Large capacity, multi-fuel, and high temperature working fluid heaters to optimize CSP plant cost, complexity and annual generation

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
AIP Conference Proceedings, 2016, 1734
Issue Date:
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© 2016 Author(s). This paper analyses the potential to optimize high temperature fluid back-up systems for concentrating solar power (CSP) plants by investigating the cost impact of component capacity and the impact of using multiple fuels on annual generation. Until now back-up heaters have been limited to 20MWth capacity but larger units have been realised in other industries. Installing larger units yields economy-of-scale benefits through improved manufacturing, optimised transport, and minimized on-site installation work. Halving the number of back-up boilers can yield cost reduction of 23% while minimizing plant complexity and on-site construction risk. However, to achieve these benefits it is important to adapt the back-up heaters to the plant's requirements (load change, capacity, minimum load, etc.) and design for manufacture, transport and assembly. Despite the fact that biomass availability is decreasing with increasing direct normal irradiance (DNI), some biomass is available in areas suitable for CSP plants. The use of these biomass resources is beneficial to maximise annual renewable energy generation, substitute natural gas, and use locally/seasonally available biomass resources that may not be used otherwise. Even small biomass quantities of only 50,000 t/a can increase the capacity factor of a 50MWe parabolic trough plant with 7h thermal energy storage from 40 to 49%. This is a valuable increase and such a concept is suitable for new plants and retrofit applications. However, similar to the capacity optimisation of back-up heaters, various design criteria have to be considered to ensure a successful project.
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