(724e) Maximizing the Output of a Solar and Natural Gas Hybrid Power Plant Using Real-Time Optimization

Rashid, K., University of Utah
Powell, K. M., University of Utah
Due to limited supply of fossil fuels and growing concern of the impact of greenhouse gases on the environment, the world is looking for alternative fuels, which are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Solar energy technologies are considered among the leading renewable energy sources due to recent technological advancement and improved economics. Because intermittency of supply is a problem in solar energy systems, they can be hybridized with dispatchable fuel sources to ensure supply when the sun is not available [1]. The importance of hybridizing renewable energy systems is increasing due to the fact that it improves the economics, efficiency and reliability [2]. Hybridizing these energy sources also provides the advantage of sharing infrastructure that further reduces the capital cost. This work focuses on using real-time optimization (RTO) for a 100 MWe hybrid plant so that the system utilizes its flexibility to ensure peak performance. This operational strategy allows the plant to read in the current environmental conditions, such as the amount of solar energy available in real time, in order to rigorously determine the plant’s optimal set points. Because the plant is continuously optimized as conditions change, it is able to fully leverage its degrees of freedom, most notably the ability to direct solar heat to different parts of the plant, depending on the current level of radiation. Findings show that the system is synergistic in that, by operating in hybrid mode and applying RTO, the system makes much more efficient use of the available solar energy.


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