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CFD simulation of CSP heat storage for the Aalborg CSP project at Sundrop farm in Australia

2019.01.29     From: Jan Rusås

Heat Storage tank from Aalborg CSP for the Sundrop farm


R&R Consult aided Aalborg CSP in the development of the Sundrop concentrated solar power system in Port Augusta, Australia. The 36.6 MWth solar plant has been in operation since October 2016, delivering sustainable energy for the Sundrop Farms’ greenhouses. More than 23,000 computer-controlled mirrors reflect the sun’s rays towards a 127 m high solar tower, using the concentrated energy to generate green heat and electricity. The plant also provides the farm with fresh water through desalination of seawater from the nearby Spencer Gulf. The system saves up to 16,000 tons of CO2, annually and enables year-round agricultural activity in the Australian dessert. This enables the production of 17,000 tons of vegetables annually, accounting for 15% of Australia’s tomato market. 


R&R Consult’s helped design and optimize the operation of the heat storage tank, providing buffer for the fluctuating heat demands. New water is injected through several manifolds at the top of the storage unit. R&R Consult was charged with simulating the spray at several operational loads, temperature and mass flow rate, to evaluate whether the injected fluid was optimally distributed and to make sure it did not interfere with the buffer layers in the storage tank. 


The simulation was a transient (time-dependent) model, with temperature dependent density to determine the flow and temperature field after a given time of active spray. The simulations successfully helped map the nozzle flow distribution in the manifolds as well as the spray distribution of new water injected into the storage tank.



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