Falling particle receivers (FPRs) are being studied in concentrating solar power applications to enable high temperatures for supercritical CO2 (sCO2) Brayton power cycles. The falling particles are introduced into the cavity receiver via a linear actuated slide gate and irradiated by concentrated sunlight. The thickness of the particle curtain associated with the slide-gate opening dimension dictates the mass flow rate of the particle curtain. A thicker, higher mass flow rate, particle curtain would typically be associated with a smaller temperature rise through the receiver, and a thinner, lower mass flow rate, particle curtain would result in a larger temperature rise. Using the receiver outlet temperature as the process variable and the linear actuated slide gate as the input parameter a proportional, integral, and derivative (PID) controller was implemented to control the temperature of the particles leaving the receiver. The PID parameters were tuned to respond in a quick and stable manner. The PID controlled slide gate was tested using the 1 MW receiver at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF). The receiver outlet temperature was ramped from ambient to 800°C then maintained at the setpoint temperature. After reaching a steady-state, perturbations of 15%–20% of the initial power were applied by removing heliostats to simulate passing clouds. The PID controller reacted to the change in the input power by adjusting the mass flow rate through the receiver to maintain a constant receiver outlet temperature. A goal of ±2σ ≤ 10°C in the outlet temperature for the 5 minutes following the perturbation was achieved.

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