The CSP plants developed by the Swiss company Airlight Energy SA exploit air has HTF with operating temperatures up to 600°C. An accurate design of the power plant piping network is useful not only to minimize the infrastructure and the operative costs, but also the transient energy during a black-start. Therefore, the plant piping was analyzed with Simscape, developed by Mathworks, which provides an environment for modeling and simulating physical systems by employing the so called “physical network approach”. A list of built in domains was available, however a new custom domain was created for air based on ideal gas laws and temperature dependent properties. On this domain, all the plant components were purposely designed: solar collectors, straight pipes insulated with radiation shields, valves, junctions and bends were modeled in Simscape language.
The model is able to perform plant energy balance and evaluate transient energy and exergy losses. It has been designed to be coupled, in the future, with a techno-economical optimization module able to search for the most suitable (energetically and economically) plant layouts.