Modeling and Simulation of Solar Chimney Power Plant with and without the Effect of Thermal Energy Storage Systems

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Addis Ababa University


A solar updraft tower power plant – sometimes also called 'solar chimney' or just ‘solar tower’ – is a solar thermal power plant utilizing a combination of solar air collector and central updraft tube to generate a solar induced convective flow which drives pressure staged turbines to generate electricity. Several technologies exist that can convert solar energy into electrical energy. The solar chimney is part of the solar thermal groups of solar conversion technologies. Of these technologies the solar dish has the highest energy efficiency (the current record is a conversion efficiency of 30% of solar energy). Solar trough plants have been built with efficiencies of about 20%. The solar chimney has an efficiency of less than 2%. However, due to its greater scale and simplicity, the solar chimney may have an economic efficiency approaching or exceeding that of the other methods. To improve efficiency of the plant thermal storage system is used. Thermal storage system improves the power output by re-shaping the profile of the power output. The most commonly suggested method for creating energy storage is to place extra thermal mass under the collector in the form of black containers of water. In this paper both the solar chimney power plants: the plant with and without thermal storage system are simulated for the case of Afar region using Fluent and the effect of turbine position is also analyzed. The cost of the power output per kilowatt-hour is reduced while using the thermal storage system. It also regulates the power output. The power output increases as the turbine is positioned at higher position but the cost of the chimney so the plants cost increases very much. Solar chimneys are very suitable for use in remote communities where there is high solar energy capacity; such as Afar and Somalia, as a power source for both residential and industrial use, based on reliability, cost, and operational factors. They can provide a suitable energy source in many remote areas of Ethiopia, including areas that are not currently supplied by conventional means.



Mechanical Engineering