Cloud formation in the plumes of solar chimney power generation facilities: A modeling study

The solar chimney power facility has the potential to become a valuable technology for renewable energy production. Its financial viability depends on a thorough understanding of the processes affecting its performance, particularly because of the large startup costs associated with facility design and construction. This paper describes the potential impacts on plant capacity resulting from cloud formation within or downwind of the solar chimney. Several proposed modifications to the basic concept of the solar chimney power facility have the potential to cause significant additions of water vapor to the air passing through the collector. As the air continues up through and out of the chimney, this excess water can condense to form cloud. This possibility is explored using a cloud parcel model initialized to simulate the range of expected operating conditions for a proposed solar chimney facility in southwestern Australia. A range of temperatures and updraft velocities is simulated for each of four seasonal representations and three levels of water vapor enhancement. Both adiabatic environments and the effects of entrainment are considered. The results indicate that for very high levels of water vapor, enhancement cloud formation within the chimney is likely; at more moderate levels of water vapor enhancement, the likelihood of plume formation is difficult to fully assess as the results depend strongly on the choice of entrainment rate. Finally, the impacts of these outcomes on facility capacity are estimated. Copyright © 2009 by ASME.


Published in:
Journal of Solar Energy Engineering, Transactions of the ASME, 131, 0110091-01100910
Year:
2009
ISSN:
0199-6231
Keywords:
Laboratories:




 Record created 2018-10-15, last modified 2019-12-05


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