Solar Thermal Power Plant Modeling

Sunday, October 16, 2011
Exhibit Hall B (Minneapolis Convention Center)
Mohammad Abutayeh, Chemical Engineering, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

Spreadsheets along with steady state power plant simulation software can be effectively used to model the operation of solar thermal power plants. Capturing transient operations in modeling is very challenging; nonetheless, this exploration is aimed at achieving it. The modeling process consists of entering time–stamped operating data into a spreadsheet where calculations are carried out to estimate the thermal energy contribution of the warm–up and the cool–down transient operations. Solar radiation offsets are calculated based on those transient heats and then added to the real solar radiation data to produce effective solar radiation values. The effective solar radiation data along with other inputs are fed to a steady state power plant simulation program which executes and outputs the results back into the same spreadsheet. This scheme was used to simulate a real solar thermal power plant producing results that matched well with plant data including data collected during warm-up and cool-down transient operations.

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