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Review of Geothermal and Solar Thermal Power Plants and a Comparative Design Analysis

[+] Author Affiliations
Roberto Venegas, Sarada Kuravi, Krishna Kota

New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

Troy Nguyen, Mary McCay

Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL

Paper No. POWER2015-49526, pp. V001T01A013; 8 pages
  • ASME 2015 Power Conference collocated with the ASME 2015 9th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, the ASME 2015 13th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology, and the ASME 2015 Nuclear Forum
  • ASME 2015 Power Conference
  • San Diego, California, USA, June 28–July 2, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Power Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5660-4
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


Thermodynamics indicates that the lower the temperature of a resource, the less energy that could be extracted from it due to lower maximum thermal efficiency. Geothermal resources exist in varying temperatures. The lowest ones (around 120°C), are too small for economic power production. On the other hand, concentrating solar power (CSP) can achieve high temperatures during the day (from 350 to 550°C, based on a Parabolic Trough CSP plant [1]) but once the sun is not shining, that temperature is reduced drastically.

Transition to renewable energy systems is an environmentally friendly and potentially rewarding economic decision that society can make nowadays. This paper briefly reviews geothermal and solar thermal based plants in terms of energy growth or decay from one year to another (2012–2013). In addition, an example site location is chosen and the performance of both these types of power plants is analyzed in terms of capacity factor, Thermal Energy Storage (TES) hours, solar multiple, area requirement and Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) for a given set of environmental conditions. This analysis is performed using the System Advisor Model (SAM), on which simulation of parabolic trough, power tower, linear Fresnel, dish Stirling and geothermal (binary cycle) energy conversion systems are considered. At the same time, the analysis discussed will take place in a further study which will include economic viability for the two technologies running under the same combined cycle.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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