Divided by solar energy collection methods, there are three main types of solar thermal power plants: tower type, trough type and pan type. This article introduces disc solar thermal power generation.
The disc solar thermal power generation system has a relatively small power, generally 5-50 kW, which can generate power separately or form a larger power generation system. The United States, Australia and other countries have some applications, but the scale is not large. Studies have shown that the disc-type solar thermal power generation system used in space has the advantages of low aerodynamic resistance, low launch quality and low operating cost compared with photovoltaic power generation systems. The United States began to conduct feasibility studies in 1988 and plans to conduct launch tests in the near future. In the low-temperature solar power generation plan, Israel has successively built three solar pool power stations along the coast of the Dead Sea. The first power station was 150kW, which was put into operation in 1979. Israel had planned to build a series of solar pool power stations around the Dead Sea to provide one-third of Israel’s electricity needs. The United States also planned to turn a part of the Salton Sea in southern California into a solar pond, and build a solar pond power station of 800,000 to 6 million kW. Later, Israel and the United States changed their solar pool power generation plans. In addition to the above-mentioned solar thermal power generation methods, a solar exhausted thermal power station was built in Spain in 1983; Israel and the United States planned to build solar magnetic fluid thermal power generation test devices; and research on solar seawater temperature difference power generation was also carried out. Solar thermal power generation technologies suitable for low power include solar thermal ion power generation and thermoelectric power generation, which have been applied in special occasions.
Limited by funding and technical conditions in the field of solar thermal power generation, China has done relatively little work. During the “Sixth Five-Year Plan” period, a solar tower thermal power generation simulation device with a power of 1kW and a flat-plate solar thermal power generation simulation device with a power of 1kW were established. In addition, China has also cooperated with the United States to design and prototype a disk-type solar power generation device with a power of 5 kW.
At the end of the 1970s, Xiangtan Electric Machinery Factory cooperated with the United States to build a dish-type solar thermal power generation experimental device. The condenser lens has a diameter of 7.5 m and is made of aluminum alloy, which is formed in blocks and assembled. Aluminized film on the surface, a computer-controlled dual-axis tracking system uses heat transfer oil to absorb heat, and then transfers the heat to the organic working medium to drive the worm gear generator set to generate electricity, and the experimental device generates 3kW.
In the late 1970s, the Institute of Electrical Engineering of the Chinese Academy of Sciences conducted applied basic research on solar thermal power generation, including solar collectors, solar radiation absorption coatings, and Stirling engines. During the “Eighth Five-Year Plan” period, the Beijing Institute of Solar Energy and the Institute of Electrical Engineering of the Chinese Academy of Sciences undertook key technology research projects for solar thermal power generation; the Institute of Electrical Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences has developed a trough-type line focusing device, has conducted research on trough-type parabolic heat collection systems, and has achieved gratifying results. The University of Science and Technology of China and the Institute of Electrical Engineering of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have done in-depth research on non-imaging CPC heat collection and enhanced heat transfer. These have laid the foundation for the research and development of China’s solar thermal power generation technology.