Research Papers

Numbering-Up of Microscale Devices for Megawatt-Scale Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Concentrating Solar Power Receivers

[+] Author and Article Information
Kyle R. Zada, Matthew B. Hyder, M. Kevin Drost

School of Mechanical, Industrial and
Manufacturing Engineering,
Oregon State University,
Corvallis, OR 97331

Brian M. Fronk

School of Mechanical, Industrial and
Manufacturing Engineering,
Oregon State University,
Corvallis, OR 97331
e-mail: brian.fronk@oregonstate.edu

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 December 11, 2015; final manuscript received August 2, 2016; published online September 19, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Mary Jane Hale.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 138(6), 061007 (Sep 19, 2016) (9 pages) Paper No: SOL-15-1421; doi: 10.1115/1.4034516 History: Received December 11, 2015; Revised August 02, 2016

Concentrated solar power (CSP) plants have the potential to reduce the consumption of nonrenewable resources and greenhouse gas emissions in electricity production. In CSP systems, a field of heliostats focuses solar radiation on a central receiver, and energy is then transferred to a thermal power plant at high temperature. However, maximum receiver surface fluxes are low (30–100 W cm−2) with high thermal losses, which has contributed to the limited market penetration of CSP systems. Recently, small (∼4 cm2), laminated micro pin-fin devices have shown potential to achieve concentrated surface fluxes over 100 W cm−2 using supercritical CO2 as the working fluid. The present study explores the feasibility of using these microscale unit cells as building blocks for a megawatt-scale (250 MW thermal) open solar receiver through a numbering-up approach, where multiple microscale unit cell devices are connected in parallel. A multiscale model of the full-scale central receiver is developed. The model consists of interconnected unit cell and module level (i.e., multiple unit cells in parallel) submodels which predict local performance of the central receiver. Each full-scale receiver consists of 3000 micro pin-fin unit cells divided into 250 modules. The performance of three different full-scale receivers is simulated under representative operating conditions. The results show that the microscale unit cells have the potential to be numbered up to megawatt applications while providing high heat flux and thermal efficiency. At the design incident flux and surface emissivity, a global receiver efficiency of approximately 90% when heating sCO2 from 550 °C to 650 °C at an average incident flux of 110 W cm−2 can be achieved.

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Fig. 1

Schematic of numbering-up concept of multiple unit cells in parallel

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Fig. 4

One-dimensional thermal network resistance model

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Fig. 5

Two-dimensional thermal network resistance model

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Fig. 6

Calculated thermal efficiency of 2 cm × 2 cm unit cell compared with the data of L'Estrange et al. [15] with a fluid inlet temperature of 400 °C, outlet temperature of 650 °C, pressure of 83.5 bar, and absorptivity of 0.83

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Fig. 7

Calculated thermal efficiency of 1 m × 0.08 m unit cell as a function of incident solar flux

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Fig. 8

Surface temperature and contribution of convection and reradiation to total unit cell (1 m × 0.08 m) heat loss as a function of incident solar flux

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Fig. 9

Comparison of a thermal efficiency and sCO2 convective heat transfer coefficient for a scaled module (single large unit cell) and numbered-up module (multiple parallel unit cells) with a total heat transfer area of 0.96 m2

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Fig. 10

Schematic of the conceptual central receiver surface area tuned to a solar flux profile of a specific heliostat field

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Fig. 11

Schematic of top view of the receiver cross section for (a) receiver design #1 (baseline), (b) receiver design #2, and (c) receiver design #3, each with ten modules in height and a total of 250 individual 0.96 m2 modules

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Fig. 12

Module thermal efficiency versus compass direction for the baseline receiver design

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Fig. 13

Comparison of incident energy and thermal energy transferred to sCO2 for three central receiver designs considered




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