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Research Papers

Optical and Thermal Analysis of a Pressurized-Air Receiver Cluster for a 50 MWe Solar Power Tower

[+] Author and Article Information
I. Hischier

Department of Chemical
and Biological Engineering,
University of Colorado,
Boulder, CO 80303

P. Poživil

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

A. Steinfeld

Department of Mechanical
and Process Engineering,
ETH Zürich,
Zürich 8092, Switzerland
e-mail: aldo.steinfeld@ethz.ch

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 28, 2014; final manuscript received July 19, 2015; published online September 2, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Markus Eck.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 137(6), 061002 (Sep 02, 2015) (7 pages) Paper No: SOL-14-1160; doi: 10.1115/1.4031210 History: Received May 28, 2014; Revised July 19, 2015

The optical design and thermal performance of a solar power tower system using an array of high-temperature pressurized air-based solar receivers is analyzed for Brayton, recuperated, and combined Brayton–Rankine cycles. A 50 MWe power tower system comprising a cluster of 500 solar receiver modules, each attached to a hexagon-shaped secondary concentrator and arranged side-by-side in a honeycomb-type structure following a spherical fly-eye optical configuration, can yield a peak solar-to-electricity efficiency of 37%.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic of the three power configurations considered: BC—open Brayton cycle, RC—recuperated Brayton cycle with intercooler, and CC—combined Brayton–Rankine cycle

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Fig. 2

Modular receiver arrangement using secondary concentrators with hexagonal entrance. Image extracted from Ref. [13].

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Fig. 3

Schematic of the solar receiver. Indicated are the dimensions and operational parameters.

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Fig. 4

Thermal efficiency and pressure drop across the RPC as a function of the cavity length for various air mass flow rates. Dots indicate simulated values, and lines represent second order polynomial fits.

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Fig. 5

Thermal efficiency, air outlet temperature, and pressure drop across the RPC as a function of air mass flow rate for Tinlet = 450 and 750 K. Dots indicate simulated values, and lines represent fifth order polynomial fits.

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Fig. 6

Evaluation of Eqs. (8), (9), and (10) obtained by linear regression analysis. Dots indicate simulated data points.

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Fig. 7

(a) Cycle efficiencies as a function of pressure at Toutlet = 1273 K. (b) Product of thermal and cycle efficiencies as a function of Toutlet at p = 20 bar. The BC, RC, and CC configurations are considered. Dots indicate simulated values, lines represent third order polynomial fits.

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Fig. 8

Schematic of solar tower optical layout and drawing of a fly compound eye (top right) representing the 3D arrangement of the fly-eye receiver cluster on top of the solar tower.

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Fig. 9

ηintercept, Dspot, and Dacceptance as a function of L for pillbox and for Gaussian solar flux distributions with σsolar = 3.3 mrad (representing the beam quality from an average heliostat). Parameters: Rcluster = 8.3 m, θi = 15.9 deg, θsolar = 4.65 mrad, and H = 200 m.

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