Research Papers

A New Optical Evaluation Approach for Parabolic Trough Collectors: First-Principle OPTical Intercept Calculation

[+] Author and Article Information
Guangdong Zhu

 National Renewable Energy Laboratory, MS 5202, 15013 Denver West Parkway, Golden, CO 80401Guangdong.Zhu@nrel.gov

Allan Lewandowski

 National Renewable Energy Laboratory, MS 5202, 15013 Denver West Parkway, Golden, CO 80401

J. Sol. Energy Eng 134(4), 041005 (Jul 05, 2012) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4006963 History: Received December 12, 2011; Accepted June 05, 2012; Published July 05, 2012; Online July 05, 2012

A new analytical method—First-principle OPTical Intercept Calculation (FirstOPTIC)—is presented here for optical evaluation of trough collectors. It employs first-principle optical treatment of collector optical error sources and derives analytical mathematical formulae to calculate the intercept factor of a trough collector. A suite of MATLAB code is developed for FirstOPTIC and validated against theoretical/numerical solutions and ray-tracing results. It is shown that FirstOPTIC can provide fast and accurate calculation of intercept factors of trough collectors. The method makes it possible to carry out fast evaluation of trough collectors for design purposes. The FirstOPTIC techniques and analysis may be naturally extended to other types of CSP technologies such as linear-Fresnel collectors and central-receiver towers.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Simplified representation of a trough collector. Note that the receiver size is exaggerated for demonstration purposes.

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Figure 2

Illustration of intercept factor calculation procedure

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Figure 3

Geometrical effect of mirror slope error

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Figure 4

Geometrical effect of receiver position error

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Figure 5

A set of measured mirror slope error (∂z/∂x only)

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Figure 6

Comparison of computational time between FirstOPTIC and SOLTRACE

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Figure 7

Angular offset to the beam spread induced by receiver position errors. The solid vertical line marks the mean value, and the dashed vertical lines mark the RMS of the distribution.

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Figure 8

Intercept factor as a function of receiver position error along x (a) and along z (b)



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