Research Papers

Solar Radiation Model Applied to a Low Temperature Evacuated Tubes Solar Collector

[+] Author and Article Information
Oscar A. López-Núñez

Department of Chemical Engineering,
University of Guanajuato,
Guanajuato 36050, México
e-mail: oa.lopeznunez@ugto.mx

J. Arturo Alfaro-Ayala

Department of Chemical Engineering,
University of Guanajuato,
Guanajuato 36050, México
e-mail: ja.alfaroayala@ugto.mx

J. J. Ramírez-Minguela

Department of Chemical Engineering,
University of Guanajuato,
Guanajuato 36050, México
e-mail: jdj.ramirezminguela@ugto.mx

J. Nicolás Flores-Balderas

Department of Chemical Engineering,
University of Guanajuato,
Guanajuato 36050, México
e-mail: nico_brain10@hotmail.com

J. M. Belman-Flores

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Guanajuato,
Salamanca 36885, México
e-mail: jfbelman@ugto.mx

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING: INCLUDING WIND ENERGY AND BUILDING ENERGY CONSERVATION. Manuscript received February 8, 2018; final manuscript received September 3, 2018; published online October 1, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Jorge Gonzalez.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 141(3), 031003 (Oct 01, 2018) (12 pages) Paper No: SOL-18-1058; doi: 10.1115/1.4041402 History: Received February 08, 2018; Revised September 03, 2018

A solar radiation model is applied to a low temperature water-in-glass evacuated tubes solar collector to predict its performance via computational fluid dynamics (CFD) numerical simulations. This approach allows obtaining the transmitted, reflected, and absorbed solar radiation flux and the solar heat flux on the surface of the evacuated tubes according to the geographical location, the date, and the hour of a day. Different environmental and operational conditions were used to obtain the outlet temperature of the solar collector; these results were validated against four experimental tests based on an Official Mexican Standard resulting in relative errors between 0.8% and 2.6%. Once the model is validated, two cases for the solar collector were studied: (i) different mass flow rates under a constant solar radiation and (ii) different solar radiation (due to the hour of the day) under a constant mass flow rate to predict its performance and efficiency. For the first case, it was found that the outlet temperature decreases as the mass flow rate increases reaching a steady value for a mass flow rate of 0.1 kg/s (6 l/min), while for the second case, the results showed a corresponding outlet temperature behavior to the solar radiation intensity reaching to a maximum temperature of 36.5 °C at 14:00 h. The CFD numerical study using a solar radiation model is more realistic than the previous reported works leading to overcome a gap in the knowledge of the low temperature evacuated tube solar collectors.

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Fig. 1

Fundamental phenomena of the radiation in a participant medium

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Fig. 6

Solar heat flux: (a) profile around the tube and (b) contour in the tubes

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Fig. 5

Absorbed, transmitted and reflected solar radiation flux: (a) profile around the tube and (b) contour in the tubes

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Fig. 4

Mesh independence analysis

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Fig. 3

Geometry of the low temperature water-in-glass evacuated tube solar collector

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Fig. 2

Solution diagram of the CFD model

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Fig. 7

Thermal and hydraulic performance: (a) contours of temperature in the manifold, (b) contours of velocity in the manifold, (c) contours of temperature in the tube, and (d) contours and vector of velocity in the tube

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Fig. 8

Temperature and efficiency profile according to mass flow rate variation

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Fig. 9

Solar radiation flux through time

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Fig. 10

Temperature and efficiency profile along the time of the day

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Fig. 11

Experimental solar collector setup



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