1.Off-design Pareto fronts of sCO2 cycle using multi-objective optimisation approach.
2.Storage capacity reduces by 25% at 55 ◦C compressor inlet temperature (design = 42 ◦C).
3.Off-design compressor inlet pressure estimation method to maximise efficiency.
4.Capacity factor increases by 10.8% when operating the plant in maximum power mode.
5.Number of start-ups reduce by about 50% when operating in maximum efficiency mode.
Supercritical Carbon Dioxide (sCO₂) cycles can achieve higher efficiency compared to steam-Rankine or AirBrayton cycles, therefore they are promising for concentrated solar power applications. Although sCO₂ cycles show higher design efficiency, the off-design efficiency is highly sensitive to the ambient conditions, impacting the power block net-power and heat input.
In the present work a recompression sCO₂ cycle is connected to a central-tower solar field with two-tank thermal storage delivering molten chloride salt at 670℃. The temperature of the molten-salt exiting from the power block and returning to the cold storage tank increases by 46℃ with respect to the design value when the compressor inlet temperature is raised by 13℃ relative to the design condition of 42℃, which implies that the capacity of the thermal storage reduces by 25%.
The main focus of this work is to investigate the off-design performance of a sCO₂ recompression cycle under variable ambient temperature, molten-salt inlet temperature and molten-salt flow rate. Multi-objective optimisation is carried-out in off-design conditions using an in-house code to explore the optimal operational strategies and the Pareto fronts were compared. Since the power cycle can either be operated in maximum power mode or maximum efficiency mode, this study compares these two operational strategies based on their annual performance. Results indicate that the capacity factor of the concentrated solar power can be increased by 10.8% when operating in maximum power mode whilst the number of start-ups is reduced by about 50% when operating in maximum efficiency mode.
Fig. 1 Recompression cycle configuration.
Fig. 2 Histogram of ambient temperature for Daggett, California (temperature higher than 17℃).
Fig. 3 Pareto fronts of recompression cycle for different MSIT.
Fig. 4 Compressor operating point across the Pareto front (shown in Fig. 3) for different MSIT; Top) Main Compressor Bottom) Recompressor.