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Development of a CST system based on a solid particle receiver, optimised for commercialisation in the Australian market

Prosin, Tobias (2017) Development of a CST system based on a solid particle receiver, optimised for commercialisation in the Australian market. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis explores a recently developed concentrated solar thermal (CST) central receiver technology, known as the solid particle receiver (SPR). Calculations of long and near term thermo-economic competitiveness for promising potential applications were preformed, for the first time within the Australian context. With these results, the most suitable SPR technology configurations and technical developments, required to reach the commercial potential, were identified.

An innovative simulation tool which included a variety of different thermodynamic and economic models, was developed to compute the annual performance of solar SPR systems. This simulation tool was then applied to design and to optimise CST SPR tower systems based on hourly simulations utilising meteorological data, the NREL Solar Position Algorithm, solar field efficiency matrices generated by DLR software HFLCAL, as well as a mathematical SPR model for calculating receiver efficiency. The SPR model was calibrated using results from DLR receiver prototype tests. To allow economic assessment of the entire SPR system, a financial model was implemented within the tool and detailed CST component costs were generated.

The optimisation process utilised in the CST tower system design is more detailed than typical for a research project, since it adds a new degree of freedom when optimising the receiver and solar field. By decoupling the connection between solar field and receiver, the energy delivered from the solar field relative to the design receiver power becomes an additional optimisation variable.

Applications of SPR systems for electricity production and industrial process heat generation have been identified for the Australian market. Promising heat supply uses of SPR technology examined in this thesis were: thermal enhanced oil recovery, preheating scrap metal during steel production, and solar augmentation of coal-fired steam power stations.

Before this project, there were no detailed investigations on utilising SPR based CST power plants in Australia. This thesis has identified several potential applications, the required sub-components and system integration methods which should be further developed for commercialisation of this solar technology in the Australian market.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Information Technology
United Nations SDGs: Goal 13: Climate Action
Supervisor(s): Pryor, Trevor and Creagh, Chris
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