This paper presents the technical formulation and demonstrated model performance results of a new direct-steam-generation (DSG) model in NREL’s System Advisor Model (SAM). The model predicts the annual electricity production of a wide range of system configurations within the DSG Linear Fresnel technology by modeling hourly performance of the plant in detail. The quasi-steady-state formulation allows users to investigate energy and mass flows, operating temperatures, and pressure drops for geometries and solar field configurations of interest.

The model includes tools for heat loss calculation using either empirical polynomial heat loss curves as a function of steam temperature, ambient temperature, and wind velocity, or a detailed evacuated tube receiver heat loss model. Thermal losses are evaluated using a computationally efficient nodal approach, where the solar field and headers are discretized into multiple nodes where heat losses, thermal inertia, steam conditions (including pressure, temperature, enthalpy, etc.) are individually evaluated during each time step of the simulation.

This paper discusses the mathematical formulation for the solar field model and describes how the solar field is integrated with the other subsystem models, including the power cycle and optional auxiliary fossil system. Model results are also presented to demonstrate plant behavior in the various operating modes.

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