Optimal concentration and temperatures of solar thermal power plants

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dc.contributor.author McGovern, Ronan K.
dc.contributor.author Smith, William
dc.date.accessioned 2013-11-12T09:04:58Z
dc.date.available 2013-11-12T09:04:58Z
dc.date.copyright 2012 Elsevier en
dc.date.issued 2012-08
dc.identifier.citation Energy Conversion and Management en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10197/4904
dc.description.abstract Using simple, finite-time, thermodynamic models of solar thermal power plants, the existence of an optimal solar receiver temperature has previously been demonstrated in literature. Scant attention has been paid, however, to the presence of an optimal level of solar concentration at which the conversion of incident sunlight to electricity (solar-to-electric efficiency) is maximized. This paper addresses that gap. The paper evaluates the impact, on the design of Rankine-cycle solar-trough and solar-tower power plants, of the existence of an optimal receiver temperature and an optimal level of solar concentration. Mathematical descriptions are derived describing the solar-to-electric efficiency of an idealized solar thermal plant in terms of its receiver temperature, ambient temperature, the receiver irradiance (radiation striking unit receiver area), solar receiver surface to working fluid conductance, condenser conductance, solar collector efficiency, convective loss coefficients and radiative loss coefficients. Using values from the literature appropriate to direct-steam and molten-salt plants, curves of optimal solar receiver temperature, and optimal solar-to-electric conversion efficiency, are generated as a function of receiver irradiance. The analysis shows that, as the thermal resistance of the solar receiver and condenser increases, the optimal receiver temperature increases whilst the optimal receiver irradiance decreases. The optimal level of receiver irradiance, for solar thermal plants employing a service fluid of molten salts, is found to occur within a range of values achievable using current solar tower technologies. The tradeoffs (in terms of solar-to-electric efficiency) involved in using molten salts rather than direct steam in the case of solar towers and solar troughs are investigated. The optimal receiver temperatures calculated with the model suggest the use of sub-critical Rankine cycles for solar trough plants, but super-critical Rankine cycles for solar tower plants, if the objective is to maximize solar-to-electric efficiency en
dc.description.sponsorship Other funder en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Elsevier en
dc.rights This is the author's version of a work that was accepted for publication in Energy Conversion and Management. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Energy Conversion and Management (60, , (2012)) DOI: http://dx.doi/org/10.1016/j.enconman.2011.11.032 en
dc.subject Concentration en
dc.subject Finite-time thermodynamics en
dc.subject Optimisation en
dc.subject Rankine en
dc.subject Solar thermal en
dc.title Optimal concentration and temperatures of solar thermal power plants en
dc.type Journal Article en
dc.internal.availability Full text available en
dc.status Peer reviewed en
dc.identifier.volume 60 en
dc.identifier.startpage 226 en
dc.identifier.endpage 232 en
dc.identifier.doi 10.1016/j.enconman.2011.11.032
dc.neeo.contributor McGovern|Ronan K.|aut|
dc.neeo.contributor Smith|William|aut|
dc.internal.notes ECOS_2011_McGovern_Smith_Submitted done.pdf en
dc.description.othersponsorship US Department of State for funding through the Science and Technology PhD program en
dc.description.admin Deposited by bulk import en
dc.description.admin kpw7/11/13 en
dc.internal.rmsid 239287350 en
dc.date.updated 2013-09-24T13:54:31.452+01:00 en

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