Thermodynamic Analysis And Simulation Of A Solar Thermal Power System
Solar energy is a virtually inexhaustible energy resource, and thus, has great potential in helping meet many of our future energy requirements. Current technology used for solar energy conversion, however, is not cost effective. In addition, solar thermal power systems are also generally less efficient as compared to fossil fuel based thermal power plants. There is a large variety of systems for solar thermal power generation, each with certain advantages and disadvantages. A distinct advantage of solar thermal power generation systems is that they can be easily integrated with a storage system and/or with an auxiliary heating system (as in hybrid power systems) to provide stable and reliable power. Also, as the power block of a solar thermal plant resembles that of a conventional thermal power plant, most of the equipment and technology used is already well defined, and hence does not require major break through research for effective utilisation. Manufacturing of components, too, can be easily indigenized. A solar collector field is generally used for solar thermal energy conversion. The field converts high grade radiation energy to low grade heat energy, which will inevitably involve energy losses as per the laws of thermodynamics. The 2nd law of thermodynamics requires that a certain amount of heat energy cannot be utilised and has to be rejected as waste heat. This limits the efficiency of solar thermal energy technology. However, in many situations, the waste heat can be effectively utilized to perform refrigeration and desalination using absorption or solid sorption systems, with technologies popularly known as “polygeneration”. There is extensive research done in the area of solar collectors, including but not limiting to thermal analysis, testing of solar collectors, and economic analysis of solar collectors. Exergy and optimization analyses have also been done for certain solar collector configurations. Research on solar thermal power plants includes energy analysis at system level with certain configurations. Research containing analysis with insolation varying throughout the day is limited. Hence, there is scope for analysis incorporating diurnal variation of insolation for a solar thermal power system. This thesis centres on the thermodynamic analysis at system level of a solar thermal power system using a concentrating solar collector field and a simple Rankine cycle power generation (with steam as the working fluid) for Indian conditions. The aim is to develop a tool for thermodynamic analysis of solar thermal power systems, with a generalised approach that can also be used with different solar collector types, different heat transfer fluids in the primary loop, and also different working fluids in the secondary loop. This analysis emphasises the solar collector field and a basic sensible heat storage system, and investigates the various energy and exergy losses present. Comparisons have been made with and without a storage unit and resulting performance issues of solar thermal power plants have been studied. Differences between the system under consideration and commercially used thermal power plants have also been discussed, which brought out certain limitations of the technology currently in use. A solution from an optimization analysis has been utilized and modified for maximization of exergy generated at collector field. The analysis has been done with models incorporating equations using the laws of thermodynamics. MATLAB has been used to program and simulate the models. Solar radiation data used is from NREL’s Indian Solar Resource Data, which is obtained using their SUNY model by interpreting satellite imagery. The performance of the system has been analysed for Bangalore for four different days with different daylight durations, each day having certain differences in the incident solar radiation or insolation received. A particular solution of an optimization analysis has been modified using the simulation model developed and analysed with the objective of maximization of exergy generated at collector field. It has been found that the performance of the solar thermal power system was largely dependent on the variation of incident solar radiation. The storage system provided a stableperformance for short duration interruptions of solar radiation occurred on Autumn Equinox (23-09-2002).The duration of the interruption was within the limits of storage unit capacity. The major disruption in insolation transpired on Summer Solstice (21-06-2002) caused a significantly large drop in the solar thermal system performance; practically the system ceased to function due to lack of energy resource. Hence, the use of an auxiliary heating system hasbeen considered desirable. The absence of a storage unit has been shown to cause a significant loss in gross performance of the power system. The Rankine cycle turbine had many issues coping with a highly fluctuating energy input, and thus caused efficiency losses and even ceased power generation. A storage unit has been found to be ideal for steady power generation purposes. Some commercial configurations may lack a storage system, but they have been compensated by the auxiliary heating system to ensure stable power generation. The optimization of the solar collector determines that optimal collector temperatures vary in accordance to the incident solar radiation. Hence, the collector fluid outlet temperature must not be fixed so as to handle varying insolation for optimal exergy extraction. The optimal temperatures determined for Bangalore are around 576 K which is close to the values obtained by the simulation of the solar thermal power system. The tools for analysis and simulation of solar thermal power plants developed in this thesis is fairly generalised, as it can be adapted for various types of solar collectors and for different working fluids (other than steam), such as for Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC). The model can also be easily extended to other types of power cycles such as Brayton and Stirling cycles.
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