Long-Term Heating to Improve Receiver Performance: Paper No. 020006

Gregory Glatzmaier, Robert Cable, Marc Newmarker

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

4 Scopus Citations


The buildup of hydrogen in the heat transfer fluid (HTF) that circulates through components of parabolic trough power plants decreases receiver thermal efficiency, and ultimately, it decreases plant performance and electricity output. The generation and occurrence of hydrogen in the HTF provides the driving force for hydrogen to permeate from the HTF through the absorber tube wall and into the receiver annulus. Getters adsorb hydrogen from the annulus volume until they saturate and are no longer able to maintain low hydrogen pressure. The increase in hydrogen pressure within the annulus significantly degrades thermal performance of the receiver and decreases overall power-plant efficiency. NREL and Acciona Energy North America (Acciona) are developing a method to control the levels of dissolved hydrogen in the circulating HTF. The basic approach is to remove hydrogen from the expansion tanks of the HTF subsystem at a rate that maintains hydrogen in the circulating HTF to a target level. Full-plant steady-state models developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) predict that if hydrogen is removed from the HTF within the expansion tanks, the HTF that circulates through the collector field remains essentially free of hydrogen until the HTF returns to the power block in the hot headers. One of the key findings of our modeling is the prediction that hydrogen will reverse-permeate out of the receiver annulus if dissolved hydrogen in the HTF is kept sufficiently low. To test this prediction, we performed extended heating of an in-service receiver that initially had high levels of hydrogen in its annulus. The heating was performed using NREL's receiver test stand. Results of our testing showed that receiver heat loss steadily decreased with daily heating, resulting in a corresponding improvement in receiver thermal efficiency.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2017
EventSOLARPACES 2016: International Conference on Concentrating Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 11 Oct 201614 Oct 2016


ConferenceSOLARPACES 2016: International Conference on Concentrating Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems
CityAbu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-66772


  • Acciona
  • concentrating solar power
  • CSP
  • heat transfer fluid
  • HTF
  • modeling


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