San Diego State University - Minds That Move the World

Solar Energy

SDSU Masters Theses: Pablo Fernandez del Campo

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Pablo Fernández del Campo
Research Assistant at SDSU Combustion and Solar Energy Lab,
Sep 2012 - Jun 2013
Industrial Engineer (5-year degree) - University of Valladolid, 2013



I am interested in the fields of fluid mechanics, thermal sciences, and applied and computational mathematics. While at SDSU Combustion and Solar Energy Lab, my research was focused on the development of a multi-physics numerical-stochastic model to simulate the fluid flow and radiative heat transfer in a Small Particle Heat Exchange Receiver (SPHER); a revolutionary, high-temperature receiver to drive Brayton or combined-cycle CSP plants. The thermo-fluid dynamic modeling of the Small Particle Heat Exchange Receiver requires solving a system of eight coupled, non-linear integro-partial differential equations in six independent variables. In order to solve such a complicated problem, the steady-state Reynolds-Averaged Navier Stokes and energy equations, together with the two equations of the SST κ-ω turbulence model, are solved numerically by the CFD package ANSYS Fluent; while an in-house Monte Carlo Ray Tracing (MCRT) method is employed for the radiative heat transfer. The CFD solver and the MCRT code are coupled together via User-Defined Functions (UDFs) and iterate alternatively until convergence. The adaptive solution procedure was optimized to prevent numerical oscillations and reduce the CPU time by approximately two orders of magnitude compared to the non-optimized version of the code (efficient programming, variance reduction techniques, two MCRT solvers, etc.)
I was also concerned about optimizing the design of the 5 MWth Small Particle Solar Receiver to be designed and tested under the U.S. DOE’s SunShot Initiative at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility (Albuquerque, NM). As a result of this multidisciplinary design optimization, the receiver efficiency was increased 6% with respect to the baseline design. Finally, I analyzed and optimized a solar-hybrid gas turbine plant using the SPHER for the solar thermal collection.

Thesis: Thesis

Curriculum Vitae: Resume