Transient thermo-mechanical analysis of steam generators for solar tower plants
Abstract In solar power tower plants, fast start-ups and/or load changes are mandatory to increase the power plant dispatchability. The high temperatures of the working fluids and the partial-load operation will reduce the lifetime of the thick-walled components at the steam generator. Therefore, a proper heat exchanger design should consider the stress evolution during the transient operation of the plant. This work addresses, for the first time, a methodology to determine the dynamic behavior of all heat exchangers of a steam generator train. The methodology proposed here is a powerful tool for the design of solar power plants. The stress analysis model identifies the most important components of the steam generation train during transient operation. The methodology consists of the combination of analytical models to obtain the coupled response of the steam generation train from the following dynamic variables: temperature, pressure and stress. An example of this methodology is presented for two start-up initial conditions: the assumption of non-isothermal and isothermal temperature profiles of the heat exchangers. A steam generator train based on conventional shell and tube heat exchangers is analyzed. The analysis shows that the non-isothermal condition takes approximately 50 min to reach nominal conditions, whereas the isothermal condition takes approximately 110 min, requiring 600 tons and 716 tons of hot salt to perform the start-up procedure, respectively. Highlights Thermal-stress modeling of the steam-generator dynamic behavior for a solar tower plant. The highest stresses occur in the superheater tubesheet junction. High stresses were found under part-load conditions instead of nominal conditions. Start-up takes between 50 min and 110 min, depending on the steam-generator initial-condition. Between 600 tons and 716 tons of hot salt are needed for the start-up procedure.
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