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Simulation of a Concentrating Solar Power Plant With Molten-Salt Thermocline Storage for Optimized Annual Performance

[+] Author Affiliations
Scott M. Flueckiger, Suresh V. Garimella

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Brian D. Iverson

Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Paper No. ES2013-18297, pp. V001T03A011; 8 pages
  • ASME 2013 7th International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the ASME 2013 Heat Transfer Summer Conference and the ASME 2013 11th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • ASME 2013 7th International Conference on Energy Sustainability
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, July 14–19, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division, Solar Energy Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5551-5
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


A finite-volume-based model of a molten-salt thermocline tank is developed to achieve simulation at a sufficient level of detail but at low computational cost. Combination of this storage model with a system-level power tower plant model enables yearlong thermocline tank simulation in response to historical weather data and corresponding plant control. The current study simulates a 100 MWe molten-salt power tower plant to optimize annual plant performance as a function of the thermocline tank size and the plant solar multiple.

Thermocline storage performance is characterized by the effectiveness of the tank in storing and delivering utilizable heat for steam generation and power production. Additional system-level metrics include thermal energy discard due to saturation of storage capacity and annual plant capacity factor. Economic assessment of the power output is characterized with a simple levelized cost of electricity. Minimum cost is observed with a solar multiple of 3 and a thermocline tank storage capacity of 16 hours.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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