Economic and thermo-mechanical design of tubular sCO2 central-receivers

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Supercritical CO2 central-receivers must withstand high temperatures and pressures combined with cyclic operation, which makes the solar receiver susceptible to creep-fatigue failure. In this work, a creep-fatigue analysis of a sCO2 Inconel 740H tubular receiver of a 2 MWe solar tower plant has been accomplished to study the influence of the tube size on the receiver and solar field design. A 2D numerical model of the tubular receiver that accounts for the thermal conduction in both radial and circumferential directions was developed to determine the sCO2 and wall temperature profile, which is crucial for the creep-fatigue calculations. The receiver flux distribution, which is an input to the model, was obtained with SolarPILOT, while a conventional recompression model was used to calculate the cycle efficiency and inlet temperature to the receiver. Comparison of the results of the 2D model with those of a 1D model showed that the 1D model overestimates the creep fatigue rupture time by two orders of magnitude. Furthermore, the efficiency and costs of the heliostat field and receiver were calculated for different receiver tube sizes. Smaller tubes allowed a higher maximum heat flux leading to smaller receiver and heliostat field designs, which resulted in higher overall efficiency of the power plant and lower material costs. For a design ensuring 25 year receiver lifetime the minimum sCO2 solar receiver cost, 345 €/kWth, was obtained for the smallest pipe diameter.
Solar receiver, Creep-fatigue damage, Heliostat field, Thermal stress, SCO2
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Fernández-Torrijos, M., González-Gómez, P. A., Sobrino, C., & Santana, D. (2021). Economic and thermo-mechanical design of tubular sCO2 central-receivers.In Renewable Energy, 177, pp. 1087-1101