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Energy management in solar thermal power plants with double thermal storage system and subdivided solar field

Rovira, Antonio, Montes, María José, Valdes, Manuel, Martínez-Val, José María
Applied energy 2011 v.88 no.11 pp. 4055-4066
electricity, energy, heat exchangers, heat transfer, power plants, solar collectors, temperature
In the paper, two systems for solar thermal power plants (STPPs) are devised for improving the overall performance of the plant. Each one attempts to reduce losses coming from two respective sources. The systems are simulated and compared to a reference STPP. They consists on: (a) a double thermal energy storage (DTS) with different functionalities for each storage and (b) the subdivision of the solar collector field (SSF) into specialised sectors, so that each sector is designed to meet a thermal requirement, usually through an intermediate heat exchanger. This subdivision reduces the losses in the solar field by means of a decrease of the temperature of the heat transfer fluid (HTF). Double thermal energy storage is intended for keeping the plant working at nominal level for many hours a day, including post-sunset hours. One of the storages gathers a fluid which is heated up to temperatures above the nominal one. In order to make it work, the solar field must be able to overheat the fluid at peak hours. The second storage is the classical one. The combination of both allows the manager of the plant to keep the nominal of the plant for longer periods than in the case of classical thermal energy storage. To the authors’ knowledge, it is the first time that both configurations are presented and simulated for the case of parabolic through STPP with HTF technology. The results show that, if compared to the reference STPP, both configurations may raise the annual electricity generation (up to 1.7% for the DTS case and 3.9% for the SSF case).