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Research Papers

Modular Design and Experimental Testing of a 50 kWth Pressurized-Air Solar Receiver for Gas Turbines

[+] Author and Article Information
Peter Poživil, Nicolas Ettlin, Fabian Stucker

Department of Mechanical
and Process Engineering,
ETH Zürich,
Zürich 8092, Switzerland

Aldo Steinfeld

Department of Mechanical
and Process Engineering,
ETH Zürich,
Zürich 8092, Switzerland
Solar Technology Laboratory,
Paul Scherrer Institute,
Villigen 5232, Switzerland
e-mail: aldo.steinfeld@ethz.ch

The solar concentration ratio C is defined as the ratio of the solar flux intensity achieved after optical concentration to the direct normal irradiance (DNI). It is a dimensionless number, often reported in units of “suns”.

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING: INCLUDING WIND ENERGY AND BUILDING ENERGY CONSERVATION. Manuscript received May 20, 2014; final manuscript received October 19, 2014; published online November 17, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Markus Eck.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 137(3), 031002 (Jun 01, 2015) (7 pages) Paper No: SOL-14-1150; doi: 10.1115/1.4028918 History: Received May 20, 2014; Revised October 19, 2014; Online November 17, 2014

A high-temperature high-concentration pressurized-air solar receiver is considered for driving a power generation Brayton cycle. The modular design consists of a cylindrical SiC cavity surrounded by a concentric annular reticulated porous ceramic (RPC) foam contained in a stainless steel pressure vessel, with a secondary concentrator attached to its windowless aperture. Experimentation was carried out in a solar tower for up to 47 kW of concentrated solar radiative power input in the absolute pressure range of 2-6 bar. Peak outlet air temperatures exceeding 1200 °C were reached for an average solar concentration ratio of 2500 suns. A notable thermal efficiency—defined as the ratio of the enthalpy change of the air flow divided by the solar radiative power input through the aperture—of 91% was achieved at 700 °C and 4 bar.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic of solar receiver. The modular design consists of a cylindrical SiC cavity surrounded by a concentric annular RPC foam contained in a stainless steel pressure vessel, with a secondary concentrator (CPC) attached to its windowless aperture

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Fig. 2

Experimental setup at the solar tower of the Weizmann Institute of Science

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Fig. 3

Representative experimental run at 2 bar pressure level. With the air flow rate set to maximum, Q·in was stepwise increased by introducing the heliostats one by one after 11:20. The two air-calorimetry points are at 11:50 and 15:00. The outlet air temperature was increased by reducing m· stepwise. The peak temperature registered was 1090 °C.

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Fig. 4

Pressure drop across the RPC as a function of the air mass flow rate at various operating pressures for the three RPC configurations: 10 PPI, 20 PPI, and 10 PPI + baffles (BAF)

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Fig. 5

Pressure coefficient across the RPC versus corrected mass flow rate for the three RPC configurations: 10 PPI, 20 PPI, and 10 PPI + baffles (BAF)

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Fig. 6

Outlet air temperature as a function of the air mass flow rate. The approximate trend is indicated by an exponential fit. Error bars are within the size of the markers.

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Fig. 7

Enthalpy change of the air flow versus air mass flow rate for the three RPC configurations: 10 PPI, 20 PPI, and 10 PPI + baffles (BAF). Error bars are within the size of the markers.

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Fig. 8

Thermal efficiency as a function of the outlet air temperature at various pressures for the three RPC configurations: (a) 10 PPI, (b) 20 PPI, and (c) 10 PPI + baffles

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Fig. 9

Thermal efficiency as a function of the specific solar radiative energy input for the three RPC configurations: 10 PPI, 20 PPI, and 10 PPI + baffles (BAF)

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Fig. 10

Ideal solar heat engine efficiency (ηth × ηCarnot) as a function of the outlet air temperature at various pressures for the three RPC configurations: (a) 10 PPI, (b) 20 PPI, and (c) 10 PPI + baffles

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Fig. 11

Ideal solar heat engine efficiency (ηth × ηCarnot) as a function of the outlet air temperature. The dashed line shows the theoretical maximum for Tamb = 25 °C.

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