Performance Analysis for Central Receiver Solar Systems by means of numerical simulations


Erminia Leonardi,


In the field of Renewable Energies, Concentrated Solar Power-CSP technology is an efficient, competitive and clean alternative to fossil fuels. Compared to other renewable energies, CSP allows the storage of thermic energy and thus the performance continuity and predictability required by industrial needs. Tower plant is one of the CSP systems: it works by concentrating solar radiation onto a central tower through flat mirrors (heliostats). A crucial aspect for the performance of this system is the orientation of heliostats with two degrees of freedom. Numerical simulations of the solar energy concentration depending on the mirror field configuration and climatic conditions allow to define optimal design parameters of plants.


CRS4-2 is a flexibile software tool for the performance analysis of a central receiver solar field. The software is a deterministic mathematical model which is alternative to the existing statistical models both in rapresentation of the solar field and in the ability to simulate multi-tower systems with heliostats of variable height, position and orientation.

Innovative features

  • more accurate than existing mathematical models;
  • flexible in defining number, position, height and geometry (flat or concave surface) of the heliostats;
  • flexible in defining number, position and height of the towers;
  • accuracy in the delineation of shadows (to avoid blocking effects) increases with the level of tessellation of the surface of heliostats.

Potential users

Designers, engineers and researchers.

Impact sectors

Renewable energies industry.

Other resources

  1. Erminia Leonardi, I sistemi a torre solare: la ricerca e lo sviluppo nella tecnologia solare a più alta concentrazione. Collana Seminari per la valorizzazione dei risultati della ricerca al CRS4, Cagliari, 13 Dicembre 2012.
  2. Erminia Leonardi, Detailed analysis of the solar power collected in a beam-down central receiver system", Solar Energy pages 734-745 vol. 86 num. 2 - february (2012).
  3. Erminia Leonardi, Bruno D'Aguanno. CRS4-2: A numerical code for the calculation of the solar power collected in a central receiver system", Energy pages 4828-4837 vol. 36 num. 8 - may (2011).

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