Journal article

Thermoeconomic Analysis of Advanced Solar-Fossil Combined Power Plants

Hybrid solar thermal power plants (with parabolic trough type of solar collectors) featuring gas burners and Rankine steam cycles have been successfully demonstrated by California's Solar Electric Generating System (SEGS). This system has been proven to be one of the most efficient and economical schemes to convert solar energy into electricity. Recent technological progress opens interesting prospects for advanced cycle concepts: a) the ISCCS (Integrated Solar Combined Cycle System) that integrates the parabolic trough into a fossil fired combined cycle, which allows a larger exergy potential of the fuel to be converted. b) the HSTS (Hybrid Solar Tower System) which uses high concentration optics (via a power tower generator) and high temperature air receivers to drive the combined cycle power plant. In the latter case, solar energy is used at a higher exergy level as a heat source of the topping cycle. This paper presents the results of a thermoeconomic investigation of an ISCCS envisaged in Tunisia. The study is realized in two phases. In the first phase, a mixed approach, based on pinch technology principles coupled with a mathematical optimization algorithm, is used to minimize the heat transfer exergy losses in the steam generators, respecting the off design operating conditions of the steam turbine (cone law). In the second phase, an economic analysis based on the Levelized Electricity Cost (LEC) approach was carried out for the configurations, which provided the best concepts during the first phase. A comparison of those advanced concepts (ISCCS) to pure fossil fueled Plants (CC+GT) is reported for the same electrical power load. A sensitivity analysis based on the relative size of the solar field is presented.

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