Effect of short cloud shading on the performance of parabolic trough solar power plants: motorized vs manual valves

Authored by Jesus M Garcia, Ricardo Vasquez Padilla, Mohammad Abutayeh, Maree Lake, Yee Yan Lim, Mohammadreza Sedighi, Yen Chean Soo Too, Kwangkook Jeong

Date Published: 2019

DOI: 10.1016/j.renene.2019.04.094

Sponsors: No sponsors listed

Platforms: No platforms listed

Model Documentation: Mathematical description Flow charts Other Narrative

Model Code URLs: Model code not found


This paper uses a dynamic bio-inspired model to simulate cloud movement over a parabolic trough collector solar field. Time-stamped spatially varying solar radiation records resulting from that dynamic model are successively fed into an instantaneous flow distribution model of the same solar field. Two different flow control strategies are simulated to evaluate and compare their impact on plant performance. One strategy employs manual balancing valves resulting in an uneven exit temperature from each loop during cloud cover periods. The other strategy employs motorized balancing valves that constantly adjust to achieve a common desired exit temperature from each loop during cloud cover periods. Model output of both strategies under four different cloud shading conditions are compared. Simulation results showed that employing motorized balancing valves will result in a more efficient operation involving less pressure drop, higher outlet temperature and less pumping load; however, the rate of power generation was almost the same in both strategies. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Flow balance Cloud shading Heat transfer fluid Parabolic trough collectors Concentrating solar power Agent-based model