Research Papers

Three-Dimensional Optical and Thermal Numerical Model of Solar Tubular Receivers in Parabolic Trough Concentrators

[+] Author and Article Information
Men Wirz, Matthew Roesle

 Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland

Aldo Steinfeld

Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland;  Solar Technology Laboratory, Paul Scherrer Institute, CH-5232 Villigen, Switzerland

J. Sol. Energy Eng 134(4), 041012 (Oct 04, 2012) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4007494 History: Received May 07, 2012; Revised June 01, 2012; Published October 04, 2012; Online October 04, 2012

Monte Carlo ray tracing, coupled to a finite volume solver, is used to model 3D heat transfer in a parabolic trough solar concentrator system. The nonuniform distribution of the incident solar radiation, the radiative exchange between the various receiver surfaces, and the heat gain/loss around the receiver’s circumference and along the system’s axis are determined for spectral radiative properties of the receiver and concentrator surfaces. The computed heat losses and thermal efficiencies agree well with experimental data. Besides the beneficial information on peak temperatures and heat flux, the 3D model is able to predict glass temperatures more accurately than previous gray models and temperature correlations.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Temperatures and modes of heat transfer of a cross section of the receiver

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Figure 2

Control volumes of the 2D discretization mesh in polar coordinates

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Figure 3

Visualization of a typical ray tracing setup

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Figure 4

Visualization of the MC ray tracing for an absorber tube segment (a) and an inner glass surface segment (b)

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Figure 5

Power absorbed at the absorber tube and in the glass envelope divided by the solar radiation incident on the concentrator aperture

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Figure 6

Circumferential distribution of the incident solar radiation absorbed at the absorber tube and in the glass envelope for Isun  = 933.7 W/m2

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Figure 7

Temperature distribution around the circumference of the outer absorber and glass surfaces

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Figure 8

On-sun field test: collector efficiency

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Figure 9

Off-sun field test: heat loss of the absorber

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Figure 10

Off-sun lab test: heat loss of the absorber tube

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Figure 11

Off-sun lab test: average glass temperature




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