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Title: Development of Molten-Salt Heat Transfer Fluid Technology for Parabolic Trough Solar Power Plants - Public Final Technical Report

Abstract

Executive Summary This Final Report for the "Development of Molten-Salt Heat Transfer Fluid (HTF) Technology for Parabolic Trough Solar Power Plants” describes the overall project accomplishments, results and conclusions. Phase 1 analyzed the feasibility, cost and performance of a parabolic trough solar power plant with a molten salt heat transfer fluid (HTF); researched and/or developed feasible component options, detailed cost estimates and workable operating procedures; and developed hourly performance models. As a result, a molten salt plant with 6 hours of storage was shown to reduce Thermal Energy Storage (TES) cost by 43.2%, solar field cost by 14.8%, and levelized cost of energy (LCOE) by 9.8% - 14.5% relative to a similar state-of-the-art baseline plant. The LCOE savings range met the project’s Go/No Go criteria of 10% LCOE reduction. Another primary focus of Phase 1 and 2 was risk mitigation. The large risk areas associated with a molten salt parabolic trough plant were addressed in both Phases, such as; HTF freeze prevention and recovery, collector components and piping connections, and complex component interactions. Phase 2 analyzed in more detail the technical and economic feasibility of a 140 MWe,gross molten-salt CSP plant with 6 hours of TES. Phase 2 accomplishments includedmore » developing technical solutions to the above mentioned risk areas, such as freeze protection/recovery, corrosion effects of applicable molten salts, collector design improvements for molten salt, and developing plant operating strategies for maximized plant performance and freeze risk mitigation. Phase 2 accomplishments also included developing and thoroughly analyzing a molten salt, Parabolic Trough power plant performance model, in order to achieve the project cost and performance targets. The plant performance model and an extensive basic Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) quote were used to calculate a real levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of 11.50¢/kWhe , which achieved the Phase 2 Go/No Go target of less than 0.12¢/kWhe. Abengoa Solar has high confidence that the primary risk areas have been addressed in the project and a commercial plant utilizing molten salt is economically and technically feasible. The strong results from the Phase 1 and 2 research, testing, and analyses, summarized in this report, led Abengoa Solar to recommend that the project proceed to Phase 3. However, a commercially viable collector interconnection was not fully validated by the end of Phase 2, combined with the uncertainty in the federal budget, forced the DOE and Abengoa Solar to close the project. Thus the resources required to construct and operate a molten salt pilot plant will be solely supplied by Abengoa Solar.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Abengoa Solar, LLC
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE; USDOE EE Office of Solar Energy Technology (EE-2A)
OSTI Identifier:
1090096
Report Number(s):
DOE/08GO18038
DOE Contract Number:
FC36-08GO18038
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; Molten Salt HTF

Citation Formats

Grogan, Dylan C. P.. Development of Molten-Salt Heat Transfer Fluid Technology for Parabolic Trough Solar Power Plants - Public Final Technical Report. United States: N. p., 2013. Web. doi:10.2172/1090096.
Grogan, Dylan C. P.. Development of Molten-Salt Heat Transfer Fluid Technology for Parabolic Trough Solar Power Plants - Public Final Technical Report. United States. doi:10.2172/1090096.
Grogan, Dylan C. P.. 2013. "Development of Molten-Salt Heat Transfer Fluid Technology for Parabolic Trough Solar Power Plants - Public Final Technical Report". United States. doi:10.2172/1090096. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1090096.
@article{osti_1090096,
title = {Development of Molten-Salt Heat Transfer Fluid Technology for Parabolic Trough Solar Power Plants - Public Final Technical Report},
author = {Grogan, Dylan C. P.},
abstractNote = {Executive Summary This Final Report for the "Development of Molten-Salt Heat Transfer Fluid (HTF) Technology for Parabolic Trough Solar Power Plants” describes the overall project accomplishments, results and conclusions. Phase 1 analyzed the feasibility, cost and performance of a parabolic trough solar power plant with a molten salt heat transfer fluid (HTF); researched and/or developed feasible component options, detailed cost estimates and workable operating procedures; and developed hourly performance models. As a result, a molten salt plant with 6 hours of storage was shown to reduce Thermal Energy Storage (TES) cost by 43.2%, solar field cost by 14.8%, and levelized cost of energy (LCOE) by 9.8% - 14.5% relative to a similar state-of-the-art baseline plant. The LCOE savings range met the project’s Go/No Go criteria of 10% LCOE reduction. Another primary focus of Phase 1 and 2 was risk mitigation. The large risk areas associated with a molten salt parabolic trough plant were addressed in both Phases, such as; HTF freeze prevention and recovery, collector components and piping connections, and complex component interactions. Phase 2 analyzed in more detail the technical and economic feasibility of a 140 MWe,gross molten-salt CSP plant with 6 hours of TES. Phase 2 accomplishments included developing technical solutions to the above mentioned risk areas, such as freeze protection/recovery, corrosion effects of applicable molten salts, collector design improvements for molten salt, and developing plant operating strategies for maximized plant performance and freeze risk mitigation. Phase 2 accomplishments also included developing and thoroughly analyzing a molten salt, Parabolic Trough power plant performance model, in order to achieve the project cost and performance targets. The plant performance model and an extensive basic Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) quote were used to calculate a real levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of 11.50¢/kWhe , which achieved the Phase 2 Go/No Go target of less than 0.12¢/kWhe. Abengoa Solar has high confidence that the primary risk areas have been addressed in the project and a commercial plant utilizing molten salt is economically and technically feasible. The strong results from the Phase 1 and 2 research, testing, and analyses, summarized in this report, led Abengoa Solar to recommend that the project proceed to Phase 3. However, a commercially viable collector interconnection was not fully validated by the end of Phase 2, combined with the uncertainty in the federal budget, forced the DOE and Abengoa Solar to close the project. Thus the resources required to construct and operate a molten salt pilot plant will be solely supplied by Abengoa Solar.},
doi = {10.2172/1090096},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2013,
month = 8
}

Technical Report:

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  • Parabolic trough power systems that utilize concentrated solar energy to generate electricity are a proven technology. Industry and laboratory research efforts are now focusing on integration of thermal energy storage as a viable means to enhance dispatchability of concentrated solar energy. One option to significantly reduce costs is to use thermocline storage systems, low-cost filler materials as the primary thermal storage medium, and molten nitrate salts as the direct heat transfer fluid. Prior thermocline evaluations and thermal cycling tests at the Sandia National Laboratories' National Solar Thermal Test Facility identified quartzite rock and silica sand as potential filler materials. Anmore » expanded series of isothermal and thermal cycling experiments were planned and implemented to extend those studies in order to demonstrate the durability of these filler materials in molten nitrate salts over a range of operating temperatures for extended timeframes. Upon test completion, careful analyses of filler material samples, as well as the molten salt, were conducted to assess long-term durability and degradation mechanisms in these test conditions. Analysis results demonstrate that the quartzite rock and silica sand appear able to withstand the molten salt environment quite well. No significant deterioration that would impact the performance or operability of a thermocline thermal energy storage system was evident. Therefore, additional studies of the thermocline concept can continue armed with confidence that appropriate filler materials have been identified for the intended application.« less
  • Parabolic trough power plants can provide reliable power by incorporating either thermal energy storage (TES) or backup heat from fossil fuels. This paper describes a gas turbine / parabolic trough hybrid design that combines a solar contribution greater than 50% with gas heat rates that rival those of natural gas combined-cycle plants. Previous work illustrated benefits of integrating gas turbines with conventional oil heat-transfer-fluid (HTF) troughs running at 390?C. This work extends that analysis to examine the integration of gas turbines with salt-HTF troughs running at 450 degrees C and including TES. Using gas turbine waste heat to supplement themore » TES system provides greater operating flexibility while enhancing the efficiency of gas utilization. The analysis indicates that the hybrid plant design produces solar-derived electricity and gas-derived electricity at lower cost than either system operating alone.« less
  • In today’s industrial economy, energy consumption has never been higher. Over the last 15 years the US alone has consumed an average of nearly 100 quadrillion BTUs per year [21]. A need for clean and renewable energy sources has become quite apparent. The SunShot Initiative is an ambitious effort taken on by the United States Department of Energy that targets the development of solar energy that is cost-competitive with other methods for generating electricity. Specifically, this work is concerned with the development of concentrating solar power plants (CSPs) with granular media as the heat transfer fluid (HTF) from the solarmore » receiver. Unfortunately, the prediction of heat transfer in multiphase flows is not well understood. For this reason, our aim is to fundamentally advance the understanding of multiphase heat transfer, particularly in gas-solid flows, while providing quantitative input for the design of a near black body receiver (NBB) that uses solid grains (like sand) as the HTF. Over the course of this three-year project, a wide variety of contributions have been made to advance the state-of-the art description for non-radiative heat transfer in dense, gas-solid systems. Comparisons between a state-of-the-art continuum heat transfer model and discrete element method (DEM) simulations have been drawn. The results of these comparisons brought to light the limitations of the continuum model due to inherent assumptions in its derivation. A new continuum model was then developed for heat transfer at a solid boundary by rigorously accounting for the most dominant non-radiative heat transfer mechanism (particle-fluid-wall conduction). The new model is shown to be in excellent agreement with DEM data and captures the dependence of heat transfer on particle size, a dependency that previous continuum models were not capable of. DEM and the new continuum model were then employed to model heat transfer in a variety of receiver geometries. The results provided crucial feedback on the efficiency and feasibility of various designs. Namely, a prototype design consisting of an array of heated hexagonal tubes was later supplanted by a vertical conduit with internal baffles. Due to low solids heat transfer on the bottom faces of the hexagonal tubes in the prototype, the predicted wall temperature gradients exceeded the design limitations. By contrast, the vertical conduit can be constructed to continually force particle-wall contacts, and thus, result in more desirable solids heat transfer and wall temperature gradients. Finally, a new heat flux boundary condition was developed for DEM simulations to assess the aforementioned wall temperature gradients. The new boundary condition advances current state-of-the-art techniques by allowing the heat fluxes to each phase to vary with space and time while the total flux remains constant. Simulations with the new boundary condition show that the total boundary heat flux is in good agreement with the imposed total boundary heat flux. While the methods we have utilized here are primarily numerical and fundamental by nature, they offer some key advantages of: (i) being robust and valid over a large range of conditions, (ii) able to quickly explore large parameter spaces, and (iii) aid in the construction of experiments. We have ultimately leveraged our computational capabilities to provide feedback on the design of a CSP which possesses great potential to become a cost effective source of clean and renewable electricity. Overall, ensuring that future energy demands are met in a responsible and efficient manner has far reaching impacts that span both ecologic and economic concerns. Regarding logistics, the project was successfully re-negotiated after the go/no-decisions of Years 1 and 2. All milestones were successfully completed.« less
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  • No abstract prepared.