Thermodynamic fundamentals of solar thermal power plant optimisation2 15-Mar-10
A finite time thermodynamic model of all essential components in solar thermalpower generation is proposed for conditions of constant insolation. Heat exchangersoperating between the solar receiver and the working fluid and also between theworking fluid and ambient are included. The representation is endoreversible,involving a Carnot engine. Model parameters are optimized in order to maximize thepower output per unit solar collector area. The ratio of radiative to conductive lossesas a function of temperature is graphed, providing an insight into situations whereconvective losses can be neglected in solar thermal optimisation.Receiver irradiance (radiation incident upon unit receiver area) is proposed as a moreuniversal means than geometric concentration by which such solar thermal plantoptimisation should be performed. The extent to which the finite conductance of upper and lower heat exchangers impacts on the optimisation of the solar conversionfraction is determined by their total conductance per unit receiver area. For finiteconductance heat exchangers there exists an optimal receiver irradiance andtemperature. There is found to be substantial flexibility in the choice of receivertemperature and irradiance whilst maintaining a high power output per unit collectorarea.