Research Papers

Economic Chances and Technical Risks of the Internal Direct Absorption Receiver

[+] 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 23, 2013; final manuscript received May 15, 2013; published online September 19, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Wojciech Lipinski.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 136(2), 021013 (Sep 19, 2013) (11 pages) Paper No: SOL-13-1028; doi: 10.1115/1.4024933 History: Received January 23, 2013; Revised May 15, 2013

Increased receiver temperatures of solar tower power plants are proposed to decrease the plants levelized electricity costs (LEC) due to the utilization of supercritical steam power plants and thus higher overall plant efficiency. Related to elevated receiver temperatures preliminary concept studies show a distinct LEC reduction potential of the internal direct absorption receiver (IDAR), if it is compared to liquid in tube (LIT) or beam-down (BD) receiver types. The IDAR is characterized by a downward oriented aperture of a cylindrical cavity, whose internal lateral area is illuminated from the concentrator field and cooled by a liquid molten salt film. The objective is the further efficiency enhancement, as well as the identification and assessment of the technical critical aspects. For this a detailed fluid mechanic and thermodynamic receiver model of the novel receiver concept is developed to be able to analyze the IDAR's operating performance at full size receiver geometries. The model is used to analyze the open parameters concerning the feasibility, functionality and performance of the concept. Hence, different system management strategies are examined and assessed, which lead to the proposal of a cost optimized lead-concept. This concept involves a rotating receiver system with inclined absorber walls. The spatial arrangements of the absorber walls minimize thermal losses of the receiver and enhance film stability. The centrifugal forces acting on the liquid salt film are essential to realize the required system criteria, which are related to the maximal molten salt temperature, film stability and droplet ejection. Compared to the state of the art at a 200 MWel power level the IDAR concept can lead to a LEC reduction of up to 8%. The cost assumptions made for the assessment are quantified with sensitivity analysis.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Beer, J. M., 2007, “High Efficiency Electric Power Generation: The Environmental Role,” Prog. Energy Combust. Sci., 33, pp. 107–134. [CrossRef]
Kelly, B. D., 2010, Advanced Thermal Storage for Central Receivers With Supercritical Coolants, Abengoa Solar Inc., Lakewood, CO, Report No. DOE/GO18149, p. 981926.
Singer, Cs., Buck, R., Pitz-Paal, R., and Müller-Steinhagen, H., 2010, “Assessment of Solar Power Tower Driven Ultrasupercritical Steam Cycles Applying Tubular Central Receivers With Varied Heat Transfer Media,” ASME J. Sol. Energy Eng., 132, p. 041010. [CrossRef]
Kolb, G. J., 2011, “An Evaluation of Possible Next-Generation High-Temperature Molten-Salt Power Towers,” Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM, Report No. SAND2011-9320.
Singer, Cs., Buck, R., Pitz-Paal, R., and Müller-Steinhagen, H., 2011, “Economic Potential of Innovative Receiver Concepts With Different Solar Field Configurations for Supercritical Steam Cycles,” Proceedings of 5th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, Washington, DC, August 7–10.
Schwarzbözl, P., Pitz-Paal, R., and Schmitz, M., 2009, “Visual HFLCAL—A Software Tool for Layout and Optimisation of Heliostat Fields,” Proceedings of 15th International SolarPACES Symposium, Berlin, September 15–18.
Buck, R., 2010, “Solar Power Raytracing Tool SPRAY,” User Manual-Version 2.6, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Stuttgart, Germany.
van der Stelt, T. P., Woudstra, N., and Colonna, P., 1980–2006, “Cycle-Tempo: A Program for Thermodynamic Modeling and Optimization of Energy Conversion Systems,” Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands.
Pitz-Paal, R., Dersch, J., Milow, B., Tellez, F., Ferriere, A., Langnickel, U., Stein-Feld, A., Karni, J., Zarza, E., and Popel, O., 2007, “Development Steps for Parabolic Trough Solar Power Technologies With Maximum Impact on Cost Reduction,” ASME J. Sol. Energy Eng., 129, pp. 371–377. [CrossRef]
Drotning, W. D., “Solar Absorption Properties of a High Temperature Direct-Absorbing Heat Transfer Fluid,” Proceedings of 7th Symposium on Thermophysical Properties, Gaithersburg, MD, May 10–12.
Webb, B. W., and Viskanta, R., 1985, “Analysis of Heat Transfer and Solar Radiation Absorption in an Irradiated Thin, Falling Molten Salt Film,” ASME J. Sol. Energy Eng., 107, pp. 113–119. [CrossRef]
Gruen, D. M., 1965, “Fused Salt Spectrophotometry,” Q. Rev., Chem. Soc., 19, pp. 349–368. [CrossRef]
Karapantsios, T. D., and Karabelas, A. J., 1995, “Longitudinal Characteristics of Wavy Falling Films,” Int. J. Multiphase Flow, 21, pp. 119–127. [CrossRef]
Chun, K. R., and Seban, R. A., 1971, “Heat Transfer to Evaporating Liquid Films,” ASME J. Heat Transfer, 93, pp. 391–396. [CrossRef]
Hartley, D. E., and Murgatroyd, W., 1964, “Criteria for the Break-Up of Thin Liquid Layers Flowing Iso-Thermally Over Solid Surfaces,” Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, 7, pp. 1003–1015. [CrossRef]
Zuber, N., and Staub, F. W., 1966, “Stability of Dry Patches Forming in Liquid Films Flowing Over Heated Surfaces,” Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, 9, pp. 897–905. [CrossRef]
Woodmansee, D. E., and Hanratty, T. J., 1969, “Mechanism for the Removal of Droplets From a Liquid Surface by a Parallel Air Flow,” Chem. Eng. Sci., 24, pp. 299–307. [CrossRef]
Ishii, M., and Grolmes, M. A., 1975, “Inception Criteria for Droplet Entrainment in Two-Phase Concurrent Film Flow,” AIChE J., 21, pp. 308–318. [CrossRef]
Ishii, M., and Mishima, K., 1989, “Droplet Entrainment Correlation in Annular Two-Phase Flow,” Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, 32, pp. 1835–1846. [CrossRef]
Inumaru, J., Ohtaka, M., and Watanabe, H., 2010, “Study on Droplet Entrainment of High-Viscosity Falling Liquid Film,” J. Fluid Sci. Technol., 5, pp. 169–179. [CrossRef]
Newell, T. A., Wang, K. Y., and Copeland, R. J., 1986, “Falling Film Flow Characteristics of the Direct Absorption Receiver,” Solar Energy Research Institute, Golden, CO, Report No. SERI/TR-252-2641.
Janz, G. J., Allen, C. B., Bansal, N. P., Murphy, R. M., and Tomkins, R. P. T., 1979, “Physical Properties Data Compilations Relevant to Energy Storage. II. Molten Salts: Data on Single and Multi-Component Salt Systems,” National Standard Reference Data System, Troy, NY, Report No. NSRDS-NBS-61, OSTI ID: 6302819.
Williams, D. F., 2006, “Assessment of Candidate Molten Salt Coolants for the NGNP/NHI Heat-Transfer Loop,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN, Report No. ORNL/TM-2006/69.


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Schematic layout of the IDAR receiver model

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Assumed influence on HTM acceleration in the case of a rotating side wall absorber

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Dependency of the power level on tower height and aperture area in the case of IDAR systems

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

LIT heliostat field (261 MWth, 1.98 km2, η = 59.2%)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

IDAR heliostat field (250 MWth, 1.46 km2, η = 56.6%)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Absorber wall inclination dependency on radiative losses

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Absorber wall area over absorber wall inclination

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Intersection lines for the illustration of the simulation results (medium slope, HR/DAp = 1, x-axis versus south)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Temperature distribution of the absorber wall and the liquid film over the perimeter of selected intersection lines (no rotation, DP, Solar Salt, α = β = 20 deg)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

HTM temperature distribution over the perimeter at the IDAR's outlet and varied angular velocities at DP (Solar Salt, α = β = 20 deg)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Thermal receiver efficiency comparison over the levelized irradiation (levelized irradiation = 1 → DP) for assumed receiver outlet temperatures of 570 °C

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

Thermal receiver efficiency comparison over the levelized irradiation (levelized irradiation = 1 → DP) for assumed receiver outlet temperatures of 620 °C

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 13

Quantitative comparison of the loss mechanisms related to the irradiation into the receiver at DP

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 14

Levelized irradiation dependent mass flow of the varied receiver and HTM options to assure the requested receiver outlet temperature

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 15

Annual revenues relative to the reference concept

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 16

Relative comparison of the difference between the LEC of the high temperature LIT concept variations and the LEC of the lead-concept variations based on the LEC of the reference concept

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 17

Sensitivity analyses of the made cost assumptions for the lead-concept (IDAR/620 °C). Note, that the constant curves for the LIT concepts (indicated with arrows) apply for their basis cost estimation (100%) and serve for orientation.




Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In