Simulation of thermal hydraulic performance of multiple parallel micropin arrays for concentrating solar thermal applications with supercritical carbon dioxide Public Deposited

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  • Concentrated solar power (CSP) plants have the potential to provide 24 h, renewable electricity. Current CSP systems have high capital and operational costs which makes the levelized cost of electricity uncompetitive with conventional techniques. Recent experimental research has shown the potential of small unit cells (up to 2 × 2 cm) containing micropin arrays (DH < 1 mm) to operate efficiently at high incident flux (>140 W cm−2) using supercritical carbon dioxide as the working fluid. Applying this technology to CSP systems would result in a smaller central receiver, which would reduce thermal losses, increase receiver efficiency and reduce the capital cost of the receiver component. This study investigates and addresses the practical thermal and hydraulic issues in numbering up these small unit cells into numerous parallel cells within an integrated module design. A thermal hydraulic network model is developed to quantify the distribution and the overall receiver efficiency of an integrated module. This model is used to specify maximum allowable unit cell size and header dimensions to maintain acceptable thermal performance and pressure loss. Once a module design was finalized, parametric studies were performed to study the effects of varying incident flux on flow distribution and thermal performance of the module. The results show that an integrated module design can be achieved with less than 5% flow maldistribution and a pressure drop acceptable to the remainder of the system.
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  • 164
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