Recent studies have evaluated closed-loop supercritical carbon dioxide (s-CO2) Brayton cycles to be a higher energy-density system in comparison to conventional superheated steam Rankine systems. At turbine inlet conditions of 923K and 25 MPa, high thermal efficiency (∼50%) can be achieved. Achieving these high efficiencies will make concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies a competitive alternative to current power generation methods. To incorporate a s-CO2 Brayton power cycle in a solar power tower system, the development of a solar receiver capable of providing an outlet temperature of 923 K (at 25 MPa) is necessary. The s-CO2 will need to increase in temperature by ∼200 K as it passes through the solar receiver to satisfy the temperature requirements of a s-CO2 Brayton cycle with recuperation and recompression. In this study, an optical-thermal-fluid model was developed to design and evaluate a tubular receiver that will receive a heat input ∼2 MWth from a heliostat field. The ray-tracing tool SolTrace was used to obtain the heat-flux distribution on the surfaces of the receiver. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling using the Discrete Ordinates (DO) radiation model was used to predict the temperature distribution and the resulting receiver efficiency. The effect of flow parameters, receiver geometry and radiation absorption by s-CO2 were studied. The receiver surface temperatures were found to be within the safe operational limit while exhibiting a receiver efficiency of ∼85%.

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