Abstract

Due to increasing energy demand around the globe and potential environmental impacts of fossil fuels, it has become a crucial task for researchers to find alternatives to generate electricity from low-carbon resources at lower costs. Three types of advanced CSP are under consideration: systems heating salt, gas, or particulate. Particle heating receiver (PHR) based central receiver power tower CSP is an emerging technology that promises higher operating temperatures and more cost-effective thermal energy storage (TES) than feasible with existing or alternative CSP systems. For reasons stated above and others, we propose that the particle heating receiver (PHR) based CSP in the classic central receiver power tower (CRPT) configuration will be the most suitable especially in the promising Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Specifically, Duba, Al Wajih, and Wa’ad Al-Shamaal regions in Saudi Arabia have high direct normal irradiation (DNI) and represent potential locations. PHR based CSP power tower plant consists of a central receiver power tower with TES and cavity receiver, heliost at field, a high-temperature solar gas turbine with built-in fuel backup to operate in hybrid mode (using both fuel and solar-thermal resources). This study focuses on the optimization of a solar heat supply system (SHSS), consisting of a tower, cavity receiver, and heliostat field. SolarPILOT – Solar Power tower Integrated Layout and Optimization Tool is a field layout optimization tool developed by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). SolarPILOT is used in this study to generate the field layout of a 1.3 MWe power plant with a solar multiple (SM) of 2, 3, and 4. Cost models for the tower, receiver, and heliostats are developed using the data from research programs, contractors, manufacturing companies, and general cost engineering data and tools. System Advisor Model (SAM) is further used to simulate the annual performance of CSP tower plant including power block (high-temperature gas turbine) and TES using optical efficiency data from SolarPILOT to optimize PHR-based CSP tower plant. The results of this research are fundamental to the techno-economic analysis (TEA) of this and similar smaller-scale systems and will support the TEA of larger grid-connected and smaller off-grid systems operating independently or in conjunction with PV systems.

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