A solar thermal power generator includes an inclined elongated boiler tube positioned in the focus of a solar concentrator for generating steam from water. The boiler tube is connected at one end to receive water from a pressure vessel as well as connected at an opposite end to return steam back to the vessel in a fluidic circuit arrangement that stores energy in the form of heated water in the pressure vessel. An expander, condenser, and reservoir are also connected in series to respectively produce work using the steam passed either directly (above a water line in the vessel) or indirectly (below a water line in the vessel) through the pressure vessel, condense the expanded steam, and collect the condensed water. The reservoir also supplies the collected water back to the pressure vessel at the end of a diurnal cycle when the vessel is sufficiently depressurized, so that the system is reset to repeat the cycle the following day. The circuital arrangement of the boiler tube and the pressure vessel operates to dampen flow instabilities in the boiler tube, damp out the effects of solar transients, and provide thermal energy storage which enables time shifting of power generation to better align with the higher demand for energy during peak energy usage periods.
I. FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.