Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Modelling the thermodynamic performance of a concentrated solar power plant with a novel modular air-cooled condenser

Publication date: Available online 3 April 2014
Author(s): J. Moore , R. Grimes , E. Walsh , A. O’Donovan
This paper aims at developing a novel air-cooled condenser for concentrated solar power plants. The condenser offers two significant advantages over the existing state-of-the-art. Firstly, it can be installed in a modular format where pre-assembled condenser modules reduce installation costs. Secondly, instead of using large fixed speed fans, smaller speed controlled fans are incorporated into the individual modules. This facility allows the operating point of the condenser to change and continuously maximise plant efficiency. A thorough experimental analysis was performed on a number of prototype condenser designs. This analysis investigated the validly and accuracy of correlations from literature in predicting the thermal and aerodynamic characteristics of different designs. These measurements were used to develop a thermodynamic model to predict the performance of a 50 MW CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) plant with various condenser designs installed. In order to compare different designs with respect to the specific plant capital cost, a techno-economic analysis was performed which identified the optimum size of each condenser. The results show that a single row plate finned tube design, a four row, and a two row circular finned tube design are all similar in terms of their techno-economic performance and offer significant savings over other designs.

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