Abstract

Flow control within a particle-based Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) system is essential in determining the heat transfer coefficient, and therefore, the power generation capability of these systems. There are three areas where particle flow control is significant: the receivers, storage tanks, and particle-sCO2 heat exchangers. The focus of this paper is on designing a new mechanism to control the flow in the particle-sCO2 heat exchangers due to the simplicity and potential cost savings when compared to the other areas of interest. The goal is for this new design to have quicker response times in terms of particle flowrate than a slide gate or flow control valve, which are designs currently used. The design resembles that of a chuck mechanism within a drill where a rotation of the sleeve elicits movement of the jaws both vertically and horizontally to close the outlet area of the nozzle. Additionally, this design will utilize the current actuator that is already used within these heat exchangers to reduce the complexity of implementation. The jaws are designed to be closed at an angle of 76° which is just slightly steeper than the hopper leading to the mechanism. Furthermore, this design can be tuned to limit particle bridging and other particle flow phenomena that result in blockages. The prototypes were 3D printed out of polylactic acid (PLA) and scaled up to 100%, 200%, and 400% to be able to observe the velocity profiles of the mechanism more clearly. Experiments are performed with this prototype to compare the inlet and outlet mass flow rates at different configurations of the jaws. The particles used in these experiments are 0.3mm HSP 40/70 that are commonly used in particle-based CSP systems.

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