DLR - Institute of Solar Research - DUKE

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Ongoing Research Projects (extract)


(18. March 2014)

Once-Through Concept with Direct Steam Generation

The goal of the research project DUKE is the development and demonstration of the once-through concept for parabolic trough plants with direct steam generation (DSG). Solar fields with DSG generate the steam for a steam turbine directly in the solar field piping, whereas other solar field concepts need an additional heat transfer fluid, like synthetic oil. By that, DSG is more efficient and higher temperatures are possible.
The concept for a “once-through” solar field is rather simple: Water enters the receivers, gets heated, evaporated, and is finally superheated to the desired temperature, all in the same collector loop. Compared to the current commercial DSG concepts, the once-through approach can avoid a lot of piping and tanks, such that investment is significantly lower. At the same time, the efficiency can be increased.


The test instalation on the Plataforma Solar de Almería. Source: DLR


The main challenge is in the control of the process: How can the temperature be stabilized during passing clouds? How can the lifetime of the piping be further increased? These concepts will be developed, implemented and demonstrated during the project. The goal is to get power plants that are easily scalable, non-hazardous to the environment as well as more cost- and energy-efficient.
The new demonstration plant is an extension of the former DISS test facility at the Plataforma Solar de Almería (PSA), which was used for fundamental research as basis for the first commercial DSG plants. The new collector loop will have a length of 1000 meters and will be able to generate steam of 500 degrees Celsius and 110 bar.
The solar research project DUKE is sponsored by the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. Another great part of the investment is financed by DLR itself. The plant will offer worldwide unique opportunities to analyze and develop this technology. The project is implemented together with industrial partners and the test facility will be operated together with the long standing partner CIEMAT (Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas).



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