Feasibility study in the design and operation of a Concentrated Solar Plant (CSP) in the South Gobi Desert

Faculty Mentor

Mookesh Dhanasar, Mechanical Engineering, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University


Mechanical Engineering

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-2021


A feasibility study is conducted on a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Tower plant design and operation simulated using the System Advisor Model (SAM) in the southern regions of the Gobi Desert. The CSP plant is modeled with an initial goal to alleviate regional electricity demands by 25 percent and offset fossil fuel usage. Overall design required 6,300 acres of desert land and called for over 8,000 heliostats. Through the optimization process using SAM’s algorithm, the ideal heliostat and receiver geometry was produced, yielding results of a profitable system that far exceeded local energy demands. The initial goal of 30 GW was met, as output power exceeded 129 GW upon completion. While the initial costs to construct the CSP power tower are relatively high, dividends show that the project will generate a profit within 5-10 years of operation with minimal impact on local wildlife and vegetation, making this appealing to many investors in the clean energy market.

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