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research-article

CFD Simulation and Experimental Study of Key Design Parameters of Solar Thermal Collectors

[+] Author and Article Information
James Allan

School of Engineering and Design, Brunel University, London, UB8 3PH, United Kingdom ChapmanBDSP, Saffron House, 6-10 Kirby Street, London, EC1N 8EQ
James.p.allan14@gmail.com

Zahir Dehouche

School of Engineering and Design, Brunel University, London, UB8 3PH, United Kingdom
Zahir.dehouche@brunel.ac.uk

Sinisa Stankovic

ChapmanBDSP, Saffron House, 6-10 Kirby Street, London, EC1N 8EQ
sinisa.stankovic@chapmanbdsp.com

Alan Harries

Savills, 33 Margaret Street, London, W1G 0JDFull Mailing Address
AHarries@savills.com

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4037090 History: Received December 15, 2015; Revised May 16, 2017

Abstract

Numerical simulation enables the optimization of a solar collector without the expense of building prototypes. This study details an approach using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to simulate the performance of a solar thermal collector. Inputs to the simulation include; heat loss coefficient, irradiance and ambient temperature. A simulated thermal efficiency was validated using experimental results by comparing the calculated heat removal factor. The validated methodology was then applied to five different inlet configurations of a header-riser collector. The most efficient designs had uniform flow through the risers. The worst performing configurations had low flow rates in the risers that led to high surface temperatures and poor thermal efficiency. The calculated heat removal factor differed by between 4.2% for the serpentine model and 12.1% for the header riser. The discrepancies were attributed to differences in thermal contact between plate and tubes in the simulated and actual design.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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