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Innovation in Solar Thermal Chimney Power Plants

Cottam, PJ; (2018) Innovation in Solar Thermal Chimney Power Plants. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis analyses novel technology for renewable electricity generation: the solar thermal chimney (STC) power plant and the suspended chimney (SC) as a plant component. The STC consists of a solar collector, a tall chimney located at the centre of the collector, and turbines and generators at the base of the chimney. Air heated in the collector rises up the chimney under buoyancy and generates power in the turbines. STCs have the potential to generate large amounts of power, but research is required to improve their economic viability. A state-of-the-art STC model was developed, focussing on accurate simulation of collector thermodynamics, and providing data on flow characteristics and plant performance. It was used to explore power generation for matched component dimensions, where for given chimney heights, a range of chimney and collector radii were investigated. Matched dimensions are driven by the collector thermal components approaching thermal equilibrium. This analysis was complemented with a simple cost model to identify the most cost-effective STC configurations. The collector canopy is an exceptionally large structure. Many of the designs proposed in the literature are either complex to manufacture or limit performance. This thesis presents and analyses a series of novel canopy profiles which are easier to manufacture and can be incorporated with little loss in performance. STC chimneys are exceptionally tall slender structures and supporting their self-weight is difficult. This thesis proposes to re-design the chimney as a fabric structure, held aloft with lighter-than-air gas. The performance of initial, small scale suspended chimney prototypes under lateral loading was investigated experimentally to assess the response to wind loads. A novel method of stiffening is proposed and design of larger prototypes developed. The economic viability of a commercial-scale suspended chimney was investigated, yielding cost reductions compared to conventional chimney designs.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Innovation in Solar Thermal Chimney Power Plants
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10045417
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