The paper deals with the development and testing of an innovative code for the performance prediction of solar trough based CSP plants in off-design conditions. The code is developed in MS Visual Basic 6.0 with Excel as user interface. The proposed code originates from a previously presented algorithm for on-design sizing and cost estimation of the solar field lay-out, as well as of the main components of the plant, including connecting piping and the steam cycle. Off-design calculation starts from data obtained through the on-design algorithm and considers steady-state situations. Both models are implemented in the same software, named PATTO (PArabolic Trough Thermodynamic Optimization), which is very flexible: the optical-thermal model of collectors can simulate different kinds of parabolic trough systems in commerce, including a combination of various mirrors, receivers and supports. The code is also flexible in terms of working fluid, temperature and pressure range, and can also simulate direct steam generation plants (DSG). Regarding the power block, a conventional steam cycle with super-heater, eventually a re-heater section, and up to seven regenerative bleedings is adopted. The off-design model calculates thermal performance of collectors taking into account proper correlations for convective heat transfer coefficients, considering also boiling regime in DSG configurations. Solar plant heat and mass balances and performances at off-design conditions are estimated by accounting for the constraints imposed by the available heat transfer areas in heat exchangers and condenser, as well as the characteristic curve of the steam turbine. The numerical model can be used for a single calculation in a specific off-design condition, as well as for a whole year estimation of energy balances with an hourly resolution. The model is tested towards real applications and reference values found in literature; in particular, focusing on SEGS VI plant in the USA and SAM® code. Annual energy balances with ambient condition taken from TMY3 database are obtained, showing good accuracy of predicted performances. The code potentiality in the design process reveals twofold: it can be used for plant optimization in feasibility studies; moreover it is useful to find the best control strategy of a plant, especially the mass flow of heat transfer fluid in each operating condition.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.