepts obtained from the analyzed used receiver models

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Fig. 6

Potential of LCOE reduction for the considered innovative receiver concepts in comparison to the reference design

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Fig. 7

Cost assumption sensitivity on the LCOE

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