MODELING, SIMULATION, AND ANALYSIS OF GRID

CONNECTED DISH-STIRLING SOLAR POWER PLANTS










A Thesis
Presented to
The Academic Faculty




by



Dustin F. Howard




In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree
Master of Science in the
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering







Georgia Institute of Technology
August 2010


MODELING, SIMULATION, AND ANALYSIS OF GRID
CONNECTED DISH-STIRLING SOLAR POWER PLANTS






















Approved by:

Dr. Ronald G. Harley, Advisor
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Thomas G. Habetler
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Deepakraj M. Divan
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology



Date Approved: July 6, 2010


To my mother, Kathy Howard, and my father, Fred Howard, for their enduring love,
patience, and support.


iv
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Numerous individuals contributed with both technical and moral support for the
completion of this thesis. The work presented here would not have been possible without
their help.
Dr. Ronald G. Harley has been a constant source of technical guidance, and has
spent many hours helping me better understand the fundamentals of power engineering.
His patience and willingness to take time and delve into the technical details of this
research cannot be appreciated enough. I would also like to thank Dr. Thomas Habetler
and Dr. Deepak Divan for their guidance and inspiration as both professors and
researchers.
I would like to thank the members of the Wesley Foundation at Georgia Tech and
Rev. Steve Fazenbaker for providing a welcoming and encouraging place of faith. My
success and overall positive experience of college life at Georgia Tech is largely
attributed to the friendships and intellectual and spiritual growth that developed as a
result of many hours spent at the Wesley Foundation.
I would like to thank my fellow lab mates for their technical assistance and ideas
regarding this research, particularly Jiaqi Liang, who contributed much to the work
included in this thesis, and helped improve on the modeling details. I would also like to
thank by lab mates for our regular outings outside of lab, which helped support and
sustain me through the somewhat difficult and stressful times that graduate student life
can bring.
Most of all I would like to thank my sisters and my parents, who have been there
for me through the best and worst of times throughout my life. During the time of this
thesis work, I had the great sorrow of losing a grandfather and the joy of becoming an
v
uncle to twin boys. This work would not have been possible without the inspiration and
encouragement that they have provided.
vi
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ........................................................................................... IV
LIST OF TABLES .......................................................................................................... IX
LIST OF FIGURES ......................................................................................................... X
LIST OF SYMBOLS ................................................................................................... XIII
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ..................................................................................... XVI
SUMMARY ............................................................................................................... XVIII
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION .................................................................................... 1
1.1 Background ......................................................................................................... 1
1.2 Solar Thermal Technologies ............................................................................... 2
1.3 System Overview ................................................................................................ 5
1.4 Dish-Stirling Background ................................................................................... 7
1.5 Literature Review................................................................................................ 8
1.5.1 Stirling Engines .......................................................................................... 8
1.5.2 Receivers .................................................................................................... 9
1.5.3 Dish-Stirling Performance Reports, Design, Modeling ........................... 10
1.5.4 Control Systems ....................................................................................... 10
1.6 Summary ........................................................................................................... 11
CHAPTER 2: COMPONENT MODELS ..................................................................... 13
2.1 Introduction ....................................................................................................... 13
2.2 Concentrator ...................................................................................................... 13
2.3 Receiver ............................................................................................................ 14
2.4 Stirling Engine .................................................................................................. 15
2.4.1 Heat Exchanger Analysis ......................................................................... 18
2.4.2 Working Space Analysis .......................................................................... 21
2.4.3 Engine Pressure ........................................................................................ 23
vii
2.4.4 Mechanical Equations .............................................................................. 24
2.4.5 Modeled Engine ....................................................................................... 24
2.4.6 Simulation Strategy .................................................................................. 26
2.5 Conclusion ........................................................................................................ 30
CHAPTER 3: CONTROL SYSTEMS .......................................................................... 32
3.1 Introduction ....................................................................................................... 32
3.2 Pressure Control System ................................................................................... 33
3.3 Temperature Control System ............................................................................ 36
3.4 Over-Speed Control .......................................................................................... 37
3.5 Linearized Model .............................................................................................. 39
3.6 Controller Tuning.............................................................................................. 42
3.7 Conclusion ........................................................................................................ 44
CHAPTER 4: SINGLE MACHINE INFINITE BUS ANALYSIS............................. 45
4.1 Introduction ....................................................................................................... 45
4.2 Steady State Analysis ........................................................................................ 47
4.3 Transient Analysis ............................................................................................ 52
4.4 Conclusion ........................................................................................................ 53
CHAPTER 5: SOLAR FARM IN 12-BUS NETWORK ............................................. 57
5.1 Introduction ....................................................................................................... 57
5.2 Solar Farm Model Order Reduction ................................................................. 58
5.3 12-Bus Network Steady-State Analysis ............................................................ 65
5.3.1 Base Case ................................................................................................. 65
5.3.2 Solar Farm Connected to 12-Bus Network .............................................. 66
5.4 12- Bus Network Transient Analysis ................................................................ 72
5.4.1 Effects of Irradiance Level Variations ..................................................... 72
5.4.2 Effects of a Three Phase Short Circuit ..................................................... 76
5.5 Conclusion ........................................................................................................ 78
viii
CHAPTER 6: CONCLUDING REMARKS ................................................................ 80
6.1 Conclusions ....................................................................................................... 80
6.2 Contributions..................................................................................................... 81
6.3 Recommendations ............................................................................................. 82
APPENDIX A: DISH-STIRLING SYSTEM SIMULATION DATA ........................ 84
REFERENCES ................................................................................................................ 87
ix
LIST OF TABLES
Page
Table 1.1: Cost, Generating Capacity, and Performance Data of CSP Technologies [2]
[4] [5] [6] ......................................................................................................... 4

Table A.1: Concentrator, Receiver, and Stirling Engine Simulation Data ...................... 84
Table A.2: Working Gas Properties ................................................................................. 85
Table A.3: Induction Generator Specifications ............................................................... 85
Table A.4: Step-Up Transformer Specifications ............................................................. 85
Table A.5: Control System Parameter Values ................................................................. 86

x
LIST OF FIGURES
Page
Figure 1.1: Estimated growth in generating capacity of solar thermal and photovoltaic
technologies in the U.S. through the year 2035 [1]. ........................................ 1
Figure 1.2: Photos of (a) Parabolic trough, (b) solar power tower, (c) Fresnel reflector,
and (d) dish-Stirling CSP designs [3]. ............................................................. 2
Figure 1.3: Sample dish-Stirling system with labeled components. .................................. 5
Figure 1.4: Stirling cycle p-v diagram. .............................................................................. 8
Figure 2.1: Concentrator and receiver block diagram. .................................................... 15
Figure 2.2: Heat exchangers and working spaces in a Stirling engine, with labels for the
various gas parameters in each compartment. ............................................... 16
Figure 2.3: Generalized engine compartment. ................................................................. 18
Figure 2.4: Working gas temperature distribution throughout the five engine
compartments. ................................................................................................ 19
Figure 2.5: Regenerator temperature distribution and conditional interface temperatures.
....................................................................................................................... 20
Figure 2.6: (a) Modeled 4-cylinder engine and (b) one quadrant of the four cylinder
engine. ............................................................................................................ 25
Figure 2.7: Simulation results for various Stirling engine parameters in steady state. .... 26
Figure 2.8: Stirling engine simulation flow diagram. ...................................................... 28
Figure 2.9: Dish-Stirling simulation block diagram. ....................................................... 31
Figure 3.1: Pressure control system connection to Stirling engine. ................................. 33
Figure 3.2: Block diagram of dish-Stirling system model with pressure control system
supply and dump valves. ................................................................................ 35
Figure 3.3: Temperature and over-speed control block diagram. .................................... 36
Figure 3.4: Pressure commanded by the temperature control system [26]. ..................... 37
Figure 3.5: Controlled temperature region and uncontrolled temperature region. .......... 38
Figure 3.6: Simplified temperature distribution............................................................... 40
xi
Figure 3.7: Comparison of the linear and non-linear pressure representations for a step
change in pressure command. ........................................................................ 41
Figure 3.8: Linearized control loop of the pressure control system. ............................... 43
Figure 4.1: Low voltage ride-through requirements [33]. ............................................... 46
Figure 4.2: Connection of a single dish-Stirling (DS) unit in a single machine infinite bus
model. ............................................................................................................ 47
Figure 4.3: (a) Circuit diagram of induction generator connected to a network and (b)
phasor diagram of labeled voltages and currents of (a). ................................ 47
Figure 4.4: P-Q diagram of induction machine, showing amount of reactive power
compensation required to meet grid interconnection requirements. .............. 48
Figure 4.5: Steady state values of the dish-Stirling system real power, reactive power,
and power factor as a function of solar irradiance. ........................................ 49
Figure 4.6: Reactive power compensation range to meet grid interconnection power
factor requirements for varying solar irradiance. .......................................... 50
Figure 4.7: Induction machine electric torque and Stirling engine mechanical torque
versus speed. .................................................................................................. 51
Figure 4.8: Simulation results for the (a) working gas pressure, (b) heater temperature,
(c) mechanical and electrical torque, (d) generator shaft speed, (e) real and
reactive power, and (f) generator voltage both with and without speed control
for a 150 msec three phase to ground fault. ................................................... 54
Figure 5.1: 12-Bus network used for analysis and simulation of the grid integration of a
dish-Stirling solar farm. ................................................................................. 57
Figure 5.2: Model of a 400 kW dish-Stirling solar farm. ................................................ 59
Figure 5.3: Simplified single machine model of 400 kW solar farm............................... 60
Figure 5.4: Input irradiance for the four solar farm areas and the averaged irradiance
input for the single-machine model. .............................................................. 61
Figure 5.5: Real and reactive power output of the MM model and the SM model for the
input irradiances shown in Fig. 5.4. ............................................................... 62
Figure 5.6: Real and reactive power output of the SM model and the MM model for a
three phase to ground fault with uniform irradiance over the solar farm. ..... 63
Figure 5.7: Real and reactive power output of the MM model and the SM model for a
three phase to ground fault under different irradiance over the our areas. .... 64
xii
Figure 5.8: Connection diagram using only fixed compensation for voltage support in the
integration of the solar farm at bus 11. .......................................................... 66
Figure 5.9: Bus 3 voltage versus solar irradiance with only fixed compensation. .......... 67
Figure 5.10: Connection of solar farm to bus 11 with an SVC used as variable reactive
power compensation. ..................................................................................... 68
Figure 5.11: (a) Power factor PF
SF
of the solar farm over a range of irradiance and
voltage, with the SVC set to control voltage and (b) voltage at the PCC (bus
3) over a range of PF
SF
and irradiance, with the SVC set to control PF
SF
. ... 69
Figure 5.12: Interconnection of solar farm to bus 3 in addition to G3, with G3’s AVR
controlling the bus 11 voltage and the SVC controlling the solar farm power
factor. ............................................................................................................. 71
Figure 5.13: Power factor of G3 for a range of irradiance and solar farm power factor . 72
Figure 5.14: Simulation results of the solar farm (b) SVC reactive power output, (c) real
and reactive power, (d) PCC (bus 3) voltage, (e) induction generator speed,
and (f) G3 power factor for a cloud transient using the input irradiance
waveform of (a). ............................................................................................ 73
Figure 5.15: (a) Bus 3 voltage, (b) SVC reactive power, and (c) solar farm real and
reactive power for a 150 msec three phase short circuit applied to bus 3. .... 77

xiii
LIST OF SYMBOLS
Symbol Meaning (units)
c specific heat capacity (J/(kg*K))
d derivative operator with respect to crank angle, diameter (m)
D derivative operator with respect to time, pipe diameter (m)
f friction factor
F mechanical damping (kg*m
2
/s)
gA mass flow (kg/s)
h heat transfer coefficient (W/(m
2
*K))
I irradiance (W/m
2
)
J moment of inertia (kg*m
2
)
L length (m)
m mass (kg)
M total mass of working gas inside Stirling engine (kg)
p working gas pressure (Pa)
Q heat (J)
R gas constant (m
3
*Pa/(K*kg))
T temperature (K)
V volume (m
3
)
W work (J)
α displacement angle (rad)
φ crank angle (rad)
xiv
η
efficiency
ρ
density (kg/m
3
)
τ torque (N*m)
ω Shaft rotational speed (rad/s)

Subscript Meaning
a ambient
c compression space
ck compression space-cooler interface
con concentrator
de, dc dead space
elec electric
e expansion space
h heater
he heater-expansion space interface
I input
k cooler
kr cooler-regenerator interface
L losses
m mirror
p constant pressure, pipe
r regenerator
xv
rh regenerator-heater interface
s swept space
st storage tank
v constant volume

xvi
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
AVR Automatic Voltage Regulator
CSP Concentrating Solar Power
DIR Direct Illuminated Receiver
DNI Direct Normal Irradiance
DS Dish-Stirling
EIA Energy Information Adminstration
GIR Grid Interconnection Requirements
IIR Indirect Illuminated Receiver
LCOE Levelized Cost Of Electricity
LVRT Low-Voltage Ride Through
MM Multi-Machine
NREL National Renewable Energy Laboratory
OS Over-Speed
PCC Point of Common Coupling
PCS Pressure Control System
PCU Power Conversion Unit
PV Photovoltaic
SAIC Science Applications International Corp.
SBP Schlaich Bergermann and Partner
SES Stirling Energy Systems
SM Single-Machine
xvii
SMIB Single Machine Infinite Bus
STATCOM Static Synchronous Compensator
SVC Static Var Compensator
TCS Temperature Control System

xviii
SUMMARY

The percentage of renewable energy within the global electric power generation
portfolio is expected to increase rapidly over the next few decades due to increasing
concerns about climate change, fossil fuel costs, and energy security. Solar thermal
energy, also known as concentrating solar power (CSP), is emerging as an important
solution to new demands for clean, renewable electricity generation. Dish-Stirling (DS)
technology, a form of CSP, is a relatively new player in the renewable energy market,
although research in the technology has been ongoing now for nearly thirty years. The
first large plant utilizing DS technology, rated at 1.5 MW, came online in January 2010 in
Peoria, AZ, and plants rated for several hundred MW are in the planning stages.
Increasing capacity of this technology within the utility grid requires extensive dynamic
simulation studies to ensure that the power system maintains its safety and reliability in
spite of the technological challenges that DS technology presents, particularly related to
the intermittency of the energy source and its use of a non-conventional asynchronous
generator. The research presented in this thesis attempts to fill in the gaps between the
well established research on Stirling engines in the world of thermodynamics and the use
of DS systems in electric power system applications, a topic which has received scant
attention in publications since the emergence of this technology.
DS technology uses a paraboloidal shaped dish of mirrors to concentrate sunlight
to a single point. The high temperatures achieved at the focal point of the mirrors is used
as a heat source for the Stirling engine, which is a closed-cycle, external heat engine.
xix
Invented by the Scottish clergyman Robert Stirling in 1816, the Stirling engine is capable
of high efficiency and releases no emissions, making it highly compatible with
concentrated solar energy. The Stirling engine turns a squirrel-cage induction generator,
where electricity is delivered through underground cables from thousands of independent,
autonomous 10-25 kW rated DS units in a large solar farm.
A dynamic model of the DS system is presented in this thesis, including models
of the Stirling engine working gas and mechanical dynamics. Custom FORTRAN code
is written to model the Stirling engine dynamics within PSCAD/EMTDC. The Stirling
engine and various other components of the DS system are incorporated into an electrical
network, including first a single-machine, infinite bus network, and then a larger 12-bus
network including conventional generators, loads, and transmission lines. An analysis of
the DS control systems is presented, and simulation results are provided to demonstrate
the system’s steady state and dynamic behavior within these electric power networks.
Potential grid interconnection requirements are discussed, including issues with power
factor correction and low voltage ride-through, and simulation results are provided to
illustrate the dish-Stirling system’s capability for meeting such requirements.



1
CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background
The amount of renewable energy integrated into the power grid is expected to
increase significantly in upcoming years due to concerns about energy security and
climate change. Solar energy will make up a substantial portion of this new renewable
generation capacity, with anticipated growth in U.S. solar power generation capacity
shown in Fig. 1.1 for both solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) technologies through the
year 2035 [1]. Solar thermal installations often have a larger generating capacity than PV
installations since solar thermal is used exclusively in utility scale installations. PV, on
the other hand, is used in residential, commercial, industrial, and utility applications, but
typically has a generating capacity much smaller than solar thermal technologies. PV has

Figure 1.1: Estimated growth in generating capacity of solar thermal and photovoltaic technologies
in the U.S. through the year 2035 [1].
2
a higher expected annual growth rate (8.6%) than solar thermal technologies (2.2%)
through 2035, but the predicted levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for solar thermal
(256.6 $/MWh) is lower than PV (396.1 $/MWh) for plants entering service in 2016 [1].
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) maintains a database of solar
thermal projects in the U.S. [2], and gives a much higher capacity of solar thermal
installations in the next five years than given in Fig. 1.1, indicating that the growth rates
in [1] for solar power generation capacity may be quite conservative. Nevertheless,
growth in solar power generating capacity is expected due to an increasing need for
clean, renewable energy.
1.2 Solar Thermal Technologies
Solar thermal technologies, also known as concentrating solar power (CSP), use

Figure 1.2: Photos of (a) Parabolic trough, (b) solar power tower, (c) Fresnel reflector, and (d) dish-
Stirling CSP designs [3].

3
thermal energy from the sun to generate electricity. CSP technologies track the sun on
either one or two axes, and mirrors are arranged to focus the sunlight in either line-focus
concentrators or point-focus concentrators. The high temperatures achieved at the focal
point of the concentrators is used to heat an intermediate heat exchanging fluid, which
can either be used for thermal energy storage, boiling water (for steam turbine), or
powering thermal engines. Four types of CSP are currently being developed: parabolic
trough, power tower, linear Fresnel reflector, and dish-Stirling (DS) designs. Figure 1.2
displays a photo [3] of each type of system. Parabolic trough and linear Fresnel reflector
designs use line-focus concentrators, track the sun on one axis, and boil water in a
conventional steam turbine-driven generator, making their design resemble a
conventional fossil-fueled thermal power plant. DS and power tower designs use point-
focus concentrators and track the sun on two-axes, but only power tower designs use a
conventional steam-turbine prime mover. DS systems use the concentrated sunlight to
drive a closed-cycle, external heat engine known as a Stirling engine. Parabolic trough is
the most mature of the CSP technologies, having 11 individual plants with a total
generation capacity of 426 MW in the U.S. [2]. Table 1.1 gives various data comparing
the four types of CSP. NREL maintains a database of information on current CSP
projects in five countries: Algeria, Italy, Morocco, Spain, and the U.S. The generation
capacity data shown in Table 1.1 comes from this database, but includes only data for the
U.S. CSP projects in the U.S. that have been reported to NREL will amount to over 4500
MW of generating capacity by 2014, which significantly exceeds the U.S. Energy
Information Administration’s (EIA) 2010 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) [1] estimate
(shown in Fig. 1.1) of 862 MW by 2014. Cost data for CSP technologies varies
substantially between sources, and a range of prices for each technology (if available) is
given in Table 1.1, which shows the lowest and highest cost estimates given in the
sources listed. DS technology has demonstrated the highest instantaneous and annual
efficiency of the CSP technologies, where annual efficiency is defined as the ratio of the
4
electric energy produced and incident solar energy supplied to the system over a year.
The instantaneous efficiency varies during daily operation depending on operating
conditions. DS systems, however, currently have higher costs, as shown in Table 1.1.
DS technology has demonstrated the highest sun-to-grid energy conversion
efficiency [7] of any solar technology. Although DS technology is not as mature as the
trough and tower type designs, the advantages of higher efficiency and potential for low-
cost at mass production levels [8] makes the technology a significant competitor in both
the CSP technology market and other renewable energy markets. The potential of DS
technology is already being seen in the utility scale renewable energy markets, where the
first large scale DS power plant, rated at 1.5 MW, came online in January, 2010 in
Peoria, AZ [9]. More projects are in development with Southern California Edison, CPS
Energy, and San Diego Gas & Electric for 1627 MW of solar power from DS solar power
plants [9]. Therefore, DS technology is emerging as a prominent player in the renewable
energy electricity markets, and is likely to see a growing number of plants integrated into
the utility grid. The integration of large numbers of DS systems into the utility grid poses
unique challenges, particularly related to the reliability and stability of the generators and
the grid. Modeling of solar farms is important to understand the DS system’s impact on
Table 1.1: Cost, Generating Capacity, and Performance Data of CSP Technologies [2] [4] [5] [6]


Current
Installed
Capacity
in U.S.
(MW)
Capacity
in U.S.
by 2014
(MW)
Largest
Installation
by 2014
(MW)
LCOE
($/MWh)
Annual
Efficiency
Installed
Cost
($/kW)
Trough 426 2032 280 50-110 13-17%
2805-
4900
Tower 5 879 440 40-256.6 14-18%
2500-
6800
Dish-
Stirling
1.5 1601.5 850 60-400 20-26%
3000-
8600
Fresnel
Reflector
6.4 6.4 5 N/A N/A N/A

5
the grid and to anticipate potential problems and develop solutions; until recently these
topics have received little attention in the literature. The research presented in this thesis
covers the modeling and grid interconnection issues of a DS solar farm, starting with the
model of a single 25 kW system.
1.3 System Overview
A diagram of a DS system with labeled components is shown in Fig. 1.3. The
concentrator, power conversion unit (PCU), and all structural components track the sun
on two-axes throughout the day. The concentrator consists of mirrors arranged in the
shape of a paraboloid, and is designed such that the focal point of the mirrors is at the
opening of the receiver. The concentrator is sized to ensure that for different irradiance
levels, the thermal input energy from the concentrator does not exceed the thermal ratings
of the PCU. Concentrator diameters range from 8 to 15 meters in DS systems currently
being developed [8]. The receiver acts as a thermal interface between the concentrated
sunlight and the PCU, which contains the Stirling engine. The receiver is usually shaped
like a cylinder with an opening at one end to absorb the concentrated sunlight, which

Figure 1.3: Sample dish-Stirling system with labeled components.
6
reduces convection heat losses. One of the Stirling engine heat exchangers, known as the
heater (or absorber), consists of a series of tubes that pass through the receiver, where the
engine working gas flows through and absorbs the heat from the concentrated sunlight.
The working gas is expanded and compressed, supplying the work for a piston-crankshaft
drive mechanism. The Stirling engine shaft is typically coupled to a cage rotor induction
machine, which is used as the generator, and is also contained within the PCU.
Several variations in DS system designs exist, particularly in the Stirling engines.
In general, two types of Stirling engines are discussed in the literature [10]: free-piston
Stirling engines and kinematic Stirling engines. Free-piston engines are distinguished
from kinematic Stirling engines by the lack of a traditional crankshaft drive mechanism.
Instead, a linear alternator is used, containing a stationary coil of wire wrapped around
the cylinder of a piston, and the piston contains some magnetic material, thereby inducing
voltage in the stationary coil as the piston moves through the cylinder. Kinematic
Stirling engines drive conventional generators, usually induction machines in grid-
connected applications. Use of synchronous machines has been reported, but only in
stand-alone water pumping applications [8]. The power output can be controlled in
Stirling engines by either varying the working gas pressure or varying the stroke length of
the pistons. Contrary to conventional steam generation, the Stirling engine/generator
shaft speed is not controlled to a fixed value under normal operating conditions. The
shaft speed is allowed to vary over a narrow band for changing irradiance, but remains
below the slip (with respect to grid frequency) corresponding to the pull-out torque of the
generator. However, during grid fault conditions, the speed must be controlled to protect
the system from damage resulting from sharp increases in speed, a topic which is
discussed in more detail in Chapter 3.
Two types of receivers currently exist in DS systems: direct illuminated receivers
(DIR) and indirect illuminated receivers (IIR) [10]. In DIR, the concentrated sunlight is
directly applied to the Stirling engine heater, whereas, in the IIR, an intermediate heat
7
exchanging fluid is used, usually molten salt. The molten salt condenses on the engine
heater, where the heat is then absorbed by the Stirling engine, and the molten salt is re-
circulated in the receiver. The IIR can achieve more uniform temperature distribution
than the DIR, but is a more complex design.
DS systems using DIR and kinematic Stirling engines with variable pressure
control are the most common designs [8] [10], and are the focus of this thesis. Reasons
for this design trend include the simplicity, cost, and the lack of maturity in other
technologies, even though higher performance may be achieved from different designs.
1.4 Dish-Stirling Background
The Stirling engine was invented in 1816 by the Scottish clergyman Robert
Stirling [10]. Stirling’s design proved to be a quieter and safer alternative to the steam
engine of the day, and grew quite popular throughout the rest of the 19
th
century.
However, due to material limitations and the invention of the internal combustion engine
and the electric machine, development of the engine slowed considerably at the turn of
the century [11]. Renewed interest in the Stirling engine occurred during the mid 20
th

century due to material advancements and the Stirling engine’s potential for high
efficiency. Development of Stirling engines included applications in transportation,
generators, and refrigeration [11]. In the late 1970’s, Jet Propulsion Laboratory began
designing and constructing the first DS system with funding from the U.S. Department of
Energy [12]. Four companies are currently developing DS systems, including Science
Applications International Corp. (SAIC) with partner STM Power, Inc., Stirling Energy
Systems (SES), and WGAssociates in the United States, and Schlaich-Bergermann and
Partner (SBP) are leading the Eurodish project in Europe [8]. SES, with partner Tessera
Solar, constructed the first commercial scale DS solar farm in Peoria, AZ, which came
online in January 2010 as a 1.5 MW plant. The demonstration plant includes 60 DS units
at 25 kW each [9].
8
1.5 Literature Review
Literature on dish-Stirling systems is limited and scattered, while literature on the
individual components, particularly the Stirling engine, is quite abundant. However,
literature that investigates the application of Stirling engines with solar concentrators is
rather scarce and scattered.
1.5.1 Stirling Engines
The ideal Stirling cycle, which has a pressure-volume diagram shown in Fig. 1.4,
provides a simple introduction to the working gas cycle inside the engine. The cycle
includes two constant-volume processes and two isothermal processes. Transition 1-2 is
an isothermal expansion of the working gas, transition 2-3 is a constant-volume heat
removal from the working gas, transition 3-4 is an isothermal compression of the working
gas, and transition 4-1 is a constant-volume heat addition to the working gas. The
efficiency of the ideal Stirling cycle is theoretically equivalent to the Carnot cycle [13],
given by
1
3
1
T
T
− = η (1.1)
where T
1
and T
3
refer to the temperatures at points 1 and 3 of the ideal Stirling cycle
Volume
1
3
2
4
Ideal Stirling Cycle
Realistic Stirling Cycle

Figure 1.4: Stirling cycle p-v diagram.

9
shown in Fig. 1.4. Actual operation of the Stirling engine differs greatly from the
characteristics of the ideal cycle, due in part to the sinusoidal nature of the volume
variations in the engine. A more realistic pressure-volume diagram of the Stirling cycle
is like an ellipse as shown in Fig. 1.4.
A broad review of the Stirling engine, including the history, applications,
mathematical analysis, configurations, and design, can be found in [11] and [13]. Early
mathematical analyses of Stirling engines began in 1871 with the publication by Gustav
Schmidt [11], but made unrealistic assumptions, including an analysis that was largely
dependent on the principles of the ideal Stirling cycle. Nevertheless, Stirling engine
mathematical analyses during the first half of the twentieth century were largely based on
the analysis of Schmidt. A nodal analysis method is discussed in [14] [15] [16], where
the engine compartments are divided into finite length segments, and an energy and mass
balance performed on each segment. The assumptions of Schmidt’s analyses were no
longer applied in the nodal analysis method, giving a more realistic model for the engine.
An ideal adiabatic analysis is discussed in [17] and [18], with the primary assumption
being adiabatic expansion and compression of the working gas. Stirling engine analysis
methods range significantly in complexity, with Schmidt’s analysis generally being the
most simple, having a closed form solution. Variations of the nodal analysis method tend
to be the most complex, requiring numerical integration solution techniques and
extensive engine operation and dimension data.
1.5.2 Receivers
A thermal energy storage receiver design is proposed in [19], in which the thermal
energy is stored in the mass of the receiver material; a mathematical analysis of how the
temperature of the receiver varies with time and axially along the receiver length is
provided. A detailed analysis of the conduction, radiation, and convection losses in an
IIR is provided in [20] [21]. Modeling techniques of the Eurodish DS system are given
10
in [22], where a nodal analysis is performed on different sections of the receiver, and a
non-uniform solar flux on the receiver is taken into account.
1.5.3 Dish-Stirling Performance Reports, Design, Modeling
An overview of several different DS designs is given in [10], including details
regarding receiver, concentrator, and Stirling engine dimensions and operating
characteristics. An explanation of the starting sequence of the DS system is given in
[12], where the generator acts as a motor to bring the Stirling engine to operating speed.
A diagram of the pressure control system is provided, along with plots of the DS system
parameters on a cloudy day and a waterfall chart listing the various losses in the entire
DS system. Detailed and lengthy reports of the Vanguard system performance are given
in [23] and [24], which include valuable information regarding the engine pressure,
temperature, speed, and power output for varying irradiance. Steady state and transient
plots are provided. Modeling techniques of the receiver and Stirling engine in the
Eurodish system are given in [22] with a focus on the steady state performance
comparison with simulation model results for power output versus irradiance. Grid
interconnection of DS systems is discussed in [25], particularly on issues related to low
voltage ride through, reactive power compensation, and power factor correction.
1.5.4 Control Systems
Control systems for Stirling engines in constant and variable speed applications
are described in [26], where the focus is on temperature control of the receiver for
varying irradiance conditions, and provides test results of the gas pressure and receiver
temperature for a Stirling engine using external combustion to simulate heat from solar
irradiance. External combustion of fossil fuel is used to heat the Stirling engine working
gas, and varying irradiance levels are simulated by varying the amount of fuel added in
the combustion. Similar descriptions of the temperature and pressure control systems
described in [26] can also be found in [12], [23], and [24]. A comparison of the variable
11
swashplate angle and variable pressure method for controlling power output is given in
[27].
1.6 Summary
Growth of solar power generating capacity is inevitable due to both an increase in
the world’s energy needs and the need for cleaner sources of energy. CSP can meet the
new clean energy needs for utility scale power generation at a potentially cost
competitive rate with conventional power generation. DS technology has demonstrated
the highest energy conversion efficiency of the CSP technologies, and is the focus of the
research presented in this thesis. Because DS systems are relatively new to the
commercial electric power sector, literature on DS systems for electric power generation
is rather scarce. Therefore, the research presented in this thesis attempts to fill in the gaps
between the well-documented thermodynamic analysis of the various DS components
and the electric power issues that arise in the grid interconnection of DS systems.
Portions of the research presented in this thesis have been accepted for publication, and
are given in [28], [29], and [30].
Chapter 2 focuses on the DS system model, which includes integration of the
concentrator, receiver, Stirling engine, and induction generator sub-models. The Stirling
engine requires modeling of the internal gas dynamics and internal heat exchangers,
along with the mechanical characteristics of the engine. A method for simulation of the
DS model is provided along with steady-state simulation results of key engine
parameters.
The DS control systems are discussed in Chapter 3. The primary control
objectives are to maintain the receiver temperature within safe operating limits and to
prevent over-speeding of the engine/generator shaft during grid faults, both of which are
controlled by varying the engine working gas pressure. Block diagrams of the
12
temperature, pressure, and over-speed control systems are given, along with a linearized
model of the Stirling engine and pressure control system for controller tuning.
In Chapter 4, the DS system is connected in a single-machine infinite bus (SMIB)
system, and simulation results for both steady state and transient operation are given.
Potential grid-interconnection requirements are discussed, and reactive power
compensation required to meet such requirements is given. Simulation results for the DS
system under a grid-fault are used to evaluate the performance of the control systems
discussed in Chapter 3.
Several case studies for connecting a DS solar farm into a small IEEE 12-bus
power network are given in Chapter 5 and evaluated under irradiance and grid transients.
Since a DS solar farm consists of thousands of individual DS units, different methods for
modeling a solar farm are considered in order to reduce simulation time and complexity.
The simplest method assumes uniform solar irradiance over the entire solar farm area and
neglects inter-machine dynamics, which results in simply scaling the generator ratings
and parameters from 25 kW to an equivalent MW rated machine in order to account for
multiple generators. The most complex modeling method simulates each 25 kW
generator system individually, taking into account possible variations in irradiance
between neighboring DS systems. Grid interconnection issues are discussed, including
the low voltage ride through (LVRT) capability of the solar farm and power factor
correction requirements.
13
CHAPTER 2
COMPONENT MODELS

2.1 Introduction
Component models for the concentrator, receiver, and Stirling engine of a dish-
Stirling (DS) system are presented in this chapter. The dimensions and operating data of
several DS systems are provided in [10], and can be used to develop models of a
particular DS design. The dimensions of the various system components, model gains,
working gas properties, and system ratings used in simulations are provided in Appendix
A.
2.2 Concentrator
The concentrator focuses the direct normal irradiance (DNI) onto the receiver,
where the heat is used in the energy conversion process. The key parameters in analyzing
the operation of the concentrator are the dish aperture diameter d
con
(m), mirror
reflectivity
m
η , and irradiance I (W/m
2
). With the assumption of perfect sunlight
tracking, the rate of heat transfer to the receiver from the concentrator can be
approximated by
I K I
d
DQ
C m
con
I
= |
¹
|

\
|
= η π
2
2
(2.1)
where D is the derivative operator with respect to time, Q
I
is the concentrated solar
energy (J), and K
C
is defined as the concentrator gain (m
2
). Although the mirror
reflectivity is assumed to be constant, in practice the reflectivity will change over time,
with dust and debris collecting on the mirrors reducing the reflectivity and requiring
periodic cleaning.
14
2.3 Receiver
The receiver is a cylindrical mass that serves as the interface between the
concentrator and the Stirling engine. The receiver is designed to maximize the amount of
heat transferred to the Stirling engine and minimize the thermal losses. Inside the
receiver at the base lies the absorber, which consists of a mesh of tubes that carry the
Stirling engine working gas. This gas flows through the mesh of tubes to absorb the heat
inside the receiver to power the Stirling engine. The receiver introduces losses in the
system due to thermal radiation, reflection, convective heat transfer into the atmosphere,
and conduction through the receiver material [22].
Critical to the receiver operation is the temperature of the absorber. The
temperature should be maintained as high as possible to maximize the efficiency of the
Stirling engine, but should not exceed the thermal limits of the receiver/absorber material.
Thus, the absorber temperature is a major control variable. An energy balance on the
absorber yields the relation
h L I h p
DQ DQ DQ VDT c − − = ρ (2.2)
where ρ is the absorber material density (kg/m
3
), c
p
is the specific heat capacity of the
absorber material (J/kg*K), V is the absorber material volume (m
3
), T
h
is the absorber
temperature (K), Q
L
is the heat loss of the absorber (J), and Q
h
is the heat transferred to
the Stirling engine (J). It is evident from (2.2) that the absorber temperature can be
controlled by controlling the rate of heat transfer to the Stirling engine DQ
h
. Taking the
Laplace transform of (2.2) and rearranging the terms gives
[ ]
h L I
R h L I
p
h
DQ DQ DQ
s
K
s
DQ DQ DQ
V c
T − − =
(
¸
(

¸
− −
=
ρ
1
(2.3)
where K
R
is defined as the absorber gain (K/J). The losses in the absorber can be defined
in terms of an average loss heat transfer coefficient h (W/m
2
*K) [19], given by
) ( ) (
a avg L a avg L
T T K T T hA DQ − = − = (2.4)
15
where A is a constant proportional to the receiver dimensions (m
2
), T
avg
is a temperature
that characterizes the heat loss in the absorber (K), T
a
is the ambient temperature (K), and
K
L
is defined as the gain representing the rate of heat loss (W/K). T
avg
is assumed to be
equal to the absorber temperature, making the thermal losses in the receiver proportional
to the difference between the receiver temperature and ambient temperature. Thus, from
(2.3) and (2.4), the block diagram of the absorber is given in Fig. 2.1. The rate of heat
transferred to the Stirling engine DQ
h
controls the absorber temperature, and is calculated
using the methods of the next section.
2.4 Stirling Engine
A simplified diagram of a two-cylinder Stirling engine is shown in Fig. 2.2. The
engine is a closed-cycle external heat engine with a working gas, usually hydrogen or
helium, contained within the engine. By definition, the working gas within a closed-
cycle engine never leaves the engine. Therefore, the control valve shown in Fig. 2.2 is
normally closed. Only for a change in the DS operating point does the control valve
open, a topic which is discussed in detail in the next chapter. Heat exchangers alternately
heat and cool the working gas, causing expansion and compression within the working
spaces of the engine, where the work done in the expansion of the gas is used to drive a
piston-crankshaft drive mechanism. The engine contains three heat exchangers, known
as the heater, cooler, and regenerator. "Heater" is the general term used in Stirling engine
literature, but represents the same mesh of tubes discussed in the previous sections known

1
s


Figure 2.1: Concentrator and receiver block diagram.
16
as the absorber. The heat exchanger elements shown in Fig. 2.2 are simply represented as
one volume equal to the sum total of the volumes of all the tubes inside the corresponding
section. The working gas flows back and forth through the tubes of the heater, absorbing
heat to power the Stirling engine. The regenerator is a dense wire mesh intended to
recapture some of the heat stored in the working gas before entering the cooler, where it
will otherwise be ejected into the atmosphere. The cooler rejects excess heat to the
atmosphere by various means, which can include forced air convection or water cooling.
The working spaces within the engine are known as the expansion and compression
spaces. The working space volumes are directly connected to the crankshaft mechanism,
thus their instantaneous volumes depend on the crankshaft angle, or shaft rotational
speed.
Stirling engine analysis and simulation rely on knowing the instantaneous
pressure, temperature, mass, and volumes of the various spaces within the engine. An
ideal adiabatic model developed by Urieli [17] provides a means of modeling the various
engine parameters, with the primary assumption being adiabatic expansion and
compression of the working gas in the working spaces. The model is developed by

Figure 2.2: Heat exchangers and working spaces in a Stirling engine, with labels for the various gas
parameters in each compartment.
17
performing an energy balance on each of the heat exchanger and working space volumes.
A derivation of the ideal adiabatic model equation set can be found in [18], but assumes a
constant mass of working gas within the engine, constant heater temperature, and
constant shaft speed. In DS applications, the engine working gas pressure is varied by
changing the amount of working gas within the engine via a control valve similar to that
shown in Fig. 2.2, and thus the assumption of constant mass is no longer valid. In
addition, the heater temperature and shaft speed vary depending on the instantaneous
solar irradiance and pressure of the working gas. Therefore, a similar derivation of an
ideal adiabatic model equation set given in [18] is provided here, without these
assumptions. In addition, the equation set developed here for the Stirling engine is based
on the course notes of Urieli on Stirling engines [31], but modified to account for the
non-constant quantity of working gas mass, non-constant heater temperature, and non-
constant shaft speed.
Before analyzing the various engine compartments, the equations of the
generalized engine compartment shown in Fig. 2.3 are developed. Using the First Law of
Thermodynamics for an open system, an energy balance on the compartment gives the
following relationship [18]:
( ) ( ) mT d c dW gA T gA T c dQ
v o o i i p
+ = − + (2.5)
where d is the derivative with respect to the engine crankshaft angle φ , Q is heat (J), c
p
is
the specific heat capacity at constant pressure of the gas (J/kg*K), T
i
and T
o
are the
temperature of the gas entering and exiting the cell (K), gA
i
and gA
o
are the mass flow
rates of the gas entering and exiting the cell (kg/rad), W is the work done by the cell (J),
c
v
is the specific heat capacity of the gas at constant volume (J/kg*K), m is the mass of
gas within the cell (kg), and T is the temperature of the gas within the cell (K). Assuming
the working gas behaves as an ideal gas, the relationship between the pressure p (Pa),
volume v (m
3
), mass m (kg), and temperature T (K) of the working gas is given by
18
mRT pv = (2.6)
where R is the gas constant (J/kg*K). Taking the natural logarithm of each side of (2.6)
and differentiating, the differential form of the ideal gas equation becomes
T
dT
m
dm
v
dv
p
dp
+ = + (2.7)
The generalized Stirling engine compartment has a variable volume, a heat transfer, work
output, and both a mass flow inlet and outlet. The various Stirling engine compartments
of Fig. 2.2 are simplified versions of the generalized compartment of Fig. 2.3, and an
analysis of each of the various engine compartments is presented below.
2.4.1 Heat Exchanger Analysis
The heat exchangers in the Stirling engine, shown in Fig. 2.2 as the heater, cooler,
and regenerator, have a constant volume V, thus the work term dW in (2.5) is equal to
zero. The steady-state temperature distribution of the working gas in the various
compartments is illustrated in Fig. 2.4. The heat exchangers’ gas temperatures are
assumed to be uniform throughout the control volume and equal to the material wall
temperature. The cooler temperature is assumed to remain constant, but the heater
temperature can vary with both solar irradiance and the engine working gas pressure.
The effective regenerator temperature T
r
[31] is defined in terms of the heater and cooler

Figure 2.3: Generalized engine compartment.

19
temperatures T
h
and T
k
, given by
) / ln(
k h
k h
r
T T
T T
T

= (2.8)
where all temperatures are in units of Kelvin. Since the heater temperature varies, the
regenerator temperature will vary as well. Thus the rate of change of the regenerator
temperature in terms of the heater and cooler temperature can be found by differentiating
(2.8) with respect to the crank angle φ , and is given by
( ) ( )
( )
2
/ ln
/ / ln
k h
h h k h k h h
r
T T
dT T T dT T T dT
dT
+ −
= (2.9)
The interface temperatures between the Stirling engine compartments depend on the
direction of mass flow, presenting a discontinuity in the Stirling engine gas model.
Referring to the arbitrarily chosen direction of mass flow in Figs. 2.2 and 2.4, the
conditional statements describing the interface temperatures [31] are given by
e he h he he
h rh k rh rh
h kr k kr kr
k ck c ck ck
T T else T T then gA if
T T else T T then gA if
T T else T T then gA if
T T else T T then gA if
= = >
= = >
= = >
= = >
, ; , 0
, ; , 0
, ; , 0
, ; , 0
1
2
(2.10)
where the various interface temperatures and mass flow rates are labeled in Figs. 2.2, 2.4,

Figure 2.4: Working gas temperature distribution throughout the five engine compartments.

20
and 2.5. Fig. 2.5 shows a detailed view of the regenerator temperature distribution. In an
ideal regenerator, the interface temperatures T
kr
and T
rh
are equal to the cooler and heater
temperatures, respectively, regardless of the direction of mass flow. However, in
practice, not all of the heat absorbed by the regenerator (when the gas passes from the
heater to the regenerator) will be delivered back to the heater (when the gas passes from
the regenerator to the heater). Thus, the temperature of the gas entering the regenerator
(from the heater) will be higher than the temperature of the gas re-entering the heater
(from the regenerator) due to thermal losses and non-idealities of the regenerator. The
regenerator performance is quantified using a regenerator effectiveness parameter [31],
given by

|
|
¹
|

\
|


+
=
2 1
1
1
h h
T T
T
ε (2.11)
where the various terms in (2.11) are labeled in Fig. 2.5. T ∆ is assumed to be
proportional to the difference in the heater and cooler temperature, resulting in a decrease
in regenerator effectiveness as the difference in temperature between the heater and
cooler increases.

Figure 2.5: Regenerator temperature distribution and conditional interface temperatures.

21
Taking into account the constant volume of the heat exchangers, the change of
mass in the heat exchangers is found from (2.7), given by
p
dp
m dm
T
dT
m
p
dp
m dm
T
dT
m
p
dp
m dm
k k
r
r
r r r
h
h
h h h
=
− =
− =
(2.12)
where the various masses are labeled in Fig. 2.2.
Finally, an energy balance on the heat exchangers can be found from (2.5) after
eliminating the dW term, substituting the ideal gas equation of (2.6), and solving the
equation in terms of the heat transfer rate, given by
) (
) (
) (
kr kr ck ck P
V k
k
rh rh kr kr P
V r
r
he he rh rh P
V h
h
gA T gA T c
R
dpc V
dQ
gA T gA T c
R
dpc V
dQ
gA T gA T c
R
dpc V
dQ
− − =
− − =
− − =
(2.13)
where V
h
, V
r
, and V
k
are the constant heat exchanger volumes (m
3
) and Q
h
, Q
r
, and Q
k
are
the amount of heat in the heat exchangers (J), as labeled in Fig. 2.2.
2.4.2 Working Space Analysis
The temperature distribution shown in Fig. 2.4 represents the steady-state
temperature of the working gas in each compartment of the engine, indicating that the
expansion and compression space temperatures have periodic oscillations in steady state,
while the heat exchanger temperatures remain relatively constant in steady state. The
relationship between the working space volumes v
e
and v
c
and the crank angle φ [16] is
given by
22
( ) [ ]
( ) [ ]
( )
( )
e s e
c s c
e s de e
c s dc c
V dv
V dv
V V v
V V v
α φ
α φ
α φ
α φ
− − =
− − =
− + + =
− + + =
sin 5 . 0
sin 5 . 0
cos 1 5 . 0
cos 1 5 . 0
(2.14)
where V
dc
and V
de
are the dead space volumes of the expansion and compression spaces
(m
3
), V
s
is the cylinder swept volume (m
3
), and
e c,
α is the displacement angle of the
expansion/compression space (rad). The working spaces are assumed to operate
adiabatically (dQ = 0). The work produced by the working spaces is a result of the
engine gas pressure acting on the pistons. Applying these operating principles to (2.5),
an energy balance on the compression space volume shown in Fig. 2.2 is given by
( ) ( )
c c v c ck ck k p
T m d c pdv gA T dM T c + = − (2.15)
where the gas entering the compression space from the control valve, dM (kg/rad), is
assumed to be at the cooler temperature T
k
. The mass flows into/out of the Stirling
engine compartments is described using
h he rh
e he
k ck kr
c ck
dm gA gA
dm gA
dm gA gA
dm dM gA
+ =
=
− =
− =
(2.16)
The compression space mass can be found by applying the ideal gas equation of (2.6) and
the first equation of (2.16) to (2.15), and solving for dm
c
gives
( )
ck
ck k
ck
c c
c
T
dM T T
RT
dp v pdv
dm


+
=
γ /
(2.17)
where γ is the ratio of specific heats (c
p
/c
v
). Similarly, the change in expansion space
mass dm
e
is given as [17] [18]
he
e e
e
RT
dp v pdv
dm
γ / +
= (2.18)
In steady state, dM is zero, and thus the relationships describing the compression and
expansion space masses in (2.17) and (2.18) are similar. The temperature of the working
23
gas in the working space volumes is found from (2.7), and, after rearranging terms, gives
the relationship
|
|
¹
|

\
|
− + =
|
|
¹
|

\
|
− + =
e
e
e
e
e e
c
c
c
c
c c
m
dm
v
dv
p
dp
T dT
m
dm
v
dv
p
dp
T dT
(2.19)
2.4.3 Engine Pressure
Using the ideal gas equation, and neglecting pressure drops across the various
engine compartments, the pressure of the gas inside the Stirling engine of Fig. 2.2 is
given by [31]
( )
e e h h r r k k c c
T v T V T V T V T v
MR
p
/ / / / / + + + +
= (2.20)
where M is the total quantity of gas inside the engine (kg). Referring to the diagram of
Fig. 2.2, the total mass of the Stirling engine working gas is given by
r k h e c
m m m m m M + + + + = (2.21)
Differentiating (2.21), the mass equation becomes
r k h e c
dm dm dm dm dm dM + + + + = (2.22)
Applying (2.12) to (2.22), the mass equation becomes
r
r
r
h
h
h
r h k
e c
T
dT
m
T
dT
m
p
m
p
m
p
m
dp dm dm dM − −
|
|
¹
|

\
|
+ + + + = (2.23)
Using the ideal gas equation of (2.6), (2.23) can be rewritten as
2 2
r
r r
h
h h
r
r
h
h
k
k
e c
T
dT
R
pV
T
dT
R
pV
T
V
T
V
T
V
R
dp
dm dm dM − −
|
|
¹
|

\
|
+ + + + = (2.24)
Substituting the compression and expansion space mass equations of (2.17) and (2.18)
into (2.24) and rearranging the terms gives the pressure derivative to be
( ) [ ]
] / ) / / / ( / [
/ / ) / ( ) / ( /
2 2
he e h h r r k k ck c
h h h r r r he e ck c ck k
T v T V T V T V T v
T dT V T dT V T dv T dv p T T RdM
dp
+ + + +
− − + −
=
γ
γ γ
(2.25)
24
2.4.4 Mechanical Equations
The torque developed by the Stirling engine is a result of the pressure acting on
the pistons, a relationship given by [14]
( )
e c
dv dv p + = τ

(2.26)
The rotational equation of motion of the Stirling engine shaft is given by

elec
F JD τ ω ω τ + + = (2.27)
where J is the moment of inertia (kg*m
2
), ω is the engine/generator shaft rotational
speed (rad/s), F is the mechanical damping constant (kg*m
2
/s), and
elec
τ is the electric
load torque.
2.4.5 Modeled Engine
A four cylinder Stirling engine, based on the Siemens [11] or coaxial double-
acting [13] configuration, is simulated, with the cylinder configuration and drive
mechanism shown in Fig. 2.6(a). The engine is divided into four quadrants, each
quadrant having its own set of heat exchangers, as shown in Fig. 2.6(b). Assuming no
leakage past the pistons, the working gas in each quadrant is isolated from the
neighboring quadrant. Therefore, each piston is connected to the expansion space of one
quadrant and the compression space of the neighboring quadrant. Each quadrant is
assumed to be identical in both dimensions and working gas quantity. Therefore, the
only difference in operation between the four quadrants is a result of the displacement
angles α given in (2.14). The displacement angle is set to 90
o
for the four cylinder
engine, resulting in a 90
o
phase shift between the sinusoidal volume variations in the four
expansions spaces and the four compression spaces. The 90
o
phase shift in volume
variations also causes a 90
o
phase shift in the variations in pressure, temperature, mass
flows, etc. between the four quadrants.
Each quadrant is modeled by the ideal adiabatic analysis described above. The
25
mechanical torque is thus a result of the four quadrant pressures acting on the pistons.
Modifying (2.26) for the four cylinder engine, the mechanical torque developed by the
Stirling engine is given by
( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
4 4 4 3 3 3 2 2 2 1 1 1 e c e c e c e c
dv dv p dv dv p dv dv p dv dv p + + + + + + + = τ (2.28)
where the numerical subscript indicates the corresponding quadrant number.
Results of the pressure, temperature, compression space mass, and torque for

(a)

(b)
Figure 2.6: (a) Modeled 4-cylinder engine and (b) one quadrant of the four cylinder engine.

26
several revolutions of the crankshaft are shown in Fig. 2.7. Set points for the simulation
are an irradiance I of 1000 W/m
2
and an absorber/heater temperature T
h
of 993 degrees
Kelvin. The sinusoidal volume variations in the compression and expansion spaces cause
periodic oscillations in the engine parameters.
2.4.6 Simulation Strategy
Simulation of the Stirling engine requires calculation of the various working gas
parameters at each increment of the simulation time step. The engine working gas
parameters are calculated using the ideal adiabatic analysis discussed above, with
solutions for the volume, pressure, mass, and their derivatives, determined analytically,
while calculations of the expansion and compression space temperatures are determined
4.9 4.92 4.94 4.96 4.98 5
130
131
132
133
134
135
136
137
138
M
e
c
h
a
n
i
c
a
l

T
o
r
q
u
e

(
N
*
m
)
time (sec)
Torque Generated by Stirling Engine
4.9 4.92 4.94 4.96 4.98 5
0
0.5
1
1.5
x 10
-3
M
a
s
s

o
f

H
y
d
r
o
g
e
n

(
k
g
)
time (sec)
Compression Space Mass
4.9 4.92 4.94 4.96 4.98 5
1.7
1.75
1.8
1.85
1.9
1.95
2
2.05
2.1
2.15
2.2
2.25
x 10
7
P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e

(
P
a
)
time (sec)
Stirling Engine Four Quadrant Pressures
4.9 4.92 4.94 4.96 4.98 5
950
1000
1050
T
e
m
p
e
r
a
t
u
r
e

(
K
)
Expansion Space Temperature
4.9 4.92 4.94 4.96 4.98 5
300
310
320
330
340
350
T
e
m
p
e
r
a
t
u
r
e

(
K
)
time (sec)
Compression Space Temperature

Figure 2.7: Simulation results for various Stirling engine parameters in steady state.

27
using numerical integration. Numerical integration of the expansion and compression
space temperature differential equations for each of the four quadrants is required,
totaling eight differential equations for the Stirling engine. The flow diagram for
simulation of the Stirling engine parameters is shown in Fig. 2.8. For visual simplicity,
the numerical subscript indicating the quadrant number of the various gas parameters is
left off in the flow diagram of Fig. 2.8, however, it is implied that the parameters in every
quadrant are calculated. During initialization of the simulation, the engine dimensions,
working gas properties, and constant cooler temperature T
k
must be specified. Initial
conditions must be given for the crank angle φ , conditional interface temperatures T
ck

and T
he
, heater temperature T
h
, total working gas mass M, and engine/generator speed ω .
The initial derivates dT
h
and dM are set to zero. The initial conditions for T
ck
and T
he
are
set to the cooler and heater temperatures, respectively. The differential equations’
solution is formulated as a quasi-steady initial value problem, where the heater
temperature change rate dT
h
, the shaft speed ω , and total engine mass change rate dM are
assumed to remain constant over an integration cycle. The numerical integration
technique used is the fourth order Runge-Kutta (RK4) method, with the initial value
problem set up as
( ) ( )
0 0 0 0
4
3
2
1
4
3
2
1
, , , , , , Y Y Y F Y =
(
(
(
(
(
(
(
(
(
(
(
¸
(

¸

= = M T
dT
dT
dT
dT
dT
dT
dT
dT
M T d
h
e
e
e
e
c
c
c
c
h
φ φ (2.29)
where the variables in bold represent vector quantities with dimensions 8x1. Thus, the
numerical integration solution of (2.29) for the next time step is calculated using
28


Figure 2.8: Stirling engine simulation flow diagram.

29
( )
hdM M M
hdT T T
h
n n
h n h n h
n n
n n
+ =
+ =
+ =
+ + + + =
+
+
+
+
1
) ( ) 1 (
1
4 3 2 1 1
2 2
6
1
φ φ
k k k k Y Y
(2.30)
where
( )
( )
( )
( )
3 ) ( 4
2 ) ( 3
1 ) ( 2
) ( 1
, , ,
5 . 0 , 5 . 0 , 5 . 0 , 5 . 0
5 . 0 , 5 . 0 , 5 . 0 , 5 . 0
, , ,
k Y F k
k Y F k
k Y F k
Y F k
+ + + + =
+ + + + =
+ + + + =
=
n n h n h n
n n h n h n
n n h n h n
n n n h n
hdM M hdT T h h
hdM M hdT T h h
hdM M hdT T h h
M T h
φ
φ
φ
φ
(2.31)
and
t h ∆ = ω (2.32)
where t ∆ is the simulation time step. Calculating k
1
-k
4
in (2.31) requires going through
the pressure, mass, interface temperature and interface mass flow calculations
individually for each k, as shown by the flow diagram in Fig. 2.8, since dT
c
and dT
e

depend on all of these parameters. The integration loop shown in Fig. 2.8 is iterated 5
times for each simulation time step t ∆ : 4 times to calculate k
1
-k
4
, giving the final
solution of T
c(1-4)
and T
e(1-4)
, and once to calculate the final pressures, temperatures, and
mass flows to be used in the torque τ and heat transfer DQ
h
calculations. The final
outputs of the Stirling engine simulation block are the average of the quadrant pressures,
given by
4
4 3 2 1
p p p p
p
avg
+ + +
= (2.33)
the engine torque, calculated by (2.28), and the total heat absorbed by the Stirling engine,
given by
( )
14 3 2 1 h h h h h
dQ dQ dQ dQ DQ + + + = ω (2.34)
where converting a derivative with respect to the crank angle φ to a derivative with
respect to time t is calculated by
30
dz
d
dz
dt
d
dt
dz
Dz ω
φ
φ
= = = (2.35)
where z is an arbitrary variable that is a function of φ and t.
Combining the concentrator, receiver, Stirling engine, control systems, and
induction generator models gives the diagram shown in Fig. 2.9. External inputs to the
system include the solar irradiance I and heater/absorber temperature set point T
h
*. The
solar irradiance is an input to the concentrator/receiver block diagram shown in Fig. 2.1.
The heater/absorber temperature set point T
h
* is an input into the control system, which is
discussed in more detail in the next chapter. The control system decides the quantity of
working gas M to supply to the engine based on the heater/absorber temperature T
h
, the
engine pressure p
avg
, and the engine/generator shaft speed ω . The induction generator,
whose modeling methods are well documented and not discussed in this thesis, calculates
the shaft speed, which serves as an input to the Stirling engine model discussed above.
The torque generated by the engine model serves as an input to the induction generator
model. The diagram of Fig. 2.9 is developed in PSCAD/EMTDC, using the built-in
induction machine model as the generator. Custom FORTRAN code is written to model
the Stirling engine and perform the numerical integration, as discussed above.
2.5 Conclusion
The models of the DS system components discussed in this chapter permit
dynamic simulation of a grid-connected DS system. Such a model is valuable for
understanding the behavior of a DS system under various transient conditions, including
variations in solar irradiance and grid transients. However, the missing link in the DS
system model is the control systems, which vary the amount of working gas in the
Stirling engine. The performance of the control systems ultimately determine how a
system operates in transient conditions, a topic which is discussed in detail in the next
chapter.
31



Figure 2.9: Dish-Stirling simulation block diagram.

32
CHAPTER 3
CONTROL SYSTEMS

3.1 Introduction
The primary control objective within the power conversion unit of a dish-Stirling
(DS) system is to maintain the absorber temperature within a safe operating region. The
temperature should be kept as high as possible to maximize the thermal efficiency of the
Stirling engine, but should also not exceed the thermal rating of the absorber material.
The temperature is controlled by varying the working gas pressure, achieved by adding or
removing working gas to/from the engine. Changing the pressure of the Stirling engine
working gas changes the quantity of mass flow through the absorber, thereby changing
the amount of heat removed from the absorber. Since the input thermal energy from the
sun is rather unpredictable and intermittent during daily operation, the pressure control
must respond quickly enough to respond to changes in irradiance caused by cloud cover.
During normal operation, the Stirling engine shaft speed is not controlled but
depends on the amount of available torque from the engine being balanced by the counter
torque of the induction generator connected to the electric power network. However, in
the event of a grid fault, the generator torque collapses and the shaft speed increases
rapidly, potentially reaching speeds that could damage engine components or prevent the
system from recovering from a grid fault. In such cases, the rapid increase in speed must
be mitigated. The Stirling engine torque, therefore, has to be reduced rapidly in order to
prevent the speed from increasing too much. Chapter 2 explained that the Stirling engine
torque is a result of the working gas pressure acting on the pistons. Therefore, decreasing
the working gas pressure has the effect of decreasing the engine’s torque. During such a
grid fault condition, the problem arises of whether to continue controlling the absorber
temperature or to control the shaft speed, since the pressure control system cannot do
33
both simultaneously. As discussed in more detail in the sections to follow, mitigating the
shaft speed increase during a grid fault has the simultaneous effect of an uncontrolled rise
in absorber temperature. However, it is assumed that the length of grid fault is short
enough (hundreds of milliseconds) that the absorber material can withstand such a short
duration increase in temperature. Such a tradeoff in design is assumed to be acceptable in
order to gain the added protection of system components from damage that may be
caused from over-speed and also enhance of the fault ride-through capability of the
system. A more detailed analysis of fault ride-through capability is deferred until the
next chapter.
3.2 Pressure Control System
A physical layout of the pressure control system (PCS) and interconnection with
the Stirling engine is illustrated in Figure 3.1. The modeled PCS follows the systems
described in [12], [23], [24], and [26]. The PCS consists of two working gas storage
tanks; namely, the high pressure storage tank and the low pressure storage tank. Two
control valves connect the high and low pressure storage tanks to the Stirling engine,

Figure 3.1: Pressure control system connection to Stirling engine.
34
known as the supply valve and dump valve. If an increase in the engine working gas
pressure is commanded, the supply valve opens and gas flows from the high pressure
storage tank to the engine, increasing the total mass M (kg) of working gas inside the
engine. Conversely, a decrease in the engine pressure results from opening the dump
valve, and gas flows from the engine to the low pressure storage tank. The compressor
pumps the working gas back to the high pressure storage tank from the low pressure tank,
ensuring an adequate supply of high pressure working gas at all times. For the simulation
and modeling in this thesis, it is assumed that an adequate amount of gas is always
available for control purposes.
Solenoid valves are used for the supply and dump valves [23] [24], where
modulation techniques can be used to regulate the flow of gas through the valve [25].
Since the Stirling engine is a closed system, the supply and dump valves are closed in
steady state. Only when a change in operating point occurs does one of these valves
open, such as the case when the irradiance increases, where the supply valve will open to
increase the pressure. The solenoid valves are assumed to be pulse-width modulated
(PWM) valves, where the valves are turned on and off successively, delivering mass in
discrete packets [32]. The modulation frequencies of solenoid valves range from 20 Hz
to 80 Hz, and the mass flow rate is proportional to the averaged spool position [32],
where the “spool” is the magnetic piece of the solenoid valve that reacts to the voltage
applied to the solenoid coils, and either opens or closes the valve. The solenoid valves
are modeled as a first order system, given by
v
v SV
sT
K
C(s)
(s) gA
+
=
1
(3.1)
where gA
SV
is the mass flow in the solenoid valve (kg/s), C is the commanded mass flow
rate, s is the Laplace transform variable, and K
v
and T
v
are the gain and time constant of
the valve, respectively. The pressure of the storage tanks are assumed to be constant,
and, according to [19], the mass flow through the open valve can be approximated by
35
4
2
p
D
x gA
π
ρ = (3.2)
where ρ is the gas density (kg/m
3
), D
p
is the pipe diameter (m), and x is given by
( )
ρ fL
p p D
x
st p

=
2
(3.3)
where p
st
is the high pressure storage tank pressure (Pa), f is the friction factor, and L is
the length of the pipe (m). Thus, assuming the minimum working gas pressure for p, the
mass flow rate limit is a function of the pipe dimensions, and can be calculated using
(3.2) and (3.3). The pressure of the high pressure gas storage tank and the pipe
dimensions connecting the gas storage tank to the engine play a major part in the control
system performance. These parameters affect the speed at which the PCS can respond
during transients, particularly during grid faults.
A block diagram of the pressure control system is shown in Fig. 3.2. The total
working gas mass M is calculated by integrating the mass flow rate output DM (kg/s)
from the solenoid valve models. M and DM serve as inputs to the ideal adiabatic Stirling
engine model discussed in the previous chapter. The supply and dump valve commands
are supplied by the outputs of the block diagram shown in Fig. 3.3, where the pressure
command is compared to the average pressure taken from the Stirling engine model
discussed in the previous chapter, where the average pressure is given by
max
MF
0
1
V
V
K
sT +
max
MF
0
1
V
V
K
sT +

1
s
avg
p
receiver
T
r
ω

Figure 3.2: Block diagram of dish-Stirling system model with pressure control system supply and
dump valves.
36
4
4 3 2 1
p p p p
p
avg
+ + +
= (3.4)
If the pressure difference is positive, the supply valve receives the control signal and
mass flow command of the solenoid valve increases, thereby supplying more working gas
to the Stirling engine from the high pressure storage tank. Conversely, a negative
pressure difference will increase the mass flow command of the dump valve, returning
working gas from the Stirling engine to the low pressure storage tank.
3.3 Temperature Control System
The heater temperature must be maintained as high as possible to maximize the
efficiency of the Stirling engine, but must not be allowed to exceed the thermal rating of
the receiver and heater/absorber materials. Regulation of the temperature is achieved by
varying the working gas pressure. The temperature control system (TCS) generates a
pressure control command based on the diagram shown in Fig. 3.4 [26]. The pressure
remains at its minimum value until the heater temperature reaches the temperature set
point, at which point the pressure command increases linearly with temperature increase.
The pressure control system is only operable in the range of temperatures between T
set

and (T
set
+ ∆T
max
). In instances of unusually high solar irradiance, where the temperature
exceeds (T
set
+ ∆T
max
), and the pressure cannot increase further, other options for
receiver
T
set
p

cmd
p

avg
p

set
ω
r
ω
receiver
T
set
p
set
T

Figure 3.3: Temperature and over-speed control block diagram.
37
temperature regulation exist, such as supplementary cooling fans or a temporary de-
tracking of the concentrator from the sun [8].
The temperature and pressure control systems of a DS unit operate in two
different regions; namely, the controlled temperature region and the uncontrolled
temperature region. In the uncontrolled temperature region, the irradiance is low and the
heater temperature is below the temperature set point, and thus the pressure is maintained
at its minimum value. The heater temperature thus varies with irradiance. At high
irradiance levels, the pressure is varied to maintain the heater temperature within a
narrow temperature range. The pressure control system kicks in at relatively low
irradiance, thus the system is in the temperature control region during typical daily
operation.
3.4 Over-Speed Control
In normal operating conditions, the Stirling engine/induction generator shaft
speed is not controlled. Because of the torque characteristics of the engine, the speed is
maintained over a narrow range of speed slightly higher than the synchronous grid
frequency. In other words, at low irradiance, the engine produces just enough torque to
keep the induction generator above synchronous speed, and at high irradiance, the engine
does not produce enough torque to approach the unstable region of the induction

Figure 3.4: Pressure commanded by the temperature control system [26].
38
machine, or the pull-out torque rating of the generator. However, in the event of a grid
fault, the sudden loss of load torque causes a sharp increase in the shaft speed. Therefore,
a mechanism for reducing the torque by the engine must be put in place to mitigate the
sudden increase in speed. From (2.26), it is observed that the engine’s torque can be
reduced by decreasing the working gas pressure. The rapid decrease in pressure is
achieved via a bypass valve [26], also known as a short-circuit valve [25], where working
gas is quickly dumped out of the engine to decrease the pressure. For the present
analysis, the dump valve shown in Fig. 3.1 is used to model this operation. The operation
of the speed control system is illustrated in Fig. 3.3.
It is apparent that in the event of a grid fault, the temperature and speed control
systems will try to counteract one another’s operation. In other words, the rapid drop in
pressure commanded by the speed control system will cause an increase in the heater
temperature. This increase in temperature can be quite severe if the fault occurs during
Irradiance
T
set
Irradiance
p
min
Off
Uncontrolled
Temperature
Region
Controlled Temperature
Region
∆T
max

Figure 3.5: Controlled temperature region and uncontrolled temperature region.
39
high irradiance levels. In such a condition the TCS will respond by increasing the
pressure set point. However, the pressure commanded by the TCS is limited to the
maximum pressure set point. Therefore, when the shaft speed crosses the defined
threshold
set
ω , as shown in Fig. 3.3, the over-speed controller subtracts the pressure p
max

from the TCS pressure set point, essentially disabling the TCS temporarily. A hysteresis
controller is incorporated to prevent any problems with threshold recognition. Since grid
faults are typically in the hundreds of millisecond time range, it is assumed that the
increase in heater temperature for a short time range will have an insignificant impact on
the receiver components.
3.5 Linearized Model
A linearized model of the Stirling engine pressure variations is developed to
create a simplified method for tuning the pressure controller gain G
p
shown in Fig. 3.3.
The linearized model is developed assuming the system is operating in the controlled
temperature region. In addition, the expansion and compression temperatures are
assumed to be equal to the heater and cooler temperatures, respectively. The analysis is
similar to the Stirling cycle analysis of Schmidt as discussed in [13]. The temperature
profile of the various engine compartments in the linearized model appears in Fig. 3.6.
Under the assumption that the control systems are in the controlled temperature region,
the heater temperature stays within the narrow band (T
set
+ ∆T
max
). Therefore, for the
linearized model, the heater temperature is assumed to remain constant at
2
max
T
T T
set h

+ = (3.5)
and the cooler temperature remains constant at ambient temperature.
The pressure of the engine working gas oscillates in steady state due to the
sinusoidal volume variations of the expansion and compression spaces. The average
working gas pressure between the four quadrant pressures is used in the control systems,
40
as calculated in (3.4). The four quadrant pressure oscillate around the same mean value
at a phase shift of 90
o
, thus the average pressure has only minor oscillations in
comparison to the individual quadrant pressures. Therefore, a linearized model is
developed based upon an analytical expression for the mean pressure.
Using the engine diagram of Fig. 2.2 and the temperature distribution of Fig. 3.6,
the pressure equation of (2.20) becomes
h e h h r r k k k c
T v T V T V T V T v
MR
p
/ / / / / + + + +
= (3.6)
Substituting the expressions for the expansion and compression space volumes of (2.14)
and rearranging terms gives
( ) ( ) [ ]
(
¸
(

¸

+ + −
=
K T T
T T
V
MR
p
k h
h k
s
φ α φ cos cos
5 . 0
(3.7)
where K is given by
h
s de
k
s dc
h
h
r
r
k
k
T
V V
T
V V
T
V
T
V
T
V
K
5 . 0 5 . 0 +
+
+
+ + + = (3.8)
Using trigonometric identities, (3.7) can be rewritten as

Figure 3.6: Simplified temperature distribution.
41
( ) ( ) [ ]
(
¸
(

¸

+ + +
=
K T T T
T T
V
MR
p
h k h
h k
s
φ α φ α sin sin cos cos
5 . 0
(3.9)
The linear combination of two trigonometric functions can be rewritten as
(
¸
(

¸

|
¹
|

\
|
− + = +

a
b
x b a x b x a
1 2 2
tan cos sin cos (3.10)
Applying (3.10) to (3.9) and rearranging terms gives the following expression for the
pressure
( )
M
B
A
p
θ φ − +
=
cos 1
(3.11)
where
( ) ( )
|
|
¹
|

\
|
+
=
+ + =
=

k h
h
h k h
k h
s
T T
T
T T T
K T T
V
B
K
R
A
α
α
θ
α α
cos
sin
tan
sin cos
2
1
2 2
(3.12)
The mean pressure is found using
2.9 2.95 3 3.05 3.1 3.15 3.2 3.25 3.3
1.5
1.6
1.7
1.8
1.9
2
2.1
2.2
2.3
x 10
7
time (sec)
P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e

(
P
a
)
Quadrant 1 Instantaneous Pressure
Linearized Pressure
Pressure Set Point Command

Figure 3.7: Comparison of the linear and non-linear pressure representations for a step change in
pressure command.
42
( )
∫ ∫
− +
= =
π π
φ
θ φ π
φ
π
2
0
2
0
cos 1 2
1
2
1
d
B
AM
pd p
mean
(3.13)
Evaluation of this integral is rather lengthy and a solution is provided in [13], which
requires use of the Cauchy residue theorem. The final solution is given by
B
B
B
AM
p
mean
+


=
1
1
1
(3.14)
Therefore the relationship between the quantity of working gas in the engine and the
mean pressure is given by
B
B
B
A
K
M
p
p
mean
+


= =
1
1
1
(3.15)
The constant K
p
is derived assuming the engine is in steady state operation, and
thus the total working gas mass M is assumed to be constant. Therefore the mean value
of the pressure is calculated by integrating its defining equation over one revolution of
the crankshaft. Therefore, the constant K
p
defines the steady state pressure to be directly
proportional to the total working gas mass. However, simulation results indicate that in
transient operation, the time constants involved between a change in the total working gas
mass and the pressure and torque are significantly smaller than the time constant of the
solenoid valve. Thus, representing the pressure as proportional to the total working gas
mass M in transient conditions produces little loss in accuracy. The plot of Fig. 3.7
compares the linearized pressure representation to the non-linear pressure of a single
quadrant for a step change in the pressure commanded by the TCS. The linearized model
simply removes the pressure oscillations, essentially acting as a low pass filter to the
pressure variations.
3.6 Controller Tuning
The resulting linearized control loop of the PCS is shown in Fig. 3.8. The
controller G
p
of the dish-Stirling PCS must be tuned to give a desired system response.
43
For the pressure control loop shown in Fig. 3.8, the open loop transfer function is given
by
( )
v
v p
o
sT s
K G
GH
+
=
1
(3.16)
assuming that the control valve is in the linear (non-limiting) region. The closed loop
transfer function is given by
( )
v p v p v
v p v p
p v p v
p v p
o p
o p
cmd
mean
c
T K K G s T s
T K K G
K K G s s T
K K G
GH K
GH K
p
p
GH
/ / 1
/
1
2 2
+ +
=
+ +
=
+
= = (3.17)
The resulting closed loop transfer function of (3.17) is of the same form as the
normalized second order system often used in linear control theory, with the general form
given by
2 2
2
2
) (
n n
n
s s
s T
ω ζω
ω
+ +
= (3.18)
where ξ is the damping ratio and
n
ω is the natural frequency. Equating terms in (3.17)
and (3.18), the damping ratio is given by
v p v p v
n v
T K K G T
T
/ 2
1
2
1
= =
ω
ξ (3.19)
The pressure controller gain G
p
can thus be calculated by choosing a desired damping
ratio, and solving for G
p
in (3.19), given by
p v v
p
K K T
G
2
4
1
ξ
= (3.20)
1
V
V
K
sT +

1
s

Figure 3.8: Linearized control loop of the pressure control system.
44
The closed loop poles of (3.17) are in the left half plane for any value of G
p
, therefore
transient stability of the PCS is not an issue.
3.7 Conclusion
The control systems discussed in the present chapter are designed to maximize
Stirling engine efficiency during normal operation by maintaining the heater/absorber
temperature at the highest safe operating point. In addition, the control systems protect
the system from over-speed of the generator shaft. The performance of the control
systems must be tested under the transient conditions that a DS system is exposed to;
cloud transients and electrical transients. The next chapter analyzes the simplest case of
the DS system connected through a line and transformer to the grid, which is assumed to
be an ideal voltage source. The next chapter also gives results and evaluates the
performance of the control systems under grid faults. Simulation results of a DS system
subject to cloud transient conditions are deferred until Chapter 5.
45
CHAPTER 4
SINGLE MACHINE INFINITE BUS ANALYSIS

4.1 Introduction
As dish-Stirling (DS) solar farms increase in capacity, grid interconnection issues
become increasingly important, particularly regarding power factor correction and grid
fault-ride-through capability [25]. Increasing penetration of DS solar farms within the
utility grid requires simulation studies to assess the dish-Stirling system’s impact on
steady state and transient behavior of the grid, a topic which has received scant attention
in the literature to date.
While there are presently no solar farm-specific grid interconnection requirements
(GIR), it is reasonable to assume that the present requirements for wind farms [33] [34]
will be similar if not identical to requirements of DS solar farms. The operating
characteristics of wind farms and DS solar farms are quite similar. In particular, both
technologies often make use of induction (asynchronous) generators which, individually,
have relatively low power rating and are spread over a large geographic area. In addition,
both technologies have an intermittent source of energy. Therefore, the technical
challenges involved in ensuring that both wind and DS systems do not adversely affect
power system operation and reliability are relatively similar. Many of the potential DS
GIR are discussed in [25], while the next two chapters focus on the following
requirements, that a solar farm should be capable of:
• Operating at a power factor anywhere in the range from 0.95 lagging to 0.95
leading at the point of common coupling (PCC) with the grid
• Maintaining a voltage at the PCC between 0.95 and 1.05 pu
• Riding through fault conditions, given by the voltage profile shown in Fig. 4.1
46
Meeting these requirements with DS solar farms requires additional infrastructure, since
induction machines normally operate at a power factor outside of the range 0.95 lagging
to 0.95 leading. In addition, induction machines absorb reactive power when operated as
both a motor and a generator, which tends to reduce the voltage at the PCC. The amount
of reactive power absorbed depends on the instantaneous solar irradiance, since the
torque generated by the Stirling engine varies with input solar thermal energy. In
addition, variations in solar irradiance, or cloud cover, cause variations in the voltage at
the PCC, since the real power delivered and the reactive power absorbed by the solar
farm fluctuates. Since there is no built-in means of voltage control with an induction
machine, reactive power compensation is required to both increase the PCC voltage and
mitigate the voltage variations due to cloud cover. Reactive power compensation is also
required to bring the power factor within an acceptable range. The above requirements
can be satisfied with various sources of reactive power compensation, including switched
capacitors or static var compensators (SVCs).
In addition to power factor correction, wind farms are required to remain online
during low voltage conditions induced by grid faults. The LVRT requirements are
illustrated by the voltage profile shown in Fig. 4.1 [33], where the plant should be

Figure 4.1: Low voltage ride-through requirements [33].
47
capable of remaining online for 0.15 pu voltage for up to 0.625 seconds, and should be
capable of remaining online at a voltage of 0.9 pu indefinitely. Revised versions of
LVRT requirements indicate the wind generator should be capable of remaining online
for 0.15 seconds with 0 pu voltage [34]. Grid faults induce a sharp speed increase in the
generator shaft, which can inhibit the machine’s capability of riding through the fault
once pre-fault voltage conditions are restored. Thus, additional controls are required to
regulate the shaft speed during fault conditions. Dynamic reactive power compensation,
such as SVCs and STATCOMs, can also aid in the LVRT of the DS system by
supporting its terminal voltage.
4.2 Steady State Analysis
A one-line diagram of the system being considered is shown in Fig. 4.2. The
single 28 kVA DS unit is connected to a step up transformer, and then through a
transmission line to an infinite bus.
Before proceeding further, a notational clarification is established regarding

Figure 4.2: Connection of a single dish-Stirling (DS) unit in a single machine infinite bus model.

(a) (b)
Figure 4.3: (a) Circuit diagram of induction generator connected to a network and (b) phasor
diagram of labeled voltages and currents of (a).
48
power factor. The positive direction of the induction generator current, real power, and
reactive power is specified as coming out of the generator terminals into the network, as
shown by the simple circuit diagram shown in Fig. 4.3(a), where the infinite bus
represents the network. The induction machine absorbs reactive power when operated as
both a motor and a generator, therefore, using the defined sign convention, the reactive
power supplied is negative. However, the power factor changes from lagging to leading
when changing from motoring to generating operation, respectively. Without the
capacitor bank shown in Fig. 4.3(a), the generator current I
gen
is equal to the current I


entering the network, which is leading the voltage V
pcc
, as shown by the phasor diagram
in Fig. 4.3(b). Thus the induction generator is delivering power to the network with a
leading power factor, similar to the operation of an under-excited synchronous generator.
With the capacitor bank shown in Fig. 4.3(a) included, the current entering the network I


is the difference between the generator current and the capacitor bank current I
c
.
The P-Q phasor diagram of Fig. 4.4 illustrates the amount of compensation
required to meet power factor GIR for a single 25 kW dish-Stirling unit. Also shown in
Fig. 4.4 is the power factor notation used for the four operating regions of the induction

Figure 4.4: P-Q diagram of induction machine, showing amount of reactive power compensation
required to meet grid interconnection requirements.
49
machine. Reactive power compensation requirements of DS solar farms can be
calculated assuming rated voltage at the generator terminals, where the rated power factor
of the induction machine is assumed. Thus, with a DS unit supplying rated power output
of 25 kW and with a machine rated power factor of 0.86 leading, the reactive power
absorbed, assuming no reactive power compensation, is given by
( ) kVAr
P I V Q
83 . 14 ) 86 . 0 ( cos sin
86 . 0
25
tan sin
1
− = − =
− = − =

θ θ
(4.1)
where θ is the angle between the current and voltage waveforms. The reactive power
required to supply rated real power at a power factor from 0.95 leading to 0.95 lagging is
calculated by
( )
( )
kVAr
Q lagging
kVAr
Q leading
comp
comp
05 . 23
) 95 . 0 ( cos sin
95 . 0
25
83 . 14 95 . 0
61 . 6
) 95 . 0 ( cos sin
95 . 0
25
83 . 14 95 . 0
1
1
=
+ = →
=
− = →



(4.2)
200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000
-1
-0.8
-0.6
-0.4
-0.2
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
Irradiance (W/m
2
)
R
e
a
l

P
o
w
e
r

(
p
u
)
,

R
e
a
c
t
i
v
e

P
o
w
e
r

(
p
u
)
,

a
n
d

P
o
w
e
r

F
a
c
t
o
r
Machine Power and Power Factor as a Function of Solar Irradiance
Power Factor
Real Power (pu)
Reactive Power (pu)

Figure 4.5: Steady state values of the dish-Stirling system real power, reactive power, and power
factor as a function of solar irradiance.
50
Thus the variable reactive power compensation must have a capacity of at least 6.61
kVAr to meet the lower limit of the GIR.
Shown in Fig. 4.5 is the real power, reactive power, and power factor of the
induction generator as a function of irradiance connected to an infinite bus as shown in
Fig. 4.2. The range of irradiance is chosen to be between 200 and 1000 W/m
2
since this
range is typical for most locations around the world, and the dish-Stirling system cannot
generally operate at irradiance levels lower than 200 W/m
2
[12]. As expected, the real
and reactive power magnitudes increase with irradiance and the power factor improves.
The real and reactive power magnitudes decrease roughly linearly with irradiance, but the
power factor decreases much more rapidly. Shown in Fig. 4.6 is the reactive power
compensation required as a function of irradiance for meeting both the 0.95 leading
requirement and 0.95 lagging requirement. The shaded region illustrates the range of
compensation required to operate anywhere in the entire 0.95 leading to 0.95 lagging
region. Therefore, since cloud cover will cause the irradiance to vary during the day, the
reactive power compensation should at least be capable of operating along the lower line
200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
1
Irradiance (W/m
2
)
R
e
a
c
t
i
v
e

P
o
w
e
r

C
o
m
p
e
n
s
a
t
i
o
n

(
p
u
)
Reactive Power Compensation Needed to Meet Grid Interconnection Requirements
0.95 Power Factor Lagging
0.95 Power Factor Leading

Figure 4.6: Reactive power compensation range to meet grid interconnection power factor
requirements for varying solar irradiance.
51
of Fig. 4.6. For the case of switched capacitors, discrete quantities of reactive power
compensation are available, thus choosing the proper values of capacitors allows for
operation at discrete points within the shaded region shown in Fig. 4.6. Using
continuously variable reactive power compensation, such as SVCs, the compensation can
operate at any point within the shaded region if sized appropriately.
The torque speed curve of both the induction machine (electric torque) and the
Stirling engine (mechanical torque) are shown in Fig. 4.7. Two curves are shown for the
engine mechanical torque: one in which the irradiance is constant at 1000 W/m
2
, and the
other in which the irradiance is constant at 300 W/m
2
. The intersection of the two engine
torque curves with the electric machine’s torque curve identifies the steady state speed at
which the engine shaft rotates at the respective irradiance. At low irradiance, the
induction machine operates at a lower speed (A
2
in Fig. 4.7), and vice versa. At high
irradiance, there may be two possible steady-state operating points (A
1
and B
1
in Fig.
4.7). One corresponds to a stable operating point (A
1
) and the other is unstable (B
1
). The
system is typically designed such that at different irradiance levels the steady-state
0.9 1 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6
-2.5
-2
-1.5
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
Speed (pu)
M
e
c
h
a
n
i
c
a
l

a
n
d

E
l
e
c
t
r
i
c
a
l

T
o
r
q
u
e

(
p
u
)
Electric Torque (pu) at 1 pu voltage
Engine Torque (pu) at 1000 W/m
2
Engine Torque (pu) at 300 W/m
2

Figure 4.7: Induction machine electric torque and Stirling engine mechanical torque versus speed.
52
operating speed is relatively far away from the speed corresponding to the rated pull-out
torque (2 pu in Fig. 4.7), ensuring stable steady-state operation. Under transient
conditions, the system may become unstable once the operating speed exceeds the
unstable operating point.
4.3 Transient Analysis
When a 150 msec three phase short circuit is applied somewhere along the
transmission line of the diagram of Fig. 4.2, the Stirling engine/generator speed rapidly
increases, causing the over-speed control to turn on as illustrated in Fig. 3.3. When the
shaft speed exceeds ω
set
, the dump valve opens to quickly remove working gas from the
engine, having the effect of decreasing the pressure and thus the torque produced by the
Stirling engine. Shown in Fig. 4.8(a) is a comparison of the pressure command and
actual working gas pressure in the engine both with and without over-speed (OS) control.
Without OS control, the pressure commanded is simply proportional to the heater
temperature as shown in Fig. 4.8(b). Thus, since only minor changes in the heater
temperature are induced by the increased speed of the generator shaft, the effects on
pressure are minimal. However, when implementing OS control, the pressure command
drops quickly shortly after the fault, and recovers shortly after the fault is cleared.
Similarly, the engine and electric torques are compared for both the presence and absence
of OS control, as shown in Fig. 4.8(c). When OS control is implemented, the engine
torque starts to decrease shortly after the fault, attempting to mitigate the speed increase
of the engine/generator shaft. Conversely, with no OS control, the torque changes very
little since the pressure does not respond significantly to the speed increase. The speed
increase during the fault, which is shown in Fig. 4.8(d), is reduced by nearly one-half
when using over-speed control as opposed to no over-speed control. This significant
reduction in the speed increase allows for faster recovery after the fault, in addition to
increasing the probability of riding through the fault. The reactive power drawn by the
53
generator is also reduced when using OS control, as shown in Fig. 4.8(e). Because less
reactive power is drawn by the generator after the fault, the voltage can recover faster as
shown in Fig. 4.8(f).
One problem that arises in the use of OS control is the significant increase in
heater temperature during the fault, as shown in Fig. 4.8(b). Because the OS control
drops the pressure to its minimum value to decrease the torque, the heat absorbed by the
Stirling engine from the receiver decreases. The concentrator is continuously tracking
the sun, thus the thermal energy from the concentrated sunlight is temporarily stored in
the receiver material, resulting in a temperature increase. It is unknown if this short-
duration increase in temperature can damage the receiver material. If so, additional
measures must be taken to cool the receiver. It is assumed that the capability of fault
ride-through achieved by OS control outweighs the disadvantage of having a short term
temperature increase.
4.4 Conclusion
While the SMIB model provides insight into the steady state and dynamic
properties of a DS system, the network is highly idealistic. In practice, the voltage at the
PCC between the DS system and the network will not remain at 1 pu, and limitations in
the amount of current that can be drawn from the network during transient conditions
affects system dynamic behavior. In addition, the DS system can adversely affect other
generators within a network due to the added reactive power demand of the induction
generator. Therefore, the next chapter includes an analysis of the steady state and
transient behavior of a DS solar farm, but within a more realistic network that contains
conventional generators, loads, and transmission lines. The modeled DS system is
extended to a solar farm, which is a power plant consisting of thousands of individual DS
units. The effects of varying irradiance and grid faults are analyzed and compared to the
SMIB results given in the present chapter.
54

9.9 10 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6
0
1
2
3
4
x 10
7
time (sec)
P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e

(
P
a
)
Working Gas Pressure w/ OS Cont
Pressure Command w/ OS Cont
9.9 10 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6
0
1
2
3
4
x 10
7
time (sec)
P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e

(
P
a
)
Working Gas Pressure w/o OS Cont
Pressure Command w/o OS Cont

(a)

10 10.5 11 11.5 12 12.5 13
1010
1020
1030
1040
1050
1060
1070
1080
1090
time (sec)
T
e
m
p
e
r
a
t
u
r
e

(
K
)
Heater Temperature w/ OS Cont
Heater Temperature w/o OS Cont

(b)

Figure 4.8: Simulation results for the (a) working gas pressure, (b) heater temperature, (c)
mechanical and electrical torque, (d) generator shaft speed, (e) real and reactive power, and (f)
generator voltage both with and without speed control for a 150 msec three phase to ground fault.


55

9.9 10 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6
-1
0
1
2
3
4
time (sec)
T
o
r
q
u
e

(
p
u
)
Electric Torque (pu) w/ OS Cont
Engine Torque (pu) w/ OS Cont
9.9 10 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6
-1
0
1
2
3
4
time (sec)
T
o
r
q
u
e

(
p
u
)
Electric Torque (pu) w/o OS Cont
Engine Torque (pu) w/o OS Cont

(c)

9.9 10 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6
1
1.05
1.1
1.15
1.2
1.25
1.3
time (sec)
S
p
e
e
d

(
p
u
)
Speed w/ OS Cont
Speed w/o OS Cont

(d)

Figure 4.8 (cont’d): Simulation results for the (a) working gas pressure, (b) heater temperature,
(c) mechanical and electrical torque, (d) generator shaft speed, (e) real and reactive power, and (f)
generator voltage both with and without speed control for a 150 msec three phase to ground fault.
56

9.9 10 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6
-2
-1.5
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
time (sec)
R
e
a
l

a
n
d

R
e
a
c
t
i
v
e

P
o
w
e
r

(
p
u
)
Real Power (pu) w/ OS Cont
Real Power (pu) w/o OS Cont
Reactive Power (pu) w/ OS Cont
Reactive Power (pu) w/o OS Cont

(e)

9.9 10 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
1
time (sec)
V
o
l
t
a
g
e

(
p
u
)
Voltage w/ OS Cont
Voltage w/o OS Cont

(f)

Figure 4.8 (cont’d): Simulation results for the (a) working gas pressure, (b) heater temperature,
(c) mechanical and electrical torque, (d) generator shaft speed, (e) real and reactive power, and (f)
generator voltage both with and without speed control for a 150 msec three phase to ground fault.

57
CHAPTER 5
SOLAR FARM IN 12-BUS NETWORK

5.1 Introduction
The 12-bus network used in the analysis and simulation of a dish-Stirling (DS)
solar farm is shown in Fig. 5.1. The base-case network consists of 4 generators: three
synchronous machines (G2, G3, & G4) and an infinite bus (G1). The various loads are
modeled with passive components and the interconnecting lines are modeled using pi-
equivalent models. The synchronous machines’ excitation systems are included in the
modeled network, along with the turbine governors and automatic voltage regulators
(AVRs). More details of the 12-bus network are given in [35].
A solar farm consists of many individual DS units operating in parallel spread
over a large geographic area. Solar farms can range in size from a few hundred DS units

Figure 5.1: 12-Bus network used for analysis and simulation of the grid integration of a dish-
Stirling solar farm.
58
to several thousand. As an example, the 1.5 MW plant currently installed in Peoria, AZ
consists of 60 dish-Stirling units rated at 25 kW each. The plant contains four 25 kW
units per acre of land, or 100 kW/acre [2]. A 500 MW solar farm would consist of
20,000 DS units spread out over approximately 5000 acres of land; simulation of such a
plant becomes rather challenging since the irradiance levels can vary substantially over
the entire land area of the solar farm. In addition, the computational effort required to
simulate 20,000 induction generators and Stirling engines is not feasible. Therefore,
reduced order models are required to make simulation of a large solar farm practical, yet
still maintain a reasonable amount of accuracy.
This chapter describes a method to represent a large solar farm as a single
equivalent generator, and evaluates the accuracy and limitations of this simplification. A
solar farm is incorporated into the 12-bus network shown in Fig. 5.1 using the single
machine equivalent solar farm model, and steady state and transient analysis provided.
Different scenarios are discussed for connecting the solar farm into the 12-bus network,
and the capability of meeting the grid interconnection requirements (GIR) regarding
power factor correction and low voltage ride-through is evaluated.
5.2 Solar Farm Model Order Reduction
A detailed model of a 400 kW solar farm is shown in Fig. 5.2. The solar farm
consists of 16 dish-Stirling units divided into 4 areas, each representing approximately
one acre of land. The complete dynamics of each system is represented, including
models of the concentrator, receiver, Stirling engine, and induction generator. The power
network is simulated as an infinite bus and the line impedances and transformers between
the generators and the infinite bus are included in the models. Each Stirling engine is
represented by a set of 8 differential equations (given in Chapter 2), thus requiring
substantial computational effort to simulate many DS units simultaneously. Thus, large
solar farms have to be represented by simplified models.
59
The results of Fig. 4.5 show that the real and reactive power of a DS unit are
roughly linear functions of solar irradiance. Thus, the steady-state real power output of a
dish-Stirling unit can be represented by an equation of the form
B AI P − = (5.1)
where A and B represent the slope and intercept, respectively, of the real power line
shown in Fig. 4.5, and I represents the solar irradiance. A similar relationship can be
derived for the reactive power. Similarly, the power output of n dish-Stirling units
operating in parallel, assuming identical impedances connecting them to a common
voltage, is given by
nB I A P
n
n
n
n
− =
∑ ∑
1 1
(5.2)
where I
n
and P
n
represent the input irradiance and power output of the n
th
DS unit. Thus
the total power output of n DS units operating in parallel is a linear function of the sum-

Figure 5.2: Model of a 400 kW dish-Stirling solar farm.
60
total of the irradiance on all of the individual units. The n DS units can be represented as
one machine in the per-unit system by
base base
n
n
base
n
n
nP
nB
nP
I A
nP
P
− =
∑ ∑
1 1
(5.3)
where P
base
is the base power of an individual DS unit, and nP
base
is the base power of the
equivalently rated machine representing the n individual machines. Thus, (5.3) can be
written as
pu
n
n
base
pu
B I
n P
A
P − |
¹
|

\
|
=

1
1
(5.4)
Therefore the power output of a solar farm can be represented as a linear function of the
average solar irradiance on the individual DS units, where the average irradiance over a
solar farm of n DS units is defined by

=
n
n avg
I
n
I
1
1
(5.5)
Using the average irradiance, the steady state power output of a solar farm can be
represented by one equivalently rated machine using the average irradiance defined in
(5.5). Thus, neglecting the line impedances connecting the individual dish-Stirling units
to the step-up transformer, allows the diagram of the 400 kW solar farm shown in Fig.
5.2 to be simplified to the single machine (SM) model shown in Fig. 5.3. If the torque
supplied by the Stirling engine is also defined in the per-unit system, then the same model
of the Stirling engine used in the multi-machine (MM) can be applied to the SM model.

Figure 5.3: Simplified single machine model of 400 kW solar farm.
61
Simulation results comparing the real and reactive power output of the simplified
SM solar farm model to the complete, MM model for varying irradiance is shown in Fig.
5.5 for the input irradiance waveforms shown in Fig. 5.4. Each area in Fig. 5.2 receives a
different irradiance over the given time frame. As shown in Fig. 5.4, the irradiance levels
of areas 1 and 3 are kept constant at 1000 W/m
2
and 300 W/m
2
, respectively. Areas 2
and 4, on the other hand, receive an input irradiance representing a cloud transient, where
an identical irradiance level strikes both areas, but area 2 receives the irradiance at a 90
second time delay from area 4. The simplified single-machine model receives the
average irradiance shown in Fig. 5.4, which is calculated using the four area irradiances
applied to (5.5). The variable input irradiance waveform is derived from irradiance data
provided by NREL for Las Vegas, NV in one minute intervals [36]. This particular data
is taken from several minutes during the month of August, and intentionally chosen
because of the large changes in irradiance in a relatively short period of time, as would be
typical of a cloud transient. In order to form a continuous irradiance waveform from the
discrete data provided, a fifth-order polynomial approximation of the data points is
50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
900
1000
1100
time (sec)
I
r
r
a
d
i
a
n
c
e

(
W
/
m
2
)


Area 1
Area 2
Area 3
Area 4
Averaged

Figure 5.4: Input irradiance for the four solar farm areas and the averaged irradiance input for the
single-machine model.
62
obtained from Microsoft Excel’s built-in curve-fitting function.
The power output shown in Fig. 5.5 of the simplified SM model and the complete
MM model displays a close correlation between the two models. Since the SM model
neglects the line impedances connecting the DS system to the step-up transformer, the
SM model gives a real power output slightly higher than the MM model and the amount
of reactive power absorbed is slightly less in the SM model. The difference is greater
between the reactive power waveforms than the real power waveforms since, in the
neglected impedances of the MM model, the line reactances are significantly larger than
the line resistances. The results shown in Fig. 5.5 indicate that, although the relationship
between power output and irradiance derived in (5.1)-(5.4) assumes steady state
operation, changes in irradiance are slow enough such that machine dynamics can be
neglected with little loss in accuracy. Therefore, using the average irradiance input into
an equivalently rated DS system yields accurate results for cloud transient simulations.
50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500
-0.4
-0.2
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
time (sec)
R
e
a
l

a
n
d

R
e
a
c
t
i
v
e

P
o
w
e
r

(
p
u
)


Real Power - Single Machine Model
Real Power - Multi-Machine Model
Reactive Power - Single Machine Model
Reactive Power - Multi-Machine Model

Figure 5.5: Real and reactive power output of the MM model and the SM model for the input
irradiances shown in Fig. 5.4.
63
Simulation results for the real and reactive power output of the SM model and the
MM model for a 300 msec three phase to ground fault are shown in Fig. 5.6. The fault
occurs along the transmission lines shown in Figs. 5.2 and 5.3. The irradiance is assumed
to remain constant during the fault, and is uniform in all 4 areas at 1000 W/m
2
. Thus,
prior to the fault, all 16 dish-Stirling units in the MM model are at the same torque and
speed operating points. The results shown in Fig. 5.6 indicate that the SM model
represents the MM model real and reactive power behavior quite accurately. Thus, with
uniform irradiance over the solar farm, the SM model is a good approximation to the MM
model transient behavior.
Simulation results for the real and reactive power output of the SM and MM
models are shown in Fig. 5.7 for the same three phase to ground fault discussed in the
previous paragraph, but with different irradiance levels on each area. Areas 1, 2, 3, and 4
receive constant irradiances of 1000, 300, 500, and 800 W/m
2
during the fault,
4.8 5 5.2 5.4 5.6 5.8
-3
-2.5
-2
-1.5
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
time (sec)
R
e
a
l

a
n
d

R
e
a
c
t
i
v
e

P
o
w
e
r

(
p
u
)


Real Power - Single Machine Model
Real Power - Multi-Machine Model
Reactive Power - Single Machine Model
Reactive Power - Multi-Machine Model

Figure 5.6: Real and reactive power output of the SM model and the MM model for a three phase to
ground fault with uniform irradiance over the solar farm.
64
respectively. In this case, the DS units in different areas are at different speed and torque
operating points prior to the fault. Since the torque generated by the Stirling engines is
different in each area, those units operating at higher irradiance experience a larger speed
increase in the generator during the fault than those units at low-irradiance levels. Thus,
as shown in Fig. 5.7, the real and reactive power of the SM model during the post-fault
recovery deviate from the MM model, particularly the real power, due to the speed
differences in the individual DS units in the MM model. While the SM model is less
accurate under widely varying irradiance over the solar farm area than under uniform
irradiance, the transient effects do not differ significantly enough such that using the SM
equivalent model becomes unrealistic to use for transient studies.
The SM model of a DS solar farm significantly reduces the complexity and
computational requirements of simulating the solar farm steady state and transient
behavior. The general behavior of the SM model represents the MM model quite closely,

4.8 5 5.2 5.4 5.6 5.8 6 6.2 6.4 6.6 6.8
-2
-1.5
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
time (sec)
R
e
a
l

a
n
d

R
e
a
c
t
i
v
e

P
o
w
e
r

(
p
u
)


Real Power - Single Machine Model
Real Power - Multi-Machine Model
Reactive Power - Single Machine Model
Reactive Power - Multi-Machine Model

Figure 5.7: Real and reactive power output of the MM model and the SM model for a three phase to
ground fault under different irradiance over the our areas.
65
and the loss in accuracy in the SM model is a compromise that can be justified by the
significant reduction in model and simulation complexity. Therefore, the SM model is
used throughout the remainder of the chapter to represent large DS solar farms. Analysis
of a solar farm within the larger, more realistic 12-bus network provides additional
insights into the behavior of a solar farm under steady state and transient conditions.
5.3 12-Bus Network Steady-State Analysis
Several case studies are carried out in order to illustrate the impact of connecting
a solar farm to a 12-bus power network, using different means of reactive power
compensation in each case study.
5.3.1 Base Case
In the base case, generator 3 (G3) in the 12-bus network shown in Fig. 5.1 is a
conventional thermal power plant, with a synchronous machine generating 200 MW. The
AVR of G3 controls the voltage at bus 11 to 1.01 pu. Simulations indicate that G3
operates in the overexcited mode at a power factor of 0.75 lagging in steady state while
maintaining the voltage at bus 11 at 1.01 pu. Operation at such a poor power factor is
impractical, and is not typically done in practice. In addition, G3 is not meeting the grid
interconnection requirement discussed in the previous chapter regarding power factor.
The reason for the poor power factor is the load connected at bus 3, which is rated for
320 MW + j240 MVAr, which exceeds the rating of G3. Therefore, significant current
must be drawn from connecting lines to supply this load, which requires the AVR of G3
to command the reactive power to make up for the voltage drop across connecting lines.
In order to bring the power factor of G3 to unity, a capacitor bank can be inserted at bus 3
with a MVAr rating determined by
( ) MVAr P Q 176 ) 75 . 0 ( cos tan 200 tan
1
= = =

θ (5.1)
66
Simulation results indicate that with the capacitor bank of 176 MVAr in place, the
synchronous machine’s power factor is approximately unity in steady state, and the
voltage at bus 11 is constant at 1.01 pu.
5.3.2 Solar Farm Connected to 12-Bus Network
5.3.2.1 No Reactive Power Compensation
Before incorporating the solar farm into the 12-bus network, the thermal generator
(G3) is removed for the purpose of this case study. With no source connected to bus 11
or reactive power support at bus 3, the voltage at bus 3 drops to 0.78 pu. Adding a 200
MW rated solar farm (which consists of 8,000 25 kW dish-Stirling units operating at an
irradiance level of 1000 W/m
2
) to bus 11 reduces the voltage at bus 3 even further.
However, the voltage at the PCC for a possible solar farm location would not realistically
be at 0.78 pu, but adding a capacitor bank rated at 360 MVAr at bus 3 increases the bus 3
voltage to 1 pu (with no solar farm or G3 connected).




Figure 5.8: Connection diagram using only fixed compensation for voltage support in the
integration of the solar farm at bus 11.
67
5.3.2.2 Fixed Compensation
In this case study, the 360 MVAr compensation at bus 3 is held fixed, and no
other variable source of reactive power compensation is included. Simulation results for
the voltage at the PCC as a function of irradiance level appears in Fig. 5.9. At high
irradiance levels, the solar farm produces near rated power to the local load at bus 3, and
less current is therefore drawn from other network busses. Since less current is drawn,
the voltage drops across the connecting lines are less, and thus the 360 MVAr capacitor
bank supplies more reactive power than needed, causing the voltage to rise to
approximately 1.05 pu. However, at low irradiance levels, the power factor of the solar
farm PF
SF
follows that shown in Fig. 4.5, causing the voltage at the PCC (V
3
)

to drop
since more current must be drawn from other busses to supply the load, in addition to the
reactive power load of the solar farm.
The results of Fig. 5.9 illustrate the necessity of having variable reactive power
compensation since the voltage V
3
changes with irradiance. Further, in more realistic
systems, the loads will also vary throughout the day, which likely makes fixed
200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000
0.95
0.96
0.97
0.98
0.99
1
1.01
1.02
1.03
1.04
1.05
PCC (Bus 3) Voltage VS Irradiance with only Fixed Compensation
Irradiance (W/m
2
)
V
o
l
t
a
g
e

(
p
u
)

Figure 5.9: Bus 3 voltage versus solar irradiance with only fixed compensation.
68
compensation inadequate for maintaining the PCC voltage V
3
between 0.95 and 1.05 pu.
5.3.2.3 Variable Compensation
In this case study, the solar farm is again connected to bus 11, but an SVC is
connected at the PCC as shown in Fig. 5.10. The SVC is rated at 335 MVAr, where the
rating is chosen intentionally to be over-sized in order to ensure that the amount of
reactive power required to meet GIR discussed in the previous chapter is achievable. In
addition, a fixed capacitor bank of 285 MVAr is connected to bus 3. The fixed capacitor
bank is not included as part of the solar farm reactive power compensation since it is
included simply to bring the voltage at the PCC above 0.95 pu without the solar farm
connected. In practice, the sizing of fixed compensation and the SVC would be carefully
considered in order to minimize the cost of the combined installation. However, for the
purposes of this thesis, the results are simply intended to demonstrate the behavior of the
solar farm power factor PF
SF
and the PCC voltage V
3
assuming the necessary reactive
power compensation is available.
The plot of Fig. 5.11(a) shows the power factor PF
SF
of the solar farm over a
range of SVC voltage set-points and irradiance. The results are obtained by setting the

Figure 5.10: Connection of solar farm to bus 11 with an SVC used as variable reactive power
compensation.
69
0.95
1
1.05
200
400
600
800
1000
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
Voltage (pu)
Power Factor of Solar Farm for Range of Voltage and Irradiance
Irradiance (W/m
2
)
P
o
w
e
r

F
a
c
t
o
r
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9

(a)
0.95
1
1.05
200
400
600
800
1000
0.9
0.95
1
1.05
1.1
1.15
Power Factor
Voltage for a Range of Power Factor and Solar Irradiance
Irradiance (W/m
2
)
V
o
l
t
a
g
e

(
p
u
)
0.96
0.98
1
1.02
1.04
1.06
1.08
1.1

(b)
Figure 5.11: (a) Power factor PF
SF
of the solar farm over a range of irradiance and voltage, with
the SVC set to control voltage and (b) voltage at the PCC (bus 3) over a range of PF
SF
and
irradiance, with the SVC set to control PF
SF
.


70
SVC to control the PCC voltage V
3
to a given level over the specified range of irradiance,
supplying whatever quantity of reactive power is needed to maintain the commanded
voltage level, which is defined in discrete steps over the range shown in Fig. 5.11(a). The
results in Fig. 5.11(a) show that if the SVC is set to control voltage V
3
, the power factor
PF
SF
moves outside the acceptable 0.95 lagging to 0.95 leading range for much of the
irradiance and voltage range. The power factor becomes particularly poor as the
irradiance decreases and the SVC voltage set point is at 1.05 pu. The power factor
surface shown in Fig. 5.11(a) includes both leading and lagging power factors, but does
not indicate the power factor orientation (leading or lagging) at a given voltage and
irradiance point on the plot. The plot is designed to illustrate the effects of varying
irradiance and voltage set points on the power factor magnitude, since the GIR specify
that the power factor magnitude must be greater than 0.95, regardless of orientation.
The plot of Fig. 5.11(b) shows the voltage at the PCC with the SVC shown in Fig.
5.10 set to control the solar farm power factor PF
SF
. The voltage V
3
remains within the
acceptable region over most of the irradiance and PF
SF
levels, accept for high irradiance
and PF
SF
values close to 0.95 lagging. The solar farm absorbs the maximum amount of
reactive power at high irradiance, as shown in Fig. 4.5. Therefore, the SVC is required to
supply the reactive power absorbed by the solar farm plus the additional amount required
to bring its power factor PF
SF
to 0.95 lagging. The excess reactive power causes the
voltage to rise above 1.1 pu.
5.3.2.4 Variable Compensation with G3 AVR
The final case study for interconnection of a solar farm into the 12-bus network is
shown in Fig. 5.12. In this case a 120 MW solar farm is connected to bus 3 of the
network in addition to the base case 200 MW G3 plant at bus 11. The solar farm power
rating is selected so that with an irradiance of 1000 W/m
2
, the combination of G3 and the
solar farm can meet the real power requirements of the 320 MW local load at bus 3. In
71
this case, the G3 AVR is used to control the voltage at bus 11, while the 335 MVAr SVC
controls the power factor of the solar farm PF
SF
. In addition, a 176 MVAr fixed
capacitor bank is included at bus 3 to bring the power factor of G3 to unity in the absence
of the solar farm, such as the case when the system would be operating during the night,
when no irradiance were available.
A problem that can arise in using the G3 AVR to control the voltage at bus 11 is
that it also must compensate for voltage drops at bus 3, since the impedance of the
transformer between bus 3 and bus 11 is small. Therefore, G3’s AVR effectively has to
control the voltage of both its own terminals and that of bus 3. In this case, the power
factor of G3 could potentially move out of an acceptable range in order to maintain the
voltage set point at bus 11 since the solar farm’s absorption of reactive power tends to
reduce the voltage at bus 3 (and also bus 11). Simulation results of the power factor of
G3 (bus 11) for varying solar farm power factor PF
SF
and solar irradiance are shown in
Fig. 5.13. The results indicate that G3’s power factor stays relatively close to unity over
the entire range of solar farm power factors and input solar irradiance, while maintaining
SF
SVC
Bus 3
(PCC)
Bus 11
0.01 + j0.03 pu
22 kV/480 V
230 kV/22 kV
320 MW+ j240 MVAr
120 MW
335 MVAr
G3
200 MW
230 kV/22 kV
P
SF
, Q
SF
, PF
SF
Q
svc
176 MVAr
Bus 8
Bus 4

Figure 5.12: Interconnection of solar farm to bus 3 in addition to G3, with G3’s AVR controlling
the bus 11 voltage and the SVC controlling the solar farm power factor.
72
the voltage at bus 11 at approximately 1 pu over the entire range. Thus the connection of
the solar farm as shown in Fig. 5.12 to the 12-bus network is the only method in which
both the power factor and voltage can be controlled within their acceptable limits over
varying irradiance levels.
5.4 12- Bus Network Transient Analysis
5.4.1 Effects of Irradiance Level Variations
Simulation results for the SVC reactive power, real and reactive power of the
solar farm, bus 3 voltage, induction generator speed, and G3 power factor are shown in
Fig. 5.14(b-f) for the irradiance level variations of Fig. 5.14(a), where it is assumed that
the irradiance level is the average over all of the individual DS units in the solar farm
area. The solar farm is connected as shown in Fig. 5.12, and the SVC is set to control the
power factor PF
SF
of the solar farm to unity. As expected, the real power delivered by
0.95
1
1.05
200
400
600
800
1000
0.9
0.92
0.94
0.96
0.98
1
Power Factor (SF)
Power Factor of G3 for Range of Solar Farm Power Factor and Irradiance
Irradiance (W/m
2
)
P
o
w
e
r

F
a
c
t
o
r

(
G
3
)
0.96
0.965
0.97
0.975
0.98
0.985
0.99
0.995
0.95
lead
0.95
lag
1000

Figure 5.13: Power factor of G3 for a range of irradiance and solar farm power factor
73
the solar farm follows the irradiance level, as shown in Fig. 5.14(c). The reactive power
of the solar farm is approximately zero during the cloud transient since the SVC is
controlling the power factor PF
SF
to be unity. Thus, all the reactive power generated by
the SVC during the cloud transient, as shown in Fig. 5.13(b), is supplying the induction
generator’s reactive power needs. The voltage at bus 3, appearing in Fig. 5.14(d),
deviates only slightly from 1 pu, indicating that the G3 AVR is capable of controlling the
bus 3 voltage with the solar farm also connected to bus 3. The induction generator speed
in Fig. 5.14(e) also varies with the irradiance level, but stays within a narrow operating
range slightly above synchronous (1 pu) speed. Fig. 5.14(f) displays the power factor of
G3, and shows that the power factor stays close to unity, indicating that the solar farm
does not add any excessive reactive power burden to G3 even during varying irradiance
levels.
50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500 550
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
900
1000
1100
time (sec)
I
r
r
a
d
i
a
n
c
e

(
W
/
m
2
)

(a)

Figure 5.14: Simulation results of the solar farm (b) SVC reactive power output, (c) real and reactive
power, (d) PCC (bus 3) voltage, (e) induction generator speed, and (f) G3 power factor for a cloud
transient using the input irradiance waveform of (a).

74

50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500 550
40
45
50
55
60
65
70
75
80
time (sec)
Q
s
v
c

(
M
V
A
r
)

(b)

50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500 550
-0.1
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
time (sec)
R
e
a
l

a
n
d

R
e
a
c
t
i
v
e

P
o
w
e
r

(
p
u
)


Real Power
Reactive Power

(c)

Figure 5.14 (cont’d): Simulation results of the solar farm (b) SVC reactive power output, (c) real
and reactive power, (d) PCC (bus 3) voltage, (e) induction generator speed, and (f) G3 power
factor for a cloud transient using the input irradiance waveform of (a).



75

50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500 550
0.99
0.995
1
1.005
1.01
1.015
1.02
1.025
1.03
time (sec)
V
o
l
t
a
g
e

(
p
u
)

(d)

50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500 550
1
1.005
1.01
1.015
1.02
1.025
1.03
time (sec)
S
p
e
e
d

(
p
u
)

(e)

Figure 5.14 (cont’d): Simulation results of the solar farm (b) SVC reactive power output, (c) real
and reactive power, (d) PCC (bus 3) voltage, (e) induction generator speed, and (f) G3 power
factor for a cloud transient using the input irradiance waveform of (a).
76

5.4.2 Effects of a Three Phase Short Circuit
Simulation results for a 150 msec three phase short circuit applied to bus 3 are
shown in Fig. 5.15. The solar farm is connected to the 12-bus network as shown in Fig.
5.12, with a constant irradiance level at 1000 W/m
2
applied to the solar farm. The fault
resistance is zero, thus the voltage at bus 3 falls to zero during the fault, as shown in Fig.
5.15(a). The voltage recovers quickly after the fault is cleared due to G3’s AVR and the
SVC’s injection of reactive power. The reactive power injected by the SVC is shown in
Fig. 5.15(b), illustrating that the injected reactive power drops to zero during the fault
since the voltage is zero. After the fault, the reactive power increases rapidly, causing the
voltage to overshoot its pre-fault steady-state value. The real and reactive power output
of the solar farm are shown in Fig. 5.15(c), and agree closely with the real and reactive
50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500 550
0.98
0.985
0.99
0.995
1
1.005
1.01
time (sec)
P
o
w
e
r

F
a
c
t
o
r

(f)

Figure 5.14 (cont’d): Simulation results of the solar farm (b) SVC reactive power output, (c) real
and reactive power, (d) PCC (bus 3) voltage, (e) induction generator speed, and (f) G3 power
factor for a cloud transient using the input irradiance waveform of (a).
77

19.8 19.9 20 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 20.7 20.8
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
time (sec)
V
o
l
t
a
g
e

(
p
u
)

(a)

19.8 19.9 20 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 20.7 20.8
-50
0
50
100
150
200
250
time (sec)
S
V
C

R
e
a
c
t
i
v
e

P
o
w
e
r

(
M
V
A
r
)

(b)

Figure 5.15: (a) Bus 3 voltage, (b) SVC reactive power, and (c) solar farm real and reactive
power for a 150 msec three phase short circuit applied to bus 3.

78
power results for a three phase fault as applied to the SMIB model discussed in the
previous chapter (see Fig. 4.8(e)). However, in the present results, an SVC is included
with the solar farm, thus the reactive power actually increases above 0 during the post-
fault recovery period, which indicates the solar farm is supplying reactive power to the
network to help recover the voltage.
5.5 Conclusion
With no synchronous generator connected to bus 11, bus 3 can be considered a
“weak” grid PCC. Therefore, adding a solar farm to a weak grid can be problematic, and
for this study the steady state results show that the power factor and voltage requirements
cannot both be met over all irradiance levels in the case of a 200 MW solar farm
incorporated at bus 11. However, because the voltage can be brought to 1 pu with fixed
capacitors at bus 3 with no power source connected to bus 11 (or bus 3), the solar farm
19.8 19.9 20 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 20.7 20.8
-2
-1.5
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
time (sec)
R
e
a
l

a
n
d

R
e
a
c
t
i
v
e

P
o
w
e
r

(
p
u
)


Real Power
Reactive Power

(c)

Figure 5.15 (cont’d): (a) Bus 3 voltage, (b) SVC reactive power, and (c) solar farm real and
reactive power for a 150 msec three phase short circuit applied to bus 3.
79
could be reduced in MW rating, which would decrease its impact on the voltage at bus 3
over varying irradiance levels and solar farm power factor. Therefore, in addition to
varying irradiance levels due to cloud cover and the variable power factor requirement,
the rating of the solar farm also plays an important part in determining whether the solar
farm can meet the GIR.
When the solar farm is integrated into the 12-bus network near a synchronous
generator, the PCC closely resembles a “strong” grid. In this scenario, the results with
both G3 and the solar farm demonstrate that the solar farm can operate well within the
power factor requirements, while G3 can maintain a suitable power factor. Therefore, the
MW rating of the solar farm could potentially be increased, and the system would still be
capable of meeting the GIR. Connecting the solar farm in this scenario also demonstrates
good low voltage-ride through capability, where the SVC and G3 AVR can help recover
the voltage quickly after the fault clears.
Simulation results for the various scenarios discussed above for integrating a solar
farm into the 12-bus network illustrate the need for significant reactive power
compensation in order to meet both voltage and power factor GIR. While the variable
reactive power compensation discussed in this chapter has been over-sized to ensure that
the solar farm could meet the GIR over all irradiance levels, in practice the variable
reactive power compensation rating would have to be minimized in order to reduce cost.
In addition, the effects of time-varying loads and grid connection requirements involving
low voltage ride-through significantly affect the sizing of the reactive power
compensation.
80
CHAPTER 6
CONCLUDING REMARKS

6.1 Conclusions
Dish-Stirling (DS) technology has the potential to meet a portion of future
electricity needs with minimal environmental impact. Grid interconnection of the
technology in large scale is both technologically feasible and potentially cost competitive
with conventional power generation. However, because of the unique operating
characteristics of DS systems, detailed system impact studies must be carried out to
assess the effects of adding a large solar farm into a power network so as to not adversely
affect system reliability. The work presented in this thesis provides a means for
performing such detailed studies.
While the Stirling engine is a complex thermodynamic device, and has been
treated as such in the literature, the purpose of this research is to model the mechanical
characteristics (torque and speed) of the Stirling engine, rather than the thermodynamics.
However, because the thermodynamic behavior of the engine ultimately affects the
torque and speed characteristics, modeling of the thermodynamics is necessary. The
research described in this thesis on the modeling of the DS system is not intended to be
an exhaustive, detailed thermodynamic analysis of the DS system; rather, a detailed
enough thermodynamic model is presented in order to accurately model the mechanical
characteristics. Indeed, a much more detailed and thorough thermodynamic analysis is
available in previous publications by others. An important study aspect of this study is to
determine just how detailed the thermodynamic and working gas dynamic models have to
be in order to achieve a reasonably accurate mechanical model for the purpose of power
system simulation studies.
81
DS systems have demonstrated the highest efficiency of the CSP technologies,
and potentially have a financial advantage over other technologies because more power
can be produced from a DS system on a given day and location (assuming the same
amount of land) than other technologies. However, DS systems currently have a higher
initial capital costs than the other, more mature CSP technologies. In addition, other CSP
technologies often use thermal energy storage, which can increase their capacity factors
and smooth power variations under changing irradiance levels. Other CSP technologies
use conventional synchronous generators, thus requiring no external reactive power
compensation to meet GIR. Therefore, achieving low-cost systems is crucial for DS
systems to remain competitive in the CSP and renewable energy markets.
6.2 Contributions
The work presented in this thesis provides a detailed analysis of a DS solar farm
and its application in utility connected electric power generation. The models developed
provide a means of analyzing the DS system’s behavior under transient and steady state
conditions for grid interconnection studies. Detailed models of the DS components,
including the concentrator, receiver, Stirling engine, and induction generator, have been
scattered throughout publications prior to the completion of this work, and provided little
information regarding the behavior of a complete system, including the interaction
between the various components during operation. The Stirling engine model developed
in this thesis extends previous ideal adiabatic models of the engine to include the effects
of varying heater temperature, varying working gas mass, and varying shaft speed. The
control systems of a DS system have only been described in physical terms in previous
work by others, and this thesis extends the general physical descriptions to detailed block
diagrams and mathematical representations of the control systems, which enables a more
thorough control system analysis and a basis for controller design. In addition, this thesis
evaluates the grid interconnection issues associated with DS technology through
82
simulation studies, a topic which has yet to be investigated in publications to date. The
grid interconnection case studies of Chapter 5 showed that extensive studies are required
to assess reactive power compensation needs at interconnection points of DS solar farms,
and topics such as solar farm size, grid “stiffness”, local loads, local irradiance levels, and
type of reactive power compensation must all factor in the planning studies.
Portions of the research presented in this thesis have been accepted for
publication, and are given in [28], [29], and [30].
6.3 Recommendations
Recommendations for future work include experimental validation of the
component models developed in this thesis. Various assumptions were made in the
development of the DS model, and verification of the efficacy of such assumptions is
required to ensure accurate dynamic models. The Stirling engine and receiver models in
particular require extensive experimental validation due to the inherent complexity of
these components. As for the receiver, the temperature of the absorber surface was
assumed to be uniform over its entire surface, but variations in the temperature between
the engine quadrants can significantly affect the dynamic characteristics of the DS
system. In addition, losses within the receiver/absorber were assumed to be proportional
to the difference in absorber temperature and ambient temperature, but more detailed
studies of convective, conductive, radiation losses must prove whether this assumption is
valid. In the Stirling engine model, the key assumptions of uniform pressure throughout
the individual quadrants and adiabatic expansion and compression of the working gas
should be validated. In addition, the thermal losses of the Stirling engine were neglected
except for the regenerator model, which could prove to be inaccurate when compared to
actual DS system operation. However, DS models developed for grid interconnection
studies should focus on the impact of various parameters on the torque and speed
characteristics of the Stirling engine, rather than aiming to provide detailed models of the
83
working gas or thermal characteristics of the engine. For power system studies, the
primary concerns are the generator electrical characteristics and the prime mover torque
and speed characteristics. Therefore, the thermal and gas dynamics are required only to
model their impact on these key system parameters in steady state and transient
conditions.
Further simulation studies are needed to assess a DS solar farm’s behavior within
a larger, more realistic network, which may include variable, non-linear loads.
Optimization techniques for sizing the reactive power compensation are also needed,
since the MVAr capacity of the compensation required will vary considerably among
locations. Such optimization techniques can minimize the amount of reactive power
compensation required, which can reduce installation costs. Other forms of generator
technology should also be investigated, such as doubly fed induction generators and
permanent magnet generators. While these technologies have a higher initial cost, the
additional capital can be justified if more advanced generators can either reduce or
eliminate the need for external reactive power compensation, which also requires
significant investment.
84
APPENDIX A
DISH-STIRLING SYSTEM SIMULATION DATA

The gains used in the concentrator and receiver models, along with the Stirling
engine dimensions discussed in Chapter 2 are provided in Table A.1 with the specified
units. The working gas properties of the Stirling engine are listed in Table A.2. The
specifications of induction generator and step-up transformers used in the simulations are
provided in Tables A.3 and A.4, respectively. The various parameters for the control
systems discussed in Chapter 3 are given in Table A.5.

Table A.1: Concentrator, Receiver, and Stirling Engine Simulation Data

Concentrator
Concentrator Gain K
C
79.85 m
2

Receiver
Receiver Gain K
R
0.005 K/J
Receiver Loss Gain K
L
17 W/K
Stirling Engine
Dead Space Volume (Expansion Space) V
de
1.0000E-05
m
3

Dead Space Volume (Compression Space) V
dc
1.0000E-05
Piston Swept Volume V
s
9.5000E-05
Cooler Volume V
k
2.5447E-04
Regenerator Volume V
r
2.2455E-04
Heater Volume V
h
3.3080E-05
Cooler Temperature T
k
323.16 K
Displacement Angle (Expansion Space) α
e
0 degrees
Displacement Angle (Compression Space) α
c
90 degrees



85
Table A.2: Working Gas Properties

Working Gas: Hydrogen
Gas Constant R 4120 m
3
*Pa/(K*kg)
Specific Heat Capacity (Constant Pressure) c
p
14570 J/(K*kg)
Specific Heat Capacity (Constant Volume) c
v
10450 J/(K*kg)
Ratio of Specific Heats γ 1.39 -

Table A.3: Induction Generator Specifications

Induction Generator
Rated Voltage V 460 Volts (rms)
Rated Current I 35.14 A
Rated Frequency f 60 Hz
Rated Power Factor pf 0.87 -
Rated Efficiency η 0.938 -
Rated Slip slip 0.0133 pu
Starting Current I
st
6.2 pu
Starting Torque τ
st
1.57 pu
Max Torque τ
max
2.88 pu
Moment of Inertia J 0.535 s
Mechanical Damping F 0.01 pu
poles poles 4 -


Table A.4: Step-Up Transformer Specifications

Step-Up Transformer
VA Rating 28000 VA
Primary Winding 480 Volts
Secondary Winding 22000 Volts
Pos. Seq. Leakage Reactance 0.05 pu
Magnetizing Current 1 %
No-Load Losses 0 pu
Copper Losses 0 pu
86

Table A.5: Control System Parameter Values

Control System Parameters
Solenoid Valve Gain K
v
1 -
Solenoid Valve Time Constant T
v
0.02 s
Solenoid Valve Maximum Flow MF
max
0.08 kg/s
Heater Temperature Set Point T
set
993 K
Heater Temperature Control Region ∆T
max
50 K
Over-Speed Threshold ω
set
1.05 pu
Minimum Command Pressure p
min
2 MPa
Maximum Command Pressure p
max
25 MPa

87
REFERENCES
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MODELING, SIMULATION, AND ANALYSIS OF GRID CONNECTED DISH-STIRLING SOLAR POWER PLANTS

Approved by: Dr. Ronald G. Harley, Advisor School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Georgia Institute of Technology Dr. Thomas G. Habetler School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Georgia Institute of Technology Dr. Deepakraj M. Divan School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Georgia Institute of Technology

Date Approved: July 6, 2010

To my mother, Kathy Howard, and my father, Fred Howard, for their enduring love, patience, and support.

Thomas Habetler and Dr. Ronald G.ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Numerous individuals contributed with both technical and moral support for the completion of this thesis. who have been there for me through the best and worst of times throughout my life. During the time of this thesis work. and has spent many hours helping me better understand the fundamentals of power engineering. Dr. Harley has been a constant source of technical guidance. His patience and willingness to take time and delve into the technical details of this research cannot be appreciated enough. I would also like to thank Dr. which helped support and sustain me through the somewhat difficult and stressful times that graduate student life can bring. I would like to thank the members of the Wesley Foundation at Georgia Tech and Rev. I would also like to thank by lab mates for our regular outings outside of lab. I would like to thank my fellow lab mates for their technical assistance and ideas regarding this research. My success and overall positive experience of college life at Georgia Tech is largely attributed to the friendships and intellectual and spiritual growth that developed as a result of many hours spent at the Wesley Foundation. particularly Jiaqi Liang. who contributed much to the work included in this thesis. I had the great sorrow of losing a grandfather and the joy of becoming an iv . Steve Fazenbaker for providing a welcoming and encouraging place of faith. The work presented here would not have been possible without their help. and helped improve on the modeling details. Most of all I would like to thank my sisters and my parents. Deepak Divan for their guidance and inspiration as both professors and researchers.

v .uncle to twin boys. This work would not have been possible without the inspiration and encouragement that they have provided.

..................................................................................1 1....................................................................................................................................2 1..............................................................................................................................................3 1........................................................................ Design...4..................... 14 Stirling Engine ...............3 Heat Exchanger Analysis ...............5........................................................................ XVIII CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION............................................4.... 2 System Overview ............................................................ 8 1.................. 7 Literature Review...........5...3 1............... 9 Dish-Stirling Performance Reports..............................1 1......................................... IX LIST OF FIGURES ..........................................................................................6 Stirling Engines .................... 21 Engine Pressure .......................................... 15 2...................................................2 2................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 10 Control Systems ................ 18 Working Space Analysis ....................................................... Modeling .................................................................................1 2..............3 2........5......................................... 1 1..................................................... XIII LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ............. IV LIST OF TABLES .................................... 13 2...... 13 Receiver ............1 2..........................................................4 1............................................................................4 1....................5 Background ......... 1 Solar Thermal Technologies .. 8 Receivers ............................4 Introduction ........................................TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .......................................................2 1......................... 10 Summary .......................2 2.. XVI SUMMARY .......................................................................4...................... 11 CHAPTER 2: COMPONENT MODELS ................................................... 23 vi ................. X LIST OF SYMBOLS ..........................................5............................................................... 13 Concentrator ............................................................................................... 5 Dish-Stirling Background .................................................................

............................................. 26 Conclusion .....................1 4........................................4 2................................................... 32 Pressure Control System ............................................4 Introduction .......... 66 12............................................. 72 Effects of a Three Phase Short Circuit ...... 47 Transient Analysis ..................................................................................................... 76 5..........................4 Base Case ............4.............................................. 58 12-Bus Network Steady-State Analysis ...3.............. 65 5..............4............3 3....................................................7 Introduction .............................1 5...... 65 Solar Farm Connected to 12-Bus Network ................................................................. 24 Simulation Strategy..........3 4................2................................. 42 Conclusion ...........................................................2 3........................................5 2................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 37 Linearized Model ............. 32 3............................5 3......................................................................................................2 4.................................................1 5.............................................................................................................................6 3.................................................................................................................... 78 vii ....5 Mechanical Equations .......... 30 CHAPTER 3: CONTROL SYSTEMS ........................................2 5...................................................................................... 36 Over-Speed Control ...................................1 3................4.........4 3............... 45 4................................5 Conclusion ......................... 72 5................................................. 52 Conclusion .............. 33 Temperature Control System ............ 53 CHAPTER 5: SOLAR FARM IN 12-BUS NETWORK ............ 44 CHAPTER 4: SINGLE MACHINE INFINITE BUS ANALYSIS.............................4...............................................1 5............................................. 45 Steady State Analysis................. 24 Modeled Engine ................. 57 5.......... 39 Controller Tuning.....2 5....................................Bus Network Transient Analysis ...........6 2...................3 Introduction ...................................3...........2 Effects of Irradiance Level Variations ...................4.......................................................................... 57 Solar Farm Model Order Reduction ..............................

. 87 viii ...............................................................................................................CHAPTER 6: CONCLUDING REMARKS ....................3 Conclusions ......................... 84 REFERENCES ......................................................1 6.............................................................................................................................................. 82 APPENDIX A: DISH-STIRLING SYSTEM SIMULATION DATA ................ 81 Recommendations ............................ 80 6..............................................................2 6......... 80 Contributions.................................

.........................3: Induction Generator Specifications .................... 86 ix ...................... 85 Table A.....................................1: Concentrator......... 4 Table A.....2: Working Gas Properties ............................................... 85 Table A... and Performance Data of CSP Technologies [2] [4] [5] [6] . 84 Table A......... Receiver....................5: Control System Parameter Values ........................................4: Step-Up Transformer Specifications ..................... and Stirling Engine Simulation Data ........LIST OF TABLES Page Table 1........................... Generating Capacity....................................................................................... 85 Table A..........................1: Cost.

....8: Stirling engine simulation flow diagram.......................... (c) Fresnel reflector...... ...... 8 Figure 2...................... ........... 38 Figure 3................................5: Regenerator temperature distribution and conditional interface temperatures.. ...........................3: Temperature and over-speed control block diagram..................................2: Block diagram of dish-Stirling system model with pressure control system supply and dump valves. with labels for the various gas parameters in each compartment... ..................................................2: Heat exchangers and working spaces in a Stirling engine.........1: Estimated growth in generating capacity of solar thermal and photovoltaic technologies in the U.........4: Stirling cycle p-v diagram........................3: Generalized engine compartment.4: Working gas temperature distribution throughout the five engine compartments........9: Dish-Stirling simulation block diagram..................................... 37 Figure 3.................................... 28 Figure 2.........4: Pressure commanded by the temperature control system [26].............. 1 Figure 1......... ....3: Sample dish-Stirling system with labeled components.. 35 Figure 3...................1: Concentrator and receiver block diagram.... ............................. 18 Figure 2.............6: (a) Modeled 4-cylinder engine and (b) one quadrant of the four cylinder engine...........................7: Simulation results for various Stirling engine parameters in steady state... 5 Figure 1..... 31 Figure 3................... .... through the year 2035 [1]............................................................................ ...................LIST OF FIGURES Page Figure 1............... .......... ............................................ 2 Figure 1.. 33 Figure 3......................................... ............................ 16 Figure 2....... 20 Figure 2......... 26 Figure 2.............................. ....1: Pressure control system connection to Stirling engine............ ..5: Controlled temperature region and uncontrolled temperature region........2: Photos of (a) Parabolic trough................... ..........S.......... ...................... ................... 40 x ................................6: Simplified temperature distribution............................................................................................. 15 Figure 2............. 19 Figure 2... and (d) dish-Stirling CSP designs [3]..... 36 Figure 3............ (b) solar power tower............... ............................. 25 Figure 2..

and power factor as a function of solar irradiance.....3: (a) Circuit diagram of induction generator connected to a network and (b) phasor diagram of labeled voltages and currents of (a)....... 47 Figure 4............................. 41 Figure 3... ............4....................................8: Simulation results for the (a) working gas pressure........ 49 Figure 4.......................................................................................1: Low voltage ride-through requirements [33]........ reactive power......Figure 3.......... ................6: Reactive power compensation range to meet grid interconnection power factor requirements for varying solar irradiance. (e) real and reactive power...4: P-Q diagram of induction machine....... 60 Figure 5........ 59 Figure 5..........6: Real and reactive power output of the SM model and the MM model for a three phase to ground fault with uniform irradiance over the solar farm...7: Comparison of the linear and non-linear pressure representations for a step change in pressure command..............5: Steady state values of the dish-Stirling system real power..1: 12-Bus network used for analysis and simulation of the grid integration of a dish-Stirling solar farm....4: Input irradiance for the four solar farm areas and the averaged irradiance input for the single-machine model........ ........... .....2: Connection of a single dish-Stirling (DS) unit in a single machine infinite bus model. .......................................................5: Real and reactive power output of the MM model and the SM model for the input irradiances shown in Fig....................................... ................. 63 Figure 5...............8: Linearized control loop of the pressure control system............. 54 Figure 5. 5.... 61 Figure 5......... ......................................... and (f) generator voltage both with and without speed control for a 150 msec three phase to ground fault........... 57 Figure 5...... 62 Figure 5. ...... 46 Figure 4................... showing amount of reactive power compensation required to meet grid interconnection requirements........ 64 xi .............. 43 Figure 4........................... (b) heater temperature. ................ ..................... ..... (d) generator shaft speed................ .... (c) mechanical and electrical torque...............7: Real and reactive power output of the MM model and the SM model for a three phase to ground fault under different irradiance over the our areas............................ 48 Figure 4. 47 Figure 4....7: Induction machine electric torque and Stirling engine mechanical torque versus speed................................................ . 50 Figure 4....................... ................3: Simplified single machine model of 400 kW solar farm.............. 51 Figure 4................2: Model of a 400 kW dish-Stirling solar farm.............. ...................... ..................

............14: Simulation results of the solar farm (b) SVC reactive power output. (d) PCC (bus 3) voltage................................................................ ......... .............Figure 5.. 73 Figure 5... (b) SVC reactive power........ 72 Figure 5...8: Connection diagram using only fixed compensation for voltage support in the integration of the solar farm at bus 11.... 68 Figure 5.12: Interconnection of solar farm to bus 3 in addition to G3. ...................... (c) real and reactive power.........11: (a) Power factor PFSF of the solar farm over a range of irradiance and voltage.15: (a) Bus 3 voltage... ...... 69 Figure 5...................... (e) induction generator speed....... 67 Figure 5. and (c) solar farm real and reactive power for a 150 msec three phase short circuit applied to bus 3......... ..............13: Power factor of G3 for a range of irradiance and solar farm power factor ............10: Connection of solar farm to bus 11 with an SVC used as variable reactive power compensation.......................9: Bus 3 voltage versus solar irradiance with only fixed compensation.... 66 Figure 5..... with the SVC set to control voltage and (b) voltage at the PCC (bus 3) over a range of PFSF and irradiance... .............................. 77 xii ........................ and (f) G3 power factor for a cloud transient using the input irradiance waveform of (a)................................... with G3’s AVR controlling the bus 11 voltage and the SVC controlling the solar farm power factor............ ................. with the SVC set to control PFSF... 71 Figure 5....

LIST OF SYMBOLS Symbol c d D f F gA h I J L m M p Q R T V W Meaning (units) specific heat capacity (J/(kg*K)) derivative operator with respect to crank angle. diameter (m) derivative operator with respect to time. pipe diameter (m) friction factor mechanical damping (kg*m2/s) mass flow (kg/s) heat transfer coefficient (W/(m2*K)) irradiance (W/m2 ) moment of inertia (kg*m2) length (m) mass (kg) total mass of working gas inside Stirling engine (kg) working gas pressure (Pa) heat (J) gas constant (m3*Pa/(K*kg)) temperature (K) volume (m3 ) work (J) displacement angle (rad) crank angle (rad) α φ xiii .

η ρ efficiency density (kg/m3 ) torque (N*m) Shaft rotational speed (rad/s) τ ω Subscript a c ck con de. dc elec e h he I k kr L m p r Meaning ambient compression space compression space-cooler interface concentrator dead space electric expansion space heater heater-expansion space interface input cooler cooler-regenerator interface losses mirror constant pressure. pipe regenerator xiv .

rh s st v regenerator-heater interface swept space storage tank constant volume xv .

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AVR CSP DIR DNI DS EIA GIR IIR LCOE LVRT MM NREL OS PCC PCS PCU PV SAIC SBP SES SM Automatic Voltage Regulator Concentrating Solar Power Direct Illuminated Receiver Direct Normal Irradiance Dish-Stirling Energy Information Adminstration Grid Interconnection Requirements Indirect Illuminated Receiver Levelized Cost Of Electricity Low-Voltage Ride Through Multi-Machine National Renewable Energy Laboratory Over-Speed Point of Common Coupling Pressure Control System Power Conversion Unit Photovoltaic Science Applications International Corp. Schlaich Bergermann and Partner Stirling Energy Systems Single-Machine xvi .

SMIB STATCOM SVC TCS Single Machine Infinite Bus Static Synchronous Compensator Static Var Compensator Temperature Control System xvii .

Increasing capacity of this technology within the utility grid requires extensive dynamic simulation studies to ensure that the power system maintains its safety and reliability in spite of the technological challenges that DS technology presents. The first large plant utilizing DS technology. particularly related to the intermittency of the energy source and its use of a non-conventional asynchronous generator. The research presented in this thesis attempts to fill in the gaps between the well established research on Stirling engines in the world of thermodynamics and the use of DS systems in electric power system applications. although research in the technology has been ongoing now for nearly thirty years. renewable electricity generation. also known as concentrating solar power (CSP). and plants rated for several hundred MW are in the planning stages. fossil fuel costs. The high temperatures achieved at the focal point of the mirrors is used as a heat source for the Stirling engine. a topic which has received scant attention in publications since the emergence of this technology. DS technology uses a paraboloidal shaped dish of mirrors to concentrate sunlight to a single point.5 MW. is emerging as an important solution to new demands for clean. is a relatively new player in the renewable energy market. came online in January 2010 in Peoria. which is a closed-cycle. AZ. external heat engine. and energy security. rated at 1. xviii . a form of CSP. Dish-Stirling (DS) technology.SUMMARY The percentage of renewable energy within the global electric power generation portfolio is expected to increase rapidly over the next few decades due to increasing concerns about climate change. Solar thermal energy.

where electricity is delivered through underground cables from thousands of independent. making it highly compatible with concentrated solar energy. The Stirling engine turns a squirrel-cage induction generator. The Stirling engine and various other components of the DS system are incorporated into an electrical network. Custom FORTRAN code is written to model the Stirling engine dynamics within PSCAD/EMTDC. A dynamic model of the DS system is presented in this thesis. and simulation results are provided to illustrate the dish-Stirling system’s capability for meeting such requirements. including issues with power factor correction and low voltage ride-through.Invented by the Scottish clergyman Robert Stirling in 1816. infinite bus network. and transmission lines. autonomous 10-25 kW rated DS units in a large solar farm. including first a single-machine. and simulation results are provided to demonstrate the system’s steady state and dynamic behavior within these electric power networks. loads. including models of the Stirling engine working gas and mechanical dynamics. xix . Potential grid interconnection requirements are discussed. the Stirling engine is capable of high efficiency and releases no emissions. An analysis of the DS control systems is presented. and then a larger 12-bus network including conventional generators.

PV. PV has Figure 1.S. but typically has a generating capacity much smaller than solar thermal technologies. on the other hand. commercial. through the year 2035 [1].1 for both solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) technologies through the year 2035 [1]. industrial. Solar energy will make up a substantial portion of this new renewable generation capacity. 1 . Solar thermal installations often have a larger generating capacity than PV installations since solar thermal is used exclusively in utility scale installations.S. 1.1: Estimated growth in generating capacity of solar thermal and photovoltaic technologies in the U. and utility applications. solar power generation capacity shown in Fig. is used in residential.1 Background The amount of renewable energy integrated into the power grid is expected to increase significantly in upcoming years due to concerns about energy security and climate change.CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1. with anticipated growth in U.

1. 2 . and gives a much higher capacity of solar thermal installations in the next five years than given in Fig.6 $/MWh) is lower than PV (396. (c) Fresnel reflector.1 $/MWh) for plants entering service in 2016 [1]. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) maintains a database of solar thermal projects in the U. and (d) dishStirling CSP designs [3].a higher expected annual growth rate (8. [2].2%) through 2035. renewable energy.6%) than solar thermal technologies (2. 1. also known as concentrating solar power (CSP).2: Photos of (a) Parabolic trough.S. growth in solar power generating capacity is expected due to an increasing need for clean. use Figure 1. (b) solar power tower. but the predicted levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for solar thermal (256.1.2 Solar Thermal Technologies Solar thermal technologies. Nevertheless. indicating that the growth rates in [1] for solar power generation capacity may be quite conservative.

Parabolic trough is the most mature of the CSP technologies. Cost data for CSP technologies varies substantially between sources.1) of 862 MW by 2014. and dish-Stirling (DS) designs. or powering thermal engines. DS systems use the concentrated sunlight to drive a closed-cycle. CSP projects in the U. but only power tower designs use a conventional steam-turbine prime mover.2 displays a photo [3] of each type of system. that have been reported to NREL will amount to over 4500 MW of generating capacity by 2014. and the U. which significantly exceeds the U.S. and a range of prices for each technology (if available) is given in Table 1. where annual efficiency is defined as the ratio of the 3 . Morocco.1.thermal energy from the sun to generate electricity. CSP technologies track the sun on either one or two axes. which shows the lowest and highest cost estimates given in the sources listed.S. The high temperatures achieved at the focal point of the concentrators is used to heat an intermediate heat exchanging fluid. The generation capacity data shown in Table 1. Figure 1. NREL maintains a database of information on current CSP projects in five countries: Algeria. 1. external heat engine known as a Stirling engine. making their design resemble a conventional fossil-fueled thermal power plant. linear Fresnel reflector. and boil water in a conventional steam turbine-driven generator. [2].S. and mirrors are arranged to focus the sunlight in either line-focus concentrators or point-focus concentrators. power tower. having 11 individual plants with a total generation capacity of 426 MW in the U. Table 1.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2010 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) [1] estimate (shown in Fig. Four types of CSP are currently being developed: parabolic trough.S.1 gives various data comparing the four types of CSP. Spain. DS technology has demonstrated the highest instantaneous and annual efficiency of the CSP technologies. boiling water (for steam turbine).1 comes from this database. which can either be used for thermal energy storage. Parabolic trough and linear Fresnel reflector designs use line-focus concentrators. track the sun on one axis. Italy. but includes only data for the U. DS and power tower designs use pointfocus concentrators and track the sun on two-axes.

DS technology has demonstrated the highest sun-to-grid energy conversion efficiency [7] of any solar technology. The potential of DS technology is already being seen in the utility scale renewable energy markets. however. Modeling of solar farms is important to understand the DS system’s impact on 4 .S.Table 1. The integration of large numbers of DS systems into the utility grid poses unique challenges. CPS Energy. where the first large scale DS power plant. 2010 in Peoria. came online in January. Although DS technology is not as mature as the trough and tower type designs. and Performance Data of CSP Technologies [2] [4] [5] [6] Trough Tower DishStirling Fresnel Reflector Current Capacity Largest Installed Installed in U. Generating Capacity.5 MW. rated at 1.4 440 850 5 40-256.6 60-400 N/A 14-18% 20-26% N/A 25006800 30008600 N/A electric energy produced and incident solar energy supplied to the system over a year.1. the advantages of higher efficiency and potential for lowcost at mass production levels [8] makes the technology a significant competitor in both the CSP technology market and other renewable energy markets. Therefore. AZ [9]. as shown in Table 1.4 879 1601. particularly related to the reliability and stability of the generators and the grid. currently have higher costs. Installation LCOE Annual Capacity Cost by 2014 by 2014 ($/MWh) Efficiency in U. The instantaneous efficiency varies during daily operation depending on operating conditions.5 6. ($/kW) (MW) (MW) (MW) 2805426 2032 280 50-110 13-17% 4900 5 1.5 6.S. and is likely to see a growing number of plants integrated into the utility grid. DS technology is emerging as a prominent player in the renewable energy electricity markets. DS systems. More projects are in development with Southern California Edison. and San Diego Gas & Electric for 1627 MW of solar power from DS solar power plants [9].1: Cost.

3: Sample dish-Stirling system with labeled components. The concentrator is sized to ensure that for different irradiance levels. and all structural components track the sun on two-axes throughout the day.the grid and to anticipate potential problems and develop solutions. until recently these topics have received little attention in the literature. which contains the Stirling engine. The concentrator. The concentrator consists of mirrors arranged in the shape of a paraboloid.3. Concentrator diameters range from 8 to 15 meters in DS systems currently being developed [8]. which Figure 1. The receiver acts as a thermal interface between the concentrated sunlight and the PCU. 1. the thermal input energy from the concentrator does not exceed the thermal ratings of the PCU. starting with the model of a single 25 kW system. 1. power conversion unit (PCU). The research presented in this thesis covers the modeling and grid interconnection issues of a DS solar farm. The receiver is usually shaped like a cylinder with an opening at one end to absorb the concentrated sunlight.3 System Overview A diagram of a DS system with labeled components is shown in Fig. and is designed such that the focal point of the mirrors is at the opening of the receiver. 5 .

in the IIR. thereby inducing voltage in the stationary coil as the piston moves through the cylinder. during grid fault conditions. However. The shaft speed is allowed to vary over a narrow band for changing irradiance. whereas. Kinematic Stirling engines drive conventional generators. Contrary to conventional steam generation. In DIR. usually induction machines in gridconnected applications. a topic which is discussed in more detail in Chapter 3.reduces convection heat losses. the Stirling engine/generator shaft speed is not controlled to a fixed value under normal operating conditions. particularly in the Stirling engines. One of the Stirling engine heat exchangers. Instead. Two types of receivers currently exist in DS systems: direct illuminated receivers (DIR) and indirect illuminated receivers (IIR) [10]. Several variations in DS system designs exist. Free-piston engines are distinguished from kinematic Stirling engines by the lack of a traditional crankshaft drive mechanism. In general. The working gas is expanded and compressed. an intermediate heat 6 . The Stirling engine shaft is typically coupled to a cage rotor induction machine. containing a stationary coil of wire wrapped around the cylinder of a piston. and the piston contains some magnetic material. which is used as the generator. consists of a series of tubes that pass through the receiver. The power output can be controlled in Stirling engines by either varying the working gas pressure or varying the stroke length of the pistons. and is also contained within the PCU. the speed must be controlled to protect the system from damage resulting from sharp increases in speed. where the engine working gas flows through and absorbs the heat from the concentrated sunlight. two types of Stirling engines are discussed in the literature [10]: free-piston Stirling engines and kinematic Stirling engines. supplying the work for a piston-crankshaft drive mechanism. a linear alternator is used. but remains below the slip (with respect to grid frequency) corresponding to the pull-out torque of the generator. the concentrated sunlight is directly applied to the Stirling engine heater. known as the heater (or absorber). Use of synchronous machines has been reported. but only in stand-alone water pumping applications [8].

and the lack of maturity in other technologies. which came online in January 2010 as a 1. Inc.exchanging fluid is used. including Science Applications International Corp.. due to material limitations and the invention of the internal combustion engine and the electric machine. Department of Energy [12]. Renewed interest in the Stirling engine occurred during the mid 20th century due to material advancements and the Stirling engine’s potential for high efficiency. and the molten salt is recirculated in the receiver. Four companies are currently developing DS systems. and Schlaich-Bergermann and Partner (SBP) are leading the Eurodish project in Europe [8]. Stirling’s design proved to be a quieter and safer alternative to the steam engine of the day. SES. DS systems using DIR and kinematic Stirling engines with variable pressure control are the most common designs [8] [10]. 7 . but is a more complex design. where the heat is then absorbed by the Stirling engine. and grew quite popular throughout the rest of the 19th century. and WGAssociates in the United States. In the late 1970’s. and are the focus of this thesis. constructed the first commercial scale DS solar farm in Peoria. with partner Tessera Solar.5 MW plant. Jet Propulsion Laboratory began designing and constructing the first DS system with funding from the U. development of the engine slowed considerably at the turn of the century [11]. Stirling Energy Systems (SES). and refrigeration [11]. usually molten salt. AZ. cost.4 Dish-Stirling Background The Stirling engine was invented in 1816 by the Scottish clergyman Robert Stirling [10]. The IIR can achieve more uniform temperature distribution than the DIR. 1. Reasons for this design trend include the simplicity. Development of Stirling engines included applications in transportation. However. The demonstration plant includes 60 DS units at 25 kW each [9].S. even though higher performance may be achieved from different designs. generators. (SAIC) with partner STM Power. The molten salt condenses on the engine heater.

1.5

Literature Review

Literature on dish-Stirling systems is limited and scattered, while literature on the individual components, particularly the Stirling engine, is quite abundant. However, literature that investigates the application of Stirling engines with solar concentrators is rather scarce and scattered. 1.5.1 Stirling Engines The ideal Stirling cycle, which has a pressure-volume diagram shown in Fig. 1.4, provides a simple introduction to the working gas cycle inside the engine. The cycle includes two constant-volume processes and two isothermal processes. Transition 1-2 is an isothermal expansion of the working gas, transition 2-3 is a constant-volume heat removal from the working gas, transition 3-4 is an isothermal compression of the working gas, and transition 4-1 is a constant-volume heat addition to the working gas. The efficiency of the ideal Stirling cycle is theoretically equivalent to the Carnot cycle [13], given by

η = 1−

T3 T1

(1.1)

where T1 and T3 refer to the temperatures at points 1 and 3 of the ideal Stirling cycle

Ideal Stirling Cycle 1 Realistic Stirling Cycle 2

4 3 Volume
Figure 1.4: Stirling cycle p-v diagram.

8

shown in Fig. 1.4. Actual operation of the Stirling engine differs greatly from the characteristics of the ideal cycle, due in part to the sinusoidal nature of the volume variations in the engine. A more realistic pressure-volume diagram of the Stirling cycle is like an ellipse as shown in Fig. 1.4. A broad review of the Stirling engine, including the history, applications, mathematical analysis, configurations, and design, can be found in [11] and [13]. Early mathematical analyses of Stirling engines began in 1871 with the publication by Gustav Schmidt [11], but made unrealistic assumptions, including an analysis that was largely dependent on the principles of the ideal Stirling cycle. Nevertheless, Stirling engine mathematical analyses during the first half of the twentieth century were largely based on the analysis of Schmidt. A nodal analysis method is discussed in [14] [15] [16], where the engine compartments are divided into finite length segments, and an energy and mass balance performed on each segment. The assumptions of Schmidt’s analyses were no longer applied in the nodal analysis method, giving a more realistic model for the engine. An ideal adiabatic analysis is discussed in [17] and [18], with the primary assumption being adiabatic expansion and compression of the working gas. Stirling engine analysis methods range significantly in complexity, with Schmidt’s analysis generally being the most simple, having a closed form solution. Variations of the nodal analysis method tend to be the most complex, requiring numerical integration solution techniques and extensive engine operation and dimension data. 1.5.2 Receivers A thermal energy storage receiver design is proposed in [19], in which the thermal energy is stored in the mass of the receiver material; a mathematical analysis of how the temperature of the receiver varies with time and axially along the receiver length is provided. A detailed analysis of the conduction, radiation, and convection losses in an IIR is provided in [20] [21]. Modeling techniques of the Eurodish DS system are given

9

in [22], where a nodal analysis is performed on different sections of the receiver, and a non-uniform solar flux on the receiver is taken into account. 1.5.3 Dish-Stirling Performance Reports, Design, Modeling An overview of several different DS designs is given in [10], including details regarding receiver, concentrator, and Stirling engine dimensions and operating characteristics. An explanation of the starting sequence of the DS system is given in [12], where the generator acts as a motor to bring the Stirling engine to operating speed. A diagram of the pressure control system is provided, along with plots of the DS system parameters on a cloudy day and a waterfall chart listing the various losses in the entire DS system. Detailed and lengthy reports of the Vanguard system performance are given in [23] and [24], which include valuable information regarding the engine pressure, temperature, speed, and power output for varying irradiance. Steady state and transient plots are provided. Modeling techniques of the receiver and Stirling engine in the

Eurodish system are given in [22] with a focus on the steady state performance comparison with simulation model results for power output versus irradiance. Grid interconnection of DS systems is discussed in [25], particularly on issues related to low voltage ride through, reactive power compensation, and power factor correction. 1.5.4 Control Systems Control systems for Stirling engines in constant and variable speed applications are described in [26], where the focus is on temperature control of the receiver for varying irradiance conditions, and provides test results of the gas pressure and receiver temperature for a Stirling engine using external combustion to simulate heat from solar irradiance. External combustion of fossil fuel is used to heat the Stirling engine working gas, and varying irradiance levels are simulated by varying the amount of fuel added in the combustion. Similar descriptions of the temperature and pressure control systems described in [26] can also be found in [12], [23], and [24]. A comparison of the variable 10

swashplate angle and variable pressure method for controlling power output is given in [27]. and induction generator sub-models. the research presented in this thesis attempts to fill in the gaps between the well-documented thermodynamic analysis of the various DS components and the electric power issues that arise in the grid interconnection of DS systems. The DS control systems are discussed in Chapter 3. and is the focus of the research presented in this thesis. Portions of the research presented in this thesis have been accepted for publication. and [30]. Because DS systems are relatively new to the commercial electric power sector. Therefore. along with the mechanical characteristics of the engine. both of which are controlled by varying the engine working gas pressure.6 Summary Growth of solar power generating capacity is inevitable due to both an increase in the world’s energy needs and the need for cleaner sources of energy. receiver. DS technology has demonstrated the highest energy conversion efficiency of the CSP technologies. A method for simulation of the DS model is provided along with steady-state simulation results of key engine parameters. which includes integration of the concentrator. Stirling engine. Chapter 2 focuses on the DS system model. CSP can meet the new clean energy needs for utility scale power generation at a potentially cost competitive rate with conventional power generation. literature on DS systems for electric power generation is rather scarce. [29]. Block diagrams of the 11 . 1. and are given in [28]. The primary control objectives are to maintain the receiver temperature within safe operating limits and to prevent over-speeding of the engine/generator shaft during grid faults. The Stirling engine requires modeling of the internal gas dynamics and internal heat exchangers.

different methods for modeling a solar farm are considered in order to reduce simulation time and complexity. which results in simply scaling the generator ratings and parameters from 25 kW to an equivalent MW rated machine in order to account for multiple generators. including the low voltage ride through (LVRT) capability of the solar farm and power factor correction requirements. Grid interconnection issues are discussed. The simplest method assumes uniform solar irradiance over the entire solar farm area and neglects inter-machine dynamics. along with a linearized model of the Stirling engine and pressure control system for controller tuning. and reactive power compensation required to meet such requirements is given. Simulation results for the DS system under a grid-fault are used to evaluate the performance of the control systems discussed in Chapter 3. pressure. In Chapter 4. 12 . The most complex modeling method simulates each 25 kW generator system individually. and simulation results for both steady state and transient operation are given. Several case studies for connecting a DS solar farm into a small IEEE 12-bus power network are given in Chapter 5 and evaluated under irradiance and grid transients. the DS system is connected in a single-machine infinite bus (SMIB) system. taking into account possible variations in irradiance between neighboring DS systems. Since a DS solar farm consists of thousands of individual DS units. and over-speed control systems are given. Potential grid-interconnection requirements are discussed.temperature.

working gas properties. mirror reflectivity η m . and irradiance I (W/m2). and Stirling engine of a dishStirling (DS) system are presented in this chapter. in practice the reflectivity will change over time. and KC is defined as the concentrator gain (m2).1 Introduction Component models for the concentrator. 2. The dimensions of the various system components. With the assumption of perfect sunlight tracking.1) where D is the derivative operator with respect to time. the rate of heat transfer to the receiver from the concentrator can be approximated by d  DQ I = π  con  η m I = K C I  2  2 (2. The key parameters in analyzing the operation of the concentrator are the dish aperture diameter dcon (m). and system ratings used in simulations are provided in Appendix A. 13 . and can be used to develop models of a particular DS design.CHAPTER 2 COMPONENT MODELS 2. model gains. QI is the concentrated solar energy (J). receiver. Although the mirror reflectivity is assumed to be constant.2 Concentrator The concentrator focuses the direct normal irradiance (DNI) onto the receiver. The dimensions and operating data of several DS systems are provided in [10]. with dust and debris collecting on the mirrors reducing the reflectivity and requiring periodic cleaning. where the heat is used in the energy conversion process.

The receiver is designed to maximize the amount of heat transferred to the Stirling engine and minimize the thermal losses. QL is the heat loss of the absorber (J). Thus. and conduction through the receiver material [22]. reflection.4) 14 . V is the absorber material volume (m3). Critical to the receiver operation is the temperature of the absorber. The losses in the absorber can be defined in terms of an average loss heat transfer coefficient h (W/m2*K) [19]. An energy balance on the absorber yields the relation ρ c pVDTh = DQI − DQL − DQh (2.2) where ρ is the absorber material density (kg/m3). This gas flows through the mesh of tubes to absorb the heat inside the receiver to power the Stirling engine. which consists of a mesh of tubes that carry the Stirling engine working gas. The temperature should be maintained as high as possible to maximize the efficiency of the Stirling engine. but should not exceed the thermal limits of the receiver/absorber material. Inside the receiver at the base lies the absorber.2.3) where KR is defined as the absorber gain (K/J). The receiver introduces losses in the system due to thermal radiation. convective heat transfer into the atmosphere.2) and rearranging the terms gives Th = ρc pV   1  DQI − DQL − DQh  K R  = s [DQI − DQL − DQh ] s  (2. cp is the specific heat capacity of the absorber material (J/kg*K). given by DQ L = hA(Tavg − Ta ) = K L (Tavg − Ta ) (2.2) that the absorber temperature can be controlled by controlling the rate of heat transfer to the Stirling engine DQh. Th is the absorber temperature (K). Taking the Laplace transform of (2.3 Receiver The receiver is a cylindrical mass that serves as the interface between the concentrator and the Stirling engine. and Qh is the heat transferred to the Stirling engine (J). the absorber temperature is a major control variable. It is evident from (2.

4). a topic which is discussed in detail in the next chapter. causing expansion and compression within the working spaces of the engine. usually hydrogen or helium.2. 2.1. Thus. and KL is defined as the gain representing the rate of heat loss (W/K). The rate of heat transferred to the Stirling engine DQh controls the absorber temperature. where A is a constant proportional to the receiver dimensions (m2). and regenerator. the working gas within a closedcycle engine never leaves the engine.∑ 1 s ∑ Figure 2. Only for a change in the DS operating point does the control valve open. the control valve shown in Fig. 2. Heat exchangers alternately heat and cool the working gas. The engine is a closed-cycle external heat engine with a working gas. known as the heater. and is calculated using the methods of the next section. where the work done in the expansion of the gas is used to drive a piston-crankshaft drive mechanism.1: Concentrator and receiver block diagram. 2. Therefore.2 is normally closed. 2. cooler. The engine contains three heat exchangers.3) and (2. Tavg is a temperature that characterizes the heat loss in the absorber (K). the block diagram of the absorber is given in Fig. "Heater" is the general term used in Stirling engine literature.4 Stirling Engine A simplified diagram of a two-cylinder Stirling engine is shown in Fig. Ta is the ambient temperature (K). Tavg is assumed to be equal to the absorber temperature. By definition. making the thermal losses in the receiver proportional to the difference between the receiver temperature and ambient temperature. but represents the same mesh of tubes discussed in the previous sections known 15 . from (2. contained within the engine.

thus their instantaneous volumes depend on the crankshaft angle.Figure 2. 2.2 are simply represented as one volume equal to the sum total of the volumes of all the tubes inside the corresponding section. absorbing heat to power the Stirling engine.2: Heat exchangers and working spaces in a Stirling engine. The heat exchanger elements shown in Fig. which can include forced air convection or water cooling. temperature. The working gas flows back and forth through the tubes of the heater. Stirling engine analysis and simulation rely on knowing the instantaneous pressure. and volumes of the various spaces within the engine. with the primary assumption being adiabatic expansion and compression of the working gas in the working spaces. or shaft rotational speed. mass. The working space volumes are directly connected to the crankshaft mechanism. The working spaces within the engine are known as the expansion and compression spaces. The regenerator is a dense wire mesh intended to recapture some of the heat stored in the working gas before entering the cooler. The model is developed by 16 . where it will otherwise be ejected into the atmosphere. An ideal adiabatic model developed by Urieli [17] provides a means of modeling the various engine parameters. as the absorber. The cooler rejects excess heat to the atmosphere by various means. with labels for the various gas parameters in each compartment.

m is the mass of gas within the cell (kg). Q is heat (J). and temperature T (K) of the working gas is given by 17 . mass m (kg). A derivation of the ideal adiabatic model equation set can be found in [18].2. cv is the specific heat capacity of the gas at constant volume (J/kg*K). Therefore. gAi and gAo are the mass flow rates of the gas entering and exiting the cell (kg/rad). In addition. Ti and To are the temperature of the gas entering and exiting the cell (K). constant heater temperature. the heater temperature and shaft speed vary depending on the instantaneous solar irradiance and pressure of the working gas. an energy balance on the compartment gives the following relationship [18]: dQ + c p (Ti gAi − To gAo ) = dW + cv d (mT ) (2. but assumes a constant mass of working gas within the engine. In addition. volume v (m3). but modified to account for the non-constant quantity of working gas mass. a similar derivation of an ideal adiabatic model equation set given in [18] is provided here.performing an energy balance on each of the heat exchanger and working space volumes. the relationship between the pressure p (Pa). W is the work done by the cell (J). In DS applications. Assuming the working gas behaves as an ideal gas. without these assumptions. Using the First Law of Thermodynamics for an open system. and T is the temperature of the gas within the cell (K). and constant shaft speed. cp is the specific heat capacity at constant pressure of the gas (J/kg*K). 2. the equations of the generalized engine compartment shown in Fig. non-constant heater temperature. Before analyzing the various engine compartments. and nonconstant shaft speed. the engine working gas pressure is varied by changing the amount of working gas within the engine via a control valve similar to that shown in Fig.3 are developed. 2. and thus the assumption of constant mass is no longer valid. the equation set developed here for the Stirling engine is based on the course notes of Urieli on Stirling engines [31].5) where d is the derivative with respect to the engine crankshaft angle φ .

cooler.5) is equal to zero.3: Generalized engine compartment.6) and differentiating. 2. and an analysis of each of the various engine compartments is presented below.2 as the heater. 2. a heat transfer. 2. thus the work term dW in (2. pv = mRT (2.4. 2. The cooler temperature is assumed to remain constant. and both a mass flow inlet and outlet. assumed to be uniform throughout the control volume and equal to the material wall temperature. shown in Fig. and regenerator. Taking the natural logarithm of each side of (2. The various Stirling engine compartments of Fig.2 are simplified versions of the generalized compartment of Fig. The steady-state temperature distribution of the working gas in the various The heat exchangers’ gas temperatures are compartments is illustrated in Fig.4.1 Heat Exchanger Analysis The heat exchangers in the Stirling engine. The effective regenerator temperature Tr [31] is defined in terms of the heater and cooler 18 .3. work output.Figure 2. 2.7) The generalized Stirling engine compartment has a variable volume. have a constant volume V. the differential form of the ideal gas equation becomes dp dv dm dT + = + p v m T (2.6) where R is the gas constant (J/kg*K). but the heater temperature can vary with both solar irradiance and the engine working gas pressure.

then Tck = Tc . else.4.10) where the various interface temperatures and mass flow rates are labeled in Figs. Thus the rate of change of the regenerator temperature in terms of the heater and cooler temperature can be found by differentiating (2. then Trh = Tk1 .9) The interface temperatures between the Stirling engine compartments depend on the direction of mass flow. Since the heater temperature varies. Tkr = Th 2 if gArh > 0. temperatures Th and Tk.2 and 2. Trh = Th if gAhe > 0.8) with respect to the crank angle φ . else. then Tkr = Tk . presenting a discontinuity in the Stirling engine gas model. else. the conditional statements describing the interface temperatures [31] are given by if gAck > 0. given by Tr = Th − Tk ln(Th / Tk ) (2. the regenerator temperature will vary as well.Figure 2.2. The = Te (2. and is given by dTr = dTh ln (Th / Tk ) − dTh + (Tk / Th )dTh ln (Th / Tk ) 2 (2. 19 . 2. then The = Th . 2. else. Tck = Tk if gAkr > 0.4. Referring to the arbitrarily chosen direction of mass flow in Figs.4: Working gas temperature distribution throughout the five engine compartments.8) where all temperatures are in units of Kelvin. 2.

given by ε= 1  ∆T 1 +  T −T h1 h2      (2. resulting in a decrease in regenerator effectiveness as the difference in temperature between the heater and cooler increases. ∆T is assumed to be proportional to the difference in the heater and cooler temperature.5. The regenerator performance is quantified using a regenerator effectiveness parameter [31]. respectively.Figure 2.5 shows a detailed view of the regenerator temperature distribution.5: Regenerator temperature distribution and conditional interface temperatures.11) where the various terms in (2.11) are labeled in Fig. 20 . not all of the heat absorbed by the regenerator (when the gas passes from the heater to the regenerator) will be delivered back to the heater (when the gas passes from the regenerator to the heater). in practice. regardless of the direction of mass flow. 2. In an ideal regenerator. However. the interface temperatures Tkr and Trh are equal to the cooler and heater temperatures. the temperature of the gas entering the regenerator (from the heater) will be higher than the temperature of the gas re-entering the heater (from the regenerator) due to thermal losses and non-idealities of the regenerator. Thus. and 2. Fig.5. 2.

while the heat exchanger temperatures remain relatively constant in steady state. Vr. an energy balance on the heat exchangers can be found from (2. substituting the ideal gas equation of (2. 2. 2. Qr.6).4 represents the steady-state temperature of the working gas in each compartment of the engine. the change of mass in the heat exchangers is found from (2.7). Finally. 2.4. and Qk are the amount of heat in the heat exchangers (J).2. 2.Taking into account the constant volume of the heat exchangers.2 Working Space Analysis The temperature distribution shown in Fig. and Vk are the constant heat exchanger volumes (m3) and Qh. given by V h dpcV − c P (Trh gArh − The gAhe ) R V dpcV dQr = r − c P (Tkr gAkr − Trh gArh ) R V dpcV dQk = k − c P (Tck gAck − Tkr gAkr ) R dQh = (2.13) where Vh.12) dmk = mk where the various masses are labeled in Fig. and solving the equation in terms of the heat transfer rate. The relationship between the working space volumes ve and vc and the crank angle φ [16] is given by 21 .5) after eliminating the dW term. as labeled in Fig.2. indicating that the expansion and compression space temperatures have periodic oscillations in steady state. given by dmh = mh dmr = mr dT dp − mh h p Th dp dT − mr r p Tr dp p (2.

5Vs [1 + cos(φ − α c )] ve = Vde + 0. dM (kg/rad). Similarly.18) are similar.5Vs sin (φ − α e ) (2.vc = Vdc + 0.e is the displacement angle of the expansion/compression space (rad).18) In steady state.2 is given by c p (Tk dM − Tck gAck ) = pdvc + cv d (mcTc ) (2. and solving for dmc gives dmc = pdvc + vc dp / γ (Tk − Tck )dM − RTck Tck (2. The mass flows into/out of the Stirling engine compartments is described using gAck = dM − dmc gAkr = gAck − dm k gAhe = dme gArh = gAhe + dmh (2.16) to (2. an energy balance on the compression space volume shown in Fig.14) where Vdc and Vde are the dead space volumes of the expansion and compression spaces (m3).5Vs [1 + cos(φ − α e )] dvc = −0. The work produced by the working spaces is a result of the engine gas pressure acting on the pistons. and α c . Applying these operating principles to (2. The temperature of the working 22 .17) and (2.16) The compression space mass can be found by applying the ideal gas equation of (2.15). and thus the relationships describing the compression and expansion space masses in (2.5Vs sin (φ − α c ) dve = −0. dM is zero. the change in expansion space mass dme is given as [17] [18] dme = pdve + ve dp / γ RThe (2. The working spaces are assumed to operate adiabatically (dQ = 0).5).15) where the gas entering the compression space from the control valve. 2. is assumed to be at the cooler temperature Tk.17) where γ is the ratio of specific heats (cp/cv).6) and the first equation of (2. Vs is the cylinder swept volume (m3).

22) m m m  dT dT dM = dmc + dme + dp k + h + r  − mh h − mr r  p  p p  Th Tr  Using the ideal gas equation of (2.7).2.23) can be rewritten as (2.2 is given by [31] p= MR (vc / Tc + Vk / Tk + Vr / Tr + Vh / Th + ve / Te ) (2.22).23) dM = dmc + dme + dp  Vk Vh Vr  pVh dTh pVr dTr  + + − − R  Tk Th Tr  R Th2 R Tr2   (2.gas in the working space volumes is found from (2.19) 2. 2.25) .3 Engine Pressure Using the ideal gas equation. the mass equation becomes (2.17) and (2.6).20) where M is the total quantity of gas inside the engine (kg).24) and rearranging the terms gives the pressure derivative to be dp = γRdM (Tk / Tck ) − γp[(dvc / Tck ) + (dve / The ) − Vr dTr / Tr2 − Vh dTh / Th2 ] [vc / Tck + γ (Vk / Tk + Vr / Tr + Vh / Th ) + ve / The ] 23 (2. Referring to the diagram of Fig. 2. after rearranging terms.21) dM = dmc + dme + dmh + dmk + dmr Applying (2. the total mass of the Stirling engine working gas is given by M = m c + me + m h + m k + m r Differentiating (2. the pressure of the gas inside the Stirling engine of Fig. the mass equation becomes (2. and neglecting pressure drops across the various engine compartments.18) into (2. and.24) Substituting the compression and expansion space mass equations of (2. (2.12) to (2.4.21). gives the relationship  dp dvc dmc  dTc = Tc   p + v − m   c c    dp dv dme   dTe = Te  + e −  p ve me    (2.

and τ elec is the electric load torque.6(a).4. The 90o phase shift in volume variations also causes a 90o phase shift in the variations in pressure. F is the mechanical damping constant (kg*m2/s). The engine is divided into four quadrants. the only difference in operation between the four quadrants is a result of the displacement angles α given in (2.14).4 Mechanical Equations The torque developed by the Stirling engine is a result of the pressure acting on the pistons. temperature. is simulated. 2. 2. Assuming no leakage past the pistons. The 24 . a relationship given by [14] τ = p(dv c + dve ) The rotational equation of motion of the Stirling engine shaft is given by (2.5 Modeled Engine A four cylinder Stirling engine. 2. ω is the engine/generator shaft rotational speed (rad/s). each quadrant having its own set of heat exchangers. based on the Siemens [11] or coaxial double- acting [13] configuration. Each quadrant is modeled by the ideal adiabatic analysis described above. each piston is connected to the expansion space of one quadrant and the compression space of the neighboring quadrant. etc.26) τ = JDω + Fω + τ elec (2. between the four quadrants. as shown in Fig.6(b).27) where J is the moment of inertia (kg*m2). the working gas in each quadrant is isolated from the neighboring quadrant.2. The displacement angle is set to 90o for the four cylinder engine. with the cylinder configuration and drive mechanism shown in Fig.4. Therefore. resulting in a 90o phase shift between the sinusoidal volume variations in the four expansions spaces and the four compression spaces. mass flows. Therefore. Each quadrant is assumed to be identical in both dimensions and working gas quantity.

Modifying (2.26) for the four cylinder engine. and torque for 25 .(a) (b) Figure 2.6: (a) Modeled 4-cylinder engine and (b) one quadrant of the four cylinder engine.28) Results of the pressure. compression space mass. (2. mechanical torque is thus a result of the four quadrant pressures acting on the pistons. temperature. the mechanical torque developed by the Stirling engine is given by τ = p1 (dv c1 + dv e1 ) + p 2 (dv c 2 + dv e 2 ) + p 3 (dv c 3 + dv e 3 ) + p 4 (dv c 4 + dv e 4 ) where the numerical subscript indicates the corresponding quadrant number.

The sinusoidal volume variations in the compression and expansion spaces cause periodic oscillations in the engine parameters. determined analytically.6 Simulation Strategy Simulation of the Stirling engine requires calculation of the various working gas parameters at each increment of the simulation time step.98 5 Figure 2. 26 .94 4. while calculations of the expansion and compression space temperatures are determined -3 2.7 4.9 1.1 Pressure (Pa) 2. 2.94 4.5 0 4.7: Simulation results for various Stirling engine parameters in steady state.75 1.92 4. pressure.98 5 Compression Space Temperature 4.9 4.94 4. The engine working gas parameters are calculated using the ideal adiabatic analysis discussed above.85 1.96 time (sec) 4.25 2.92 4.94 4.8 1.96 time (sec) 4.05 2 1.5 x 10 Compression Space Mass Mass of Hydrogen (kg) 4.9 350 Temperature (K) 340 330 320 310 300 4.2 2.9 1 0.7.98 5 Expansion Space Temperature 1050 Temperature (K) Torque Generated by Stirling Engine 138 137 1000 Mechanical Torque (N*m) 136 135 134 133 132 131 130 4.92 4.several revolutions of the crankshaft are shown in Fig. Set points for the simulation are an irradiance I of 1000 W/m2 and an absorber/heater temperature Th of 993 degrees Kelvin.95 1.15 x 10 7 Stirling Engine Four Quadrant Pressures 1.92 4. mass. 2. with solutions for the volume.94 4.98 5 4.4.92 4.9 950 4.96 4.96 time (sec) 4.96 time (sec) 4. and their derivatives.98 5 2.9 4.

and constant cooler temperature Tk must be specified. M .8. The initial conditions for Tck and The are set to the cooler and heater temperatures. conditional interface temperatures Tck and The. The initial derivates dTh and dM are set to zero. T . Th . however. M ) = Y dY = F (φ . Thus.29) for the next time step is calculated using 27 . respectively. heater temperature Th.using numerical integration. where the heater temperature change rate dTh. 2. the shaft speed ω . During initialization of the simulation. Initial conditions must be given for the crank angle φ . the engine dimensions. Y ) = 0 h0 0 0  dTe1    dTe 2   dT   e3  dTe 4    (2. The numerical integration technique used is the fourth order Runge-Kutta (RK4) method. the numerical integration solution of (2. the numerical subscript indicating the quadrant number of the various gas parameters is left off in the flow diagram of Fig. total working gas mass M. The flow diagram for simulation of the Stirling engine parameters is shown in Fig. The differential equations’ solution is formulated as a quasi-steady initial value problem. For visual simplicity.8. Y (φ .29) where the variables in bold represent vector quantities with dimensions 8x1. Numerical integration of the expansion and compression space temperature differential equations for each of the four quadrants is required. and total engine mass change rate dM are assumed to remain constant over an integration cycle. with the initial value problem set up as  dTc1  dT   c2   dTc 3    dTc 4 . it is implied that the parameters in every quadrant are calculated. 2. and engine/generator speed ω . totaling eight differential equations for the Stirling engine. working gas properties.

28 .8: Stirling engine simulation flow diagram.Figure 2.

as shown by the flow diagram in Fig.Y n+1 = Yn + 1 (k1 + 2k 2 + 2k 3 + k 4 ) 6 φ n +1 = φ n + h (2. temperatures. mass. and mass flows to be used in the torque τ and heat transfer DQh calculations.5hdM . Y n + 0. given by DQh = ω (dQh1 + dQh 2 + dQh3 + dQh14 ) (2. M n + 0.33) the engine torque. The integration loop shown in Fig. Th ( n ) + 0.31) (2. interface temperature and interface mass flow calculations individually for each k. Calculating k1-k4 in (2. The final outputs of the Stirling engine simulation block are the average of the quadrant pressures.28). and the total heat absorbed by the Stirling engine. M n + 0. 2. M n + hdM . since dTc and dTe depend on all of these parameters. Yn + 0. Th ( n ) + 0. calculated by (2.5h.8. Th ( n ) + hdTh .5hdM .5hdTh .31) requires going through the pressure. given by pavg = p1 + p2 + p3 + p 4 4 (2.30) Th ( n +1) = Th ( n ) + hdTh M n +1 = M n + hdM where k1 = hF (φ n .5k 2 ) k 4 = hF (φ n + h.5hdTh . M n .5k1 ) k 3 = hF (φ n + 0. Yn + k 3 ) and h = ω∆t (2.34) where converting a derivative with respect to the crank angle φ to a derivative with respect to time t is calculated by 29 . and once to calculate the final pressures.5h. 2.8 is iterated 5 times for each simulation time step ∆t : 4 times to calculate k1-k4. Yn ) k 2 = hF (φ n + 0. Th ( n ) .32) where ∆t is the simulation time step. giving the final solution of Tc(1-4) and Te(1-4).

The torque generated by the engine model serves as an input to the induction generator model. 2. and induction generator models gives the diagram shown in Fig. receiver. 30 . Custom FORTRAN code is written to model the Stirling engine and perform the numerical integration. External inputs to the system include the solar irradiance I and heater/absorber temperature set point Th*.Dz = dz dφ dz = = ω dz dt dt dφ (2. which is discussed in more detail in the next chapter. 2. However. which vary the amount of working gas in the Stirling engine. the engine pressure pavg.9. including variations in solar irradiance and grid transients.5 Conclusion The models of the DS system components discussed in this chapter permit dynamic simulation of a grid-connected DS system. The performance of the control systems ultimately determine how a system operates in transient conditions. as discussed above. the missing link in the DS system model is the control systems. The induction generator. and the engine/generator shaft speed ω . The heater/absorber temperature set point Th* is an input into the control system. Combining the concentrator. The control system decides the quantity of working gas M to supply to the engine based on the heater/absorber temperature Th. 2. using the built-in induction machine model as the generator. The solar irradiance is an input to the concentrator/receiver block diagram shown in Fig.35) where z is an arbitrary variable that is a function of φ and t. Such a model is valuable for understanding the behavior of a DS system under various transient conditions.9 is developed in PSCAD/EMTDC. which serves as an input to the Stirling engine model discussed above. The diagram of Fig. 2. Stirling engine.1. control systems. whose modeling methods are well documented and not discussed in this thesis. a topic which is discussed in detail in the next chapter. calculates the shaft speed.

31 .9: Dish-Stirling simulation block diagram.Figure 2.

the pressure control must respond quickly enough to respond to changes in irradiance caused by cloud cover. the Stirling engine shaft speed is not controlled but depends on the amount of available torque from the engine being balanced by the counter torque of the induction generator connected to the electric power network.1 Introduction The primary control objective within the power conversion unit of a dish-Stirling (DS) system is to maintain the absorber temperature within a safe operating region. achieved by adding or removing working gas to/from the engine. in the event of a grid fault. the generator torque collapses and the shaft speed increases rapidly. decreasing the working gas pressure has the effect of decreasing the engine’s torque. Changing the pressure of the Stirling engine working gas changes the quantity of mass flow through the absorber. The Stirling engine torque.CHAPTER 3 CONTROL SYSTEMS 3. the rapid increase in speed must be mitigated. Therefore. potentially reaching speeds that could damage engine components or prevent the system from recovering from a grid fault. the problem arises of whether to continue controlling the absorber temperature or to control the shaft speed. However. Chapter 2 explained that the Stirling engine torque is a result of the working gas pressure acting on the pistons. The temperature is controlled by varying the working gas pressure. thereby changing the amount of heat removed from the absorber. In such cases. since the pressure control system cannot do 32 . but should also not exceed the thermal rating of the absorber material. therefore. Since the input thermal energy from the sun is rather unpredictable and intermittent during daily operation. has to be reduced rapidly in order to prevent the speed from increasing too much. The temperature should be kept as high as possible to maximize the thermal efficiency of the Stirling engine. During normal operation. During such a grid fault condition.

The modeled PCS follows the systems described in [12]. As discussed in more detail in the sections to follow. A more detailed analysis of fault ride-through capability is deferred until the next chapter.1. and [26]. [23]. However. [24]. 33 . the high pressure storage tank and the low pressure storage tank.1: Pressure control system connection to Stirling engine. namely. mitigating the shaft speed increase during a grid fault has the simultaneous effect of an uncontrolled rise in absorber temperature. 3.Figure 3. The PCS consists of two working gas storage tanks. Two control valves connect the high and low pressure storage tanks to the Stirling engine. it is assumed that the length of grid fault is short enough (hundreds of milliseconds) that the absorber material can withstand such a short duration increase in temperature.2 Pressure Control System A physical layout of the pressure control system (PCS) and interconnection with the Stirling engine is illustrated in Figure 3. Such a tradeoff in design is assumed to be acceptable in order to gain the added protection of system components from damage that may be caused from over-speed and also enhance of the fault ride-through capability of the system. both simultaneously.

and. ensuring an adequate supply of high pressure working gas at all times. and the mass flow rate is proportional to the averaged spool position [32]. The pressure of the storage tanks are assumed to be constant. the supply and dump valves are closed in steady state. according to [19]. Since the Stirling engine is a closed system. where the supply valve will open to increase the pressure. given by gASV (s) Kv = C(s) 1 + sTv (3. it is assumed that an adequate amount of gas is always available for control purposes. where modulation techniques can be used to regulate the flow of gas through the valve [25]. the supply valve opens and gas flows from the high pressure storage tank to the engine. where the “spool” is the magnetic piece of the solenoid valve that reacts to the voltage applied to the solenoid coils. Solenoid valves are used for the supply and dump valves [23] [24]. delivering mass in discrete packets [32]. The compressor pumps the working gas back to the high pressure storage tank from the low pressure tank. and gas flows from the engine to the low pressure storage tank. such as the case when the irradiance increases.1) where gASV is the mass flow in the solenoid valve (kg/s). The solenoid valves are modeled as a first order system. the mass flow through the open valve can be approximated by 34 . and either opens or closes the valve. a decrease in the engine pressure results from opening the dump valve. If an increase in the engine working gas pressure is commanded. C is the commanded mass flow rate. and Kv and Tv are the gain and time constant of the valve. The modulation frequencies of solenoid valves range from 20 Hz to 80 Hz. For the simulation and modeling in this thesis. increasing the total mass M (kg) of working gas inside the engine. The solenoid valves are assumed to be pulse-width modulated (PWM) valves. Conversely. where the valves are turned on and off successively. respectively. Only when a change in operating point occurs does one of these valves open.known as the supply valve and dump valve. s is the Laplace transform variable.

MFmax KV 1 + sTV 0 MFmax ∑ 1 s Treceiver KV 1 + sTV 0 pavg ωr Figure 3. the mass flow rate limit is a function of the pipe dimensions.3). where the pressure command is compared to the average pressure taken from the Stirling engine model discussed in the previous chapter.2. These parameters affect the speed at which the PCS can respond during transients. Dp is the pipe diameter (m). and L is the length of the pipe (m). f is the friction factor. and can be calculated using (3.3) where pst is the high pressure storage tank pressure (Pa). A block diagram of the pressure control system is shown in Fig.2: Block diagram of dish-Stirling system model with pressure control system supply and dump valves. particularly during grid faults. The total working gas mass M is calculated by integrating the mass flow rate output DM (kg/s) from the solenoid valve models. M and DM serve as inputs to the ideal adiabatic Stirling engine model discussed in the previous chapter. 2 πD p gA = ρx 4 (3. where the average pressure is given by 35 . Thus.3. 3.2) where ρ is the gas density (kg/m3). The pressure of the high pressure gas storage tank and the pipe dimensions connecting the gas storage tank to the engine play a major part in the control system performance. 3.2) and (3. assuming the minimum working gas pressure for p. The supply and dump valve commands are supplied by the outputs of the block diagram shown in Fig. and x is given by x= 2 D p ( p st − p ) fLρ (3.

Regulation of the temperature is achieved by varying the working gas pressure.4) If the pressure difference is positive. The pressure control system is only operable in the range of temperatures between Tset and (Tset + ∆ Tmax).3 Temperature Control System The heater temperature must be maintained as high as possible to maximize the efficiency of the Stirling engine. Conversely. the supply valve receives the control signal and mass flow command of the solenoid valve increases. The temperature control system (TCS) generates a pressure control command based on the diagram shown in Fig. other options for 36 .4 [26]. and the pressure cannot increase further. a negative pressure difference will increase the mass flow command of the dump valve. returning working gas from the Stirling engine to the low pressure storage tank. In instances of unusually high solar irradiance. but must not be allowed to exceed the thermal rating of the receiver and heater/absorber materials. at which point the pressure command increases linearly with temperature increase. The pressure remains at its minimum value until the heater temperature reaches the temperature set point. 3. where the temperature exceeds (Tset + ∆ Tmax).pset Treceiver Tset Treceiver pset ∑ pcmd ∑ pavg ωr ∑ ωset Figure 3.3: Temperature and over-speed control block diagram. 3. p avg = p1 + p 2 + p 3 + p 4 4 (3. thereby supplying more working gas to the Stirling engine from the high pressure storage tank.

At high irradiance levels. the pressure is varied to maintain the heater temperature within a narrow temperature range. 3. the irradiance is low and the heater temperature is below the temperature set point. The heater temperature thus varies with irradiance. the engine does not produce enough torque to approach the unstable region of the induction 37 . namely. and thus the pressure is maintained at its minimum value. In the uncontrolled temperature region. thus the system is in the temperature control region during typical daily operation. Because of the torque characteristics of the engine. the controlled temperature region and the uncontrolled temperature region.4: Pressure commanded by the temperature control system [26].4 Over-Speed Control In normal operating conditions. the engine produces just enough torque to keep the induction generator above synchronous speed. and at high irradiance. temperature regulation exist.Figure 3. such as supplementary cooling fans or a temporary detracking of the concentrator from the sun [8]. In other words. The temperature and pressure control systems of a DS unit operate in two different regions. The pressure control system kicks in at relatively low irradiance. at low irradiance. the speed is maintained over a narrow range of speed slightly higher than the synchronous grid frequency. the Stirling engine/induction generator shaft speed is not controlled.

in the event of a grid fault. a mechanism for reducing the torque by the engine must be put in place to mitigate the sudden increase in speed. where working gas is quickly dumped out of the engine to decrease the pressure. the rapid drop in pressure commanded by the speed control system will cause an increase in the heater temperature.3. The rapid decrease in pressure is achieved via a bypass valve [26]. it is observed that the engine’s torque can be reduced by decreasing the working gas pressure. In other words. The operation of the speed control system is illustrated in Fig. However. the temperature and speed control systems will try to counteract one another’s operation. Therefore. or the pull-out torque rating of the generator. It is apparent that in the event of a grid fault. From (2.1 is used to model this operation. This increase in temperature can be quite severe if the fault occurs during 38 . For the present analysis.5: Controlled temperature region and uncontrolled temperature region. also known as a short-circuit valve [25]. 3. the dump valve shown in Fig. the sudden loss of load torque causes a sharp increase in the shaft speed.Off Uncontrolled Temperature Region Controlled Temperature Region ∆Tmax Tset Irradiance pmin Irradiance Figure 3. machine.26). 3.

A hysteresis controller is incorporated to prevent any problems with threshold recognition. the pressure commanded by the TCS is limited to the maximum pressure set point. 39 . it is assumed that the increase in heater temperature for a short time range will have an insignificant impact on the receiver components.5 Linearized Model A linearized model of the Stirling engine pressure variations is developed to create a simplified method for tuning the pressure controller gain Gp shown in Fig. the heater temperature stays within the narrow band (Tset + ∆ Tmax). the heater temperature is assumed to remain constant at Th = Tset + ∆Tmax 2 (3. Therefore. However. as shown in Fig. 3.high irradiance levels. Since grid faults are typically in the hundreds of millisecond time range. essentially disabling the TCS temporarily. 3. 3.3.3. In such a condition the TCS will respond by increasing the pressure set point. the expansion and compression temperatures are assumed to be equal to the heater and cooler temperatures. The linearized model is developed assuming the system is operating in the controlled temperature region. The temperature profile of the various engine compartments in the linearized model appears in Fig.5) and the cooler temperature remains constant at ambient temperature. when the shaft speed crosses the defined threshold ω set . The analysis is similar to the Stirling cycle analysis of Schmidt as discussed in [13]. The pressure of the engine working gas oscillates in steady state due to the sinusoidal volume variations of the expansion and compression spaces. In addition. for the linearized model. Under the assumption that the control systems are in the controlled temperature region. 3.6. The average working gas pressure between the four quadrant pressures is used in the control systems. respectively. the over-speed controller subtracts the pressure pmax from the TCS pressure set point. Therefore.

Figure 3.4). Therefore.5V s + + + + Tk Tr Th Tk Th (3.5V s V de + 0. Using the engine diagram of Fig. as calculated in (3.6) Substituting the expressions for the expansion and compression space volumes of (2.6.6: Simplified temperature distribution. The four quadrant pressure oscillate around the same mean value at a phase shift of 90o.7) can be rewritten as 40 .5Vs  [Th cos(φ − α ) + Tk cos(φ )] + K    Tk Th  (3. thus the average pressure has only minor oscillations in comparison to the individual quadrant pressures. the pressure equation of (2. a linearized model is developed based upon an analytical expression for the mean pressure. (3.2 and the temperature distribution of Fig.7) where K is given by K= V k Vr Vh Vdc + 0. 3.8) Using trigonometric identities. 2.14) and rearranging terms gives p= MR  0.20) becomes p= MR vc / Tk + Vk / Tk + Vr / Tr + Vh / Th + ve / Th (3.

95 3 3.1 time (sec) 3.10) to (3.9 x 10 7     Quadrant 1 Instantaneous Pressure Linearized Pressure Pressure Set Point Command 2.3 Figure 3.9) and rearranging terms gives the following expression for the pressure p= where A M 1 + B cos(φ − θ ) (3.p= MR  0.05 3.15 3.1 Pressure (Pa) 2 1.6 1.3 2.12) (Th cos α + Tk )2 + (Th sin α )2  Th sin α  Th cos α + Tk θ = tan −1   The mean pressure is found using 2.5Vs  [(Th cos α + Tk ) cos φ + (Th sin α )sin φ ] + K    Tk Th  (3.2 2.7: Comparison of the linear and non-linear pressure representations for a step change in pressure command.9 1.9) The linear combination of two trigonometric functions can be rewritten as   b  a cos x + b sin x = a 2 + b 2 cos  x − tan −1    a   (3.25 3.10) Applying (3.7 1.11) A= B= Vs 2ThTk K R K (3.2 3. 41 .8 1.5 2.

However.14) Therefore the relationship between the quantity of working gas in the engine and the mean pressure is given by p mean A 1− B = Kp = M 1− B 1+ B (3. 3. Therefore the mean value of the pressure is calculated by integrating its defining equation over one revolution of the crankshaft. Therefore. The plot of Fig. 3.13) Evaluation of this integral is rather lengthy and a solution is provided in [13]. essentially acting as a low pass filter to the pressure variations.6 Controller Tuning The resulting linearized control loop of the PCS is shown in Fig. the time constants involved between a change in the total working gas mass and the pressure and torque are significantly smaller than the time constant of the solenoid valve. and thus the total working gas mass M is assumed to be constant.15) The constant Kp is derived assuming the engine is in steady state operation. the constant Kp defines the steady state pressure to be directly proportional to the total working gas mass.7 compares the linearized pressure representation to the non-linear pressure of a single quadrant for a step change in the pressure commanded by the TCS. which requires use of the Cauchy residue theorem. The controller Gp of the dish-Stirling PCS must be tuned to give a desired system response. simulation results indicate that in transient operation. The final solution is given by p mean = AM 1 − B 1− B 1+ B (3. Thus.8. The linearized model simply removes the pressure oscillations.p mean = 1 2π 2π ∫ pdφ = 0 1 2π 2π ∫ 1 + B cos(φ − θ ) dφ 0 AM (3. 42 . representing the pressure as proportional to the total working gas mass M in transient conditions produces little loss in accuracy. 3.

3.18) where ξ is the damping ratio and ω n is the natural frequency.∑ KV 1 + sTV 1 s Figure 3.17) and (3.16) assuming that the control valve is in the linear (non-limiting) region. the open loop transfer function is given by GH o = Gp Kv s(1 + sTv ) (3.19). The closed loop transfer function is given by GH c = K p GH o G p K vK p G p K v K p / Tv p mean = = = 2 (3. Equating terms in (3. the damping ratio is given by ξ= 1 1 = 2Tv ω n 2Tv G p K v K p / Tv (3. For the pressure control loop shown in Fig. and solving for Gp in (3.8.17) 2 p cmd 1 + K p GH o Tv s + s + G p K v K p s + (1 / Tv )s + G p K v K p / Tv The resulting closed loop transfer function of (3. given by Gp = 1 4Tv ξ K v K p 2 (3.17) is of the same form as the normalized second order system often used in linear control theory.8: Linearized control loop of the pressure control system.20) 43 . with the general form given by T (s) = 2 ωn 2 s 2 + 2ζω n s + ω n (3.19) The pressure controller gain Gp can thus be calculated by choosing a desired damping ratio.18).

7 Conclusion The control systems discussed in the present chapter are designed to maximize Stirling engine efficiency during normal operation by maintaining the heater/absorber temperature at the highest safe operating point. The next chapter also gives results and evaluates the performance of the control systems under grid faults. therefore transient stability of the PCS is not an issue. 3. cloud transients and electrical transients. The next chapter analyzes the simplest case of the DS system connected through a line and transformer to the grid. Simulation results of a DS system subject to cloud transient conditions are deferred until Chapter 5. 44 . which is assumed to be an ideal voltage source. In addition. The performance of the control systems must be tested under the transient conditions that a DS system is exposed to.17) are in the left half plane for any value of Gp.The closed loop poles of (3. the control systems protect the system from over-speed of the generator shaft.

95 and 1. both technologies often make use of induction (asynchronous) generators which. While there are presently no solar farm-specific grid interconnection requirements (GIR). both technologies have an intermittent source of energy. that a solar farm should be capable of: • Operating at a power factor anywhere in the range from 0. In addition. In particular. particularly regarding power factor correction and grid fault-ride-through capability [25]. the technical challenges involved in ensuring that both wind and DS systems do not adversely affect power system operation and reliability are relatively similar. given by the voltage profile shown in Fig. Therefore. individually.95 lagging to 0.1 Introduction As dish-Stirling (DS) solar farms increase in capacity.CHAPTER 4 SINGLE MACHINE INFINITE BUS ANALYSIS 4. while the next two chapters focus on the following requirements. 4. The operating characteristics of wind farms and DS solar farms are quite similar. it is reasonable to assume that the present requirements for wind farms [33] [34] will be similar if not identical to requirements of DS solar farms.05 pu Riding through fault conditions. have relatively low power rating and are spread over a large geographic area. Many of the potential DS GIR are discussed in [25]. grid interconnection issues become increasingly important. Increasing penetration of DS solar farms within the utility grid requires simulation studies to assess the dish-Stirling system’s impact on steady state and transient behavior of the grid. a topic which has received scant attention in the literature to date.95 leading at the point of common coupling (PCC) with the grid • • Maintaining a voltage at the PCC between 0.1 45 .

In addition to power factor correction. variations in solar irradiance. since the real power delivered and the reactive power absorbed by the solar farm fluctuates. Meeting these requirements with DS solar farms requires additional infrastructure. The LVRT requirements are illustrated by the voltage profile shown in Fig. The above requirements can be satisfied with various sources of reactive power compensation.95 leading. The amount of reactive power absorbed depends on the instantaneous solar irradiance. 4.Figure 4. or cloud cover. since induction machines normally operate at a power factor outside of the range 0. In addition. cause variations in the voltage at the PCC. where the plant should be 46 .1 [33]. since the torque generated by the Stirling engine varies with input solar thermal energy.1: Low voltage ride-through requirements [33]. Reactive power compensation is also required to bring the power factor within an acceptable range. In addition. wind farms are required to remain online during low voltage conditions induced by grid faults. including switched capacitors or static var compensators (SVCs).95 lagging to 0. which tends to reduce the voltage at the PCC. induction machines absorb reactive power when operated as both a motor and a generator. Since there is no built-in means of voltage control with an induction machine. reactive power compensation is required to both increase the PCC voltage and mitigate the voltage variations due to cloud cover.

2: Connection of a single dish-Stirling (DS) unit in a single machine infinite bus model. Dynamic reactive power compensation. Before proceeding further. and should be capable of remaining online at a voltage of 0. additional controls are required to regulate the shaft speed during fault conditions. Revised versions of LVRT requirements indicate the wind generator should be capable of remaining online for 0.3: (a) Circuit diagram of induction generator connected to a network and (b) phasor diagram of labeled voltages and currents of (a). capable of remaining online for 0.2 Steady State Analysis A one-line diagram of the system being considered is shown in Fig.15 seconds with 0 pu voltage [34]. Thus.2. and then through a transmission line to an infinite bus. 4. 47 . a notational clarification is established regarding (a) (b) Figure 4.9 pu indefinitely. The single 28 kVA DS unit is connected to a step up transformer.625 seconds. 4. which can inhibit the machine’s capability of riding through the fault once pre-fault voltage conditions are restored.15 pu voltage for up to 0. can also aid in the LVRT of the DS system by supporting its terminal voltage. such as SVCs and STATCOMs. Grid faults induce a sharp speed increase in the generator shaft.Figure 4.

similar to the operation of an under-excited synchronous generator. The induction machine absorbs reactive power when operated as both a motor and a generator.4: P-Q diagram of induction machine. the current entering the network I∞ is the difference between the generator current and the capacitor bank current Ic. 4.3(a).3(b). the reactive power supplied is negative.power factor. However. as shown by the simple circuit diagram shown in Fig. where the infinite bus represents the network. using the defined sign convention.4 is the power factor notation used for the four operating regions of the induction Figure 4.4 illustrates the amount of compensation required to meet power factor GIR for a single 25 kW dish-Stirling unit. Also shown in Fig. 4. 4. The positive direction of the induction generator current. 48 .3(a) included. the power factor changes from lagging to leading when changing from motoring to generating operation. real power. therefore. The P-Q phasor diagram of Fig. and reactive power is specified as coming out of the generator terminals into the network. which is leading the voltage Vpcc.3(a). 4. Thus the induction generator is delivering power to the network with a leading power factor. the generator current Igen is equal to the current I∞ entering the network. 4. showing amount of reactive power compensation required to meet grid interconnection requirements. as shown by the phasor diagram in Fig. 4. With the capacitor bank shown in Fig. respectively. Without the capacitor bank shown in Fig.

49 .83 kVAr 0.83 + sin cos −1 (0. Thus.6 0. The reactive power required to supply rated real power at a power factor from 0.61 kVAr ( ) (4. assuming no reactive power compensation.95 = 23.05 kVAr ( ) Machine Power and Power Factor as a Function of Solar Irradiance 1 Real Power (pu).2 0 -0.8 -1 200 Power Factor Real Power (pu) Reactive Power (pu) 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 Irradiance (W/m2) Figure 4. Reactive power compensation requirements of DS solar farms can be calculated assuming rated voltage at the generator terminals.6 -0.95 leading to 0. with a DS unit supplying rated power output of 25 kW and with a machine rated power factor of 0.1) where θ is the angle between the current and voltage waveforms.2 -0.86 ( ) (4.95 = 6.95 leading → Qcomp = 14.86) = −14.86 leading.8 0. is given by Q = − V I sin θ = − P tan θ =− 25 sin cos −1 (0. reactive power. where the rated power factor of the induction machine is assumed.95 lagging is calculated by 0.5: Steady state values of the dish-Stirling system real power.2) 0. and power factor as a function of solar irradiance.4 -0.machine.95 lagging → Qcomp 25 = 14.95) 0. the reactive power absorbed.83 − 25 sin cos −1 (0. and Power Factor 0.95) 0. Reactive Power (pu).4 0.

and the dish-Stirling system cannot generally operate at irradiance levels lower than 200 W/m2 [12].6 0.95 lagging requirement. Therefore.2 0. Shown in Fig.7 0.8 0. the real and reactive power magnitudes increase with irradiance and the power factor improves.95 Power Factor Leading Reactive Power Compensation (pu) 0. The range of irradiance is chosen to be between 200 and 1000 W/m2 since this range is typical for most locations around the world.6 is the reactive power compensation required as a function of irradiance for meeting both the 0.3 0. 4. 50 .95 Power Factor Lagging 0. The shaded region illustrates the range of compensation required to operate anywhere in the entire 0.1 0 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 Irradiance (W/m2) Figure 4.Thus the variable reactive power compensation must have a capacity of at least 6.95 lagging region.5 is the real power.9 0.4 0.95 leading to 0.5 0. 4. but the power factor decreases much more rapidly. The real and reactive power magnitudes decrease roughly linearly with irradiance. Shown in Fig.6: Reactive power compensation range to meet grid interconnection power factor requirements for varying solar irradiance. and power factor of the induction generator as a function of irradiance connected to an infinite bus as shown in Fig. since cloud cover will cause the irradiance to vary during the day.95 leading requirement and 0. 4. As expected. the reactive power compensation should at least be capable of operating along the lower line Reactive Power Compensation Needed to Meet Grid Interconnection Requirements 1 0.2.61 kVAr to meet the lower limit of the GIR. reactive power.

4. the induction machine operates at a lower speed (A2 in Fig. 4. The intersection of the two engine torque curves with the electric machine’s torque curve identifies the steady state speed at which the engine shaft rotates at the respective irradiance.5 1 0.of Fig.9 Electric Torque (pu) at 1 pu voltage Engine Torque (pu) at 1000 W/m2 Engine Torque (pu) at 300 W/m2 1 1.6. thus choosing the proper values of capacitors allows for operation at discrete points within the shaded region shown in Fig. 4.5 1.5 0 -0. Using continuously variable reactive power compensation. At low irradiance.3 Speed (pu) 1. 4.2 1. the compensation can operate at any point within the shaded region if sized appropriately. For the case of switched capacitors.6.7).5 -2 -2. 51 .7: Induction machine electric torque and Stirling engine mechanical torque versus speed.1 1. and the other in which the irradiance is constant at 300 W/m2. Two curves are shown for the engine mechanical torque: one in which the irradiance is constant at 1000 W/m2.5 2 Mechanical and Electrical Torque (pu) 1.5 0. The system is typically designed such that at different irradiance levels the steady-state 2. One corresponds to a stable operating point (A1) and the other is unstable (B1).7).6 Figure 4. such as SVCs.4 1.7. and vice versa. 4.5 -1 -1. The torque speed curve of both the induction machine (electric torque) and the Stirling engine (mechanical torque) are shown in Fig. At high irradiance. discrete quantities of reactive power compensation are available. there may be two possible steady-state operating points (A1 and B1 in Fig.

the pressure commanded is simply proportional to the heater temperature as shown in Fig. and recovers shortly after the fault is cleared. 4. Under transient conditions. Without OS control. However. This significant reduction in the speed increase allows for faster recovery after the fault. ensuring stable steady-state operation. 4. the torque changes very little since the pressure does not respond significantly to the speed increase. When the shaft speed exceeds ωset. 4. Thus. which is shown in Fig.2. 4.3. the Stirling engine/generator speed rapidly increases. is reduced by nearly one-half when using over-speed control as opposed to no over-speed control. as shown in Fig. the dump valve opens to quickly remove working gas from the engine. Shown in Fig. 4. the pressure command drops quickly shortly after the fault. causing the over-speed control to turn on as illustrated in Fig. the effects on pressure are minimal. in addition to increasing the probability of riding through the fault.8(c). attempting to mitigate the speed increase of the engine/generator shaft. Conversely. the engine and electric torques are compared for both the presence and absence of OS control. Similarly. the system may become unstable once the operating speed exceeds the unstable operating point. with no OS control. the engine torque starts to decrease shortly after the fault. The speed increase during the fault.7).3 Transient Analysis When a 150 msec three phase short circuit is applied somewhere along the transmission line of the diagram of Fig. When OS control is implemented. since only minor changes in the heater temperature are induced by the increased speed of the generator shaft.8(b).operating speed is relatively far away from the speed corresponding to the rated pull-out torque (2 pu in Fig.8(d). The reactive power drawn by the 52 . 4. having the effect of decreasing the pressure and thus the torque produced by the Stirling engine. 4.8(a) is a comparison of the pressure command and actual working gas pressure in the engine both with and without over-speed (OS) control. 3. when implementing OS control.

Because less reactive power is drawn by the generator after the fault. as shown in Fig. and limitations in the amount of current that can be drawn from the network during transient conditions affects system dynamic behavior. the heat absorbed by the Stirling engine from the receiver decreases. the voltage at the PCC between the DS system and the network will not remain at 1 pu. It is unknown if this shortduration increase in temperature can damage the receiver material. the next chapter includes an analysis of the steady state and transient behavior of a DS solar farm. In addition. loads. 4. but within a more realistic network that contains conventional generators. 4. resulting in a temperature increase.4 Conclusion While the SMIB model provides insight into the steady state and dynamic properties of a DS system. the voltage can recover faster as shown in Fig. The modeled DS system is extended to a solar farm. If so.generator is also reduced when using OS control. The effects of varying irradiance and grid faults are analyzed and compared to the SMIB results given in the present chapter. 4.8(f). thus the thermal energy from the concentrated sunlight is temporarily stored in the receiver material. In practice. 4. the network is highly idealistic. The concentrator is continuously tracking the sun. Because the OS control drops the pressure to its minimum value to decrease the torque. It is assumed that the capability of fault ride-through achieved by OS control outweighs the disadvantage of having a short term temperature increase. additional measures must be taken to cool the receiver.8(e). 53 . and transmission lines.8(b). as shown in Fig. which is a power plant consisting of thousands of individual DS units. One problem that arises in the use of OS control is the significant increase in heater temperature during the fault. the DS system can adversely affect other generators within a network due to the added reactive power demand of the induction generator. Therefore.

2 10.5 13 (b) Figure 4.8: Simulation results for the (a) working gas pressure.9 10 10.2 10.3 time (sec) 10.5 10.4 Pressure (Pa) 3 2 1 x 10 7 Working Gas Pressure w/ OS Cont Pressure Command w/ OS Cont 0 9. and (f) generator voltage both with and without speed control for a 150 msec three phase to ground fault. (b) heater temperature.3 time (sec) 10.1 10.4 10. 54 .6 (a) 1090 1080 1070 1060 1050 1040 1030 1020 1010 Heater Temperature w/ OS Cont Heater Temperature w/o OS Cont Temperature (K) 10 10. (d) generator shaft speed. (c) mechanical and electrical torque.5 10.5 time (sec) 12 12. (e) real and reactive power.4 10.5 11 11.9 x 10 7 10 10.6 4 Pressure (Pa) 3 2 1 Working Gas Pressure w/o OS Cont Pressure Command w/o OS Cont 0 9.1 10.

(c) mechanical and electrical torque.05 1 9.2 10. (e) real and reactive power. 55 .8 (cont’d): Simulation results for the (a) working gas pressure.5 10.15 1.3 time (sec) 10.4 10.6 (d) Figure 4. (b) heater temperature.9 10 10. (d) generator shaft speed.3 time (sec) 10.4 10.4 3 Torque (pu) 2 1 0 -1 9.2 10.1 1.6 Electric Torque (pu) w/ OS Cont Engine Torque (pu) w/ OS Cont 4 3 Torque (pu) 2 1 0 -1 9.1 10.3 time (sec) 10.5 10.9 10 10.1 10.25 1.5 10.1 10.3 Speed w/ OS Cont Speed w/o OS Cont 1.2 Speed (pu) 1. and (f) generator voltage both with and without speed control for a 150 msec three phase to ground fault.2 10.9 10 10.4 10.6 Electric Torque (pu) w/o OS Cont Engine Torque (pu) w/o OS Cont (c) 1.

7 Voltage (pu) 0.5 10.6 (e) 1 0.1 10.2.9 Real Power (pu) w/ OS Cont Real Power (pu) w/o OS Cont Reactive Power (pu) w/ OS Cont Reactive Power (pu) w/o OS Cont Real and Reactive Power (pu) 10 10.6 0.3 0.8 (cont’d): Simulation results for the (a) working gas pressure.1 0 9.1 10.5 10.3 time (sec) Voltage w/ OS Cont Voltage w/o OS Cont 10.5 -2 9. (b) heater temperature.4 10.9 10 10.3 time (sec) 10.5 -1 -1. (c) mechanical and electrical torque.5 0.5 1 0.2 0.8 0.4 10.2 10. (e) real and reactive power.4 0. and (f) generator voltage both with and without speed control for a 150 msec three phase to ground fault.6 (f) Figure 4.5 2 1.9 0. (d) generator shaft speed.5 0 -0.2 10. 56 .

1: 12-Bus network used for analysis and simulation of the grid integration of a dishStirling solar farm. The base-case network consists of 4 generators: three synchronous machines (G2. Solar farms can range in size from a few hundred DS units Figure 5. along with the turbine governors and automatic voltage regulators (AVRs).1 Introduction The 12-bus network used in the analysis and simulation of a dish-Stirling (DS) solar farm is shown in Fig. More details of the 12-bus network are given in [35]. G3. The synchronous machines’ excitation systems are included in the modeled network.CHAPTER 5 SOLAR FARM IN 12-BUS NETWORK 5.1. 57 . A solar farm consists of many individual DS units operating in parallel spread over a large geographic area. & G4) and an infinite bus (G1). 5. The various loads are modeled with passive components and the interconnecting lines are modeled using piequivalent models.

In addition. A 500 MW solar farm would consist of 20.000 induction generators and Stirling engines is not feasible.to several thousand. the computational effort required to simulate 20. The complete dynamics of each system is represented. The solar farm consists of 16 dish-Stirling units divided into 4 areas. Therefore. Each Stirling engine is represented by a set of 8 differential equations (given in Chapter 2). including models of the concentrator. and the capability of meeting the grid interconnection requirements (GIR) regarding power factor correction and low voltage ride-through is evaluated. This chapter describes a method to represent a large solar farm as a single equivalent generator. and steady state and transient analysis provided.2 Solar Farm Model Order Reduction A detailed model of a 400 kW solar farm is shown in Fig. and evaluates the accuracy and limitations of this simplification. large solar farms have to be represented by simplified models. The power network is simulated as an infinite bus and the line impedances and transformers between the generators and the infinite bus are included in the models. 5. simulation of such a plant becomes rather challenging since the irradiance levels can vary substantially over the entire land area of the solar farm. and induction generator. Stirling engine. 58 . reduced order models are required to make simulation of a large solar farm practical. A solar farm is incorporated into the 12-bus network shown in Fig.1 using the single machine equivalent solar farm model. receiver.2. 5. thus requiring substantial computational effort to simulate many DS units simultaneously. or 100 kW/acre [2]. Thus.5 MW plant currently installed in Peoria. 5. each representing approximately one acre of land.000 DS units spread out over approximately 5000 acres of land. As an example. Different scenarios are discussed for connecting the solar farm into the 12-bus network. yet still maintain a reasonable amount of accuracy. the 1. AZ consists of 60 dish-Stirling units rated at 25 kW each. The plant contains four 25 kW units per acre of land.

Figure 5. respectively. is given by ∑ Pn = A∑ I n − nB 1 1 n n (5. Thus the total power output of n DS units operating in parallel is a linear function of the sum- 59 .2: Model of a 400 kW dish-Stirling solar farm. the power output of n dish-Stirling units operating in parallel. A similar relationship can be derived for the reactive power. The results of Fig. the steady-state real power output of a dish-Stirling unit can be represented by an equation of the form P = AI − B (5. of the real power line shown in Fig. Thus.5 show that the real and reactive power of a DS unit are roughly linear functions of solar irradiance.5. 4. assuming identical impedances connecting them to a common voltage. and I represents the solar irradiance. 4.2) where In and Pn represent the input irradiance and power output of the nth DS unit.1) where A and B represent the slope and intercept. Similarly.

5. and nPbase is the base power of the equivalently rated machine representing the n individual machines. The n DS units can be represented as one machine in the per-unit system by ∑ Pn 1 n A∑ I n = 1 n nPbase nPbase − nB nPbase (5. allows the diagram of the 400 kW solar farm shown in Fig. If the torque supplied by the Stirling engine is also defined in the per-unit system. the steady state power output of a solar farm can be represented by one equivalently rated machine using the average irradiance defined in (5. then the same model of the Stirling engine used in the multi-machine (MM) can be applied to the SM model. 60 .3) where Pbase is the base power of an individual DS unit. (5.5) Using the average irradiance.5). Figure 5.total of the irradiance on all of the individual units.4) Therefore the power output of a solar farm can be represented as a linear function of the average solar irradiance on the individual DS units.2 to be simplified to the single machine (SM) model shown in Fig.3: Simplified single machine model of 400 kW solar farm. Thus. 5. where the average irradiance over a solar farm of n DS units is defined by I avg = 1 n ∑ In n 1 (5. neglecting the line impedances connecting the individual dish-Stirling units to the step-up transformer.3. Thus.3) can be written as Ppu = A 1 n   ∑ I n  − B pu Pbase  n 1  (5.

The variable input irradiance waveform is derived from irradiance data provided by NREL for Las Vegas. As shown in Fig. 5.4.4. a fifth-order polynomial approximation of the data points is 1100 1000 900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 Area 1 Area 2 Area 3 Area 4 Averaged Irradiance (W/m2) 50 100 150 200 250 300 time (sec) 350 400 450 500 Figure 5.4: Input irradiance for the four solar farm areas and the averaged irradiance input for the single-machine model. which is calculated using the four area irradiances applied to (5. and intentionally chosen because of the large changes in irradiance in a relatively short period of time. 5. MM model for varying irradiance is shown in Fig. 5. 5. where an identical irradiance level strikes both areas. In order to form a continuous irradiance waveform from the discrete data provided. as would be typical of a cloud transient. This particular data is taken from several minutes during the month of August.2 receives a different irradiance over the given time frame. but area 2 receives the irradiance at a 90 second time delay from area 4. respectively.5 for the input irradiance waveforms shown in Fig. The simplified single-machine model receives the average irradiance shown in Fig. 61 . Each area in Fig.Simulation results comparing the real and reactive power output of the simplified SM solar farm model to the complete.4. the irradiance levels of areas 1 and 3 are kept constant at 1000 W/m2 and 300 W/m2. NV in one minute intervals [36].5). Areas 2 and 4. on the other hand. receive an input irradiance representing a cloud transient. 5.

the SM model gives a real power output slightly higher than the MM model and the amount of reactive power absorbed is slightly less in the SM model.2 -0. The power output shown in Fig.6 Real and Reactive Power (pu) 0. 5.5: Real and reactive power output of the MM model and the SM model for the input irradiances shown in Fig. 5. in the neglected impedances of the MM model.2 0 Real Power . 62 .4.5 of the simplified SM model and the complete MM model displays a close correlation between the two models. although the relationship between power output and irradiance derived in (5.Multi-Machine Model -0.4 0. obtained from Microsoft Excel’s built-in curve-fitting function.Multi-Machine Model Reactive Power .Single Machine Model Real Power .4 50 100 150 200 250 300 time (sec) 350 400 450 500 Figure 5. using the average irradiance input into an equivalently rated DS system yields accurate results for cloud transient simulations. the line reactances are significantly larger than the line resistances.4) assumes steady state operation. 5. changes in irradiance are slow enough such that machine dynamics can be neglected with little loss in accuracy. Since the SM model neglects the line impedances connecting the DS system to the step-up transformer.1)-(5. The results shown in Fig. Therefore.5 indicate that.Single Machine Model Reactive Power .0. The difference is greater between the reactive power waveforms than the real power waveforms since.

The fault occurs along the transmission lines shown in Figs.Single Machine Model Reactive Power .6: Real and reactive power output of the SM model and the MM model for a three phase to ground fault with uniform irradiance over the solar farm. and 4 receive constant irradiances of 1000. Simulation results for the real and reactive power output of the SM and MM models are shown in Fig. the SM model is a good approximation to the MM model transient behavior. and is uniform in all 4 areas at 1000 W/m2. 63 . Areas 1. but with different irradiance levels on each area. Thus.8 Figure 5.7 for the same three phase to ground fault discussed in the previous paragraph.4 time (sec) 5.2 and 5. Thus.6. and 800 W/m2 during the fault.1.Multi-Machine Model 5 5. 3.Multi-Machine Model Reactive Power .8 Real Power . 300.3. 5.5 Real and Reactive Power (pu) 0 -0. 5. all 16 dish-Stirling units in the MM model are at the same torque and speed operating points. 2.5 1 0. 5.5 -1 -1. The results shown in Fig.2 5.6 5.5 -3 4. 500. prior to the fault. 5.5 -2 -2. with uniform irradiance over the solar farm. The irradiance is assumed to remain constant during the fault.6 indicate that the SM model represents the MM model real and reactive power behavior quite accurately. Simulation results for the real and reactive power output of the SM model and the MM model for a 300 msec three phase to ground fault are shown in Fig.Single Machine Model Real Power .

respectively.5 -2 4.6 6.5 0 -0. the DS units in different areas are at different speed and torque operating points prior to the fault.Single Machine Model Real Power . Thus. the transient effects do not differ significantly enough such that using the SM equivalent model becomes unrealistic to use for transient studies.5 1 Real and Reactive Power (pu) 0.1.4 6.8 6 time (sec) 6. In this case.4 5. the real and reactive power of the SM model during the post-fault recovery deviate from the MM model. due to the speed differences in the individual DS units in the MM model.6 5.Single Machine Model Reactive Power . particularly the real power. those units operating at higher irradiance experience a larger speed increase in the generator during the fault than those units at low-irradiance levels. 64 .Multi-Machine Model Reactive Power .5 -1 Real Power . While the SM model is less accurate under widely varying irradiance over the solar farm area than under uniform irradiance. 5.8 -1.7.2 6.2 5.7: Real and reactive power output of the MM model and the SM model for a three phase to ground fault under different irradiance over the our areas. The SM model of a DS solar farm significantly reduces the complexity and computational requirements of simulating the solar farm steady state and transient behavior. Since the torque generated by the Stirling engines is different in each area. The general behavior of the SM model represents the MM model quite closely.Multi-Machine Model 5 5. as shown in Fig.8 Figure 5.

the SM model is used throughout the remainder of the chapter to represent large DS solar farms. Simulations indicate that G3 operates in the overexcited mode at a power factor of 0.75 lagging in steady state while maintaining the voltage at bus 11 at 1. Therefore.01 pu.3 12-Bus Network Steady-State Analysis Several case studies are carried out in order to illustrate the impact of connecting a solar farm to a 12-bus power network.75) = 176 MVAr ( ) (5.1 is a conventional thermal power plant. In addition. which is rated for 320 MW + j240 MVAr.01 pu. Operation at such a poor power factor is impractical. with a synchronous machine generating 200 MW. 5.3. which requires the AVR of G3 to command the reactive power to make up for the voltage drop across connecting lines. which exceeds the rating of G3.1 Base Case In the base case.and the loss in accuracy in the SM model is a compromise that can be justified by the significant reduction in model and simulation complexity. and is not typically done in practice. more realistic 12-bus network provides additional insights into the behavior of a solar farm under steady state and transient conditions. 5. 5. Therefore. In order to bring the power factor of G3 to unity.1) 65 . G3 is not meeting the grid interconnection requirement discussed in the previous chapter regarding power factor. The AVR of G3 controls the voltage at bus 11 to 1. The reason for the poor power factor is the load connected at bus 3. Analysis of a solar farm within the larger. a capacitor bank can be inserted at bus 3 with a MVAr rating determined by Q = P tan θ = 200 tan cos −1 (0. using different means of reactive power compensation in each case study. significant current must be drawn from connecting lines to supply this load. generator 3 (G3) in the 12-bus network shown in Fig.

the synchronous machine’s power factor is approximately unity in steady state.2.3. With no source connected to bus 11 or reactive power support at bus 3.Figure 5.1 Solar Farm Connected to 12-Bus Network No Reactive Power Compensation Before incorporating the solar farm into the 12-bus network.2 5.78 pu. Simulation results indicate that with the capacitor bank of 176 MVAr in place.8: Connection diagram using only fixed compensation for voltage support in the integration of the solar farm at bus 11. the thermal generator (G3) is removed for the purpose of this case study.01 pu. but adding a capacitor bank rated at 360 MVAr at bus 3 increases the bus 3 voltage to 1 pu (with no solar farm or G3 connected). 66 . and the voltage at bus 11 is constant at 1. the voltage at the PCC for a possible solar farm location would not realistically be at 0. Adding a 200 MW rated solar farm (which consists of 8.3. 5. the voltage at bus 3 drops to 0. However.78 pu.000 25 kW dish-Stirling units operating at an irradiance level of 1000 W/m2) to bus 11 reduces the voltage at bus 3 even further.

Simulation results for the voltage at the PCC as a function of irradiance level appears in Fig. However.5. causing the voltage at the PCC (V3) to drop since more current must be drawn from other busses to supply the load.2 Fixed Compensation In this case study.9. The results of Fig. the loads will also vary throughout the day.9: Bus 3 voltage versus solar irradiance with only fixed compensation.98 0. at low irradiance levels. Further.05 1.02 Voltage (pu) 1. the power factor of the solar farm PFSF follows that shown in Fig.99 0. in more realistic systems.96 0. 4. the solar farm produces near rated power to the local load at bus 3. the 360 MVAr compensation at bus 3 is held fixed. which likely makes fixed PCC (Bus 3) Voltage VS Irradiance with only Fixed Compensation 1. in addition to the reactive power load of the solar farm.3. Since less current is drawn.01 1 0.95 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 Irradiance (W/m2) Figure 5. and less current is therefore drawn from other network busses.2.03 1. and no other variable source of reactive power compensation is included. 5.5. 67 .9 illustrate the necessity of having variable reactive power compensation since the voltage V3 changes with irradiance. causing the voltage to rise to approximately 1.97 0. and thus the 360 MVAr capacitor bank supplies more reactive power than needed. the voltage drops across the connecting lines are less.05 pu. 5.04 1. At high irradiance levels.

the solar farm is again connected to bus 11. However. the sizing of fixed compensation and the SVC would be carefully considered in order to minimize the cost of the combined installation. 68 .95 and 1.11(a) shows the power factor PFSF of the solar farm over a range of SVC voltage set-points and irradiance.10: Connection of solar farm to bus 11 with an SVC used as variable reactive power compensation. In practice. In addition. a fixed capacitor bank of 285 MVAr is connected to bus 3. 5. 5. The results are obtained by setting the Figure 5.3 Variable Compensation In this case study. the results are simply intended to demonstrate the behavior of the solar farm power factor PFSF and the PCC voltage V3 assuming the necessary reactive power compensation is available.compensation inadequate for maintaining the PCC voltage V3 between 0.2.10. The SVC is rated at 335 MVAr. but an SVC is connected at the PCC as shown in Fig. 5. for the purposes of this thesis.95 pu without the solar farm connected. The fixed capacitor bank is not included as part of the solar farm reactive power compensation since it is included simply to bring the voltage at the PCC above 0. The plot of Fig. where the rating is chosen intentionally to be over-sized in order to ensure that the amount of reactive power required to meet GIR discussed in the previous chapter is achievable.05 pu.3.

69 .02 0.6 0.06 1.8 0.2 (a) Voltage for a Range of Power Factor and Solar Irradiance 1.98 (b) Figure 5.04 1 1.1 1.05 0.9 1000 800 600 400 Irradiance (W/m2) 200 0.2 0 1000 800 600 400 Irradiance (W/m2) 200 0.95 1 0.8 Power Factor 0.95 1 0.7 0.96 Power Factor 1.05 1.15 1. with the SVC set to control voltage and (b) voltage at the PCC (bus 3) over a range of PFSF and irradiance.08 1.3 0.1 Voltage (pu) 1. with the SVC set to control PFSF.1 Voltage (pu) 1.4 0.05 1 0.9 1 0.4 0.6 0.Power Factor of Solar Farm for Range of Voltage and Irradiance 0.95 0.11: (a) Power factor PFSF of the solar farm over a range of irradiance and voltage.5 0.

The power factor surface shown in Fig. 5. which is defined in discrete steps over the range shown in Fig. The solar farm absorbs the maximum amount of reactive power at high irradiance.95 leading range for much of the irradiance and voltage range. In this case a 120 MW solar farm is connected to bus 3 of the network in addition to the base case 200 MW G3 plant at bus 11.95 lagging.05 pu. 5. 4.11(a). 5.12. regardless of orientation. The power factor becomes particularly poor as the irradiance decreases and the SVC voltage set point is at 1.SVC to control the PCC voltage V3 to a given level over the specified range of irradiance.10 set to control the solar farm power factor PFSF. The plot of Fig.11(a) show that if the SVC is set to control voltage V3. The voltage V3 remains within the acceptable region over most of the irradiance and PFSF levels. but does not indicate the power factor orientation (leading or lagging) at a given voltage and irradiance point on the plot. since the GIR specify that the power factor magnitude must be greater than 0.4 Variable Compensation with G3 AVR The final case study for interconnection of a solar farm into the 12-bus network is shown in Fig. the SVC is required to supply the reactive power absorbed by the solar farm plus the additional amount required to bring its power factor PFSF to 0.3.95 lagging to 0.95 lagging. the combination of G3 and the solar farm can meet the real power requirements of the 320 MW local load at bus 3. The results in Fig. as shown in Fig.11(a) includes both leading and lagging power factors. In 70 .1 pu. Therefore. 5. 5.5. supplying whatever quantity of reactive power is needed to maintain the commanded voltage level. 5. The plot is designed to illustrate the effects of varying irradiance and voltage set points on the power factor magnitude. the power factor PFSF moves outside the acceptable 0.2. The excess reactive power causes the voltage to rise above 1.11(b) shows the voltage at the PCC with the SVC shown in Fig. The solar farm power rating is selected so that with an irradiance of 1000 W/m2. 5. accept for high irradiance and PFSF values close to 0.95.

Bus 4 Bus 3 (PCC) 320 MW+ j240 MVAr Bus 11 176 MVAr 230 kV/22 kV Bus 8 G3 200 MW 0. the power factor of G3 could potentially move out of an acceptable range in order to maintain the voltage set point at bus 11 since the solar farm’s absorption of reactive power tends to reduce the voltage at bus 3 (and also bus 11).03 pu PSF.13. the G3 AVR is used to control the voltage at bus 11. 5. a 176 MVAr fixed capacitor bank is included at bus 3 to bring the power factor of G3 to unity in the absence of the solar farm. when no irradiance were available. since the impedance of the transformer between bus 3 and bus 11 is small. PFSF Qsvc 335 MVAr 230 kV/22 kV SF 22 kV/480 V 120 MW SVC Figure 5. G3’s AVR effectively has to control the voltage of both its own terminals and that of bus 3. QSF . In this case. while the 335 MVAr SVC controls the power factor of the solar farm PFSF. A problem that can arise in using the G3 AVR to control the voltage at bus 11 is that it also must compensate for voltage drops at bus 3. while maintaining 71 .01 + j0. such as the case when the system would be operating during the night. Therefore. this case.12: Interconnection of solar farm to bus 3 in addition to G3. Simulation results of the power factor of G3 (bus 11) for varying solar farm power factor PFSF and solar irradiance are shown in Fig. The results indicate that G3’s power factor stays relatively close to unity over the entire range of solar farm power factors and input solar irradiance. In addition. with G3’s AVR controlling the bus 11 voltage and the SVC controlling the solar farm power factor.

5.965 0.98 0.94 0. The solar farm is connected as shown in Fig.12.985 0.99 0.9 200 400 600 800 2 0.14(b-f) for the irradiance level variations of Fig. real and reactive power of the solar farm. where it is assumed that the irradiance level is the average over all of the individual DS units in the solar farm area.98 0. As expected.Bus Network Transient Analysis Effects of Irradiance Level Variations Simulation results for the SVC reactive power. 5.975 0. 5.96 0. and G3 power factor are shown in Fig.96 Irradiance (W/m ) 1000 0. 5.Power Factor of G3 for Range of Solar Farm Power Factor and Irradiance 0.4 5. and the SVC is set to control the power factor PFSF of the solar farm to unity.95 lag 1 0.92 0.97 0. Thus the connection of the solar farm as shown in Fig.13: Power factor of G3 for a range of irradiance and solar farm power factor the voltage at bus 11 at approximately 1 pu over the entire range. the real power delivered by 72 .12 to the 12-bus network is the only method in which both the power factor and voltage can be controlled within their acceptable limits over varying irradiance levels. 5.95 0.05 lead Power Factor (SF) Figure 5.14(a). bus 3 voltage.95 1000 1.4.1 12. induction generator speed.995 1 Power Factor (G3) 0.

The reactive power of the solar farm is approximately zero during the cloud transient since the SVC is controlling the power factor PFSF to be unity. and shows that the power factor stays close to unity. but stays within a narrow operating range slightly above synchronous (1 pu) speed. all the reactive power generated by the SVC during the cloud transient. The induction generator speed in Fig. deviates only slightly from 1 pu. (c) real and reactive power. Fig.14(f) displays the power factor of G3. appearing in Fig. is supplying the induction generator’s reactive power needs. 1100 1000 900 800 Irradiance (W/m2) 700 600 500 400 300 200 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 time (sec) 400 450 500 550 (a) Figure 5. 5. 5. 5. Thus. 5. 5. (e) induction generator speed. indicating that the solar farm does not add any excessive reactive power burden to G3 even during varying irradiance levels. The voltage at bus 3. as shown in Fig.the solar farm follows the irradiance level.14(e) also varies with the irradiance level. 73 .13(b). as shown in Fig.14: Simulation results of the solar farm (b) SVC reactive power output.14(d).14(c). (d) PCC (bus 3) voltage. and (f) G3 power factor for a cloud transient using the input irradiance waveform of (a). indicating that the G3 AVR is capable of controlling the bus 3 voltage with the solar farm also connected to bus 3.

and (f) G3 power factor for a cloud transient using the input irradiance waveform of (a).80 75 70 65 60 55 50 45 40 Qsvc (MVAr) 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 time (sec) 400 450 500 550 (b) 0.7 0.1 50 Real Power Reactive Power 100 150 200 250 300 350 time (sec) 400 450 500 550 (c) Figure 5.4 0. (c) real and reactive power.5 0.2 0. 74 .9 0.8 Real and Reactive Power (pu) 0. (e) induction generator speed. (d) PCC (bus 3) voltage.3 0.14 (cont’d): Simulation results of the solar farm (b) SVC reactive power output.6 0.1 0 -0.

02 1.015 1.025 1.99 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 time (sec) 400 450 500 550 (d) 1.995 0. (e) induction generator speed.005 1 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 time (sec) 400 450 500 550 (e) Figure 5.01 1. 75 .005 1 0.14 (cont’d): Simulation results of the solar farm (b) SVC reactive power output. (d) PCC (bus 3) voltage. (c) real and reactive power.03 1.02 Speed (pu) 1.03 1.1.015 Voltage (pu) 1.025 1. and (f) G3 power factor for a cloud transient using the input irradiance waveform of (a).01 1.

005 1 Power Factor 0. thus the voltage at bus 3 falls to zero during the fault. The voltage recovers quickly after the fault is cleared due to G3’s AVR and the SVC’s injection of reactive power.01 1.15(a). the reactive power increases rapidly.4. illustrating that the injected reactive power drops to zero during the fault since the voltage is zero. (d) PCC (bus 3) voltage.15(b). 5.995 0. and (f) G3 power factor for a cloud transient using the input irradiance waveform of (a). as shown in Fig.2 Effects of a Three Phase Short Circuit Simulation results for a 150 msec three phase short circuit applied to bus 3 are shown in Fig. 5. 5. with a constant irradiance level at 1000 W/m2 applied to the solar farm. causing the voltage to overshoot its pre-fault steady-state value.98 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 time (sec) 400 450 500 550 (f) Figure 5. (c) real and reactive power. The fault resistance is zero. (e) induction generator speed.985 0.12. 5. The real and reactive power output of the solar farm are shown in Fig. 5.99 0. and agree closely with the real and reactive 76 .15(c).1. The solar farm is connected to the 12-bus network as shown in Fig.15. 5.14 (cont’d): Simulation results of the solar farm (b) SVC reactive power output. After the fault. The reactive power injected by the SVC is shown in Fig.

1 20. and (c) solar farm real and reactive power for a 150 msec three phase short circuit applied to bus 3.4 time (sec) 20.1 20.9 20 20.4 0.5 20.6 0.8 (a) 250 200 SVC Reactive Power (MVAr) 150 100 50 0 -50 19.5 20.6 20.8 Voltage (pu) 0. 77 .2 20.7 20.7 20.9 20 20.4 time (sec) 20.8 19.15: (a) Bus 3 voltage.2 0 19.3 20.6 20.2 20.3 20. (b) SVC reactive power.8 19.8 (b) Figure 5.1 0.

because the voltage can be brought to 1 pu with fixed capacitors at bus 3 with no power source connected to bus 11 (or bus 3). an SVC is included with the solar farm. the solar farm 78 . adding a solar farm to a weak grid can be problematic. bus 3 can be considered a “weak” grid PCC.3 20.2 20. 5. Therefore. which indicates the solar farm is supplying reactive power to the network to help recover the voltage.6 20. and for this study the steady state results show that the power factor and voltage requirements cannot both be met over all irradiance levels in the case of a 200 MW solar farm incorporated at bus 11.7 20. However.15 (cont’d): (a) Bus 3 voltage. and (c) solar farm real and reactive power for a 150 msec three phase short circuit applied to bus 3.5 -2 19.5 20.5 -1 -1. power results for a three phase fault as applied to the SMIB model discussed in the previous chapter (see Fig.2 1. thus the reactive power actually increases above 0 during the postfault recovery period. (b) SVC reactive power. 4.9 20 20.5 Conclusion With no synchronous generator connected to bus 11. in the present results.5 1 0.8 (c) Figure 5.8 Real and Reactive Power (pu) Real Power Reactive Power 19.4 time (sec) 20. However.5 0 -0.8(e)).1 20.

the MW rating of the solar farm could potentially be increased. while G3 can maintain a suitable power factor. in addition to varying irradiance levels due to cloud cover and the variable power factor requirement. the results with both G3 and the solar farm demonstrate that the solar farm can operate well within the power factor requirements. Therefore. and the system would still be capable of meeting the GIR. the PCC closely resembles a “strong” grid. the effects of time-varying loads and grid connection requirements involving low voltage ride-through significantly affect the sizing of the reactive power compensation. 79 . which would decrease its impact on the voltage at bus 3 over varying irradiance levels and solar farm power factor. Connecting the solar farm in this scenario also demonstrates good low voltage-ride through capability.could be reduced in MW rating. In this scenario. in practice the variable reactive power compensation rating would have to be minimized in order to reduce cost. where the SVC and G3 AVR can help recover the voltage quickly after the fault clears. Simulation results for the various scenarios discussed above for integrating a solar farm into the 12-bus network illustrate the need for significant reactive power compensation in order to meet both voltage and power factor GIR. While the variable reactive power compensation discussed in this chapter has been over-sized to ensure that the solar farm could meet the GIR over all irradiance levels. When the solar farm is integrated into the 12-bus network near a synchronous generator. In addition. Therefore. the rating of the solar farm also plays an important part in determining whether the solar farm can meet the GIR.

While the Stirling engine is a complex thermodynamic device. the purpose of this research is to model the mechanical characteristics (torque and speed) of the Stirling engine. modeling of the thermodynamics is necessary. 80 . because of the unique operating characteristics of DS systems. The research described in this thesis on the modeling of the DS system is not intended to be an exhaustive. The work presented in this thesis provides a means for performing such detailed studies. detailed system impact studies must be carried out to assess the effects of adding a large solar farm into a power network so as to not adversely affect system reliability. because the thermodynamic behavior of the engine ultimately affects the torque and speed characteristics.CHAPTER 6 CONCLUDING REMARKS 6.1 Conclusions Dish-Stirling (DS) technology has the potential to meet a portion of future electricity needs with minimal environmental impact. Indeed. However. a much more detailed and thorough thermodynamic analysis is available in previous publications by others. rather. However. and has been treated as such in the literature. Grid interconnection of the technology in large scale is both technologically feasible and potentially cost competitive with conventional power generation. An important study aspect of this study is to determine just how detailed the thermodynamic and working gas dynamic models have to be in order to achieve a reasonably accurate mechanical model for the purpose of power system simulation studies. a detailed enough thermodynamic model is presented in order to accurately model the mechanical characteristics. rather than the thermodynamics. detailed thermodynamic analysis of the DS system.

In addition. However. and potentially have a financial advantage over other technologies because more power can be produced from a DS system on a given day and location (assuming the same amount of land) than other technologies. more mature CSP technologies. and provided little information regarding the behavior of a complete system. this thesis evaluates the grid interconnection issues associated with DS technology through 81 . Other CSP technologies use conventional synchronous generators. and induction generator. receiver. The models developed provide a means of analyzing the DS system’s behavior under transient and steady state conditions for grid interconnection studies. achieving low-cost systems is crucial for DS systems to remain competitive in the CSP and renewable energy markets. which can increase their capacity factors and smooth power variations under changing irradiance levels. which enables a more thorough control system analysis and a basis for controller design. The control systems of a DS system have only been described in physical terms in previous work by others.2 Contributions The work presented in this thesis provides a detailed analysis of a DS solar farm and its application in utility connected electric power generation. including the interaction between the various components during operation. The Stirling engine model developed in this thesis extends previous ideal adiabatic models of the engine to include the effects of varying heater temperature. In addition. including the concentrator. Therefore. DS systems currently have a higher initial capital costs than the other. and varying shaft speed. Stirling engine. and this thesis extends the general physical descriptions to detailed block diagrams and mathematical representations of the control systems. Detailed models of the DS components. thus requiring no external reactive power compensation to meet GIR. have been scattered throughout publications prior to the completion of this work. other CSP technologies often use thermal energy storage. varying working gas mass. 6.DS systems have demonstrated the highest efficiency of the CSP technologies.

and [30]. DS models developed for grid interconnection studies should focus on the impact of various parameters on the torque and speed characteristics of the Stirling engine. rather than aiming to provide detailed models of the 82 . Portions of the research presented in this thesis have been accepted for publication. However. conductive.simulation studies. the key assumptions of uniform pressure throughout the individual quadrants and adiabatic expansion and compression of the working gas should be validated. but more detailed studies of convective. radiation losses must prove whether this assumption is valid. In the Stirling engine model. 6. local loads. The Stirling engine and receiver models in particular require extensive experimental validation due to the inherent complexity of these components. grid “stiffness”. [29]. As for the receiver. and type of reactive power compensation must all factor in the planning studies. and topics such as solar farm size. The grid interconnection case studies of Chapter 5 showed that extensive studies are required to assess reactive power compensation needs at interconnection points of DS solar farms. and verification of the efficacy of such assumptions is required to ensure accurate dynamic models. the temperature of the absorber surface was assumed to be uniform over its entire surface. the thermal losses of the Stirling engine were neglected except for the regenerator model. and are given in [28]. In addition. Various assumptions were made in the development of the DS model. losses within the receiver/absorber were assumed to be proportional to the difference in absorber temperature and ambient temperature.3 Recommendations Recommendations for future work include experimental validation of the component models developed in this thesis. In addition. which could prove to be inaccurate when compared to actual DS system operation. but variations in the temperature between the engine quadrants can significantly affect the dynamic characteristics of the DS system. local irradiance levels. a topic which has yet to be investigated in publications to date.

the thermal and gas dynamics are required only to model their impact on these key system parameters in steady state and transient conditions. non-linear loads. While these technologies have a higher initial cost. Further simulation studies are needed to assess a DS solar farm’s behavior within a larger. For power system studies. such as doubly fed induction generators and permanent magnet generators. more realistic network. the primary concerns are the generator electrical characteristics and the prime mover torque and speed characteristics. the additional capital can be justified if more advanced generators can either reduce or eliminate the need for external reactive power compensation. since the MVAr capacity of the compensation required will vary considerably among locations. which also requires significant investment. which may include variable. Optimization techniques for sizing the reactive power compensation are also needed. Therefore. Other forms of generator technology should also be investigated.working gas or thermal characteristics of the engine. 83 . which can reduce installation costs. Such optimization techniques can minimize the amount of reactive power compensation required.

APPENDIX A DISH-STIRLING SYSTEM SIMULATION DATA

The gains used in the concentrator and receiver models, along with the Stirling engine dimensions discussed in Chapter 2 are provided in Table A.1 with the specified units. The working gas properties of the Stirling engine are listed in Table A.2. The specifications of induction generator and step-up transformers used in the simulations are provided in Tables A.3 and A.4, respectively. The various parameters for the control systems discussed in Chapter 3 are given in Table A.5.

Table A.1: Concentrator, Receiver, and Stirling Engine Simulation Data

Concentrator Concentrator Gain Receiver Receiver Gain Receiver Loss Gain Stirling Engine Dead Space Volume (Expansion Space) Dead Space Volume (Compression Space) Piston Swept Volume Cooler Volume Regenerator Volume Heater Volume Cooler Temperature Displacement Angle (Expansion Space) Displacement Angle (Compression Space) Vde Vdc Vs Vk Vr Vh Tk αe αc 1.0000E-05 1.0000E-05 9.5000E-05 2.5447E-04 2.2455E-04 3.3080E-05 323.16 0 90 K degrees degrees m3 KR KL 0.005 17 K/J W/K KC 79.85 m2

84

Table A.2: Working Gas Properties

Working Gas: Hydrogen Gas Constant Specific Heat Capacity (Constant Pressure) Specific Heat Capacity (Constant Volume) Ratio of Specific Heats R cp cv γ 4120 14570 10450 1.39 m3*Pa/(K*kg) J/(K*kg) J/(K*kg) -

Table A.3: Induction Generator Specifications

Induction Generator Rated Voltage Rated Current Rated Frequency Rated Power Factor Rated Efficiency Rated Slip Starting Current Starting Torque Max Torque Moment of Inertia Mechanical Damping poles V I f pf η slip Ist τst τmax J F poles 460 35.14 60 0.87 0.938 0.0133 6.2 1.57 2.88 0.535 0.01 4 Volts (rms) A Hz pu pu pu pu s pu -

Table A.4: Step-Up Transformer Specifications

Step-Up Transformer VA Rating 28000 480 22000 0.05 1 0 0 VA Volts Volts pu % pu pu

Primary Winding
Secondary Winding Pos. Seq. Leakage Reactance Magnetizing Current No-Load Losses Copper Losses

85

Table A.5: Control System Parameter Values

Control System Parameters Solenoid Valve Gain Solenoid Valve Time Constant Solenoid Valve Maximum Flow Heater Temperature Set Point Heater Temperature Control Region Over-Speed Threshold Minimum Command Pressure Maximum Command Pressure Kv Tv MFmax Tset ∆Tmax ωset pmin pmax 1 0.02 0.08 993 50 1.05 2 25 s kg/s K K pu MPa MPa

86

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