Direct Steam Generation

In current trough power plants, a heat transfer medium is used to transfer the heat from the solar field to the heat exchangers in the central power block area. One disadvantage of this concept is the limited upper temperature (400 °C) of the fluid circuit due to thermal stability of the transfer medium. With this temperature limit, the power cycle efficiency is limited as well.

An option is to use water/steam as heat transfer fluid from the solar field to the power cycle. Main advantages of these concepts are:

  • Higher power cycle efficiency due to higher live steam temperatures
  • Less investment costs due to avoidance of a secondary synthetic transfer medium cycle (less heat exchangers, no costs for the transfer fluid)
  • Lower auxiliary consumption for pumping

Within the projects "DISS I + II" and "Inditep", co-funded by the European Commission, the feasibility has been successfully demonstrated by erection and operation of a test loop at the Plataforma Solar de Almería.