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Research Papers

Thermofluidynamic Model and Comparative Analysis of Parabolic Trough Collectors Using Oil, Water/Steam, or Molten Salt as Heat Transfer Fluids

[+] Author and Article Information
M. J. Montes

Department of Thermal Engineering, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28006 Madrid, Spain; E.T.S.I. Industriales, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, C/José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2, 28006 Madrid, Spainmjmontes@etsii.upm.es

A. Abánades

Department of Thermal Engineering, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28006 Madrid, Spain; E.T.S.I. Industriales, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, C/José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2, 28006 Madrid, Spainabanades@etsii.upm.es

J. M. Martínez-Val

Department of Thermal Engineering, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28006 Madrid, Spain; E.T.S.I. Industriales, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, C/José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2, 28006 Madrid, Spainmval@etsii.upm.es

J. Sol. Energy Eng 132(2), 021001 (Apr 29, 2010) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001399 History: Received September 16, 2008; Revised May 08, 2009; Published April 29, 2010; Online April 29, 2010

This paper describes the development and use of a thermofluidynamic model for parabolic trough collectors, specifically suited for carrying out systematic calculations on different design options. The model is based on detailed energy balances, and it has been applied to evaluate collector thermal performances with different working fluids: oil, molten salt, or water/steam. For each heat transfer fluid technology, four parameters have been analyzed: collector length, absorber tube diameter, working temperature, and pressure. The influence of these factors has been studied from the point of view of heat loss, pressure drop, energy, and exergy efficiencies. Exergy is considered the suitable magnitude to guide any optimization process in this field, because it accounts for all relevant energy gains and losses, characterized by their corresponding temperature and pressure. Preliminary conclusions point out that direct steam generation is more efficient than oil and molten salt systems.

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Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Simplified scheme of the power block for the 20 MWe parabolic trough plant refrigerated by oil, molten salt ((a) left), or water/steam ((b) right)

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Figure 2

Part-load performance for each 20 MWe solar power plant considered

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Figure 3

Thermal performance for parabolic trough collectors of different absorber pipe diameter using Therminol VP-1, solar salt, and water/steam as working fluids

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