Abstract

The growing use of intermittent renewables in electrical grids increasingly motivates load-following operations as a crucial capability of dispatchable power plants. However, frequent load variations in steam generation equipment can cause premature heat exchanger failure. This paper simulates the dynamic behavior of a high pressure, U-tube/U-shell, salt-to-steam superheater typically found in tower-type concentrating solar power subcritical Rankine cycles. Results focus on responses during load-following and inlet temperature changes. The proposed model is a finite volume method, and thermodynamic and heat transfer properties of both fluids are allowed to vary spatially and temporally. Several flow ramping schemes are investigated, including proportionally equal ramps and proportionally dissimilar ramping, where one fluid reaches its mass flow setpoint faster than the other. Results indicate that salt outlet temperature overshoot can occur if ramp rates are of sufficiently high magnitude, and that U-bend metal temperature rate of change can be approximately 2.5× that observed at either outlet. If proportionally-matched ramping is not possible, ramping steam more slowly than the salt is preferred over the alternative, as cold side and U-bend temperature responses are better regulated. Additionally, mass flow rate and inlet temperature changes are shown to elicit unique responses in the tube bundle metal.

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