Solar Energy, Vol.176, 589-603, 2018
Optimal start-up operating strategies for gas-boosted parabolic trough solar power plants
Concentrating solar power plants are taking an increasing share in the renewable energy generation market. Parabolic trough is one of such technologies and the most commercially mature. However, this technology still suffers from technical challenges that need to be addressed. As these power plants experience daily start-up procedures, the optimal performance in transient operation needs to be considered. This paper presents a performance based modelling tool for a gas-boosted parabolic trough power plant. The objective of the paper is to define an optimal operational strategy of the power plant start-up procedure with the aim of minimizing its fuel consumption while at the same time maximizing its electric energy output, taking into account all the thermo-mechanical constraints involved in the procedure. Heating rate constraints of the steam generator and the booster heater, and the steam turbine start-up schedule were considered. The simulation model was developed based on a power plant located near Abu Dhabi, and was validated against real operational data with a maximum integral relative deviation of 4.3% for gross electric energy production. A multi-objective optimization was performed for a typical operating week during winter and spring weather conditions. The results suggest that in order to minimize the fuel consumption and at the same time maximize the electric energy production, an evaporator heating rate of 6 K/min is an optimal value both for winter and spring conditions.