Abstract

Supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) cycles are studied as the next-generation power cycles in order to reduce the cost of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plants. The design performance of numerous cycles has been investigated, nevertheless, the off-design and annual performance of these cycles are seldom studied. This plays a critical role in selecting an optimal cycle for CSP application, as an efficient power cycle influences the solar field size, consequently affecting the Levelised cost of electricity (LCOE). In this study, the design, off-design and annual performance of three sCO2 cycles; simple recuperative, recompression and partial-cooling cycles are studied. Multi-objective optimisation was performed and the off-design Pareto fronts were compared for the changes in the power cycle boundary conditions. Annual performance simulation was carried out, and the performance of the three cycles was compared when the power cycle is operated in maximum efficiency mode, which facilitates selecting the optimal cycle. The LCOE of the simple recuperated cycle was higher by roughly 1.7¢/kWh than recompression cycle when maximising the power cycle efficiency and the partial cooling cycle is higher by 0.2¢/kWh. However, operating the power cycle in the maximum efficiency mode significantly lowers the plant capacity factor (around 10–20%).

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