Optimal Emergency-Valve Closure Design

Molten salts have been used to store solar energy with proven results for over a decade. This study was done by EnginSoft on behalf of Eurotecnica Spa, a leader in the design of large molten salts storage systems. It involved the virtual modeling of an entire molten salts storage system with the Flowmaster software suite for fluid system simulation. The scope of the study was to ensure that the design of the emergency valve closure is reliable and remains so under various “what if” scenarios.

After modeling the entire molten salts storage system using data supplied by Eurotecnica, a series of incompressible transient parametric analyses for different scenarios were performed. The data for these scenarios were supplied by the Eurotecnica engineers. These parametric analyses resulted in an optimal definition for the emergency valve closure, that is, the minimum closure time for which the peak pressure is below the maximum allowable pressure for the system. This definition allowed the Eurotecnica engineers to:

  • design a system that met with all the safety requirements while minimizing the emergency valve closure time
  • select the appropriate size for the valve servo-motor to be used, avoiding unnecessary over-sizing of this critical component

Why Create a System Level Simulation?

Molten Salt flow

Simulation at a system level, rather than just at the component level, is necessary if a component is to be tested within realistic scenarios of its lifecycle. In our study, once the optimal emergency valve closure in different scenarios was established, detailed transient analyses were performed in order to analyze the pressure surge that occurs in the entire system. The results of these analyses provided the engineers with an in-depth understanding of the fluid-dynamic behavior of the entire system during each emergency valve closure. Furthermore they were able to verify that the safety requirements are constantly met at all times during the operation of the system.

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"EnginSoft helped us to gain a deep and complete understanding of the fluid-dynamic behavior of the entire system during each emergency valve closure and to be sure that the safety requirements are met consistently at each point of the system."

Francesco Castelletta