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Lukas Feierabend M.S. Graduate Student Mechanical Engineering. Thesis: Model Development and Simulation of Central Receiver Systems for Solar Towers. Model Development and Simulation of Central Receiver Systems for Solar Towers. L. Feierabend, S.A. Klein, D.T. Reindl .

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Lukas Feierabend

M.S. Graduate StudentMechanical Engineering

Thesis: Model Development and Simulation of Central Receiver Systems for Solar Towers

Model Development and Simulation of Central Receiver Systems for Solar Towers

L. Feierabend, S.A. Klein, D.T. Reindl

Technology Overview for Solar Towers

Process flow diagram of the PS10 solar tower power plant. [1]

  • The heliostat field, evenly distributed on the northern hemicycle (PS10) around the tower, tracks the position of the sun and reflects radiation onto the central receiver.

  • Heat transfer fluid (HTF) (e.g. molten salt, steam, air) flows through tubes on the receiver surface and absorbs incident solar radiation.

  • Thermal energy is stored in large units to compensate for times when there is little or no solar radiation and during peak loads.

  • The HTF is routed into a heat exchanger to deliver heat for a steam cycle (Rankine, Brayton).

  • This cycle converts thermal energy into electricity with a nominal output of 11 MW (PS10).

Cylindrical Receiver for Solar Towers

  • Heat transfer fluid tubes are welded together to form a cylindrical surface area.

  • Solar radiation is incident on the entire receiver circumference, therefore the heliostat field can be extended to cover the ground area completely around the tower. However, one has to consider that

  • the costs for the heliostat field account for about a third of the total investment costs.

  • Additionally, the radiation flux incident from the southern part of the field is low compared to the radiation reflected from the northern mirrors.

Cylindrical receiver on top of the Solar Two Power Tower in Barstow, CA. [2]

  • The cylinder surface is completely exposed to the surroundings, thus the convective and radiative heat losses are high.

Cavity Receiver

  • The receiver cavity is formed by welded tubes, which contain the heat transfer fluid. The receiver face approximates a semicircular cylinder shape.

  • Reflected radiation enters the cavity through a north-facing aperture. The heliostat field is built exclusively within the range of possible incidence angles onto the receiver.

  • The geometry of the cavity-type receiver reduces radiative and convective heat losses, although forced convection losses depend significantly on the wind direction.

PS10 cavity-type receiver . [3]

  • Improvement of existing correlations for convective heat losses from receiver surfaces with numerical modeling of air flow around different receiver geometries.

  • Development of a TRNSYS model for cavity-type central solar receivers for future incorporation into the “Solar Analysis Model”.

Project Objectives


[1] Romero, M., Buck, R. and Pacheco J. E. (2002). An Update on Solar Central Receiver Systems, Projects, and Technologies, Journal of Solar Energy Engineering, Vol. 124, pg. 98-108.