Project: Hydrogen control in solar thermal parabolic trough heat transfer fluid systems

Acronym Hyconsys (Reference Number: 60)
Duration 01/01/2018 - 31/12/2020
Project Topic The proposal aims at overcoming the existing hydrogen (H2) problem in solar thermal parabolic trough plants. The currently used heat transfer fluids (HTFs) slowly generate H2 that permeates into the evacuated annulus of receiver tubes. This effect causes heat losses that drastically reduce the efficiency of the entire plant. Getters are used as standard equipment in receivers to absorb generated H2 and thus avoid the increased heat losses until the getters are saturated. Under design conditions this will happen after the planned operation lifetime of the plant. A problem arises when the H2 concentration in the HTF is higher than expected and enahnced permeation leads to unacceptably short receiver lifetimes. H2 concentration in the HTF has to be kept below an acceptable level. By measurements performed by DLR in the past years it has been shown that H2 concentrations in the HTF of commercial plants are 10-100 times higher than specified. This causes reduction in receiver lifetime and thus significantly reduced plant performance causing major financial penalties. The general idea of the Hyconsys project is to test measures against H2 accumulation like H2 removal by exchange of nitrogen as well as HTF conditioning in a real CSP plant. This will be accompanied by extensive lab research to understand all relevant processes related to the H2 problem in order to allow the design and optimization of economically feasible measures for effective H2 removal. Results will be integrated into a computer model together with cost models in order to develop a tool for identification of economically feasible measures for H2 removal. The approach will be supported by development of new catalysts for improved H2 removal and simpler techniques for H2 analysis. This set of analyses, developments and increased knowledge will help to overcome the starting H2 problem in existing power plants and will also be indispensable to efficiently design and operate future parabolic trough systems.
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Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 DLR Institute of Solar Research Coordinator Germany
2 CSP Services España, S.L. Partner Spain
3 Marquesado Solar Partner Spain
4 neo hydrogen sensors GmbH Partner Germany