Abstract

A focus in the development of the next generation of concentrating solar power (CSP) plants is the integration of high temperature particle receivers with improved efficiency supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) power cycles. The feasibility of this type of system depends on the design of a particle-to-sCO2 heat exchanger. This work presents a finite element analysis (FEA) model to analyze the thermal performance of a particle-to-sCO2 heat exchanger for potential use in a CSP plant. The heat exchanger design utilizes a moving packed bed of particles in crossflow with sCO2 which flows in a serpentine pattern through banks of microchannel plates. The model contains a thermal analysis to determine the heat exchanger’s performance in transferring thermal energy from the particle bed to the sCO2. Test data from a prototype heat exchanger was used to verify the performance predictions of the model. The verification of the model required a multitude of sensitivity tests to identify where fidelity needed to be added to reach agreement between the experimental and simulated results. For each sensitivity test in the model, the effect on the performance is discussed. The model was shown to be in good agreement on the overall heat transfer coefficient of the heat exchanger with the experimental results for a low temperature set of conditions with a combination of added sensitives. A set of key factors with a major impact on the performance of the heat exchanger are discussed.

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