Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Simplified Methodology for Designing Parabolic Trough Solar Power Plants
by Vasquez Padilla, Ricardo, Ph.D., University of South Florida, 2011, 282; 3449916
Abstract (Summary)

The performance of parabolic trough based solar power plants over the last 25 years has proven that this technology is an excellent alternative for the commercial power industry. Compared to conventional power plants, parabolic trough solar power plants produce significantly lower levels of carbon dioxide, although additional research is required to bring the cost of concentrator solar plants to a competitive level. The cost reduction is focused on three areas: thermodynamic efficiency improvements by research and development, scaling up of the unit size, and mass production of the equipment. The optimum design, performance simulation and cost analysis of the parabolic trough solar plants are essential for the successful implementation of this technology. A detailed solar power plant simulation and analysis of its components is needed for the design of parabolic trough solar systems which is the subject of this research.

Preliminary analysis was carried out by complex models of the solar field components. These components were then integrated into the system whose performance is simulated to emulate real operating conditions. Sensitivity analysis was conducted to get the optimum conditions and minimum levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). A simplified methodology was then developed based on correlations obtained from the detailed component simulations.

A comprehensive numerical simulation of a parabolic trough solar power plant was developed, focusing primarily on obtaining a preliminary optimum design through the simplified methodology developed in this research. The proposed methodology is used to obtain optimum parameters and conditions such as: solar field size, operating conditions, parasitic losses, initial investment and LCOE. The methodology is also used to evaluate different scenarios and conditions of operation.

The new methodology was implemented for a 50 MWe parabolic trough solar power plant for two cities: Tampa and Daggett. The results obtained for the proposed methodology were compared to another physical model (System Advisor Model, SAM) and a good agreement was achieved, thus showing that this methodology is suitable for any location.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Goswami, D. Yogi, Stefanakos, Elias
Commitee: Rahman, Muhammad M., Wolan, John T., You, Yuncheng
School: University of South Florida
Department: Chemical Engineering
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-B 72/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Alternative Energy, Engineering, Energy
Keywords: Air cooled condensers, Levelized cost of electricity, Parabolic trough, Regenerative rankine cycle, Solar power plants, Solar radiation, Solar shading
Publication Number: 3449916
ISBN: 978-1-124-57699-2
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