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Effect of short cloud shading on the performance of parabolic trough solar power plants: motorized vs manual valves

Abutayeh, Mohammad, Padilla, Ricardo Vasquez, Lake, Maree, Lim, Yee Yan, Garcia, Jesus, Sedighi, Mohammadreza, Soo Too, Yen Chean, Jeong, Kwangkook
Renewable energy 2019 v.142 pp. 330-344
cloud cover, dynamic models, power generation, power plants, shade, simulation models, solar collectors, solar energy, solar radiation, temperature
This paper uses a dynamic bio-inspired model to simulate cloud movement over a parabolic trough collector solar field. Time-stamped spatially varying solar radiation records resulting from that dynamic model are successively fed into an instantaneous flow distribution model of the same solar field. Two different flow control strategies are simulated to evaluate and compare their impact on plant performance. One strategy employs manual balancing valves resulting in an uneven exit temperature from each loop during cloud cover periods. The other strategy employs motorized balancing valves that constantly adjust to achieve a common desired exit temperature from each loop during cloud cover periods. Model output of both strategies under four different cloud shading conditions are compared. Simulation results showed that employing motorized balancing valves will result in a more efficient operation involving less pressure drop, higher outlet temperature and less pumping load; however, the rate of power generation was almost the same in both strategies.