The use of solid particles as a heat-transfer fluid and thermal storage media for concentrating solar power is a promising candidate for meeting levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) targets for next-generation CSP concepts. Meeting these cost targets for a given system concept will require optimization of the particle heat-transfer fluid with simultaneous consideration of all system components and operating conditions. This paper explores the trade-offs in system operating conditions and particle thermophysical properties on the levelized cost of electricity through parametric analysis. A steady-state modeling methodology for design point simulations dispatched against typical meteorological year (TMY) data is presented, which includes computationally efficient submodels of a falling particle receiver, moving packed-bed heat exchanger, storage bin, particle lift, and recompression supercritical CO2 (sCO2) cycle. The components selected for the baseline system configuration presents the most near-term realization of a particle-based CSP system that has been developed to date. However, the methodology could be extended to consider alternative particle receiver and heat exchanger concepts. The detailed system-level model coupled to component cost models is capable of propagating component design and performance information directly into the plant performance and economics. The system-level model is used to investigate how the levelized cost of electricity varies with changes in particle absorptivity, hot storage bin temperature, heat exchanger approach temperature, and sCO2 cycle operating parameters. Trade-offs in system capital cost and solar-to-electric efficiency due to changes in the size of the heliostat field, storage bins, primary heat exchanger, and receiver efficiency are observed. Optimal system operating conditions are reported, which approach levelized costs of electricity of $0.06 kWe−1hr−1.

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