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Renewable Energy xxx (2012) 1e4

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Renewable Energy
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/renene

Solar thermoelectric power generation in Cyprus: Selection of the best system


Soteris A. Kalogirou
Cyprus University of Technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Sciences and Engineering, P.O. Box 50329, Limassol 3603, Cyprus

a b s t r a c t
Keywords: Parabolic trough collector Central receiver system Parabolic dish Thermal storage

Cyprus is planning to develop in the next few years one solar thermal power plant with a capacity of about 50 MW. Therefore, in this paper solar power systems are analyzed with respect to their technical characteristics, the cost of electricity produced and the land area required. The latter is very important for Cyprus as seaside areas are very expensive. Such a solar power station however should be located near the sea close to an existing power station. An additional reason is that such a solar plant can be combined with solar desalination to produce fresh water from seawater which is also a precious commodity for Cyprus. Based mainly on their industrial maturity and the advantages mentioned in this paper, the parabolic trough system seems to be to best one to apply. From a preliminary investigation of the various possible areas the author believes that the Vasilikos area near to the existing Vasilikos power station is the most suitable for such a system to be installed. 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction Cyprus does not have at the moment any sources of energy and depends exclusively on imported oil for its energy needs. The only inexhaustible natural source of energy that Cyprus posses abundantly, is solar energy. It is well known that other forms of renewable energy, like the wind energy, wave energy and biomass have limited potential in Cyprus. Solar energy can be converted directly to electrical energy using photovoltaic panels or to thermal energy using a large variety of thermal solar collectors. Cyprus Government decided to erect a solar thermoelectric power generation station with a capacity of about 50 MW, which is a very correct movement since the development of large-scale photovoltaic parks would be a very expensive solution. The characteristics that need to be considered when selecting the right type of thermoelectric system are the cost of electricity produced and the land area that would be required to install the solar plant. The latter is very important as Cyprus has no desert land near the sea but on the contrary seaside areas are very expensive as they are used for touristic development. It should be noted that all existing power stations are located near the sea so the solar power station should also be located near to one of those stations to have ease access to the grid and for the use of the seawater for the condenser. Concentrating solar power plants, use mirrors to generate high temperature heat that drives steam turbines traditionally powered from conventional fossil fuels. Some of these systems incorporate

also heat storage which allows them to operate during cloudy weather and night-time. The main systems that are operational today in various countries at experimental or full industrial scale are the parabolic trough collector (PTC) system, the central receiver or power tower system and the parabolic dishes. More details about these systems can be found in [1]. 2. Parabolic trough collector systems From the technologies available the most industrially matured is the parabolic trough system. This is due to the systems installed and operating in California, USA since 1985, which have a total installed capacity equal to 354 MWe. Mainly due to the plants operating in California for more than 20 years, parabolic trough is the most proven technology and today they produce electricity at about US$ 0.10/kWh. The success and durability of these plants has demonstrated the robustness and reliability of the parabolic trough technology. An interesting feature of parabolic troughs and power tower systems is that it is possible to store heat, which enables them to continue producing electricity during the night or cloudy days. For this purpose, concrete, molten salts, ceramics or phasechange media can be used and this method is currently much cheaper than storing electricity in batteries. The parabolic trough systems produce superheated steam which is used to drive the turbines of a conventional Rankine type power station or an Integrated Solar Combined Cycle System, i.e., they replace the conventional steam boiler with the solar collection system. Compared to other technologies, this system has a high solar-toelectrical efciency and low area per MWh requirement.

E-mail address: soteris.kalogirou@cut.ac.cy. 0960-1481/$ e see front matter 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.renene.2012.01.014

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Parabolic trough collectors are the most mature solar technology to generate heat at temperatures up to 400  C for solar thermal electricity generation or process heat applications. This is mainly due to the nine large plants installed and operating in California, USA, which is the biggest application of this type of system. The nine Southern California power plants are known as Solar Electric Generating Systems (SEGS) [2]. Details for these plants are given in Table 1 [3]. SEGS I is 13.8 MWe, SEGS IIeVII are 30 MWe each and SEGS VIII and IX are 80 MWe each. These have been designed, installed and operated in the Mojave Desert of Southern California, the rst one since 1985 and the last one since 1991. These plants are based on large parabolic trough concentrators providing steam to Rankine power plants. They generate peaking power which is sold to the Southern California Edison utility. Parabolic trough technology proved to be tough, dependable and proven. Today the second-generation parabolic troughs have more precise mirror curvature and alignment, which enables them to have higher efciency than the rst plants erected in California. Other improvements include the use of a small mirror on the backside of the receiver to capture and reect any scattered sun rays back onto the receiver, the direct steam generation into the receiver tube to simplify the energy conversion and reduce heat losses, and the use of more advanced materials for the reectors and selective coatings of the receiver. 3. Power tower systems Power towers or central receiver systems use thousands of individual sun-tracking mirrors called "heliostats" to reect solar energy onto a receiver located on top of a tall tower. The receiver collects the suns heat in a heat-transfer uid (molten salt) that ows through the receiver. This is then passed optionally to storage and nally to a power-conversion system which converts the thermal energy into electricity and supply it to the grid. Therefore, a central receiver system is composed of ve main components: heliostats, including their tracking system, receiver, heat transport and exchange, thermal storage and controls. In many solar power studies it has been observed that the collector represents the largest cost in the system, therefore, an efcient engine is justied to obtain maximum useful conversion of the collected energy. The power tower plants are quite large, generally 10 MWe or more, while the optimum sizes lie between 50 and 400 MW. It is estimated that power towers could generate electricity at around US$ 0.04/kWh by 2020 [4]. The heliostats reect solar radiation to the receiver at the desired ux density at minimum cost. A variety of receiver shapes has been considered, including cylindrical receivers and cavity receivers. The optimum shape of the receiver is a function of radiation intercepted and absorbed, thermal losses, cost and design of the heliostat eld. For a large heliostat eld a cylindrical receiver is best suited to be used with Rankine cycle engines. Another possibility is to use Brayton cycle turbines which require higher temperatures (of about 1000  C) for their operation and in this case
Table 1 Characteristics of SEGS plants. SEGS plant I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX Year of operation 1985 1986 1987 1987 1988 1989 1989 1990 1991 Net output (MWe) 13.8 30 30 30 30 30 30 80 80 Solar outlet temp. ( C) 307 316 349 349 349 390 390 390 390 Type of Luz collector used LS-1 LS-2 LS-2 LS-2 LS-2 LS-2 LS-2 LS-3 LS-3 LS-3

cavity receivers with larger tower height to heliostat eld area ratios are more suitable. For gas turbine operation, the air to be heated must pass through a pressurized receiver with a solar window. Combined cycle power plants using this method could require 30% less collector area than the equivalent steam cycles. Brayton cycle engines provide high engine efciencies but are limited by the fact that a cavity receiver is required, which reduces the numbers of heliostats that can be used. Rankine cycle engines driven from steam generated in the receiver and operated at 500e550  C, have two important advantages over the Brayton cycle. The rst is that the heat-transfer coefcients in the steam generator are high, allowing the use of high energy densities and smaller receivers. The second is that they employ cylindrical receivers which permit larger heliostat elds to be used. The rst large-scale, demonstration solar power tower was built-in the early 80s in the desert near Barstow, California, called the Solar One. The plant operated successfully from 1982 to 1988, and the system had the capacity to produce 10 MW of power. This plant used water/steam as the heat-transfer uid in the receiver, which presented several problems in terms of storage and continuous turbine operation. These problems were addressed by Solar Two, which is an upgrade of Solar One. Solar Two operated from 1996 to 1999. Solar Two demonstrated how solar energy can be stored efciently and economically as heat in tanks of molten salt so that power can be produced even when the sun isnt shining. Solar Two plant, used nitrate salt (molten salt) as both the heat-transfer uid in the receiver and the heat storage media. In this plant, the molten nitrate salt at 290  C is pumped from a cold storage tank through the receiver where it is heated to approximately 565  C and then travelled to a storage tank, which had a capacity of 3 h of storage. When power is needed from the plant, the hot salt is pumped to a generator that produces steam. The steam activates a turbine/ generator system that creates electricity. From the steam generator, the salt is returned to the cold storage tank, where it is stored and can be eventually reheated in the receiver. By using thermal storage, power tower plants can potentially operate for 65% of the year without the need for a backup fuel source. Without energy storage, solar technologies like the parabolic trough plants are limited to annual capacity factors near 25 percent. 4. Dish systems Dish systems use dish-shaped parabolic mirrors as reectors to concentrate and focus the suns rays onto a receiver, which is mounted above the dish at the dish focal point. The receiver absorbs the energy and converts it into thermal energy. This can be used directly as heat or can support chemical processes, but its most common application is in power generation. The thermal energy can either be transported to a central generator for conversion, or it can be converted directly into electricity at a local generator coupled to the receiver.

Solar eld area (m2) 82,960 190,338 230,300 230,300 250,500 188,000 194,280 464,340 483,960

Solar turbine efciency (%) 31.5 29.4 30.6 30.6 30.6 37.5 37.5 37.6 37.6

Fossil turbine efciency (%) e 37.3 37.4 37.4 37.4 39.5 39.5 37.6 37.6

Annual output (MWh) 30,100 80,500 92,780 92,780 91,820 90,850 92,646 252,750 256,125

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A dish/engine system is a stand-alone unit composed primarily of a collector, a receiver and an engine. It works by collecting and concentrating the suns energy with a dish-shaped surface onto a receiver that absorbs the energy and transfers it to the engine. The heat is then converted in the engine to mechanical power, in a manner similar to conventional engines, by compressing the working uid when it is cold, heating the compressed working uid and then expanding it through a turbine or with a piston to produce mechanical power. An electric generator converts the mechanical power into electrical power. Dish/engine systems use dual-axis tracking system to follow the sun and thus are the most efcient collector systems because they are always pointing at the sun. Concentration ratios usually range from 600 to 2000, and they can achieve temperatures in excess of 1500  C. While Rankine cycle engines, Brayton cycle engines, and sodium-heat engines have all been considered for systems using dish-mounted engines, greatest attention has been paid to Stirling engine systems [5,6]. 5. Selection of the best system Table 2 gives an overview of some of the performance characteristics of the different concentrating solar power concepts considered in this paper [7]. Parabolic troughs and power towers can be coupled to steam cycles of 10e200 MW of electric capacity, with thermal cycle efciencies of 30e40%. The same efciency range applies for Stirling engines coupled to dish systems. The conversion efciency of the power block remains essentially the same as in fuel red power plants. Overall solareelectric efciencies, dened as the net power generation over incident beam radiation, are lower than the conversion efciencies of conventional steam or combined cycles, as they include the conversion of solar radiative energy to heat within the collector and the conversion of the heat to electricity in the power block. Due to the higher levels of concentration, dish systems usually achieve higher efciencies than the parabolic trough system and are more suitable for stand-alone, small power producing systems; however for higher outputs many dish systems could be used. All the three systems analysed in this paper can be operated with fossil fuel (usually natural gas) so as to operate at low irradiation hours and during the night. From the three systems the only one which does not offer the possibility of storage is the parabolic dish, which is an important disadvantage, since it can operate only during the sunshine periods and with conventional fuel. Therefore for Cyprus, the selection needs to be done between the parabolic trough and the central receiver systems. The former, has a high solar-to-electrical efciency and low area per MWh requirement, while the latter has the capability of producing energy at very low cost although its efciency is a little lower and the land requirement per MWh is higher. Both systems need at areas to be developed whereas the parabolic trough system can be installed in areas with step-wise ground. Mainly due to the matured technology that is using and the other advantages that were analyzed above, the author believes that the best system for Cyprus is the parabolic trough one. All existing power stations on the island are located near the sea. Such a solar power station should also be located near the sea close
Table 2 Performance characteristics of various CSP technologies. Technology Parabolic trough Power tower Dish-Stirling Capacity range (MW) 10e200 10e150 0.01e0.4 Concentration 70e80 300e1000 1000e3000

to an existing power station to have ease access to the grid and for the use of the seawater for the condenser. The erection of such a station inland is not possible due to the lack of water required for the condensation of the steam. This is because Cyprus suffers from a water shortage problem, so it has no adequate water supply inland and the proximity of the solar to an existing station means it will also be close to existing power lines and maintenance personnel from the station. Moreover, the location of the solar plant near the sea will enable it to be combined with solar desalination, for the production of fresh water which is also a required commodity for the island. From a preliminary investigation of the various possible areas the author believes that the Vasilikos area near to the existing Vasilikos power station is the most suitable for such a system to be installed. The main reasons are; this is the largest power station on the island, its proximity to the sea and the power grid and the fact that this is the area where the Energy Center will be installed, which will be the terminal for the natural gas, which can also be used as the auxiliary fuel for the solar system. Another important reason is the visibility of the system from the Nicosia-Limassol motorway, which will be an ideal advertisement for the use of solar energy to the public. 6. System simulation TRNSYS program [8] consists of many subroutines that model subsystem components. TRNSYS is a validated time series simulation program that can simulate the performance of photovoltaic, concentrating solar power, water heating systems and other renewable energy systems using hourly data. Here, the feasibility of using thermal energy storage (TES) in parabolic trough solar collector plants is investigated. This is done through modelling and simulation. The model run in TRNSYS using the Solar Thermal Electric Components (STEC) model library and set-up using the Solar Advisor Model (SAM) developed by NREL for the US DOE. The Solar Advisor Model (SAM) provides a consistent framework for analyzing and comparing power system costs and performance across the range of solar technologies and markets, from photovoltaic systems for residential and commercial markets to concentrating solar power and large photovoltaic systems for utility markets [9]. SAM combines an hourly simulation model with performance, cost and nance models to calculate energy output, energy costs and cash ows. The software can also account for the effect of incentives on cash ows. SAM includes both built-in cost and performance models, and a spreadsheet interface for exchanging data with external model developed in Microsoft Excel. Most of the SAMs inputs can be used as parametric variables for sensitivity studies to investigate the impact of variations in performance, cost and nancial parameters on model results. SAM models system performance using TRNSYS software combined with customized components from the Solar Thermal Electric Components (STEC) model library. In fact TRNSYS is integrated into SAM so there is no need to install TRNSYS software or be familiar with its use to run SAM. The collectors investigated are the Eurotrough and Luz-LS3 equipped with a two-tank or thermocline storage units. Four cases were investigated for each collector and storage systems with

Peak solar efciency (%) 21 20 29

Solareelectric efciency (%) 10e15 8e10 16e18

Land use (m2/MWh y) 6e 8 8e12 8e12

Please cite this article in press as: Kalogirou SA, Solar thermoelectric power generation in Cyprus: Selection of the best system, Renewable Energy (2012), doi:10.1016/j.renene.2012.01.014

4 Table 3 Total heat loss from storage tanks. Storage hours 0 2 4 6 Two-tank system (MWt) 0 0.32 0.64 0.96

S.A. Kalogirou / Renewable Energy xxx (2012) 1e4

Thermocline system (MWt) 0 0.17 0.34 0.51

possible to increase the number of operating hours of the system and allow the solar system to produce more electricity, indicated by net electricity generated (NEG) in Table 4. The optimum storage size is for 4 h storage. 7. Conclusions The most promising system from the point of view of cost of the produced electricity is the central receiver system while the parabolic dishes have the advantage that they can be exploited in steps as each system produces about 25 kW of electricity with a Stirling engine installed on each unit. The parabolic trough and the central receiver systems produce superheated steam which is used to drive the turbines of the common Rankine or of an integrated combined cycle. All three systems can be supplied with conventional fuel (usually natural gas) so as to operate during hours of low irradiation and during night-time while the only system which does not offer the option of storage of thermal energy is the parabolic dish. Because of their maturity, which can reduce economic risks, it is believed by the author that the best system to apply is the parabolic trough one. Additionally, this system offers a high solar-to-electrical efciency and low area per MWh requirement. For the reasons explained above such a solar plant need to be located near the sea. In such a case the solar plant can be combined with solar desalination to produce fresh water from seawater which is also a precious commodity for Cyprus. From a preliminary investigation of the various possible areas, the Vasilikos area near to the existing Vasilikos power station, is the most suitable for such a system to be installed. This is also the area where the Energy Center will be installed, which will be the terminal for the natural gas, which can also be used as the auxiliary fuel for the solar system. A system with 4 h of storage is the optimum for Cyprus. References
[1] Kalogirou SA. Solar energy engineering: processes and systems. New York: Academic Press; 2009. chapter 10521e552. [2] Kearney DW, Price HW. Solar thermal plants - LUZ concept (current status of the SEGS plants). In: Proceedings of the 2nd Renewable Energy Congress, Reading UK, vol. 2; 1992. p. 582e8. [3] LUZ. Solar electric generating system IX technical description. LUZ International Limited; 1990. [4] Taggart S. Hot stuff: CSP and the power tower. Renewable Energy Focus; 2008:51e4. May/June issue. [5] Schwarzbzl P, Pitz-Paal R, Meinecke W, Buck R. Cost-optimized solar gas turbine cycles using volumetric air receiver technology. In: Proceedings of the renewable energy for the new millennium, Sydney, Australia; 2000. p. 171e7. [6] Chavez JM, Kolb GJ, Meinecke W. In: Becker M, Klimas PC, editors. Second generation central receiver technologies- a status report. Karlsruhe, Germany: Verlag C.F. Mller GmbH; 1993. [7] Muller-Steinhagen H, Trieb F. Concentrating solar power: a review of the technology. Ingenia 2004;18:43e50. [8] Klein SA, Beckman WA, Mitchell JW, Dufe JA, Dufe NA, Freeman TL, et al. TRNSYS v.16 users manual; 2006. [9] National Renewable Energy Laboratory. SAM users guide; 2008.

Table 4 Collector characteristics and model simulation results. Parameter Aperture (m) Area (m2) Length (m) Focal length (m) Optical efciency Results Storage time (hours) LCOE [2-tank] (cents/kWh) LCOE [thermo] (cents/kWh) NEG [2-tank] (GWh) NEG [thermo] (GWh) 0 2 4 6 0 2 4 6 Eurotrough 5.75 817.5 150 2.1 0.752 Luz-LS3 5.75 545 100 2.1 0.714

16.89 16.70 17.36 18.32 17.83 17.60 19.26 19.23 16.89 16.65 17.23 18.08 17.83 17.53 18.14 19.01 107.7 115.0 116.4 115.9 105.9 113.0 114.3 113.9 107.7 115.4 117.3 117.3 105.9 113.4 115.2 115.2

0, 2, 4 and 6 h storage respectively. The various systems are simulated using the weather conditions of Larnaca, Cyprus. This represents a typical seaside weather environment given in the form of a Typical Meteorological Year. A thermal energy storage system store heat from the solar eld, which can be used to drive the power block turbine during periods of low or no sunlight. This is very benecial in cases where the peak demand occurs after the sun has set. The heat lost from the storage tank depends on the type of the storage tank and its size. The size depends on the hours of storage considered. The total heat loss from the two types of storage tanks considered in this work is shown in Table 3. The storage uid considered is molten salt. The collector area required for the two types of collectors considered is 433,275 m2 for the Eurotrough and 458,890 m2 for the Luz-LS3. The difference in area is due to the different characteristics of the collectors considered shown in Table 4 and this area is required to satisfy the 50 MW base load. No backup is considered so as to show the actual capability of the systems. Both collectors are considered to be tted with Schott PTR70 vacuum tube receiver which has a heat loss of 266.36 W/m (50.557 W/m2). The solar eld piping losses are equal to 10.1 W/m2 and the collectors are installed in an EeW horizontal mode with NeS tracking. From the results of this analysis, shown in Table 4, thermal storage in parabolic trough systems is viable, giving higher levelized cost of energy (LCOE) and should be employed whenever

Please cite this article in press as: Kalogirou SA, Solar thermoelectric power generation in Cyprus: Selection of the best system, Renewable Energy (2012), doi:10.1016/j.renene.2012.01.014