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The First Scientific Symposium Of Electrical And Electronic Engineering (EEES) 2016

Concentrated solar power plants

Essam Endaya
Solar Energy Research and Study Center

Y. Adraider
Tajoura Research Center

the harsh environments. Currently, The dust and

sandstorms are the most critical issues for the CSP
reflectors. The degradation of the reflectors due to the
influence of soiling and surface abrasion that causes the
decrease of the optical performance of the reflectors,
therefore, the design of the concentrated solar power
plants (CSP) should consider the right selection of proper
materials and components in order to be able to resist in
harsh environments [4].

Abstract- This review article summarises the key

areas of concentrated solar power plants (CSP) for
producing electricity. The scope of this article orbits
around the possibility of using the sunlight as an
alternative/renewable energy to operate the
concentrated solar power systems, explaining the
main components and the application of the CSP
plants. Moreover, different solar collectors and their
working principles are also discussed. More
importantly, this article shows the promising future of
using the concentrated solar power plants (CSP)
instead of conventional power plants operated by
fossil fuels.
Index terms: Solar energy, (CSP) plants, Solar field,
Solar collectors.
The generation of the electricity is one of the most
important issues for all the developing countries due to
the increase of the world population each year. The
increase of the demand of the electrical power leads to
utilise a variety of energy sources. The current world
energy consumption relies mostly on fossil fuels with a
percentage of Oil 35%, Coal 29% and Gas 24%, whilst
Nuclear and Hydro power represent a 5.5% and 6.5%
respectively from the total energy consumption across the
world according to British Petroleum (BP) [1].

Fig.1 . Suitable locations of direct normal irradiance(DNI)

for concentrated solar power plants [1].

The usage of the alternative or renewable energies

becomes a very important issue for all the countries due
to many factors such as the depletion of fossil resources,
the disasters of
nuclear power plants like
Fukushima/Japan, and the impact of greenhouse gases
on the environmental. The exploitation of renewable
energy sources increases annually and the development of
renewable energy technologies such as photovoltaic (PV),
hydroelectric energy, tidal energy, wind power and ocean
wave power technologies has gained a full attention in the
last decades.

The distribution of the suitable locations for

establishing the concentrating solar power plants (CSP)
is shown in Fig. 1. The variation of these locations
divided into different levels that depend on the direct
normal irradiance (DNI) [2]. The key factor to operate the
concentrated solar power plants is the securing of the
direct normal irradiance (DNI) level that should be above
1,800-2000 KWh/m2 per year [3]. The most favorable
sites for the concentrated solar power plants are likely
placed in the deserts where the level of direct normal
irradiance (DNI) is excellent. However, in the deserts,
the concentrated solar power plants (CSP) faces big
challenges due to the common problems that come from

The availability of solar energy everywhere on the

surface of the world encourages the expansion of the

The First Scientific Symposium Of Electrical And Electronic Engineering (EEES) 2016

solar power technologies worldwide with a huge

investment for developing the proper techniques [5]. The
distribution of solar power worldwide [W/m2] is
illustrated in Fig. 2.

Fig. 2. Distribution of solar energy [W/m2] [5]

Fig. 4. Solar collectors for concentrated solar
power plants (CSP) [5].


The distribution of solar energy on the surface of the
world is a non-uniform with high intensity of solar
radiation in the southern part of the world in comparison
with low intensity of solar radiation in the northern part.
The solar energy distribution around the world must be
considered to design the suitable solar power
system [6]. The generation of electricity from solar power
can be mainly obtained by different two ways, the first
way uses the photovoltaic cells (PV) as shown in Fig. 3,
and the second way uses the solar collectors (Fig.4) and
receivers to obtain thermal heating to generate a steam in
order to rotate the turbines and generators [5].


Due to a high cost of electricity obtained by solar
power systems in comparison to the electricity produced
by conventional fossil power plants, the concentrated
solar power systems (CSP) has gained a huge
developments in the last decades like photo voltaic cells
systems (PV) and wind power systems. The main
advantage of the concentrated solar power systems (CSP)
in comparison with other renewable energies like PV
cells and wind energy comes from the possibility of
storage the thermal energy in a convenient way than the
storage of the electricity.
The concentrated solar power systems (CSP) mainly
consists of three sub-systems include a solar field, a
thermal storage unite and thermal load. A service
lifetime of the concentrated solar power systems (CSP) is
expected to run more than 30 years. In order to reduce
the cost and increase the efficiency of the concentrated
solar power technology, many research projects are going
on to develop new components, materials and systems
The solar field technologies have a wide range of
thermal applications, for example power generation using
heat engines and/or steam turbines, space and/or domestic
hot water (DHW) heating, water treatment and water
desalination, cooling include air condition and
refrigeration, thermo-chemical processes such as
hydrogen production, high temperature testing of
materials and industrial process heat (IPH) [9].

Fig. 3. Photovoltaic cells assembly [7].

The First Scientific Symposium Of Electrical And Electronic Engineering (EEES) 2016

Concentrator structures, reflectors, receivers, and the

balance of concentrator are the main components of the
solar field system, and these components are assembled
to obtain the solar collectors. The optical characteristic is
an important feature for the reflector, which depends on
the reflectance. The surface of the reflectors should be
highly specular in order to reflect a maximum amount of
incident beam radiation onto the receive. Recently,
various reflector materials have been employed and
developed to increase the efficiency, the performance and
the durability of solar field systems [10].
Various solar collectors are used in the Concentrated
solar power plants (CSP) include parabolic trough
system, linear Fresnel optical arrays, dish/engine system
and power tower. These solar collectors systems have the
same working principles that aim to reflecting and
redirecting the incident beam radiation into the receiver
from the sunlight, however the differences refer to the
reflector shape of solar collector and layout of the
receiver [10,11].

Fig. 6. Linear Fresnel collector [10].

The power tower system uses reflecting mirrors with

slightly curved shape that redirect the incident beam
radiation onto a receiver at the top of the tower as shown
in Fig. 7.

The reflector shape of the parabolic trough system is a

curved surface that concentrates the solar radiation onto
the receiver tube as shown in Fig. 5.

Fig. 7. Power tower system (Heliostats) [12].

The dish/Engine system has a parabolic dish shape that

concentrates the solar energy onto a receiver. Each dish
has only one receiver that reflects the sunlight into a
small receiver area, and the dish equips with engine or
generator for producing electricity. The dish/engine
system can be used as a single unit or multiple units for
power generation as illustrated in Fig. 8.

Fig. 5. Parabolic collector of solar power system [10].

The linear Fresnel reflector system consists of flat or

slightly curved mirrors fixed on the tracker that reflect the
direct incident sunlight onto a receiver tube mounted
above the mirrors as illustrated in Fig. 6.

The First Scientific Symposium Of Electrical And Electronic Engineering (EEES) 2016

[2] AG. Schott, 2011. Schott memorandum on solar thermal

power plant technology. (Online) Available from:
[3] DLR MED-CSP, 2005. Concentrating Solar Power for
[4] Sargent & Lundy, 2003. Assessment of Parabolic Trough
and Power Tower Solar Technology Cost and Performance
Forecasts, NREL Subcontractor report SR-550-34440. (Online)
Available from: <

The comparison of solar field collectors performance is

summarized in Table 2.

[5] T. K. Ghosh, and M. A. Prelas, (2011), Energy Resources

and System Volume 2: Renewable Resources, 2nd ed, Springer
Science+Business Media, Spring Street, New York, USA
[6] Z. en, (2008), Solar Energy Fundamentals and Modeling
Techniques, 1st ed, Springer-Verlag London Limited, London,

Table 1
Comparison of solar field collectors [14].
C 70-120
C 60-90

[7] Albasolar (2012), Albasolar and REC Solar provide 2MW

for the largest photovoltaic power plant in Austria, available

Fig. 8. Collectors of dish/engine system [13].

Temperature rang
Net annual solar
to electricity
Typical nominal
power capacity

T 300-400
12-14 %

T 200-400
10-12 %

T 500 1000

C 3004000
T 600-1200
14-18 %

50 to 400

1 to 30 MW

5 to 200 MW

5 to 25 kW

Thermal oil
Direct steam

Thermal oil
Direct steam

Air, Molten


4 ha per

2.5 ha per

up to 8 ha per

4 ha per

Heat transfer fluid

Land occupation

Power tower
C 500-1000

[8] R. Pitz-Paal et al., 2007. Development steps for parabolic

trough solar power technologies with maximum impact on cost
reduction. Solar Energy Engineering, 129, p. 371-377.
[9] A. Fernandez-Garcia et al., 2010. Parabolic-trough Solar
collectors and their applications. Renewable
and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 14, p.16951721.
[10] U.S. Department of Energy (2011), Linear Concentrator,


[11] L.L. Vant-Hull, (2009), "Concentrating Solar Thermal

Power (CSP)", in Goswami, D. Y. and Zhao, Y. (eds.)
Proceedings of ISES World Congress 2007 (Vol. I Vol. V).

The concentrated solar power plants (CSP) are a

beneficial technology to produce the electricity by
exploiting the sunlight as an alternative energy source
instead of the fossil fuels. The CSP plants represent a
potential solution instead of the conventional power
plants operated by fossil fuels in order to avoid the
environment-associated issues such as toxic
emissions and global warming. This review article within
its scope explains various solar field collectors used in the
concentrated solar power plants (CSP) within the last
decades. This article also highlights the other challenges
for the concentrated solar power plants (CSP), like dust,
sandstorms and surface abrasion.

[12] U.S. Department of Energy (2011), Power Tower System

[13] U.S. Department of Energy (2011), Dish/Engine System
[14] W. Platzer, 2010a. M3016 [Lecture notes] Concentrated
Solar Thermal Power. Unit 1: Technology. Solar Thermal for
Hot Climates. Dalarna University, European Solar Engineering
School. Borlnge.

[1] BP, 2011. BP Statistical Review of World Energy, June

Yuosef Adraider works at Tajoura Research Center. He was
born in Tajoura/Libya, 1975. He received a High Diploma in

The First Scientific Symposium Of Electrical And Electronic Engineering (EEES) 2016

mechanical engineering from the college of Engineering

Technology, Janzour, Libya, in 1999. MSc degree from
Teesside University, UK, 2007. In 2014, he received his PhD
degree in Surface Engineering. He worked as a research
associate at Teesside University in research project funded by
Airbus and Rolls-Royce. He published 7 journal papers in peerreviewed journals in Sciencedirect. Research interests include
laser-associated coating techniques, laser material processing,
surface engineering techniques, power plants engineering.
Essam Endaya works at the Solar Energy Research and Study
Center. He was born in Tajoura/Libya , 1985 . He has got B.Sc.
degree in Mechanical Engineering (power) from faculty of
engineering, University of Tripoli , in 2009. Master degree in "
Power engineering by department : Industrial &Mechanical
Engineering with for academic year of 2015/2016 , University
of Tripoli . He published one journal papers under title
"Predicting the effects of sand erosion on collector surfaces in
CSP plants"2014. Sciencedirect .He Collaborated with the
University of Tripoli in Engineering drawing Material (2015
Currently). He worked with team researchers in Project: