Model library for direct steam generation
It has been estimated that the introduction of Direct Steam Generation (DSG) technology to parabolic trough solar collectors could result in major improvements in performance as well as cost savings. The INDITEP project was funded during the Fifth Framework Programme to evaluate the potential of large-scale (megawatt) DSG systems. Researchers with the DLR in Germany specialising in solar applications contributed to INDITEP's objectives by providing the software tools necessary for the investigation. They modified an existing simulation tool for conventional power plants entitled IPSEpro to work for solar thermal power plants. Calculation of the heat balance and other parameters was made possible by the creation of DSG-specific model components by DLR. These components have been gathered into a model library that can be exploited for a number of different tasks. For example, the software can be used to design the complex network of solar collectors, separators and other key pieces of equipment that comprise a solar thermal power plant. Subsequently, the model library can provide estimates of the load and electricity generation of the plant when it is fed with the necessary meteorological data (e.g. solar radiation) for a particular region. This functionality was exploited during INDITEP to aid the design of a 5MW test facility in Spain and will assist in the penetration of DSG technology in Europe.