Construction of a CSP plant

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by Maurizio Orsini

The productive potential of a plant C.S.P. depends on the exploitable reflective surface of Horizontal Parabolic mirrors to produce steam, as approximately 4,377 m2 of mirrors can be installe per hectare of "Solar Field" and they concentrate on the "Receptor Tube" about 97% of kWh / m2 of the Site irradiance.


The plant is designed according to standards ANSI B31.1 & ASME VIII. As indicated in "P. & I (DWG-10-01), a" Typical unit of the plant "(UTI), is composed of four circuits which operate in parallel, and independently between them, each one composed of eight pairs of Receptor pipes modules. The plant is "modular" and is based on a typical element constituted by the assembly of four "horixontal parabolic mirrors " mounted in series that constitute the  typical construction "module" of the four circuits in parallel. The production of steam for the operation of generating sets of E / E is realized by "COMPONENTS BATH", which contains inside the four pumps for the circulation of heat transfer fluid and the heat exchanger for steam generation. 


The provided heat transfer fluid is "HOT OIL - WD-350", circulated by four submersible "Lewis" vertical pumps type, housed in the tank components. The instrumentation is able to control the not exceeding of the the maximum operating temperature of the fluid according to the radiance of the time: it does so by varying the flow rate of the four pumps. 


The Solar Field Typical is expected in an area of ​​200 m2 per plant unit. The eight rows of manifolds, (Receptor pipes), with a total length of 1,600 m, are supported on eight horizontal rows of parabolic mirrors for a total of 128 mirrors, and 8,755 M2 surface. The plant is provided to be divided into four parallel circuits with independent operation. For each circuit, solar irradiance is provided on 2,188 m2 of mirrors that concentrate 97% of the KW / h of solar radiation on the Receptor tube. Each line of mirrors will be composed of four modules. The connection between the receptor pipes of the Modules with absorption of the "delta L" is achieved through tight junctions with telescopic device. 


The procedure for automatic operation at the "start-up is as follows: The thermal sensor, basing on the level of solar radiation detected by the instrument, starts the day mode. The production of steam by sending water to the heat exchanger can begin only when the thermo-vector fluid in circulation will reach a temperature input of about 280 ° C. The control of the maximum temperature of the fluid is carried out automatically. Receptor pipes pour the fluid in the heat exchanger at the maximum temperature acquired in the path and this, exchanging with the BFW, produces high pressure steam, pouring the fluid at a residual temperature of approximately 150 ° C. The fluid is then aspirated from the circulation pumps and is returned into circulation through the receptor tubes for the recovery of the temperature disposed in the heat exchanger, repeating the cycle. Being the circuit of Receptor tubes completely devoid of valves, the system does not need the presence of operators and is activated by the movement of the fluid circulationpumps controlled by the control room. The outstanding performance of this system is due to the total quantity of pipes Receptors (1,600 m): These act as heat-conveying fluid carrier in the "fire" of Parabolic Concentrator mirrors, pocketing the thermal energy due to solar irradiation. Considering also that the receiver tube is supported by  mirrors with "vertical shelves" connected to the axis of rotation, about 1.80 meters tall, and therefore flexible, these are not empowered to absorb the axial forces generated by the reaction of metal compensators (bellows), and can not therefore be regarded as the "Fixed Points" required to discharge the  thrust generated by the reaction of metal bellows. The supports of Receptor pipes on the shelves of the mirrors are then suposed to be "SLIDES",which don't exert any axial thrust on the supports. 


The mechanical design of the supporting structure of the mirrors will be referred to the supplier of mirrors, which will be required to design the structure in respect of the earthquake and wind speed expected for metal structures by the rules in force in the plant site. The washing of the reflecting surface of the mirrors will be made according to the maintenance program, through the blade nozzles and a pressurized system of demi-water closed circuit timed, with recovery and treatment of the washing waters. 


The Solar Field will be paved to protect the land from possible pollution caused by leaking or broken pipes. 

An excavation will be made for the basement and the foundation of the "Hot Parts". 

Eight channels will also be build for drainage of mirror washing water, with relative drain tub, filtering and pumping of demi water for each circuit. 

160 stands will be built for the support of the mirrors.


(Site of 2 ha with radiation = 1.3 kW h / m2) 

Because of the variability of the intensity of solar radiation throughout the life period, the calculation is just an indication and is reported  to peak hours. 

The dimensional data of each circuit are: 

- Receptor tube 3 "-sch.10S (section = 54 cm2). 

- Concenrator mirrors = 2,188 m2 - concentration ratio = 98%. 

- Thermo-vector fluid = Heat transfer oil. Type WD-350 cal.spec. KJ / kg 2.88. 

- Circulation pump flow rate: variable from 5 to 20 NM3 / h (with VDF) 

The plant consists of 4 circuits with 128 parabolic mirrors for a total of 8,755 m2 of reflective surface that focus on 1,600 meters of Receptor pipes for about 98% of the radiation of 1.3 kwh/m2 picked equal to: 8.755 x 1 , 3 = 11,380 x .98 = 11,153 kWh. 

The total flow of heat transfer fluid is about 80,000 kg / h. 

The annual production based on the statistic estimate of 1,800 hours / year of solar radiation on the site is provided for 1,800 hours x 5.70 MW / h = 10,260 MWh / y. 


Consumption of pumps. = 4KW x 4 pumps x 8 hours x 365 days = 50 MW / y 

Consumption of mirror rotating system = 50 MW / y 

Consumption of preheating = 32KW / h x 5 min. x 365 days = 1 MW / y 


NET ANNUAL INCOME OF E / E = 10260-101 = 10,159 MW / y

designed by: "Ingegneria Impiantistica C.S.P, Studio  Tecnico  – M. Orsini di Roma"


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