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[en] Highlights: •A novel high temperature solar thermal energy storage system is presented. •The system employs a molten metal oxide for energy storage. •The system can achieve a high energy density of 5 GJ/m3. •Oxygen can be also produced as a valuable by-product. -- Abstract: A novel cycle, the chemical looping of molten copper oxide, is proposed with the thermodynamic potential to achieve sensible, latent and thermochemical heat storage with an energy density of approximately 5.0 GJ/m3, which is approximately 6 times more than the 0.83 GJ/m3 of molten salt. This cycle avoids the technical challenges associated with the application of solid materials (especially multivalent metals) for thermochemical energy storage such as attrition, agglomeration, particle breakage and structural change in successive reduction and oxidation reactions, although it brings alternative challenges associated with the handling of molten metal oxides. A process path for the concept is proposed based on data from the literature for the equilibrium composition of copper and oxygen at different temperatures and gas phase pressures. The process has been modelled with codes developed in MATLAB. The calculations estimate that from the total input concentrated solar thermal energy into the system, about 73% can be absorbed, while the rest is lost through re-radiation heat loss. Furthermore, it is estimated that of the absorbed heat, approximately 95% is stored, while the rest leaves the system as high temperature gas. The calculations also predict that approximately 20% of the inlet solar thermal energy is partitioned as the chemical storage, which is also employed for oxygen production. Also reported is the sensitivity to the effects of key operating parameters.
[en] Highlights: • A novel hybrid solar chemical looping combustion system is presented. • This hybrid CLC system integrates a CLC plant with a solar thermal energy plant. • The oxygen carrier particles are used for chemical and sensible thermal energy storage. • A solar cavity reactor is proposed for fuel reactor. • The calculations show a total solar share of around 60% can be achieved. - Abstract: A novel hybrid solar chemical looping combustion (Hy-Sol-CLC) is presented, in which the oxygen carrier particles in a CLC system are employed to provide thermal energy storage for concentrated solar thermal energy. This hybrid aims to take advantage of key features of a chemical looping combustion (CLC) system that are desirable for solar energy systems, notably their inherent chemical and sensible energy storage systems, the relatively low temperature of the “fuel” reactor (to which the concentrated solar thermal energy is added in a hybrid) relative to that of the final temperature of the product gas and the potential to operate the fuel reactor at a different pressure to the heated gas stream. By this approach, it is aimed to achieve high efficiency of the solar energy, infrastructure sharing, economic synergy, base load power generation and a high solar fraction of the total energy. In the proposed Hy-Sol-CLC system, a cavity solar receiver has been chosen for fuel reactor while for the storage of the oxygen carrier particles two reservoirs have been added to a conventional CLC. A heat exchanger is also proposed to provide independent control of the temperatures of the storage reservoirs from those of solar fuel and air reactors. The system is simulated using Aspen Plus software for the average diurnal profile of normal irradiance for Port Augusta, South Australia. The operating temperature of the fuel reactor, solar absorption efficiency, solar share, fraction of the solar thermal energy stored within the solar reactor, the fractions of sensible and chemical storages and the system exergy efficiency are reported. The calculations show that a total solar share of around 60% can be achieved. Also reported is the sensitivity to the effects of key operating parameters, i.e. reservoir temperature, molar ratio of oxygen carrier particles to fuel, solar fuel reactor operating temperature and solar collector field concentration ratio
[en] Highlights: • A hybrid solar chemical looping combustion power cycle is reported. • The cycle is studied for two configurations, with and without an after-burner. • The oxygen carrier particles are used as storage medium for solar thermal energy. • Total solar shares of 41.4% and 60% are achieved with and without the after-burner. • Efficiencies of 50% and 44.0% are achieved with and without the after-burner. - Abstract: The overall energetic performance of a gas turbine combined cycle powered by a hybrid cycle between a solar thermal and a chemical looping combustion (CLC) system firing methane is reported for two configurations. In one case, the outlet from the air reactor is fed directly to a gas turbine, while in the other an after-burner, also firing methane, is added to increase the gas turbine inlet temperature. The cycle is simulated using Aspen Plus software for the average diurnal profile of normal irradiance for Port Augusta, South Australia. The first law efficiency, total solar absorption efficiency, average and peak fractional power boosts, total solar share, net solar to electrical efficiency, fraction of pressurised CO2, incremental CO2 avoidance and the exergy efficiency for both cycles are reported. The calculations predict a first law efficiency of 50.0% for the cycle employing an after-burner, compared with 44.0% for that without the after-burner. However, this is achieved at the cost of decreasing the solar share from 60.0%, without the after-burner, to 41.4% with it. Also reported is the sensitivity analysis of performance to variations in key operating parameters. The sensitivity analysis shows that further improvements to the performance of the cycle are possible
[en] Highlights: • Impact of non-displaced feedwater heater on plant’s performance has been evaluated. • Two operation strategies for non-displaced feedwater heater has been proposed. • Constant temperature strategy is generally better. • Constant mass flow rate strategy is suit for rich solar thermal input. - Abstract: Solar Aided Power Generation is a technology in which low grade solar thermal energy is used to displace the high grade heat of the extraction steam in a regenerative Rankine cycle power plant for feedwater preheating purpose. The displaced extraction steam can then expand further in the steam turbine to generate power. In such a power plant, using the (concentrated) solar thermal energy to displace the extraction steam to high pressure/temperature feedwater heaters (i.e. displaced feedwater heaters) is the most popular arrangement. Namely the extraction steam to low pressure/temperature feedwater heaters (i.e. non-displaced feedwater heaters) is not displaced by the solar thermal energy. In a Solar Aided Power Generation plants, when solar radiation/input changes, the extraction steam to the displaced feedwater heaters requires to be adjusted according to the solar radiation. However, for the extraction steams to the non-displaced feedwater heaters, it can be either adjusted accordingly following so-called constant temperature strategy or unadjusted i.e. following so-called constant mass flow rate strategy, when solar radiation/input changes. The previous studies overlooked the operation of non-displaced feedwater heaters, which has also impact on the whole plant’s performance. This paper aims to understand/reveal the impact of the two different operation strategies for non-displaced feedwater heaters on the plant’s performance. In this paper, a 300 MW Rankine cycle power plant, in which the extraction steam to high pressure/temperature feedwater heaters is displaced by the solar thermal energy, is used as study case for this purpose. It was found that plant adopting the constant temperature strategy is generally better than that adopting the constant mass flow rate strategy. However, if rich solar energy is available, adopting the constant mass flow rate strategy can achieve better performance.
[en] Highlights: • Four configurations of solar preheaters have been proposed. • Three typical operation strategies of solar preheaters have been identified. • 12 “configuration-operation” combinations has been proposed. • There are superior combinations to achieve the highest solar thermal performance. - Abstract: Solar Aided Power Generation is an efficient way to integrate solar thermal energy into a fossil fuel fired power plant for solar power generation purposes. In this particular power plant, the solar heat is used to displace the extraction steam to preheat the feedwater to the boiler. The heat exchanger, which facilitates the heat exchange between the solar heat carried by the heat transfer fluid and the feedwater, is termed a solar preheater. Four possible configurations of the solar preheater, namely Parallel 1, Parallel 2, Series 1 and Series 2, are proposed in this paper. In this type of plant, the extraction steam flow rates must be adjusted according to the solar input. The ways to control the extraction steam flow rates are termed solar preheater operation strategies. Three typical strategies: the Constant Temperature control, Variable Temperature control with high to low temperature feedwater heater displacement and Variable Temperature control with low to high temperature feedwater heater displacement have been identified. Each configuration can be operated with one of the three strategies, resulting in twelve “configuration-operation” combinations/scenarios (shown in Table 1). Previous assessments and modelling of such a plant have only been based on a single combination. In this paper, a Solar Aided Power Generation plant, modified from a typical 300 MW power plant, is used to understand the plant’s performance for all twelve of the available combinations. The results show that the instantaneous and annual technical performances of such a plant are dependent on the combinations used. The scenario 10 (Table 1) is superior to the other combinations in terms of the plant’s instantaneous technical performance, while the scenarios 2, 5, 8 (Table 1) has the best plant’s annual technical performance.
[en] Highlights: • We present the benefits of integrating a solar cavity receiver and a combustor. • The hybrid solar receiver combustor is compared with its equivalent hybrid. • The start-up losses of the back-up boiler are calculated for a variable resource. • Levelized cost of electricity is reduced by up to 17%. • Fuel consumption is reduced by up to 31%. - Abstract: The impact of avoiding the start-up and shut-down losses of a solar thermal power plant by directly integrating the back-up boiler into a tubular solar-only cavity receiver is studied using a multiple time-step, piecewise-continuous model. A steady-state analytical model of the mass and energy flows through both this device and a solar-only cavity receiver reported previously are incorporated within a model of the solar power generating plant with storage. The performance of the Hybrid Solar Receiver Combustor (HSRC) is compared with an equivalent reference conventional hybrid solar thermal system employing a solar-only cavity receiver and a back-up boiler. The model accounts for start-up and shut-down losses of the boiler, threshold losses of the solar-only cavity receiver and the amount of trace heating required to avoid cooling of the heat transfer fluid. The model is implemented for a 12 month/five year time-series of historical Direct Normal Irradiation (DNI) at 1 h time-steps to account for the variability in the solar resource at four sites spanning Australia and the USA. A method to optimize the size of the heliostat field is also reported, based on the dumped fraction of solar power from the heliostat field. The Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) for the HSRC configuration was estimated to be reduced by up to 17% relative to the equivalent conventional hybrid solar thermal system depending on the cost of the fuel, the storage capacity and the solar resource, while the fuel consumption was estimated to be reduced by some 12–31%.
[en] Highlights: • SAPG with concentrating and non-concentrating collectors has been compared. • Non-concentrating collectors could be superior to concentrating collectors in SAPG. • Using non-concentrating collectors is more effective in low latitude. - Abstract: The preheating of the feedwater in a Regenerative Rankine Cycle power plant with solar thermal energy, termed Solar Aided Power Generation, is an efficient method to use low to medium temperature solar thermal energy. Here, we compared the use of medium temperature (200–300 °C) energy from concentrating solar collectors (e.g. parabolic trough collectors) to displace the extraction steam to high temperature/pressure feedwater heaters with that from low temperature (100–200 °C) non-concentrating solar collectors (e.g. evacuated tube collectors) to displace the extraction steam to low temperature/pressure feedwater heaters of the power plant. In this paper, the in terms of net land based solar to power efficiency and annual solar power output per collector capital cost of a Solar Aided Power Generation using concentrating and non-concentrating solar collectors has been comparted using the annual hourly solar radiation data in three locations (Singapore; Multan, Pakistan and St. Petersburg, Russia). It was found that such a power system using non-concentrating solar collectors is superior to concentrating collectors in terms of net land based solar to power efficiency. In some low latitude locations e.g. Singapore, using non-concentrating solar collectors even have advantages of lower solar power output per collector capital cost over using the concentrating solar collectors in an SAPG plant.
[en] We estimate the long-duration gamma-ray burst (LGRB) progenitor rate using our recent work on the effects of environmental metallically on LGRB formation in concert with supernovae (SNe) statistics via an approach patterned loosely off the Drake equation. Beginning with the cosmic star formation history, we consider the expected number of broad-line Type Ic events (the SNe type associated with LGRBs) that are in low-metallicity host environments adjusted by the contribution of high-metallicity host environments at a much reduced rate. We then compare this estimate to the observed LGRB rate corrected for instrumental selection effects to provide a combined estimate of the efficiency fraction of these progenitors to produce LGRBs and the fraction of which are beamed in our direction. From this we estimate that an aligned LGRB occurs for approximately every 4000 ± 2000 low-metallically broad-lined SNe Ic. Therefore, if one assumes a semi-nominal beaming factor of 100, then only about one such supernova out of 40 produce an LGRB. Finally, we propose an off-axis LGRB search strategy of targeting only broad-line Type Ic events that occur in low-metallicity hosts for radio observation.
[en] Recently, it has been suggested that the metallicity aversion of Long-duration Gamma Ray Bursts (LGRBs) is not intrinsic to their formation, but rather a consequence of the anti-correlation between star formation and metallicity seen in the general galaxy population. To investigate this proposal, we compare the metallicity of the hosts of LGRBs, broad-lined Type Ic (Ic-bl) supernovae (SNe), and Type II SNe to each other and to the metallicity distribution of star-forming galaxies using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to represent galaxies in the local universe and the Team Keck Redshift Survey (TKRS) for galaxies at intermediate redshifts. The differing metallicity distributions of LGRB hosts and the star formation in local galaxies forces us to conclude that the low-metallicity preference of LGRBs is not primarily driven by the anti-correlation between star formation and metallicity, but rather must be overwhelmingly due to the astrophysics of the LGRBs themselves. Three quarters of our LGRB sample are found at metallicities below 12+log(O/H) < 8.6, while less than a one-tenth of local star formation is at similarly low metallicities. However, our SN samples are statistically consistent with the metallicity distribution of the general galaxy population. Additionally, we show that the star formation rate distribution of the LGRB and SNe host populations are consistent with the star formation rate distribution of the SDSS galaxy sample. This provides further evidence that the low-metallicity distribution of LGRBs is not caused by the general properties of star-forming galaxies. Using the TKRS population of galaxies, we can exclude the possibility that the LGRB host metallicity aversion is caused by the decrease in galaxy metallicity with redshift, as this effect is clearly much smaller than the observed LGRB host metallicity bias over the redshift span of our sample. The presence of the strong metallicity difference between LGRBs and Type Ic-bl SNe largely eliminates the possibility that the observed LGRB metallicity bias is a byproduct of a difference in the initial mass functions of the galaxy populations. Rather, metallicity below half-solar must be a fundamental component of the evolutionary process that separates LGRBs from the vast majority of Type Ic-bl SNe and from the bulk of local star formation
[en] An unsteady formulation of the vortex lattice method, VLM, is presented that uses a force- free representation of the wake behind a horizontal axis wind turbine, HAWT, to calculate the aerodynamic loading on a turbine operating in the wake of an upstream rotor. A Cartesian velocity grid is superimposed over the computational domain to facilitate the representation of the atmospheric turbulence surrounding the turbine and wind shear. The wake of an upstream rotor is modelled using two methods: a mean velocity deficit with superimposed turbulence, based on experimental observations, and a purely numeric periodic boundary condition. Both methods are treated as frozen and propagated with the velocity grid. Measurements of the mean thrust and blade root bending moment on a three bladed horizontal axis rotor modelling a 5 MW HAWT at 1:250 scale were carried out in a wind tunnel. Comparisons are made between operation in uniform flow and in the wake of a similarly loaded rotor approximately 6.5 diameters upstream. The measurements were used to validate the output from the VLM simulations, assuming a completely rigid rotor. The trends in the simulation thrust predictions are found to compare well with the uniform flow case, except at low tip speed ratios where there are losses due to stall which are yet to be included in the model. The simple wake model predicts the mean deficit, whilst the periodic boundary condition captures more of the frequency content of the loading in an upstream wake. However, all the thrust loads are over-predicted. The simulation results severely overestimate the bending moment, which needs addressing. However, the reduction in bending due to the simple wake model is found to reflect the experimental data reasonably well