One approach to enabling a larger penetration of renewable sources of energy is the implementation of hybrid power plants. This work presents a process to determine the preliminary optimal configuration of a concentrating solar power-coal hybrid power plant with low solar augmentation, and is demonstrated on a coal power plant in Castle Dale, UT. A representative model is developed and validated against published data for a coal power plant of a different configuration than Hunter Unit 3. The simplifications within the representative model include combining multiple feedwater heaters, combining turbines that operate across the same boundary states, and the mass-average calculation for extraction properties to the combined feedwater heaters. It is shown that the representative model can accurately and consistently simulate a coal power plant. Comparing net power generation and boiler heating estimates from the representative model to the benchmark power plant, the representative model is accurate to within +/- 1% the accepted value from the benchmark power plant. The methods for quantifying solar resource with data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are presented with the derivation of an algorithm to simulate a concentrating solar power field arrangement. The solar contribution to electrical power output is estimated using an exergy balance. A simplified financial model is also developed to estimate the solar marginal levelized cost of electricity and payback time using a cash-flow analysis. Estimates for solar resource, solar contribution, and financial performance are consistent with data published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory or in archival literature. A multi-objective optimization routine is developed consisting of the representative model, the augmentation of solar energy into the solar integration model by means of feedwater heater bypass, solar contribution, levelized cost of electricity, and payback time. Because this study considered complete FWH bypass, higher solar augmentation (>3% of boiler heating) is required for a hybrid design to be considered feasible. However, for higher solar augmentation, the costs are also considerably higher and the financial benefit is insufficient to make any hybrid designs feasible unless a carbon tax is in place. A carbon tax will amplify the financial benefit of hybridization, so optimization results are provided assuming a carbon tax value equivalent to the value used in California's Emissions Trading System (16 USD sh.tn.^-1). The impact of a green energy premium price paid by consumers is also explored in the context of payback time. The resulting optimal design for the Hunter Unit 3 with a carbon tax and no premium is using parabolic trough collector technology at an augment fraction of k=9% to bypass feedwater heater 6. The resulting marginal solar levelized cost of electricity is 9.5 x 10^-4 USD kWh^-1 with an estimated payback time of 25.2 years. This process can be applied to any coal power plant for which operating data and meteorological data are available to evaluate preliminary hybridization feasibility.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





Hybridization, Concentrating solar power, Coal, Augmentation, Renewable energy



Included in

Engineering Commons