Comparison of Two-Tank Indirect Thermal Storage Designs for Solar Parabolic Trough Power Plants

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


The performance of a solar thermal parabolic trough plant with thermal storage is dependent upon the arrangement of the heat exchangers that ultimately transfer energy from the sun into steam. An indirect two-tank molten salt storage system that only transfers heat with the solar field heat transfer fluid is the most commercially acceptable thermal storage design. Annual electricity generation from two differing indirect two-tank molten salt storage designs and a base case with no thermal storage were modeled. Four components were characterized in a quasi-steady state analysis dependent upon key ambient and operational parameters: solar field, storage, heat exchangers, and power block. The parameters for the collector field remained constant for all models and were based on the SEGS VI plant. The results of net power generation favor storage though the design that maximizes annual output depends on whether maximum power generation or power generation during the evening peak demand hours is desired. Additionally, the economic trade offs are discussed for the three arrangements.


Heat – Transmission; Liquid sodium; Parabolic troughs; Solar collectors; Solar power plants; Storage batteries


Energy Systems | Heat Transfer, Combustion | Mechanical Engineering | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Power and Energy | Sustainability | Thermodynamics


Conference held: San Francisco, California, USA, July 19–23, 2009


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