As one of the viable concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies, linear Fresnel collectors differ from parabolic troughs by virtue of their low-profile mirror arrays and fixed receiver assemblies. This technology is capable of achieving high concentration ratios and so is applicable to high-temperature solar power plant designs. In addition, its low wind profile and linear nature lead to low system and operation and maintenance (O&M) costs.
In this report two linear Fresnel solar plant configurations, namely a direct steam generation (DSG) system and a direct high-temperature molten-salt plant, are examined via a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) analysis. By treating LCOE as a function of the annual investment energy return (IER, or the ratio of annual net electricity to the total direct system cost) under various assumptions of O&M cost, a few plant scenarios employing high-temperature linear Fresnel technology are carefully configured to meet the aggressive LCOE goals of 8 cents/kWh and 6 cents/kWh. The latter is the Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative goal aimed at making CSP cost competitive in the current energy market. In particular, a linear Fresnel scenario with the potential to meet the SunShot goal is featured with a collector cost of $100/m2, an annual system energy efficiency of 18%, a storage system cost of $15/kWh-th, and an O&M cost of $7.5/MWh. One of the most aggressive assumptions is an advanced power block with about 52% cycle efficiency and a turbine inlet temperature of 700°C.
This work addresses unanswered questions regarding linear Fresnel cost and performance and identifies future research and development directions for linear Fresnel technology, including economic optimization of collectors and receivers, development of physical plant performance models, development of automated O&M mechanisms and sophisticated plant control software.