high thermal

Helical Storage Receiver

A major challenge of concentrating solar thermal energy is to develop efficient solar receivers for high grade thermal energy. The image above is taken from a simulation of a helical solar receiver under investigation by SISER researchers. Please click on the image to expand.

High Temperature Solar Thermal

What are Concentrating Solar Thermal Systems?

Concentrating solar thermal power generators use curved mirrors or lenses to concentrate solar radiation, resulting in elevated temperatures in excess of 300°C. The heat generated can be transferred directly or via a working fluid to an electricity generator. A number of existing technologies have incorporated storage components, which can extend energy output beyond sunset. Examples of typical concentrating solar thermal energy systems include parabolic trough and solar tower power plants. 

 

What are the challenges for Concentrating Solar Thermal Systems? 

A significant challenge for concentrating solar thermal systems is the storage of thermal energy as high grade heat. This is required to extend the function of the system beyond daylight hours. For electricity generation, the efficiency of a heat engine (which converts thermal energy into electricity) increases with temperature. Therefore it is essential to minimise heat loss throughout the system. 

 

How are these challenges being addressed by SISER researchers?

Researchers at Heriot-Watt University and the UK Astronomy Technology Centre are working on the integration of storage by directly illuminating a thermal store with concentrated solar radiation. The thermal store performs a dual function of providing heat for a Stirling engine and storing thermal energy for when there is little or no solar irradiation. Direct absorption in the store eliminates the parasitic load required by other concentrating solar thermal systems to pump a working fluid between the receiver and teh heat engine. Computational modelling is also being undertaken to investigate the potential of different materials to be used as thermal energy stores. 

Heriot-Watt University is also developing solar receivers and heat exchangers that can increase the operating temperature of solar thermal technologies to reduce or eliminate the pumping power required to operate the heat exchanger. This work utilises an advanced heat exchanger design - a helical coil - to provide high rates of heat transfer with minimal pressure losses in the system.

 

SISER researchers with interest in this area are: Dr Tadhg O'Donovan and Dr Martyn Wells.

Full details of all SISER researchers are found on the SISER People Page

 

Publications

  1. Y Aldali, B Davison, T Muneer and D Henderson. Modeling the Behavior of a 50 MW Direct Steam Generation Plant for Southern Libya Based on the Thermodynamic and Thermophysical Properties of Water Substance. Journal of Solar Energy Engineering-Transactions of the Asme 134(4), 2012.
    BibTeX

    @article{0199-6231,
    	author = "Aldali, Y. and Davison, B. and Muneer, T. and Henderson, D.",
    	title = "Modeling the Behavior of a 50 MW Direct Steam Generation Plant for Southern Libya Based on the Thermodynamic and Thermophysical Properties of Water Substance",
    	journal = "Journal of Solar Energy Engineering-Transactions of the Asme",
    	volume = 134,
    	number = 4,
    	note = "Times Cited: 0 0",
    	year = 2012
    }
    
  2. Y Aldali, D Henderson, T Muneer and Asme. PROSPECTS FOR LARGE-SCALE SOLAR THERMAL ELECTRICITY GENERATION FROM THE LIBYAN DESERT: TECHNICAL FEASIBILITY. Es2009: Proceedings of the Asme 3rd International Conference on Energy Sustainability, Vol 2 series, 2009.
    BibTeX

    @book{ISSN,
    	author = "Aldali, Y. and Henderson, D. and Muneer, T. and Asme",
    	title = "PROSPECTS FOR LARGE-SCALE SOLAR THERMAL ELECTRICITY GENERATION FROM THE LIBYAN DESERT: TECHNICAL FEASIBILITY",
    	series = "Es2009: Proceedings of the Asme 3rd International Conference on Energy Sustainability, Vol 2",
    	note = "Times Cited: 0 3rd International Conference on Energy Sustainability Jul 19-23, 2009 San Francisco, CA ASME, Adv Energy Syst Div; ASME, Solar Energy Div",
    	pages = "517-525",
    	year = 2009
    }