Dai Z., Wang D., Wang R., Song X., Stachlewska I.S., Han Z. and Song X.
The characteristics, distributions, and trends of the aerosol optical depth (AOD) and dust aerosol optical depth (DAOD) of three major concentrating solar power (CSP)-plant project areas (Hami, Turpan, and Ruoqiang) in Xinjiang, China were investigated and analyzed during 1980–2022 using the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications Version 2 (MERRA-2) reanalysis products. The monthly variation, seasonal variation, inter-annual variation, distributions of AOD and DAOD, and proportions of dust in the aerosols in these three CSP-plant project areas were computed and analyzed. Overall, the annual mean AOD at 550 nm in the Turpan project area was the highest (0.20–0.36), while Ruoqiang had the lowest annual mean AOD at 550 nm (0.13–0.30), and the annual mean AOD at 550 nm in Hami was distributed between 0.17 and 0.33. After 2010, the change in the rate of the annual mean AOD showed an overall downward trend in Hami and Ruoqiang, indicating that the atmospheric environmental changes in both areas were more favorable for the operation of CSP plants. In the project areas of Hami, Turpan, and Ruoqiang, more than 90% of the AOD values were mainly in ranges 0.10–0.30, 0.10–0.35, and 0.05–0.30, respectively. As expected, the AOD values in spring and summer were significantly higher than those in autumn and winter in the three study areas. In spring, the dust contents (i.e., ratios of DAOD to AOD) were the highest, accounting for 64% (Hami), 67% (Turpan), and 69% (Ruoqiang) of the total aerosol contents. In all three areas, the proportions of dust in aerosols in spring have shown an increasing trend since 2000, suggesting that the negative impact of the dust on the power generation efficiency in these areas has gradually been increasing. Therefore, it is recommended that the CSP plants in Hami, Turpan, and Ruoqiang develop a strategy for cleaning heliostats, especially in spring, to reduce the impact of dust adhesion on the efficiency of the CSP plants.
Atmosphere, 2023, vol. 14(11), art. 1700, doi: 10.3390/atmos14111700