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Performance analysis of humid air turbine cycle with solar energy for methanol

decomposition
Hongbin Zhao
*
, Pengxiu Yue
School of Mechatronics Engineering, China University of Petroleum, Beijing 102249, Peoples Republic of China
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Received 4 June 2010
Received in revised form
14 December 2010
Accepted 11 January 2011
Available online 27 April 2011
Keywords:
Humid air turbine (HAT)
Solar energy
Exergy analysis method
Methanol decomposition
EUD
a b s t r a c t
According to the physical and chemical energy cascade utilization and concept of synthesis integration of
variety cycle systems, a new humid air turbine (HAT) cycle with solar energy for methanol decompo-
sition has been proposed in this paper. The solar energy is utilized for methanol decomposing as a heat
source in the HAT cycle. The low energy level of solar energy is supposed to convert the high energy level
of chemical energy through methanol absorption, realizing the combination of clean energy and normal
chemical fuels as compared to the normal chemical recuperative cycle. As a result, the performance of
normal chemical fuel thermal cycle can be improved to some extent. Though the energy level of
decomposed syngas from methanol is decreased, the cascade utilization of methanol is upgraded. The
energy level and exergy losses in the system are graphically displayed with the energy utilization
diagrams (EUD). The results show that the cycles exergy efciency is higher than that of the conven-
tional HAT cycle by at least 5 percentage points under the same operating conditions. In addition, the
cycles thermal efciency, exergy efciency and solar thermal efciency respond to an optimal methanol
conversion.
2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
As well-known, solar energy is a kind of generally acknowl-
edged renewable and clean energy with its unique advantage and
widely applied in many areas. Now, although the power system
with conventional fossil fuels still occupies the market main body,
fossil fuels are limited after all. From the utilization mode of solar
energy, the solar thermal generation system developed three
different phases [1], simple solar thermal power systems, solar
energy combined with fossil fuels generation systems and solar
heat power systems integrated with reforming fossil fuels. Due to
the technology development and investment power cost of solar
power system and immature heat technology, the generation
systems fueled by solar energy and fossil fuels win more attention.
This kind of comprehensive utilization mode of solar energy with
other fuels, not only can effectively use solar energy, but also
reduces the risk of technology and economy of solar energy.
Meanwhile, it can improve the efciency of conventional genera-
tion systems. According to the different kinds of conventional fossil
fuels power systems, it can be divided into three categories for solar
energy and fossil fuels complementary power systems. The rst
kind is simply introduced the solar energy into Rankine cycle
system, the second is integrated the solar energy to Brayton cycle
(gas turbine), the third type is used in the integrated solar
combined cycle system (ISCCS) [1e3]. The solar energy can convert
the physical energy into chemical energy, which is stored in fossil
fuels as a carrier. The concentrated solar heat converting into
chemical energy in an endothermic reaction is currently paid
interest for utilization of solar energy, such as the coal gasication
with CO
2
for solar/chemical energy conversion [4].
Chemically recuperated gas turbine (CRGT) is an innovative
circulation system concept, which can be applied in natural gas
fueled gas turbine. It is put forward rst by Olmsted and Grimes
[5,6]. The principle of CRGT is that the natural gas, CO
2
and H
2
O are
reformedinsyngas inareformer byrecoveringthehightemperature
heat fromturbine exhaust. In this way, the reformed gas, composed
basicallyof H
2
, CH
4
, andCO, is thenfedtothe combustor for chemical
reaction. Fuel reforming is an endothermic process through which
the fuel gas absorbs energy both thermally and chemically. The kind
of endothermic reforming reaction absorbs the lower temperature
heat and increases the caloric value of the fuel. Compared with the
general regenerativecycle, thecyclebasedonthemechanismof heat
and chemical heat gets higher effect. In addition, rich hydrogen fuel
will be better combustible than natural gas, which should reduce
* Corresponding author.
E-mail address: hbzhao@cup.edu.cn (H. Zhao).
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Energy
j ournal homepage: www. el sevi er. com/ l ocat e/ energy
0360-5442/$ e see front matter 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.energy.2011.01.016
Energy 36 (2011) 2372e2380
ame-out problems. The combustiontemperature canbe controlled
lower. Therefore, CRGT plants are expectedto have NO
x
emissions as
lowas 1 ppm[7,8]. The humidair turbine (HAT) is well concernedby
its potential applications [9e11]. About the simulation of counter-
ow spray saturator for HAT cycle [10], a new method is used for
optimization of heat transfer interactions within synthesis thermal
system by separating into the basic components and the others in
the system [11].
The main object of the study is to investigate the proposed HAT
cycle, which integrated with solar energy and methanol decom-
position. On the basis of cascaded utilization of energy and the
mechanism of methanol indirect combustion [12], the perfor-
mances of the proposed cycle are simulated and calculated. This
approach aims to increase the utilization efciency of solar energy
and methanol. Furthermore, in order to demonstrate the potential
and feasibility, the paper compares the proposed cycle with the
conventional HAT cycle.
2. Cycle description
Basedonthe proposeddual energy thermodynamic cycle of solar
energy combing with methanol [13], the concept is applied in the
advancedthermodynamic cycle (humidair turbine cycle) integrated
with solar energy. The schematic diagram of the proposed cycle is
shown in Fig. 1. In the owprocess, the main idea is inserting a solar
thermal collector before the methanol entering into combustor. The
solar collector is appliedtoconcentrating solar energy, whichis used
tomethanol decomposing. Whenthe methanol decomposes intoCO
and H
2
in the reactor, the collected solar energy can be converted
into chemical energy with high energy level at some temperatures.
After the syngas (main composition: CO and H
2
) with temperature
(Fig. 1, t
x
) combusted in the combustor, the solar energy can be
subsequently transformed into power. The ambient air (Fig. 1, state
1) is rstly compressed in low pressure compressor (LPC). In the
intercooler, the compressed air (Fig. 1, state 2) heats the cooling
water (Fig. 1, state13). Thenat the highpressure compressor (HPC), it
is compressed for the second time, after that, the high pressure air
(Fig. 1, state 4) enters into after-cooler for further cooling. The cooled
air (Fig. 1, state 5) exchanges heat with the hot water (Fig. 1, state 19)
fromblender. The humidied air (Fig. 1, state 6), which leaving from
the saturator, recovers the heat from turbine exhaust in the
recuperator. In the combustor, the high temperature air (Fig. 1, state
7) and the syngas are mixed up, feeding into for chemical reaction,
and the obtained gas (Fig. 1, state 8) drives the turbine to generating
power output. The lower pressure turbine exhaust (Fig. 1, state 9),
which is expelled from turbine, is recovered for two times by the
humidied air and circulating water (Fig. 1, state 17) in recuperator
and preheater (Fig. 1, state 10), respectably, after that, it (Fig. 1, state
11) enters into the atmosphere. For the heated circulating water
(Fig. 1, states 14, 16 and 18), which comes from low blender is
blended with in the blender. So the way of utilizing solar thermal
energy in the HAT cycle makes the solar physics energy to convert
into chemical energy, it also allows an indirect energy release of
methanol combustion.
3. Methanol decomposition reaction
3.1. Methanol reform reaction mechanism
For the lower temperature and appropriate catalysts, puried
methanol decomposition reaction occurs anhydrously, and is
expressed as:
CH
4
O/CO 2H
2
(1)
Decomposition reaction and water gas replacement reaction
simultaneously occurs for crude methanol or puried hydrous
methanol.
CO H
2
O/CO
2
H
2
(2)
Decomposition reaction and water gas replacement reaction are
equivalent to methanol steam reforming reaction from overall
effect.
CH
4
O H
2
O/CO
2
3H
2
(3)
Generally, the cracking reaction and reforming reaction can be used
as independent reactions for the kinetics reaction tting or ther-
modynamics research of methanol decomposition. To improve the
reaction rate and inhibit secondary reaction, some certain catalysts
need to promote the chemical reactions. Methanol decomposition
varies with different catalysts. Increasing pressure and temperature
canacceleratethe reactionrateandshortenthe reactionequilibrium
(
7
)
S
a
t
u
r
a
t
o
r
(10)
Recuperator
(8)
Combustor
(9)
Turbine
(11)
Preheater
(12)
Exhaust loss
Low
blender ( 6)
(4)
After-
cooler
(2)
Intercooler
(1)
LPC
(3)
HPC
(5)
Blender
1
2
3
4
5
6
7 8
10
11
Make-up water
12
13
14
15
19
18
17
16
20
(13)
Solar
Collector
Heater
Reactor
CH4OH
t
x
9
Fig. 1. Flow diagram of the HAT cycle with solar energy for methanol decomposition.
H. Zhao, P. Yue / Energy 36 (2011) 2372e2380 2373
time. Many researches have been concerned with the methanol
decomposition catalyst and reaction dynamics for a long time.
Chunhuang Feng [14] reached a conclusion that methanol decom-
position is remarkable with the copper zinc catalyst at pressure of
0.15 MPa, mixture of liquid and air speed of 2.5 h
1
and the
temperature of 25

C. While the temperature reached 300

C,
methanol can be completely decomposed.
The research of chemical reaction kinetics is necessarily
accomplished based on experiments. On the contrary, the research
of chemical thermodynamics can be completely obtained by ther-
modynamic basic principles derivation. For instance, in appropriate
air speed, the product component will be very close to balance
product with high reaction temperature, pressure and reaction rate.
At this time, it can predict the composition of product by chemical
reaction thermodynamic calculation.
3.2. Relationship of equilibrium constant and conversion
For an ideal chemical reaction [15]
cC dD5xX yY (4)
where the c, d, x and y are the stoichiometric coefcients for
substances of C, D, X and Y. When the reaction reaches balance, at
a xed temperature, the standard equilibrium constant is given as:
K
Q

_
p
X
=p
Q
_
x
_
p
Y
=p
Q
_
y
_
p
C
=p
Q
_
c
_
p
D
=p
Q
_
d

_
p
i
=p
Q
_
Dy
(5)
where the p
i
(The subscript i is designed for the substances of C, D, X
and Y.) is the partial pressure of certain substance reaching equi-
librium state. Dn x y c d.
The relationship of the standard equilibriumconstant and Gibbs
function change is dened as follows:
D
r
G
Q
m
T RT ln K
Q
(6)
In addition, the enthalpy change of the reaction can be calculated by
the following formulae through the law of Kirchhoff G.R. (Eq. (9)).
C
Q
p;m
a bT cT
2
(7)
D
r
C
Q
p;m
Da DbT DcT
2
(8)
dD
r
H
Q
m
D
r
C
Q
p
dT (9)
With the temperature increases, the enthalpy change of the reac-
tion is not considered as a constant. It is known that the enthalpy
change at some temperatures is obtained by the specic heat
capacity integration for temperatures, and the indenite integral of
enthalpy change with temperature is expressed as Eq. (10).
D
r
H
Q
m
T DH
0
DaT
1
2
DbT
2

1
3
Dc
3
(10)
d
_
D
r
G
Q
m
=T
__
dT D
r
H
Q
m
=T
2
(11)
where the DH
0
is an integral constant, and is obtained by Eq. (10) at
temperature of 25

C. The relationship between enthalpy change
and Gibbs function change is displayed in Eq. (11), which is entitled
as Gibbs J.W.eHelmholtz H. function. The Gibbs function change
with temperature can be calculated by Eq. (12). Also the values of a,
b and c for demanding substances are presented in Table 1. And the
thermodynamic data of each reaction substance at 25

C are shown
in Table 2.
D
r
G
Q
m
T DH
0
DaT lnT
1
2
DbT
2

1
6
DcT
3
I
0
RT (12)
where Da, Db and Dc are calculated as the difference value between
the products and reactants. For example,
Da

aproducts

areactants
For db and dc, they are obtained as the same calculation as da by
substituting corresponding numerical values. The I
0
is an integral
constant, which is calculated by Eq. (12) at certain temperature
with the standard molar Gibbs function change that shown in Table
2. R is the gas constant, J mol
1
.
3.3. Methanol decomposition
The whole methanol decomposition reactions are described.
Where F
x
and a are dened as the methanol mass ow rate and
conversion, respectively.
CH
3
OHl/COg 2H
2
g
0
_
COg 1=2O
2
g/CO
2
g
2H
2
g O
2
g/2H
2
Og
_
(13)
The methanol conversion is calculated by the standard equilibrium
constant. The amount of substances (n
i
) at initial state and balanced
state is shown in Eq. (13), and also the partial pressures.
CH
3
OH/CO 2H
2
(14)
n
i
(initial state): F
x
/32 0 0, n
i
(balanced state): (1 a) F
x
/32 aF
x
/32
aF
x
/16, Pressure: P(1 a)/(1 2a) aP/(1 2a) 2aP/(1 2a).
The partial pressures of the substances reaching equilibrium
state are as follows:
p
CH3OH
c
CH3OH
p
F
x
1 a=32
F
x
=32 F
x
a=16
p
1 a
1 2a
p (15a)
p
CO
c
CO
p
F
x
a=32
F
x
=32 F
x
a=16
p
a
1 2a
p (15b)
p
H2
c
H2
p
F
x
a=16
F
x
=32 F
x
a=16
p
2a
1 2a
p (15c)
And the equilibrium constant is calculated as:
K
p

p
CO
$p
2
H2
p
CH3OH

4a
3
p
2
1 2a
2
1 a
(16)
Table 1
Heat capacity constant of each reaction substance at constant pressure.
Reactants
(g)
a (J mol
1
K
1
) b 10
3
(J mol
1
K
2
)
c 10
6
(J mol
1
K
3
)
Temperature
(K)
H
2
26.88 4.347 0.3265 2733800
CO 26.54 7.68 1.17 3001500
CH
3
OH 18.40 101.56 28.68 2731000
Table 2
Thermodynamic data of each reaction substance (25

C).
Reactants (g) D
f
H
Q
m
(kJ mol
1
) D
f
G
Q
m
(kJ mol
1
) C
p
(J mol
1
K
1
)
H
2
0 0 28.84
CO 110.52 137.269 29.142
CH
3
OH 201.17 161.88 45.2
H. Zhao, P. Yue / Energy 36 (2011) 2372e2380 2374
3.4. Methanol conversion variation
According to the previous sections introducing methanol equilib-
rium conversion with the relationship between temperature and
pressure, the curve can be obtained through calculation program in
Fig. 2. It shows that the increase in reaction pressure is hardly condu-
cive to the methanol conversion improvement. But elevating temper-
aturecanmakeafavorabledirectionfor conversion. All thecurves have
nearly same changes under different pressures, namely, while the
reaction temperature reaching 300

C, methanol is almost decom-


posed into CO and H
2
, and equilibrium conversion is reaching 90%.
4. EUD method and calculation model
4.1. Analysis method
The purpose of analyzing the thermodynamic cycle is to investi-
gate its energy transformation economics and seek possible effective
ways to improve the direction of the performances. Exergy balance
based on the thermal equilibrium can be reached by approving the
exergitic methodology through different ways, such as EUD [16].
The exergy analysis could be vividly presented by energy utili-
zation diagram(EUD). It was put forward by professor Ishida [17] in
Japan in 1982 and widely performed in chemical process and power
generation systems. EUD graphically expresses the relationship
between the energy variation in thermal dynamic process and
energy grade change. It presents the combination of the rst and
second laws of thermodynamics in the same coordinate system.
The EUD is established by plotting the energy quality, A, against
energy quantity, H. The process that releases energy is called as
energy donor, whereas the energy receiving process is called as
energy acceptor. They both appeared in pairs. The area enclosed
by curves of the energy level (A) and energy quantity reects the
maximum useful work. Also, the area surrounded by the energy
donor and energy acceptor is the exergy destruction. EUD analysis
provides a powerful tool for analyzing system integration [18,19].
The exergy is considered as the available work in the energy
transform system or process. The exergy change is expressed as
D3 DH T
0
DS (17)
A D3=DH (18)
Or,
A 1 T
0
DS=DH (19)
The energy level A is introduced to evaluate the utilization level of
energy. It is a dimensionless number, whose denition is the ratio
of D3 to DH in the thermodynamic system.
The exergy loss in the process or system can be expressed as:
E
x
L

D3
j

DH
ea
A
ed
A
ea
0 (20)
jDH
ed
j DH
ea
(21)
For the heat exchanger subsystem [19,20], DH is dened by energy
change (Q), and also DS is Q/T. Then energy level A becomes:
A 1 T
0
=T (22)
4.2. Efciency evaluations
Unlike the conventional HAT cycle, the new cycle is a kind of
complementary fuels power plant. Both solar energy and methanol
are used as input energy in the thermodynamic cycle for energy
conversion, and output is in the form of system power.
4.2.1. Thermal efciency
h
th

W
F
x
$Q
LHV
Q
0
solar
(23)
where Q
0
solar
is the input solar energy in the systemper second, kW,
W is the net work of the system, F
x
is the methanol mass ow rate,
kg/s, Q
LHV
is low caloric value of methanol, kJ/kg.
4.2.2. Exergy efciency
Because the solar energy is different from methanol in energy
quality, the exergy efciency based on the second law of thermo-
dynamics is the best to express the performance of thermodynamic
system or process. The medium-temperature solar energy is taken
into the system in the form of hot exergy. Therefore, the exergy
efciency (h
ex
) is dened as:
h
ex

W
F
x
$E
CH4O
E
0
X;solar
(24)
where E
0
X;solar
is the solar exergy input in the system, kW, E
CH4O
is
the exergy of methanol, kJ/kg.
4.2.3. Solar thermal efciency
The solar energy turns into the work through chemical energy
burning and releasing. In order to evaluate the solar energy
conversion and its contribution to the performance of the cycle, the
evaluation index of solar energy is dened according to the litera-
ture [21]. The reference HAT cycle fueled methanol directly is
regarded as a reference.
h
solar

W
s
W
0

Q
0
solar
(25)
where the W
s
and W
0
indicate the net work generated by the
proposed cycle and the reference cycle.
4.3. Simulation conditions
Using FORTRAN programming based on energy and exergy
balance simulates the new proposed cycle with medium-temper-
ature solar energy and methanol decomposing. Assumed collecting
efciency (h
col
) is the ratio of methanol absorption solar energy to
100 150 200 250 300
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
M
e
t
h
a
n
o
l

c
o
n
v
e
r
s
i
o
n

(
%
)
Reaction pressure=
0.1 MPa
0.5 MPa
1.0 MPa
2.0 MPa
Reaction temperature (C)
Fig. 2. Relationship of methanol conversion with reaction temperature and pressure.
H. Zhao, P. Yue / Energy 36 (2011) 2372e2380 2375
the radiation energy. The collector efciency has an effect on the
share of aborted solar energy by methanol into chemical energy,
while solar collector temperature affects the collector efciency.
Therefore, in order to simply simulate the systemperformance, this
paper sets the solar collector average temperature as the methanol
decomposition reaction temperature. The collecting efciency is
selected according to literatures [21,22]. For the solar thermal
chemical reactor, it can be treated as an ideal blackbody solar
energy receiver with no radiation and heat loss. The absorbed solar
energy matches with the heat of reaction. In addition, the model
does not consider the cooling component of turbine. All the
simulation conditions and selected parameters utilized are pre-
sented in Table 3 [23,24]. The parabolic trough collector is selected
and its efcacy curve is referenced to literature [25].
4.4. Calculation of fuel mass
The calculation of fuel mass ow is on the basis of chemical
reaction equation in combustor. The cracked gas (methanol, COand
H
2
) is fed into the combustion chamber. The temperature of the
syngas is equal to the temperature of the reactor. The consumed
fuel mass ow can be calculated by the formula. The main prop-
erties of methanol are displayed as follows: the boiling point is
64.5

C, heat value is 19.6 MJ/kg and vaporization latent heat is
1109 MJ/kg at atmospheric pressure.
By thermal chemical reaction, the energy equation in the
combustor can be obtained. The mass ow rate of methanol can be
calculated by:
F
x

X
1
X
2

B B
1
B
2

(27)
where
X
1

_
G
a
dDH
mH2O
0:232G
a
DH
mO2
0:763G
a
DH
mN2
_
T8
(27a)
X
2

_
G
a
dDH
mH2O
0:232G
a
dDH
mO2
0:763G
a
DH
mN2
_
T7
(27b)
B
_
1a Q
LHV
0:875aQ
CO
0:125aQ
H2
_
h
r
(27c)
B
1

_
1:375DH
mCO2
1:125DH
mH2O
0:0469DH
mO2
_
T8
(27d)
B
2

_
1aDH
mCH4O
0:875aDH
mCO
0:125aDH
mH2
_
Tc
(27e)
4.5. Calculation of solar energy
There is energy loss when the heat receiver absorbs solar
energy. The solar heat effectively absorbed is equal to the methanol
absorbed the medium-temperature solar energy through the
endothermic reaction, including the preheating methanol and the
heat of decomposition reaction.
Q
solar
Q
s1
Q
s2
Q
0
solar
h
col
(28)
where Q
s1
denotes the methanol absorbed heat, Q
s2
is the reaction
heat that methanol decomposing into CO and H
2
in the reactor, and
h
col
is the collector efciency.
Table 3
Simulation conditions.
Item Unit Selected
value
Pressure ratio of compressor (p) e 6e20
Isentropic efciency of compressor (h
c
) e 0.86
Isentropic efciency of turbine (h
t
) e 0.89
Combustion efciency (h
r
) e 0.95
Turbine inlet temperature (TIT)

C 1000e1300
Pressure loss coefcient of compressor e 0.01
Pressure loss coefcient of
after-cooler and intercooler
e 0.03
Pressure loss coefcient of saturator e 0.02
Pressure loss coefcient of
recuperator and preheater
e 0.03
Pressure loss coefcient of combustor e 0.03
Relative humidity of the ambient air % 60
Minimum temperature difference
between the saturators outlet
humid air and inlet hot water

C 5
The temperature difference between
the saturators outlet water and air wet bulb

C 3e10
Make-up water temperature

C 15
Minimum heat transfer temperature
difference between gas and water Dt
1

C 10
Minimum heat transfer temperature
difference between gas and gas Dt
2

C 25
Minimum heat transfer temperature
difference of liquids Dt
3

C 10
The inlet temperature of methanol

C 25
Minimum temperature difference between
exhaust and dew-point

C 10
Air mass ow rate (state: humid air, G
a
) kg s
1
50
Solar collector efciency e 0.63
Solar collecting temperature

C 150e300
Methanol injection pressure loss coefcient e 0.12
5 10 15 20 25 30
46
48
50
52
54
56
58
60
62
b
a
a-Proposed cycle
b-Reference cycle
E
x
e
r
g
y

e
f
f
i
c
i
e
n
c
y

(
%
)
TIT=
1000C
1100C
1200C
1300C
Pressure ratio (TT)
Fig. 3. Relationship of exergy efciency with pressure ratio.
F
x
32
1 aCH
4
O
F
x
16
aH
2

G
a
29
0:21O
2
0:79N
2

F
x
32
aCO
_
G
a
$d
18
_
H
2
O
/
_
F
x
32
_
CO
2

0:79G
a
29
N
2

_
F
x
16

G
a
$d
18
_
H
2
O
_
0:21G
a
29

3F
x
64
_
O
2
(26)
H. Zhao, P. Yue / Energy 36 (2011) 2372e2380 2376
The solar exergy input can be shown as:
E
0
x;solar
Q
0
solar
1 T
0
=T
c
0 (29)
where T
c
is the collecting temperature of collector.
5. Results and discussion
5.1. Effect of pressure ratio and turbine inlet temperature
5.1.1. Exergy efciency
Fig. 3 describes the effect of pressure ratio (p) and turbine
inlet temperature (TIT) on cycles exergy efciency. The solar
collector temperature is stetted as 200

C, corresponding the
conversion of 62.5% and total solar collector pressure of 17 bar.
The chart shows that the exergy efciency of the proposed HAT
cycle is much higher than that of the conventional HAT cycle. For
example, when TIT is 1100

C and p is 15, the exergy efciency is
57.2% of the proposed cycle, and that is 51.1% of the reference,
which is increased by 6.1%. Compared to the pure fueled HAT
cycle by methanol, it indicates that this way of utilization of solar
energy and methanol not only improves performance, but also
improves the level of cascade utilization of methanol. An analysis
of efciency and economy of humidied gas turbines in district
heating applications by Magnus et al. [26] showed a highest
equivalent electrical efciency of 57%. In the study, the exergy
efciency changes with the pressure ratio and TIT, existing
a maximum value. The value responds to the best turning pres-
sure ratio in different TITs. The best pressure ratio does not vary
much in the two cycles. For example, when TIT is 1000

C, the
best pressure ratio is 11 in the proposed cycle and 10 in the
reference cycle.
5.1.2. Solar thermal efciency
The solar thermal efciency changes with pressure ratio are
shown in Fig. 4. Solar thermal utilization efciency is reduced
with the increase of pressure ratio. For pressure ratio of 6 to 8, the
solar thermal utilization efciency decreases less, while after that,
it falls rapidly. It unfavors the improvement of solar thermal
efciency. As can be seen, the greater the TIT is, the smaller the
slope is. For the TIT decreasing from 1100

C to 1000

C, the solar
thermal efciency drops more than that from 1200

C to 1100

C.
For example, in the above temperature range, the drop-out value
is 0.088 and 0.025 at pressure ratio of 16, respectively. With the
TIT increase, the solar thermal efciency increases. The syngas
reformed by methanol and solar energy, is combusted in the
combustor. The higher the TIT is, the higher the energy level of
solar thermal energy utilization is.
5.2. Effect of methanol conversion
5.2.1. Solar thermal efciency
Different methanol conversions are responded to various heat-
collecting temperature of collector. Fig. 5 describes the relationship
between the solar thermal efciency and methanol conversion
with the total reaction pressure of 1.0 MPa and pressure ratio of 16
at different TITs. The solar thermal efciency changes a lot with the
methanol conversion. On the whole, the changes of solar thermal
efciency range from 11.1% to 39.8%. With the conversion increase,
the solar thermal efciency rst increases and then decreases. As
exhibited in the diagram, the optimal methanol conversation is at
the range of 30e40%, where the solar thermal efciency is about
32e39%. For instance, it is about 36.7% at 1200

C (TIT) with the
solar thermal efciency of 39.3%. However, when the methanol
conversion is less than 10% and higher than 80%, the curves are
almost coincident, which means that TIT inuences a little on the
solar energy at this stage. A novel solar thermal power cycle with
solar energy upgrading of methanol proposed by Hong et al. [27,28],
it has a net solar-to-electric efciency of 35% at the collector
temperature of 220

C and TIT of 1300

C. In comparison with Hong
et al. [28], the solar thermal efciency that converting to power is
about 37.0%, which is much greater at the same condition (see Figs.
2 and 5). The main reason of the solar thermal efciency reaching
the maximum for conversion of 40% is that the methanol decom-
position reaction dynamic processes obtain the maximal degree
utilization by integrating with solar energy. The energy level of
solar thermal energy is the highest. More than the optimal
conversion, the solar thermal utilization efciency begins to
decline, mainly due to the higher collection temperature makes
relatively lower collecting efciency and the poor match of solar
energy and methanol decomposition.
5.2.2. Specic work
Fig. 6 shows the effect of methanol conversion on the specic
work in the new cycle. It can be seen that the conversion does not
inuence obviously on specic work, almost closing to a straight
line. For example, with the TIT of 1000

C, the specic work is 510.4
4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22
0.345
0.350
0.355
0.360
0.365
0.370
0.375
0.380
0.385
0.390
S
o
l
a
r

t
h
e
r
m
a
l

e
f
f
i
c
i
e
n
c
y
TIT=
1000C
1100C
1200C
1300C
Pressurev ratio (TT)
Fig. 4. Variation of solar thermal efciency with pressure ratio.
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
0.05
0.10
0.15
0.20
0.25
0.30
0.35
0.40
0.45
P=10bar
S
o
l
a
r

t
h
e
r
m
a
l

e
f
f
i
c
i
e
n
c
y
Methanol conversion
TIT=
1000C
1100C
1200C
1300C
Pressure ratio (=16)
Fig. 5. Relationship of solar thermal efciency with methanol conversion.
H. Zhao, P. Yue / Energy 36 (2011) 2372e2380 2377
and 507.8 kJ/(kg air) for the conversion of 20% and 40%, respec-
tively. The situation is similar to other temperatures. This is because
the conversion has impact on the energy level only when the solar
energy combing with HAT cycle for methanol decomposition as
a heat source.
5.2.3. Thermal efciency
Fig. 7 shows the inuence of methanol conversion and turbine
inlet temperature (TIT) on the thermal efciency for pressure ratio
of 16. It can be seen that the four curves have the similar trend. For
a certain TIT, with the increase of methanol conversion, the thermal
efciency has a growing trend after reaching a highest peak, then
dropping. That is to say, the heat-collecting efciency of solar
thermal collector corresponds to different changes of the thermal
efciency. For example, whenTIT is 1000

C, the maximumthermal
efciency is about 48.5% which corresponded the optimal conver-
sion of 36.6%. For other TITs, the optimal methanol conversion is
37.0%. In other words, the heat-collecting temperature of solar
thermal collector should not too high or low that is not benecial
for the improvement of thermal efciency. It can also be seen that
the corresponding collection temperature of collector for the
optimal methanol conversion is about 175

C.
5.2.4. Exergy efciency
The cycles exergy efciency variation with methanol conver-
sion is illustrated in Fig. 8. Like solar thermal utilization efciency
and cycles thermal efciency, the exergy efciency also has an
optimal conversion at different TITs and increases with TIT rising.
The optimal conversion is about 31.5%. For example, it is 32.9% with
the exergy efciency of 63.2% at TIT of 1300

C. While the conver-
sion is over 50%, the exergy efciency drops rapidly. Therefore,
there should be appropriate matches between the methanol
conversion and the overall absorption of solar energy.
5.3. EUD analysis
In order to further investigate the exergy loss and energy level of
components in the system, Fig. 9 shows the overall exergy loss of
every component of HAT cycle by means of the EUD. As shown, the
exergy loss represented by the area between the energy donor (A
ed
)
and energy acceptor (A
ea
) lines of each component can be clearly
exhibited. In the combustor section, the curve A
ed
stands for the
energy level of methanol, which is about 1.05. In the combustion
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
400
450
500
550
600
650
700
750
800
S
p
e
c
i
f
i
c

w
o
r
k

(
k
J
/
k
g

a
i
r
)
Methanol conversion
TIT=
1000C
1100C
1200C
1300C
Pressure ratio (=16)
Fig. 6. Variation of specic work with methanol equilibrium conversion.
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
0.44
0.46
0.48
0.50
0.52
0.54
0.56
T
h
e
r
m
a
l

e
f
f
i
c
i
e
n
c
y
Methanol conversion
TIT=
1000C
1100C
1200C
1300C
Pressure ratio (=16)
Fig. 7. Relationship of thermal efciency with methanol conversion.
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
0.48
0.50
0.52
0.54
0.56
0.58
0.60
0.62
0.64
E
x
e
r
g
y

e
f
f
i
c
i
e
n
c
y
Methanol conversion
TIT=
1000C
1100C
1200C
1300C
Pressure ratio (=16)
Fig. 8. Variation of exergy efciency with methanol conversion.
0 5000 10000 15000 20000
-0.2
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
Methanol
decomposition
Solar thermal
energy
A
A
Exhaust
loss
Turbine Combustor HPC
A
H(kW)
LPC
Recuperator
Preheater
Saturator
Fig. 9. EUD analysis of components.
H. Zhao, P. Yue / Energy 36 (2011) 2372e2380 2378
process, the A
ea
represents the preheating processes for the reactant
air and reformed syngas of CO, H
2
and CH
4
O, to temperature 1200

C
(A 0.804). The two largest exergy losses also occur in the
combustor and exhaust, which occupy about 40.1% and 19%. More-
over, the A
ed
in turbine is the energy level of turbine generated
power and A
ea
is the consumed work for compressing air in
compressor. The generated work fromturbine is 47.537 kW, and the
consumed work by compressors is 18,163 kW. The exergy loss from
turbine is 1273.9 kW, and it is 891.9 and 895.9 kW for low pressure
compressor and highpressure compressor, respectively. The turbine
generation work is the energy donor (A 1). The compressed air is
energy acceptor (A
ea
(low) 0.86, A
ea
(high) 0.87). The exergy loss
incompressors is about 9.11%. Inaddition, the exergyloss inthe solar
collector is 879.5 kW, whose energy level is A
ed
0.42. The energy
level of methanol decomposition process changed from 0 to 0.39.
Furthermore, preheater and recuperator also occupy a large part of
exergy loss with 2.0% and 6.7% and 7.23% exist in the saturator.
Thevalueof theexergylossof eachcomponent is presentedinTable
4 under the operating condition(p16, TIT 1200

C). It is obviously
seen that the exergy efciency of the proposed cycle is increased by
5.53% compared with the reference. The solar thermal efciency is
about 37.8%. In addition, the power output and energy input between
the two kinds of cycles are also listed and compared. As to the exergy
destructions of components, can be seen vividly from Fig. 9.
6. Conclusion
This paper has proposed an HAT cycle process program with
a complementary system of solar energy and methanol decompo-
sitionbasedonthe lowheat andpower conversionefciencyof solar
energy and characteristics of chemically recuperated gas turbines.
The obtained results show that the exergy efciency of the cycle is
much higher than the conventional HAT cycle. It increases from
53.63% to 59.16% due to the cracked gas better combusting, so that
the energy cascade utilization of methanol is improved. The solar
energyheateworkconversionefciencyis enhancedafter methanol
absorbing as reaction heat, which reaches 39%. In addition, it also
varies with the turbine inlet temperature and pressure ration.
When the collecting temperature is 175e210

C, namely the cor-
responding methanol conversionof 30e40%, the energy level of solar
energy is much higher. Moreover, there has an optimal methanol
conversation of the cycles thermal efciencyand exergy efciency at
a givenpressure ratio, rangingfrom35%to 40%. It implies that there is
a preferred range of match for the fuel chemical energy and solar
physics energy. There is an optimal methanol conversion for the total
systems efciencies. For the specic work, the methanol conversion
has little effect on it. Finally, using the energy utilization diagram, the
exergy loss is decreased by 8 percentage points compared with the
conventional HATcycle. Combustor and exhaust destructions are still
the critical components. Reducing the exergy losses of combustion
process, exhaust and the energy level difference of energy transfer
process is the key point for improving performances of system.
In a word, this way of integrated utilization provided a direction
for improving the energy level of solar energy combining with
chemical fuels. And it enhances the performances of the HAT cycle
in a great degree.
Acknowledgements
This research was supported by the project of development in
science and technology of ShanDong in China.
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Table 4
Exergy destruction of components.
Cycle condition Reference HAT p16, TIT 1200

C Proposed HAT p16, TIT 1200

C Change
Location % of total exergy input % of total exergy input
(1) LP compressor 1.335 1.819 0.3625
(2) Intercooler 0.4323 0.5139 0.1888
(3) HP compressor 1.342 1.827 0.3614
(4) After-cooler 0.5907 0.7628 0.2913
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(6) Blender 2 0.0420 0.0482 0.1476
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(10) Recuperator 2.419 2.706 0.1186
(11) Preheater 0.3642 0.7789 1.137
(12) Exhaust loss 7.202 7.626 0.0588
(13) Others 2.337 1.791 0.2336
Total 46.37 40.14 0.1344
Total exergy input (kW) 57519.7 49078.1 e
Methanol mass ow (kg s
1
) 2.57 2.14 e
W
t
(kW) 48594.7 47537.6 e
W
c
(kW) 17746.2 18163.0 e
Net power (kW) 30848.5 29374.5 e
Thermal efciency (%) 56.86 53.55 e
Exergy efciency of system (%) 53.63 59.16 e
Solar exergy input (kW) e 3788.7 e
Solar thermal efciency (%) e 37.8 e
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Nomenclature
A: the energy level
C
Q
p;m
: the specic heat capacity at constant pressure (J mol
1
K
1
)
d: humidity ratio (kg kg
1
air)
E
CH4O
: the standard chemistry exergy of methanol (kJ kg
1
)
E
x
L: exergy loss (kJ)
E
0
x;solar
: the exergy of solar energy (kW)
F
x
: consumption of methanol mass ow (kg s
1
)
G
a
: air mass ow rate (kg s
1
)
D
r G
Q
m
: standard Gibbs function change (kJ mol
1
)
DH
0
: integral constant (kJ mol
1
)
D
r H
Q
m
: standard enthalpy change of reaction (kJ mol
1
)
DH
ea
: enthalpy transformation of energy acceptor (kW)
DH
ed
: enthalpy transformation of energy donor (kW)
I
0
: integral constant
K
Q
: standard equilibrium constant
K
p
: standard equilibrium constant of methanol decomposition
n
i
: amount of substance (kmol s
1
)
p: the total pressure of solar receiver-reactor (MPa)
p
i
: partial pressure of certain substance reaching equilibrium state
Q
LHV
: lower heating value of methanol (kJ kg
1
)
Q
solar
: the effectually absorbed solar energy (kW)
Q
0
solar
: the input solar energy (kW)
Q
s1
: absorbed heat (kW)
Q
s2
: the reaction heat of methanol decomposition (kW)
R: gas constant (J mol
1
)
T: temperature (K)
T
0
: surrounding temperature (K)
T
c
: solar collecting temperature (K)
W: net power of the new cycle (kW)
W
0
: net power of the reference cycle of per fuel mass input (kW)
W
c
: work input by compressor (kW)
W
S
: net power of the new cycle of per fuel mass input (kW)
W
t
: work output by turbine (kW)
Greek letters
a: the methanol conversion
D3: exergy change
h
col
: the collector efciency (%)
h
th
: the thermal efciency (%)
h
e,x
: the exergy efciency (%)
h
solar
: the solar thermal efciency (%)
h
r
: combustion efciency
p: pressure ratio
TIT: Turbine Inlet Temperature (T
8
,

C)
Subscripts
a: air
ea: energy acceptor
ed: energy donor
H. Zhao, P. Yue / Energy 36 (2011) 2372e2380 2380