Solar fuels are proven to be promising candidates for thermochemical energy storage. However, the transient nature of solar radiation is an obstacle to maintaining a stable operational temperature inside a solar reactor. To overcome this challenge, the temperature of a solar reactor can be regulated by controlling the incoming solar radiation or the feedstock flowrate inside the reactor. In this work, a combined Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) controller is implemented to regulate the temperature inside a high-temperature tubular solar reactor with counter-current flowing gas/particles. The control model incorporates two systems to regulate incoming solar radiation and gas flow simultaneously. The design of the controller is based on a reduced-order numerical model of a high-temperature tubular solar reactor that is vertically oriented with an upward gas flow and downward particle flow. The reactor receives heat circumferentially through its wall over a finite segment of its length. Formulation of the heat transfer model is presented by applying the energy balance for the reactor tube and considering heat and mass transfer inside. A set of governing differential equations are solved numerically by using finite volume method to obtain reactor wall, particles, and gas temperatures along the reactor length with various boundary conditions. Simulation results are used to tune the PID controller parameters by utilizing the Ziegler-Nichols tuning method. Both the simulation results and the controller performance are visualized on the LabVIEW platform. The controller is challenged to track different temperature setpoints with different scenarios of transient solar radiation. Results shows that the combined PID controller is successful in maintaining a stable temperature inside the reactor by regulating the incoming solar radiation and the flowrate via small steady state error and reasonable settling time.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.