Performance analysis of a Kalina cycle for a central receiver solar thermal power plant with direct steam generation

Anish Modi, Fredrik Haglind

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Solar thermal power plants have attracted increasing interest in the past few years - with respect to both the design of the various plant components, and extending the operation hours by employing different types of storage systems. One approach to improve the overall plant efficiency is to use direct steam generation with water/steam as both the heat transfer fluid in the solar receivers and the cycle working fluid. This enables operating the plant with higher turbine inlet temperatures. Available literature suggests that it is feasible to use ammonia-water mixtures at high temperatures without corroding the equipment by using suitable additives with the mixture. The purpose of the study reported here was to investigate if there is any benefit of using a Kalina cycle for a direct steam generation, central receiver solar thermal power plant with high live steam temperature (450 C) and pressure (over 100 bar). Thermodynamic performance of the Kalina cycle in terms of the plant exergy efficiency was evaluated and compared with a simple Rankine cycle. The rates of exergy destruction for the different components in the two cycles were also calculated and compared. The results suggest that the simple Rankine cycle exhibits better performance than the Kalina cycle when the heat input is only from the solar receiver. However, when using a two-tank molten-salt storage system as the primary source of heat input, the Kalina cycle showed an advantage over the simple Rankine cycle because of about 33 % reduction in the storage requirement. The solar receiver showed the highest rate of exergy destruction for both the cycles. The rates of exergy destruction in other components of the cycles were found to be highly dependent on the amount of recuperation, and the ammonia mass fraction and pressure at the turbine inlet. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)201-208
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Solar thermal power plant
  • Direct steam generation
  • Kalina cycle
  • Exergy analysis


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