A comprehensive analysis of time-dependent performance of a solar chimney power plant equipped with a thermal energy storage system

Amir Arefian, Reza Hosseini-Abardeh, Mohsen Rahimi-Larki, Arman Torkfar, Hamid Sarlak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Solar Chimney Power Plants (SCPP) are among the promising solar thermal electricity generation technologies. Equipped with a Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system, such technologies can overcome variations in the main driving factors such as solar radiation and ambient air temperature. This article presents a comprehensive semi-analytical model of a TES to predict the time-dependent performance of an SCPP. By introducing a Quality Factor of power generation (QF) that includes energy conversion efficiency and capacity factor, the effects of 15 TES materials have been studied on the plant performance. Results indicate no significant difference between water TES and clay or soil type, and water-filled bags or tubes are relatively ineffective in improving performance compared to them. Among the various TES materials analyzed, a type of wet soil, i.e., the specific wet mixture of clay, sand, and silt in closed and dark-colored bags, show excellent performance in both QF enhancement and having low Heat Penetration Depth (HPD) simultaneously. The QF and HPD are directly affected by thermal effusivity and thermal diffusivity, respectively. Implementing wet soil TES for the studied power plant (Manzanares) enhances the QF from 7.46 % (for limestone soil) to 10.95 %. Water-filled bags demonstrate a heat penetration depth of 0.4 m, while wet soil exhibits a slightly greater depth of 0.5 m. Furthermore, water-filled bags experience a broader temperature range of 40 °C, whereas wet soil undergoes a comparatively smaller temperature variation of 26 °C. Furthermore, the capacity factor raises from 41.18 % to 61.07 % when utilizing wet soil TES compared to water-filled bags.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114051
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Solar chimney power plant
  • Thermal energy storage
  • Thermal effusivity
  • Heat penetration depth
  • Capacity factor
  • Power generation quality factor


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