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Development and Validation of a Thermo-Economic Model for Design Optimisation and Off-Design Performance Evaluation of a Pure Solar Microturbine

Iaria, D., Nipkey, H., Al Zaili, J. , Sayma, A. I. ORCID: 0000-0003-2315-0004 & Assadi, M. (2018). Development and Validation of a Thermo-Economic Model for Design Optimisation and Off-Design Performance Evaluation of a Pure Solar Microturbine. Energies, 11(11), article number 3199. doi: 10.3390/en11113199


The aim of this paper is to present a thermo-economic model of a microturbine for solar dish applications, which demonstrates the applicability and accuracy of the model for off-design performance evaluation and techno-economic optimisation purposes. The model is built using an object-oriented programming approach. Each component is represented using a class made of functions that perform a one-dimensional physical design, off-design performance analysis and the component cost evaluation. Compressor, recuperator, receiver and turbine models are presented and validated against experimental data available in literature, and each demonstrated good accuracy for a wide range of operating conditions. A 7-kWe microturbine and solar irradiation data available for Rome between 2004 and 2005 were considered as a case study, and the thermo-economic analysis of the plant was performed to estimate the levelised cost of electricity based on the annual performance of the plant. The overall energy produced by the plant is 10,682 kWh, the capital cost has been estimated to be EUR 27,051 and, consequently, the specific cost of the plant, defined as the ratio between the cost of components and output power in design condition, has been estimated to be around EUR 3980/kWe. Results from the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) analysis demonstrate a levelised cost of electricity of EUR 22.81/kWh considering a plant lifetime of 25 years. The results of the present case study have been compared with the results from IPSEpro 7 where the same component characteristic maps and operational strategy were considered. This comparison was aimed to verify the component matching procedure adopted for the present model. A plant sizing optimisation was then performed to determine the plant size which minimises the levelised cost of electricity. The design space of the optimisation variable is limited to the values 0.07–0.16 kg/s. Results of the optimisation demonstrate a minimum LCOE of 21.5 [EUR/kWh] for a design point mass flow rate of about 0.11 kg/s. This corresponds to an overall cost of the plant of around EUR 32,600, with a dish diameter of 9.4 m and an annual electricity production of 13,700 [kWh].

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
Publisher Keywords: solar dish; micro gas turbine; thermo-economic model; concentrated solar power
Subjects: T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
SWORD Depositor:
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