San Diego State University - Minds That Move the World

Solar Energy

SDSU Masters Theses: Kyle Kitzmiller

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Kyle Kitzmiller
Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Candidate)
San Diego State University
Specialization in Thermal Sciences    
2008 - 2010 (expected graduation)


I have developed a FORTRAN code in order to carry out sophisticated thermodynamic analysis of solar power plants with a central receiver physically removed from the turbine by long distance piping. The code accounts for pressure and temperature losses in piping and various components. This analysis can provide overall efficiency calculations for a power plant as a whole, and can provide insight into the relative advantages of regenerative systems and temperature and pressure changes. My current work includes research into possible modes of hybrid operation for a gas phase central receiver. Hybridization schemes involve the combustion of fossil fuels in order to reach design point temperatures in periods of low solar power (such as evening or cloud-cover). Hybridization allows for solar plants to run later into the evening than otherwise possible, thus maximizing power output from the plant. I am currently considering several alternate schemes which would allow for hybrid operation, the most promising of which involves flameless oxidation of natural gas in the receiver itself.

Finally, I am working to determine the final test location for the small particle heat exchange receiver being studied in the Solar Energy and Combustion Lab. This involves comparing the capabilities of different facilities to determine which is optimal for testing the volumetric receiver.