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Central Receiver System Power Plants

- A Description of the Technology

The PS20 Solar Tower Plant at Sanlucar la Mayor, Seville, Spain. Markel Redondo Photography

ENB456 - Energy Lecturer - Farhad Shahnia Queensland University of Technology By Mads Hellegaard Andersen, Thomas Schmidt and Rune Wiben October 10, 2011

Contents
1 Introduction 2 Description of The CRS Power Plant 3 Heliostats and Receiver 3.1 3.2 Receivers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Control of Heliostats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 5 6 7 10 10 11 12 12 12 13 14 15 16 16 17 18

4 Heat Transfer Circuit 4.1 4.2 Heat Transfer Fluids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thermal Storage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

5 The Heat Engine 5.1 The Rankine Engine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.1.1 5.1.2 5.1.3 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Reversible and Irreversible Processes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Rankine Cycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Deviation From Ideal Cycle in Real Power Plants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Pump . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Boiler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Turbine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Condenser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

6 The Future of CRS Power Plants

Bibliography

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Abstract Mads Hellegaard Andersen, Thomas Schmidt and Rune Wiben This paper describes the technology of Central Receiver Power Plants. Initially the technology is categorized among other solar power technologies. A brief description of the overall plant structure is made followed by an elaborating description of each subsystem of the plant. Throughout this description dierent possibilities for increasing the eciency of the plant are pointed out and discussed. Finally the future of Central Receiver Power Plants are discussed and it is concluded that this technology is well suited to be part of an increasingly renewable power generation in the future due to its energy storage system which reduce the implications of the uctuating power generation.

Chapter 1

Introduction
This report is concerned with electricity generation using Central Receiver System (CRS) Power Plants. A CRS Power Plant is based on a sustainable, green energy source as it uses energy from the sun. Solar energy is used in a variety of heating and power generating applications. The diagram in Figure 1.1 shows the categorization of CRS Power Plants in the wide area of solar energy applications.

Figure 1.1: Categorization of a CRS Power Plant. The broadest categorization of a CRS Power Plant in the Solar Energy Applications is thus Power Generation opposed to Heating which covers water and space heating used widely in both commercial and residential applications. The Power Generation using solar energy can be split in two major categories: Photo-Voltaics (PV) and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) where PV applications use photo-voltaic cells to directly convert light into electricity by means of the photoelectric eect. PV systems have been widely used in space applications due to its high power capacity per unit weight and the technology is spreading to other areas - both residential and commercial in smaller and larger scales as the prices of PV cells decrease [1, ch. 8] [2]. In CSP applications reectors are used to concentrate solar energy to a small area thereby achieving a high energy concentration. This energy can then be used to heat a working uid used to drive a turbine. CSP plants share characteristics with fossil fuel power plants but the heat originates from concentrated solar energy and not from the burning of fossil fuels. CSP plants make use of dierent reector shapes illustrated in gure 1.2.

CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION

Figure 1.2: a Trough shaped reector, b Central Receiver with heliostat reectors and c Disc shaped reector [1, ch. 9]. The trough reectors are the most widely used of the three dierent types. In these systems a liquid (usually oil) absorbs the concentrated sunlight through a glass tube running along the focal line of the parabolic trough. The hot oil is then used to heat water in order to produce steam which is used in a steam turbine [1, ch. 9]. In order to absorb as much energy as possible the troughs must be controlled to track the sun which usually is done by one- or two-axis tracking mechanism using electric motors to align the troughs according to the position of the sun [2, p. 31-32]. The parabolic trough power plants are used in high power applications of up to several hundred MW [2, p. 40]. In CRS Power Plants the sunlight is reected using up to several thousand mirrors - called heliostats - to a very small area - called a reciever - situated in a tower. The resulting temperature at the receiver is higher than for parabolic troughs due to the high absorption area reecting onto a very small area. This makes it possible to achieve higher eciencies than for parabolic trough plants [1, ch. 9]. The alignment of heliostats that reect the sunlight onto the receiver must be continuously controlled in order to hit the target area. This must be done by a two-axis tracking mechanism. As for parabolic trough plants CRS Power Plants in the several hundred MW range exist [1, ch. 8]. In disc reector applications one large disc reects the sunlight to a receiver placed at the focus of the disc. The heat is then used in a sterling heat engine-generator unit [1, ch. 8]. The disc reectors are usually used in relatively small applications of tens of kW due to the limitations of available engines and limitations of disc size due to the wind load [1, ch. 8]. The temperature at the receiver is even higher than for CRS systems yielding a higher possible eciency. Some characteristics of the three reector types are listed in table 1.1. Technology Parabolic Trough Central Receiver Disc Operating temperature on the hot side [ C] 300-500 500-1000 800-1200 Thermodynamic cycle eciency Low Moderate High

Table 1.1: Comparison of dierent reector types [1, ch. 8]. In this report the focus will be on CRS Power Plants due to the moderately high eciency combined with the possibility of high power applications.

Chapter 2

Description of The CRS Power Plant


This section is based on [1, ch. 9]. In a CRS Power Plant solar energy is collected by sun-tracking mirrors, called heliostats, and is reected to a single receiver on top of a tower. The energy concentrated in the receiver is used to heat an energy transferring uid. The heated uid is used for energy production right away but also stored so that energy is available during cloud covers. When energy is needed the uid is passed through a boiler to heat a working uid used to drive turbine-generator application which is connected to the grid. After delivering thermal energy in the boiler the low temperature heat transfer uid is stored in another storage tank and pumped back to the receiver to be reheated in a new thermal cycle. A simplied schematic of a CRS Power Plant is seen in Figure 2.1, in this gure the heat transfer uid is molten salt while the working uid is water/steam.

Figure 2.1: Schematic of a CRS Power Plant [1, ch. 9]. Evident from the schematic of a CRS Power Plant seen in gure 2.1 the plant has several subsystems that must be considered. Besides the Generator and Grid Connection part, the subsystems listed below will be described in individual sections:

CHAPTER 2. DESCRIPTION OF THE CRS POWER PLANT

Heliostat Receiver Heat Transferring Circuit Heat engine Pump Boiler Turbine Condenser Generator and Grid Connection As the plant has several subsystems the overall eciency of the plant is determined by the eciency of all the individual subsystems. Higher overall eciency of the plant yields lower construction costs. Furthermore some of the subsystems are subject to constraints especially regarding the temperature range in which they can operate. Therefore it is not always possible to increase the overall power output by increasing the plant size and by absorbing more energy from the sun.

Chapter 3

Heliostats and Receiver


The purpose of the heliostats and the receiver is to convert the electromagnetic energy of the sunlight into internal energy in the heat transfer uid. The uid is described in the Section 4. A picture showing a Central Receiver System (CRS) plant is given in Figure 3.1.

Figure 3.1: Example of a CRS Plant. The plant is a project plant from Barstow in California build in 1982. [3]. The heliostat tracks the suns position across the sky and controls the rotation and inclination angles of the mirror so it reects the sunlight to the receiver in the top of the central tower. The receiver absorbs the concentrated sunlight and turns it into heat which is transfered away from the receiver and to the Heat Engine by the Heat Transfer Fluid. By combining heliostats it is possible to reach temperatures of up to 1000 C with development of receiver technologies allowing for 1200 C. [3]. The high temperature allows for high eciency in the Heat Engine which is described in Section 5. The largest expense in a Central Receiver System is the cost of the heliostat eld. [4, p.79]. Therefore it is of great interest to optimize the eciency of the eld so that the size of it can be minimized. In order to do so the engineers must design the layout of the heliostat eld, the optimal height of the tower, the shape and size of each heliostat, choose an ecient control algorithm for

3.1. RECEIVERS

CHAPTER 3. HELIOSTATS AND RECEIVER

focusing the light and choose the best receiver type for the system. It is a complicated task with a lot of local optimums in the design space.

3.1

Receivers

Early receiver types were made out of steel tubes containing the heat transfer medium. The problem with this type were inadequate heat transfer and local overheating of tubes. Today tubes are still used but has been undergoing radical design changes. The most promising type of receiver is a volumetric receiver which consist of a wire mesh - made of ceramic or metallic materials - in a honeycomb structure, with air owing through the mesh. The air reaches temperatures of up to 850 C. An improvement of this concept is being prototyped and is called the pressurized air receiver concept. The principle is the same as the volumetric, but the receiver is encapsulated in a pressurized chamber isolating it from the environment. Instead of pulling in air from the front of the receiver, this type gets its air-supply from a compressor driven by the turbine.

Figure 3.2: Illustration of a pressurized volumetric receiver. [3]. Using this receiver the air temperature can reach 1200 C which is high enough for supplying a gas turbine. The exhaust from the gas turbine is then re-heated and used in the heat engine described in Section 5. A diagram showing the process is seen in Figure 3.3. Using this hybrid conguration of both a gas- and a super heated steam turbine it is possible to reach eciencies of more than 50% of the Heat Engine. Therefore solar systems with a total eciency of over 20% is possible. [5].

3.2. CONTROL OF HELIOSTATS

CHAPTER 3. HELIOSTATS AND RECEIVER

Figure 3.3: Central receiver system using a pressurized receiver and a steam heat engine extended with a gas turbine. [5].

3.2

Control of Heliostats

As long as the mirrors of the heliostats are symmetric and "target aligned" the control of the mirrors are described by the equations presented here. A target aligned heliostat is a heliostat that has two axis of rotations dened as in Figure 3.4 and has its rst axis pointing to the target at the tower.

Figure 3.4: Illustration of a target aligned heliostat. [6]. As the sun moves the heliostat rotates around its rst-axis so the horizontal/meridian plane of the heliostat coincide with the incident vector of the sun light. The incident angle of the mirror can be found using the equation in (3.1). = cos1

2 1/2 [sin()cos() cos(H A) cos() sin() + 1] 2 7

(3.1)

3.2. CONTROL OF HELIOSTATS

CHAPTER 3. HELIOSTATS AND RECEIVER

It is derived by dening two vectors: The Incident Vector which points towards the sun (shown in gure 3.5) and The Reection Vector which points towards the target (shown in gure 3.6). The vectors are dened in Equation 3.2 and 3.3. The incident angle is half the angle between the two vectors.

Figure 3.5: Illustration of the incident vector pointing towards the sun from the heliostat [6].

Figure 3.6: The reection vector pointing towards the target [6].

cos(A) cos() cos(i ) cos(i ) = sin(A) cos() sin() cos(i )

(3.2)

cos(H ) sin() cos(r ) cos(r ) = sin(H ) sin() cos() cos(r )

(3.3)

The incident angle is in an earth xed frame. In order to know the reference points for the two actuators on a particular heliostat the angle must be transformed to auxiliary coordinates xed to the heliostat. To relate the two reference-frames three rotational transformation matrices are dened as follows:

sin(H ) cos(H ) 0 sin(H ) 0 M1 = cos(H ) 0 0 1

(3.4)

1 M2 = 0 0

0 cos() sin()

0 sin() cos()

(3.5)

cos(H ) sin(H ) 0 M3 = sin(H ) cos(H ) 0 0 0 1 8

(3.6)

3.2. CONTROL OF HELIOSTATS

CHAPTER 3. HELIOSTATS AND RECEIVER

The angles of rotations are seen in gure 3.7. By multiplying the three matrices the relationship between the base frame and the auxiliary frame is established, and the Incident Vector (pointing towards the sun) can be described in both coordinate frames and equated like in Equation (3.7).

Figure 3.7: Illustration of the three rotational matrix transformations, transforming from earth xed reference frame to an auxiliary reference frame on the heliostat. [6].

0 cos(A) cos() sin(2) = M3 M2 M1 sin(A) cos() cos(2) sin()

(3.7)

Solving the rst row of the matrix equation we nd the rotation angle about the rst axis of the heliostat H :

H = tan1

cos() sin(H A) cos() cos() cos(H A) + sin() sin()

(3.8)

When the heliostat has been rotated about the rst axis with the angle H , the angle that tilts the heliostat in the right position is denoted EH . The right position is when it is angled in the middle of the vector pointing towards the sun and the vector pointing towards the target, as for a symmetric heliostat the angle of incident equals the angle of reection, and this is the same angle as the previously derived incident angle :

EH =

(3.9)

Chapter 4

Heat Transfer Circuit


The thermal solar energy concentrated in the central receiver (described in Section 3.1) is absorbed by a Heat transfer Fluid (HTF). Dependent on the design of the plant dierent uids have proven capable of transferring and storing the thermal energy.

4.1

Heat Transfer Fluids

The HTFs used in the majority of experimental CRS-plants are: water/steam, oil, air and molten salt [3, p. 48] [7, ch. 10.1.2]. In table 4.1 the characteristics and advantages of these 3 uids are highlighted. Operating Temperature (High) 540 [ C] 425 [ C] Melting point (at 1 [atm]) 0 [ C] -10 [ C]

Fluid Water/Steam Oil

Advantages Low cost and simple implementation. Eective as energy storage medium. Low Cost and high eciency due to T across turbine. High volumetric heat capacity.

Disadvantages Dicult to use as energy storage medium. Safety requirements due to highly ammable uid and high cost. Energy storage very difcult. Requires heating before plant startup.

Air Molten salt

1000 [ C] 570-600 [ C]

N/A 98-220 [ C]
1

Table 4.1: Characteristics and advantages of Heat Transfer Fluids [7][8] The melting temperature of the uids in table 4.1 are of importance because a HTF with high melting temperature requires reheating before startup of the plant [7, ch. 10.1.2]. Also in the HT-circuit some pipes will require additional heating to make sure that the HTF does not solidify in the pipes used on the cooled side of the circuit 2 . The operating temperature of the uid is a primary criterion when choosing HTF [7, ch. 10.1.2]. The volumetric heat capacity of the HTF is also of interest as this determines the possibilities for thermal storage. Therefore molten salt has been used in the latest experimental CRS-plants among others the Solar Two experimental plant located in California [8, p. 5-9].
2 This

is done using electric heating with wires on the outside surface of the pipes[8, p. 5-16]

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4.2. THERMAL STORAGE

CHAPTER 4. HEAT TRANSFER CIRCUIT

4.2

Thermal Storage

For the turbine of the plant to deliver a constant power output, the energy from the HTF is stored so that uctuations in solar energy due to clouds does not eect the electricity production [8, p.5-6]. The Plants are designed so that the thermal capacity of the heliostat elds exceeds the thermal requirements of the steam turbine - the ratio is called the solar multiple [9, p. 4]. With a solar multiple larger than 1, the CRS Power Plant will be able to store energy when the turbine is at maximum capacity and thus the Plant can operate at full capacity for a couple of hours after sundown (or during cloud cover) [8, p. 5-7]. Three storage techniques have been used in Solar Thermal Power Plants [10, p. 13]: Sensible heat storage - The HTF is stored directly or used to heat another medium with a higher thermal capacity and then stored in a tank or a cave. Latent heat storage - Energy is stored by phase change of a medium keeping the temperature constant. Thermochemical heat storage - Thermal energy is used to drive an endothermic chemical process of a uid which can then be stored an used in a reverse exothermical process when energy is needed. The Sensible heat storage techniques is used in most Thermal Power Plants today as this is the simplest way of storing the energy absorbed [10, p. 13]. Latent heat storage is a relatively new concept and is rst expected to be used commercially in 7 years [10, p. 14]. The advantage of Thermochemical heat storage is that the medium can be stored long term and therefore stored energy can be transported o site and transformed where the energy is needed [10, p. 15].

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Chapter 5

The Heat Engine


The heat engine is an essential part of a thermal power plant as it is responsible for the thermodynamic energy conversion from thermal to mechanical energy on the generator shaft. The heat engine consists of the pump, the boiler, the turbine and the condenser.

5.1

The Rankine Engine

An ideal vapor heat engine is called a Rankine engine as it undergoes a Rankine Cycle [11, ch. 10.2] - a schematic of a Rankine Engine is seen in Figure 5.1. In a Rankine Cycle the uid undergoes the following 4 internally reversible processes: Isentropic compression in a pump Isobaric heat addition in a boiler Isentropic expansion in a turbine Isobaric heat rejection in a condenser

5.1.1

Reversible and Irreversible Processes

A reversible process is a process that can be reversed without leaving any trace on its surroundings - that is, both the system and its surroundings are returned to their initial state after the reverse cycle [11, ch. 6.6]. Such processes are idealizations and cannot occur in reality. However it is possible to return the system to its initial state after the reverse cycle by letting its surroundings perform some amount of work on it. This is not a reversible process due to the fact that the surroundings are not returned to the initial state - such a process is called internally reversible because no irreversabilities occur within the system and the reverse process pass through the same equilibrium states as for the forward cycle. Reversible processes always have higher eciency than irreversible processes and the irreversibilities are therefore undesirable. Irreversibilities include [11, p. 297-298]: Friction Unrestrained expansion of a gas Heat transfer through a nite temperature dierence As mentioned the Rankine Cycle is internally reversible but not externally reversible due to the fact that heat and work is supplied from outside the closed system. The internal reversibility of the process is however an idealization - therefore the term "ideal" vapor heat engine is used to 12

5.1. THE RANKINE ENGINE

CHAPTER 5. THE HEAT ENGINE

Figure 5.1: Schematic of a Rankine heat engine. describe the Rankine Engine. The entropy change of a system during a cycle is a measure of the irreversibility of the system. Therefore a lot of information about a system eciency and how to increase it is included in the temperature-specic entropy diagram (T-s diagram) of the system cycle.

5.1.2

The Rankine Cycle

The (T-s diagram) of the Rankine Cycle is seen in Figure 5.2. The Rankine Cycle seen in Figure 5.2 is now explained - the states 1,2,3 (3) and 4 (4) correspond to the markings in Figure 5.1: Water enters the pump at state 1 as saturated liquid. Work is applied to the pump from the surroundings and the liquid is compressed to the operating pressure of the boiler. The water temperature rises slightly during the compression because of the decrease in specic volume of the water. At state 2 the pressurized water enters the boiler in which heat is transfered to the system resulting in a constant pressure heat addition. Heat is added until a phase change occurs (the horizontal line in the T-s diagram). Two dierent scenarios continue from this point. In a normal Rankine cycle the uid enters the turbine as saturated (or nearly saturated) steam (point 3) and undergoes an isentropic expansion in which work is produced by rotating the shaft connected to a generator. The temperature and pressure of the liquid drops during this process to the point 4. In order to increase the work done by the turbine the steam is often superheated before entering the turbine. In this scenario the boiler adds more heat to the system causing the uid to go into the superheated region where the steam is dry (the phase change from liquid to gas is complete) and the temperature rises further to the point 3. The steam then enters the turbine at a higher temperature and higher pressure producing more work. During the isentropic expansion in the turbine the temperature and pressure falls and leaves the turbine at state 4 - at this state the steam is a high quality mixture of liquid and gas (high quality meaning that the liquid content 13

5.1. THE RANKINE ENGINE

CHAPTER 5. THE HEAT ENGINE

Figure 5.2: T-s diagram of a Rankine Cycle with and without superheating. is low compared to the gas content). At state 4 (or 4 for the superheated case) the uid enters the condenser where heat is removed at constant pressure using active or passive cooling and is brought back to the initial state 1. For internally reversible processes the area under the process curve in the T-s diagram) represents the heat transfer. From gure 5.2 it is seen that the area under process curve 2-3 (or 2-3) represents the heat transfered to the uid in the boiler and the area under process curve 4-1 (or 4-1) represents the heat rejected in the condenser. The dierence between these to curves (the area enclosed by the cycle curve) is the net work produced during the cycle [11, p. 554]. Using this information it is seen that the superheated scenario produces more net work, thus a high temperature of the salt - acting as a heat source - is needed in order to increase the eciency of the system.

5.1.3

Deviation From Ideal Cycle in Real Power Plants

Reversible processes are dicult to approximate in real life due to irreversibilities in the various components used in the heat engine. The major causes of irreversibilities are [11, ch. 10.3]: Fluid friction which causes pressure drops in the boiler, the pipes and the condenser. To compensate for this the water must be pumped to a signicantly higher pressure than in the ideal cycle. This demands more work input to the pump and thus lowers the overall eciency of the plant. Heat loss to the surroundings which causes the temperature dierence between the turbine 14

5.2. PUMP

CHAPTER 5. THE HEAT ENGINE

inlet and outlet to decrease resulting in less output work and thus lower overall eciency. Mechanical friction in pump and turbine which causes an entropy increase during the compression and expansion of the uid - this converts some of the input and output work to be converted into heat that escapes the system thus lowering the overall eciency. Figure 5.3 shows the T-s diagram of an ideal and an actual Rankine cycle.

Figure 5.3: T-s diagram of an ideal (black) and actual (red) Rankine cycle.

5.2

Pump

Dierent hydraulic pumps can be used to maintain a steady ow in the Rankine cycle (eg. gear-, vane- or piston-type pumps [12, ch. 2.1.1]). The total eciency of the pump is determined by the volumetric eciency and the mechanical eciency. The volumetric eciency of the pump, vP , depends on pressure across the pump, pp , [12, ch. 2.2.2]: vP = 1 pp Klp QtP (5.1)

where, Klp , is a leakage constant for the pump, is the dynamic viscosity and QtP is the theoretical pump ow (stroke replacement times rotational pump speed). The mechanical eciency, hmP , is determined by the ratio between the theoretical input torque to the pump, Mtp , and the actual input torque, Mp , [12, ch. 2.2.2]: hmP = Mtp Mp (5.2)

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5.3. BOILER

CHAPTER 5. THE HEAT ENGINE

Therefore the total eciency of the circulation pump is: P = hmP vP (5.3)

Choosing a pump with high eciency would increase the total eciency of the plant. Other factors which determines the pump choice are: The working uid of the Rankine cycle [7, ch. 12.2.3], and the ow and pressure requirements of the boiler within the cycle.

5.3

Boiler

If the average temperature at which the boiler operates is increased the eciency of the Rankine engine is increased as well. The problem for increasing the maximum temperature is that it dramatically increase the requirements to the mechanical structure. Special materials must be used to withstand the higher temperature and pressure which increases the initial expenditure of the plant. The increased eciency should be high enough as to facilitate such an investment. It is possible just to stop the cycle when the temperature reaches the same maximum, but if the entropy of the uid at this point is too low the vapor will start turning into liquid in the turbine before it reaches the condenser. This dramatically increase wear on the turbine blades which can lead to a signicant increase in operating expenses. If re-heating is used then the averaged temperature can be increased without increasing the maximum temperature, and the problem can be avoided. The Rankine cycles with and without re-heating is seen in Figure (5.4) and Figure (5.5) below.

Figure 5.4: Example of Rankine cycle with increased boiling pressure but maintained maximum temperature. [11].

Figure 5.5: Rankine cycle using re-heating to avoid moisture on last turbine blades. [11].

5.4

Turbine

Steam turbines are the preferred choice in CRS Power Plants because steam is a well known uid and because the Rankine Cycle for steam is well documented and tested in fossil powered plants [7, ch 12.2.3] [13, p. 3]. Steam turbines are under constant development. Figure 5.6 shows a steam turbine from Siemens to be used in the Ivanpah Solar Power Complex, California. The turbine is one of three turbines designed for the complex, each has a power output of 123 [MW].

16

5.5. CONDENSER

CHAPTER 5. THE HEAT ENGINE

Figure 5.6: The siemens SST-900 steam turbine. Has a rotational speed of up to 3600 [rpm] and an inlet steam temperature of up to 585 C [14, p. 6] .

5.5

Condenser

The condenser is responsible for rejecting heat from the uid, which enters as a mixture of liquid and gas and leaves as saturated liquid. Condensers are basically large heat exchangers which dissipate heat from the uid to the environment. Condensers are split into active and passive condensers with active condensers using fans. In order to achieve a high eciency of the thermodynamic cycle it is necessary to reject the heat at as low pressure as possible. In a two-phase saturation (a mixture of e.g. water and steam) a lower condensing pressure also means that the temperature is lowered as it is xed to the uids saturation level doing the condensing process [11]. The condensing temperature cannot be lowered to a value less than the temperature of the cooling medium, it actually has to stay well above this temperature as to allow for eective heat transfer. Therefore when planning the location for a concentrated solar power plant it is essential to have a cold cooling medium, which can be a problem as they also needs to be placed in regions with a lot of solar radiation which often have a warmer environment.

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Chapter 6

The Future of CRS Power Plants


Solar Power Towers is a relatively new technology, only two commercial plant exists [10, p. 4]. However experimental plants have proven capable of delivering a constant power output. The plants have also shown improvements in eciency as the technology has evolved [15, p. 47] If CRS Power Plants are to be a success the location of the Plants is essential. They should be placed in regions with a global irradiance of more that 1800 [ kW2h ] [5]. As gure 6.1 shows m this involves the earths Sunbelt. However this is an insignicant limitation of the technology. For

Figure 6.1: Annual average of daily direct normal irradiation of global solar exposure [16] . example if 1% of the Sahara desert is used for Solar Power Plants, they could theoretically cover the total global electricity consumption [5]. The advantages of Solar Power is that it oers thermal energy storage where other Renewable technologies such as wind turbines have uctuating power production. Solar Power Plants produce electricity when the consumer demand is largest. And nally the materials used in Solar Power Plants are well known and conventional materials which are not costly [10, p. 55]. All in all solar plant is an expanding technology and a possible part of the solution to a continuously increasing global energy demand.

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