Techno-Economic Analysis of an Alternative Solar Concentration System for Low-Pressure Steam Generation in Small-Scale Industrial Applications


Authors: Arturo Alatrista-Corrales, Antonio García-Velásquez, José Cari-Apaza, and Pedro Flores-Larico
Page Range: 479-501
Published in: International Journal of Energy, Environment, and Economics, Volume 30 Issue 4
ISSN: 1054-853X

Table of Contents


Industrial applications of solar heat not only represent a promising opportunity for commercial diffusion of solar energy but a sustainable way for promoting energy access and economic development in rural areas. With the purpose of addressing the need for efficient and cost-effective design alternatives, this paper presents a novel design for a solar concentration system consisting of an asymmetric parabolic trough concentrator and a fixed-point receiver designed for low concentration ratios. The system does not require an automatic sun tracking system and can be manufactured by hand. The system allows the generation of low-pressure saturated steam, which can be used in small-scale industrial and rural applications. The system was tested in a discontinuous process of ironing for textile garments made with alpaca fiber. The system’s thermal efficiency was calculated using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models; Likewise, the Levelized cost of heat (LCOH) was evaluated as well as the return on investment considering the location of the city of Arequipa-Peru. The system achieved a thermal efficiency of 25%. The investment cost was US$210.00/m2, and the LCOH was US$0.052/kWh. The results show that this system can be cost-effective in non-continuous processes of small-scale industrial applications, specially those that are located in areas with limited or more expensive access to conventional fuels.

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