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Techno-Economic Optimization and Benchmarking of a Solar-Only Powered Combined Cycle with High-Temperature TES Upstream the Gas Turbine

Zaversky, Fritz; Les, Iñigo; Sánchez, Marcelino; Valentin, Benoît; Brau, Jean-Florian; Siros, Frédéric; McGuire, Jonathon; Berard, Flavien

This work presents a techno-economic parametric study of an innovative central receiver solar thermal power plant layout that applies the combined cycle (CC) as thermodynamic power cycle and a multi-tower solar field configuration together with open volumetric air receivers. The topping gas turbine is powered by an air-air heat exchanger (two heat exchanger trains in the case of reheat). In order to provide dispachability, a high-temperature thermocline TES system is placed upstream the gas turbine. The aim is threefold, (i) investigating whether the multi-tower concept has a techno-economic advantage with respect to conventional single-tower central receiver plants, (ii) indicating the techno-economic optimum power plant configuration, (iii) benchmarking the techno-economic optimum of the CC plant against that of a conventional single-cycle Rankine steam plant with the same receiver and TES technology. It is concluded that the multi-tower configuration has a techno-economic advantage with respect to the conventional single-tower arrangement above a total nominal solar power level of about 150 MW. However, the benchmarking of the CC against a Rankine single-cycle power plant layout shows that the CC configuration has despite its higher solar-to-electric conversion efficiency a higher LCOE. The gain in electricity yield is not enough to outweigh the higher investment costs of the more complex CC plant layout.

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