Energy availability has always been an essential component of human civilization and the energetic consumption is directly linked to the produced wealth. In many depressed countries the level of solar radiation is considerably high and it could be the primary energy source under conditions that low cost, simple-to-be-used technologies are employed. Then, it is responsibility of the most advanced countries to develop new equipments to allow this progress for taking place. A large part of the energetic forecast, based on economic projection for the next decades, ensure us that fossil fuel supplies will be largely enough to cover the demand. The predicted and consistent increase in the energetic demand will be more and more covered by a larger use of fossil fuels, without great technology innovations. A series of worrying consequences are involved in the above scenario: important climatic changes are linked to strong CO2 emissions; sustainable development is hindered by some problems linked to certainty of oil and natural gas supply; problems of global poverty are not solved but amplified by the unavoidable increase in fossil fuel prices caused by an increase in demand. These negative aspects can be avoided only if a really innovative and more acceptable technology will be available in the next decades at a suitable level to impress a substantial effect on the society. Solar energy is the ideal candidate to break this vicious circle between economic progress and consequent greenhouse effect. The low penetration on the market shown today by the existent renewable technologies, solar energy included, is explained by well-known reasons: the still high costs of the produced energy and the “discontinuity” of both solar and wind energies. These limitations must be removed in reasonable short times, with the support of innovative technologies, in view of such an urgent scenario. On this purpose ENEA, on the basis of the Italian law n. 388/2000, has started an R&D program addressed to the development of CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) systems able to take advantage of solar energy as heat source at high temperature. One of the most relevant objectives of this research program (Rubbia, 2001) is the study of CSP systems operating in the field of medium temperatures (about 550°C), directed towards the development of a new and low-cost technology to concentrate the direct radiation and efficiently convert solar energy into high temperature heat; another aspect is focused on the production of hydrogen by means of thermo-chemical processes at temperatures above 800°C. As well as cost reductions, the current innovative ENEA conception aims to introduce a set of innovations, concerning: i) The parabolic-trough solar collector: an innovative design to reduce production costs, installation and maintenance and to improve thermal efficiency is defined in collaboration with some Italian industries; ii) The heat transfer fluid: the synthetic hydrocarbon oil, which is flammable, expensive and unusable beyond 400°C, is substituted by a mixture of molten salts (sodium and potassium nitrate), widely used in the industrial field and chemically stable up to 600°C; iii) The thermal storage (TES): it allows for the storage of solar energy, which is then used when energy is not directly available from the sun (night and covered sky) (Pilkington, 2000). After some years of R&D activities, ENEA has built an experimental facility (defined within the Italian context as PCS, “Prova Collettori Solari”) at the Research Centre of Casaccia in Rome (ENEA, 2003), which incorporates the main proposed innovative elements. The next step is to test these innovations at full scale by means of a demonstration plant, as envisioned by the “Archimede” ENEA/ENEL Project in Sicily. Such a project is designed to upgrade the ENEL thermo-electrical combined-cycle power plant by about 5 MW, using solar thermal energy from concentrating parabolic-trough collectors. Particularly, the Chapter will focus on points i) and iii) above: - loads, actions, and more generally, the whole design procedure for steel components of parabolic-trough solar concentrators will be considered in agreement with the Limit State method, as well as a new approach will be critically and carefully proposed to use this method in designing and testing “special structures” such as the one considered here; - concrete tanks durability under prolonged thermal loads and temperature variations will be estimated by means of an upgraded F.E. coupled model for heat and mass transport (plus mechanical balance). The presence of a surrounding soil volume will be additionally accounted for to evaluate environmental risk scenarios. Specific technological innovations will be considered, such as: -higher structural safety related to the reduced settlements coming from the chosen shape of the tank (a below-grade cone shape storage); - employment of HPC containment structures and foundations characterized by lower costs with respect to stainless steel structures; - substitution of highly expensive corrugated steel liners with plane liners taking advantage of the geometric compensation of thermal dilations due to the conical shape of the tank; - possibility of employing freezing passive systems for the concrete basement made of HPC, able to sustain temperature levels higher than those for OPC; - fewer problems when the tank is located on low-strength soils.

New trends in designing parabolic trough solar concentrators and heat storage concrete systems in solar power plants

SALOMONI, VALENTINA;MAIORANA, CARMELO;
2010

Abstract

Energy availability has always been an essential component of human civilization and the energetic consumption is directly linked to the produced wealth. In many depressed countries the level of solar radiation is considerably high and it could be the primary energy source under conditions that low cost, simple-to-be-used technologies are employed. Then, it is responsibility of the most advanced countries to develop new equipments to allow this progress for taking place. A large part of the energetic forecast, based on economic projection for the next decades, ensure us that fossil fuel supplies will be largely enough to cover the demand. The predicted and consistent increase in the energetic demand will be more and more covered by a larger use of fossil fuels, without great technology innovations. A series of worrying consequences are involved in the above scenario: important climatic changes are linked to strong CO2 emissions; sustainable development is hindered by some problems linked to certainty of oil and natural gas supply; problems of global poverty are not solved but amplified by the unavoidable increase in fossil fuel prices caused by an increase in demand. These negative aspects can be avoided only if a really innovative and more acceptable technology will be available in the next decades at a suitable level to impress a substantial effect on the society. Solar energy is the ideal candidate to break this vicious circle between economic progress and consequent greenhouse effect. The low penetration on the market shown today by the existent renewable technologies, solar energy included, is explained by well-known reasons: the still high costs of the produced energy and the “discontinuity” of both solar and wind energies. These limitations must be removed in reasonable short times, with the support of innovative technologies, in view of such an urgent scenario. On this purpose ENEA, on the basis of the Italian law n. 388/2000, has started an R&D program addressed to the development of CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) systems able to take advantage of solar energy as heat source at high temperature. One of the most relevant objectives of this research program (Rubbia, 2001) is the study of CSP systems operating in the field of medium temperatures (about 550°C), directed towards the development of a new and low-cost technology to concentrate the direct radiation and efficiently convert solar energy into high temperature heat; another aspect is focused on the production of hydrogen by means of thermo-chemical processes at temperatures above 800°C. As well as cost reductions, the current innovative ENEA conception aims to introduce a set of innovations, concerning: i) The parabolic-trough solar collector: an innovative design to reduce production costs, installation and maintenance and to improve thermal efficiency is defined in collaboration with some Italian industries; ii) The heat transfer fluid: the synthetic hydrocarbon oil, which is flammable, expensive and unusable beyond 400°C, is substituted by a mixture of molten salts (sodium and potassium nitrate), widely used in the industrial field and chemically stable up to 600°C; iii) The thermal storage (TES): it allows for the storage of solar energy, which is then used when energy is not directly available from the sun (night and covered sky) (Pilkington, 2000). After some years of R&D activities, ENEA has built an experimental facility (defined within the Italian context as PCS, “Prova Collettori Solari”) at the Research Centre of Casaccia in Rome (ENEA, 2003), which incorporates the main proposed innovative elements. The next step is to test these innovations at full scale by means of a demonstration plant, as envisioned by the “Archimede” ENEA/ENEL Project in Sicily. Such a project is designed to upgrade the ENEL thermo-electrical combined-cycle power plant by about 5 MW, using solar thermal energy from concentrating parabolic-trough collectors. Particularly, the Chapter will focus on points i) and iii) above: - loads, actions, and more generally, the whole design procedure for steel components of parabolic-trough solar concentrators will be considered in agreement with the Limit State method, as well as a new approach will be critically and carefully proposed to use this method in designing and testing “special structures” such as the one considered here; - concrete tanks durability under prolonged thermal loads and temperature variations will be estimated by means of an upgraded F.E. coupled model for heat and mass transport (plus mechanical balance). The presence of a surrounding soil volume will be additionally accounted for to evaluate environmental risk scenarios. Specific technological innovations will be considered, such as: -higher structural safety related to the reduced settlements coming from the chosen shape of the tank (a below-grade cone shape storage); - employment of HPC containment structures and foundations characterized by lower costs with respect to stainless steel structures; - substitution of highly expensive corrugated steel liners with plane liners taking advantage of the geometric compensation of thermal dilations due to the conical shape of the tank; - possibility of employing freezing passive systems for the concrete basement made of HPC, able to sustain temperature levels higher than those for OPC; - fewer problems when the tank is located on low-strength soils.
2010
Solar Energy
9789533070520
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/2437938
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