Performance evaluation of a solar chimney power plant

Hedderwick, Richard Anthony (2000-12)

Thesis (MScEng (Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2000.


A solar chimney power plant consists of a central chimney that is surrounded by a transparent canopy located a few meters above ground level. The ground beneath this canopy or collector as it is known is heated by the solar radiation that is effectively trapped by the collector. This in turn heats the air in the collector, which flows radially inwards towards the chimney. This movement is driven by the difference between the hydrostatic pressure of the air inside- and outside the solar chimney system. The energy is extracted from the air by a turbine driven generator situated at the base of the chimney. The performance of such a solar chimney power plant is evaluated in this study making use of a detailed mathematical model. In this model the relevant discretised energy and draught equations are deduced and solved to determine the performance of a specific plant referred to as the "reference plant". This plant is to be located at a site near Sishen in the Northern Cape in South Africa where meteorological data is available. The performance characteristics of this plant are presented using values from the 21 st of December as an example. These characteristics include the instantaneous and integrated power output, as well as the absorption of the solar radiation of each of the parts of the collector. The air temperatures throughout the plant and the convective heat transfer coefficients in the collector in the region of developing and fully developed flow are presented. The pressure of the air throughout the system is presented as well as the pressure drop over the turbine. Temperature distributions in the ground below the collector are also presented and discussed.

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