Paper details

The Variable Geometry Central Receiver System Concept. First Results and Comparison with Conventional Central Receiver Systems


Abstract: In line with the global trend for improving efficiency of existing solar power plants, the CTAER has developed and built a variable geometry central receiver facility, in which the solar field rotates around the tower axis following the sun's position during the day. The goal of this new approach is to increase the optical efficiency of the field by significantly reducing the angle of incidence of the Sun on the heliostats. This paper presents the advantages of this new variable geometry design and describes the main features of the experimental facility based on this approach as built by CTAER in Almeria. It also compares a conventional solar central receiver plant (i.e., with stationary heliostats and receiver) and an equivalent variable geometry power plant. For this study we employed published data from a real solar central receiver plant with known production (Abengoa's PS10). The results of the study show an increase in annual energy collection and distribution by the variable geometry plant, leading to a potential reduction in the number of heliostats required compared to a conventional central receiver plant for the same annual energy collection.