Energy, Vol.175, 891-899, 2019
Performance maximization of a solar aided power generation (SAPG) plant with a direct air-cooled condenser in power-boosting mode
Solar aided (coal-fired) power generation (SAPG) technology has been approved to be an efficient way to use solar energy for power generation. However, most solar-rich areas are often short of cooling water supply, especially in China. The air-cooled condenser could alleviate this issue effectively for power plants in these areas. In this paper, a solar aided power generation with direct air-cool condenser (SAPG + ACC) plant is studied and optimized to maximize its performance. Due to the addition of solar heat in an SAPG plant, the exhaust steam flow rate leaving the turbine changes, especially in power-boost mode, which affects the turbine exit pressure and deviates the condenser from its designed operating condition. To achieve maximum net power output, the correlation among the optimum (turbine) exit pressure (OEP), the solar heat input and the ambient temperature, is obtained in this study. The annual plant's performances with four proposed operating strategies of the air-cooled condenser are compared and analyzed. The results show that for an SAPG + ACC plant, the operating Strategy.3, i.e. operated with the hourly OEP is the optimal one, resulting the plant has annual solar-to-electricity efficiency (SEE) of 17.82% and its levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) is of 0.09 $/kWh. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.