Hybrid solar-biomass combined Brayton/organic Rankine-cycle plants integrated with thermal storage: Techno-economic feasibility in select Mediterranean areas

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Title: Hybrid solar-biomass combined Brayton/organic Rankine-cycle plants integrated with thermal storage: Techno-economic feasibility in select Mediterranean areas
Authors: Pantaleo, AM
Camporeale, S
Sorrentino, A
Miliozzi, A
Shah, N
Markides, C
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: This paper presents a thermodynamic analysis and techno-economic assessment of a novel hybrid solar-biomass power-generation system configuration composed of an externally fired gas-turbine (EFGT) fuelled by biomass (wood chips) and a bottoming organic Rankine cycle (ORC) plant. The main novelty is related to the heat recovery from the exhaust gases of the EFGT via thermal energy storage (TES), and integration of heat from a parabolic-trough collectors (PTCs) field with molten salts as a heat-transfer fluid (HTF). The presence of a TES between the topping and bottoming cycles facilitates the flexible operation of the system, allows the system to compensate for solar energy input fluctuations, and increases capacity factor and dispatchability. A TES with two molten salt tanks (one cold at 200 °C and one hot at 370 °C) is chosen. The selected bottoming ORC is a superheated recuperative cycle suitable for heat conversion in the operating temperature range of the TES. The whole system is modelled by means of a Python-based software code, and three locations in the Mediterranean area are assumed in order to perform energy-yield analyses: Marseille in France, Priolo Gargallo in Italy and Rabat in Morocco. In each case, the thermal storage that minimizes the levelized cost of energy (LCE) is selected on the basis of the estimated solar radiation and CSP size. The results of the thermodynamic simulations, capital and operational costs assessments and subsidies (feed-in tariffs for biomass and solar electricity available in the Italian framework), allow estimating the global energy conversion efficiency and the investment profitability in the three locations. Sensitivity analyses of the biomass costs, size of PTCs, feed-in tariff and share of cogenerated heat delivered to the load are also performed. The results show that the high investment costs of the CSP section in the proposed size range and hybridization configuration allow investment profitability only in the presence of a dedicated subsidy framework such as the one available in the Italian energy market. In particular, the LCE of the proposed system is around 140 Eur/MWh (with the option to discharge the cogenerated heat) and the IRR is around 15%, based on the Italian electricity subsidy tariffs. The recovery of otherwise discharged heat to match thermal energy demand can significantly increase the investment profitability and compensate the high investment costs of the proposed technology.
Issue Date: 10-Aug-2018
Date of Acceptance: 7-Aug-2018
ISSN: 1879-0682
Publisher: Elsevier
Journal / Book Title: Renewable Energy
Copyright Statement: © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Sponsor/Funder: Engineering & Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC)
Funder's Grant Number: EP/P004709/1
Keywords: 0906 Electrical And Electronic Engineering
0913 Mechanical Engineering
Publication Status: Published online
Open Access location:
Online Publication Date: 2018-08-10
Appears in Collections:Centre for Environmental Policy
Chemical Engineering
Faculty of Natural Sciences

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