Title

Off-design performance analysis of a closed-cycle ocean thermal energy conversion system with solar thermal preheating and superheating

Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

1-1-2014

Abstract

This article reports the off-design performance analysis of a closed-cycle ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) system when a solar thermal collector is integrated as an add-on preheater or superheater. Design-point analysis of a simple OTEC system was numerically conducted to generate a gross power of 100kW, representing a base OTEC system. In order to improve the power output of the OTEC system, two ways of utilizing solar energy are considered in this study: (1) preheating of surface seawater to increase its input temperature to the cycle and (2) direct superheating of the working fluid before it enters a turbine. Obtained results reveal that both preheating and superheating cases increase the net power generation by 20-25% from the design-point. However, the preheating case demands immense heat load on the solar collector due to the huge thermal mass of the seawater, being less efficient thermodynamically. The superheating case increases the thermal efficiency of the system from 1.9% to around 3%, about a 60% improvement, suggesting that this should be a better approach in improving the OTEC system. This research provides thermodynamic insight on the potential advantages and challenges of adding a solar thermal collection component to OTEC power plants. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Publication Title

Renewable Energy

Volume

72

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