Modeling and performance study of a parabolic trough solar power plant using molten salt storage tank in Egypt: effects of plant site location


Modeling and performance study of large parabolic trough solar power plant using molten slat storage tank is conducted and presented for three different locations in Egypt (Aswan, Al-Arish and Hurghada) using 16 h storage system. The simulation algorithm and solar modeling have been created and simulated by MATLAB/SIMULINK program. A comparison between studied cities is introduced to select the best location for constructing the solar plant based on selection criteria; hot header outlet temperature, volume (hot and cold) variations during charging and discharging, and cycle power efficiency. A full design of the thermal power plant with the storage tanks is also conducted using a molten salt (60% NaNO3 and 40% KNO3). Moreover, hourly electricity plant output to obtain the influence of the thermal storage tank on the plant performance was calculated and presented. The results indicated that Aswan city is the optimum location to construct a 500 MW solar power plant under the Egyptian climate. A comparison for current model validation between simulated results and the actual results of existing plant (Archimede) was fulfilled and good agreement was obtained by maximum error 5%.

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Direct normal irradiation (W/m2)

z :

Zenith angle (°)


Hour angle (°)


Number of day (–)


Incidence angle modifier (angle)


Row space (m)


Collector aperture width (m)

f :

Focal length of collector (m)


Solar collector assemble (–)


Reynolds number (dimensionless)

NU :

Nusselt number (dimensionless)


Total pressure drop per unit length (Pa/m)

D tank :

Storage tank diameter (m)

q loss :

Heat loss (kj)


Solar multiple (–)


Heat collection element (–)

htank :

Tank height (dimensionless)


Temperature (K)


Declination angle (°)


Incident angle (°)


\( = \frac{360}{365}\left( {n - 1} \right) \) (°)


Dynamic viscosity (N s/m2)


Kinematic viscosity (m2/s)


Density (kg/m3)


Concentrated solar power


Concentrated solar power plant


Direct normal irradiation


Heat transfer fluid


Heat exchanger


International Association for Properties of Water and Steam Industrial Formation 1997


Levelized cost of energy


Thermal energy storage


Solar collector assemble


Solar energy generation system


Solar multiple


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Mohamed, M.H., El-Sayed, A.Z., Megalla, K.F. et al. Modeling and performance study of a parabolic trough solar power plant using molten salt storage tank in Egypt: effects of plant site location. Energy Syst 10, 1043–1070 (2019).

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  • Modeling and simulation
  • Solar power plant
  • Parabolic trough
  • Storage tank
  • Molten salt