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Integration of dsg technology for electricity production - (INDITEP)

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Simulating transient solar energy

An innovative simulation tool allows a detailed analysis of a solar power system's response to fluctuations in irradiation.


The process of direct steam generation has been considered to be a very promising solution for use in parabolic trough solar collectors. Its adoption in the absorber pipes of the collectors can bring significant cost reductions in a solar power plant since it involves great savings in the electricity produced. Aiming at integrating this innovation in the energy market, the INDITEP project developed an engineering design for a 5MWe pre-commercial direct steam generation power plant. Advanced components such as an inexpensive water-steam separator that may improve the competitiveness of this technology were also generated. Another important project result was a socio-economic study for the specification of potential market niches along with an assessment of the new technology's integration potential. Researchers also focused on the enhancement of the plant's key components and its operation procedures in order to assure good performance when it becomes commercialised. In order to improve the system's response to fluctuations in solar energy, a numerical software application was developed. The tool provides a detailed analysis of the solar irradiations' variations and simulation of the transient behaviour of parabolic trough collector rows. Based on an object-oriented code, the software modelling tool allows a large variability in the arrangement of configurations. Additionally, the model can easily be adapted to provide simulations of pipe flow applications other than those found in parabolic trough collectors. Implemented in a plant control system, the tool could provide significant savings as it may aid the system's appropriate adjustment according to solar energy supply.

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