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Title: Spatial Optimization of Concentrating Solar Power Productivity in China: A Statistical and Modeling Approach
Authors: Bi, Alex
Advisors: Mauzerall, Denise L.
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Class Year: 2017
Abstract: China pledged to procure 20% of its primary energy generation from renewable sources by 2030 in its commitments to the Paris Agreement. However, it faces challenges with integrating intermittent renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar photovoltaic energy, into its regional electricity grids. Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) is unique in that it provides renewable energy generation without the downsides of intermittency when it is paired with thermal energy storage. In this paper, we explore the effects of the solar resource, wind speed, and ambient air temperature on CSP productivity at high spatial resolution across China to determine the best locations for CSP deployment. We show that the magnitude of the solar resource is the primary factor for CSP productivity, with a strong linear relationship between direct normal irradiance levels and electricity output. However, we also find that second-order factors such as ambient air temperature and wind speed may modulate productivity of a parabolic trough collector plant by up to 11.3% and 1.0%, respectively, and productivity of a solar power tower plant by up to 2.0% and 2.6%, respectively, depending on plant location in China. Thus, we conclude that meteorological factors that are often overlooked when siting a CSP project may affect productivity and economic feasibility.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2000-2023

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