Solar receiver development for gas-turbine based solar dish systems

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: Small-scale concentrating solar power plants such as micro gas-turbine based solar dish systems have the potential to harness solar energy in an effective way and supply electricity to customers in remote areas. In such systems, the solar receiver transfers the power of concentrated solar radiation to the working fluid of the power conversion cycle. It is one of the key components as it needs to operate at high temperatures to ensure a high power cycle efficiency and under high flux densities to ensure a high receiver efficiency. In order to address these challenges and to ensure efficient and reliable operation innovative designs are needed.This research work focuses on the complete development of a novel solar receiver applying a new systematic design and analysis methodology. Therefore, a comprehensive receiver design and experimental evaluation process were developed and implemented. The design process includes the identification of technical specifications and requirements, the development of receiver design tools of different investigation levels coupled with multi-objective optimization tools, the evaluation of scaling effects between tests in the KTH high-flux solar simulator and the full-scale solar dish system. As a result of the design process a representative final receiver was established with material temperatures and stresses below critical limits while respecting the design specification.The experimental evaluation includes the enhancement of the KTH high-flux solar simulator to provide stable and reliable operating conditions, the precise characterization of the radiative boundary conditions, the design of a receiver test bed recreating the operating behavior of a gas-turbine, and the final receiver testing for multiple operating points. It was shown that the prototype reaches an efficiency of 69.3% for an air outlet temperature of 800°C and a mass flow of 29.5 g/s. For a larger mass flow of 38.4 g/s a receiver efficiency of 84.8% was achieved with an air outlet temperature of 749°C.The measurement results obtained were then used for a multi-point validation of the receiver design tools, resulting in a high level of confidence in the accuracy of the tools. The validated models were then harnessed to calculate the performance of a full-scale solar receiver integrated into the OMSoP solar dish system. It was shown that a solar receiver can be designed, which delivers air at 800°C with a receiver efficiency of 82.2%.Finally, the economic potential of micro gas-turbine based solar systems was investigated and it was shown that they are ideally suited for small-scale stand-alone and off-grid applications.The results of the receiver development highlight the feasibility of using volumetric solar receivers to provide heat input to micro gas-turbine based solar dish systems and no major hurdles were found.