Parabolic trough technology is currently one of the most extended solar thermal systems for the production of electricity.

This paper describes a thermo-economic study of an integrated, combined-cycle parabolic trough power plant. The parabolic trough plant is considered an economizer or a superheater of the HRSG (heat recovery steam generator). The main objective is to obtain the optimum design of the different sections of the boiler and the size of the parabolic field. The configurations analyzed are two pressure levels with and without a reheater. A Euro Trough (ET) concentrator was used in this study, the working fluid being water with direct steam generation. There will be no problem with the evaporation in the absorber, since the solar plant will be the economizer of the HRSG and an approach point greater than 3°C is considered.

The methodology applied for the optimization is Genetic Algorithms. This methodology was employed in previous works developed by the authors and yielded good results. So that method is applied to the configurations analyzed but including the parabolic trough plant. As a result, a thermoeconomic optimum design of a parabolic trough plant used as the section of the HRSG is obtained. The results show that the solar field increases the power and efficiency of the combined-cycle plant during the operation and makes it less susceptible to load variations.

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