Numerical analysis of heat transfer enhancement in a parabolic trough collector based on geometry modifications and working fluid usage.

[+] Author and Article Information
Eric Chekwube Okonkwo

Department of Energy Systems Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Cyprus International University, Northern Cyprus, Turkey

Muhammad Abid

Department of Energy Systems Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Cyprus International University, Northern Cyprus, Turkey

Tahir A.H. Ratlamwala

Department of Engineering Sciences, National University of Science and Technology, Karachi, Pakistan

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4040076 History: Received December 04, 2017; Revised April 19, 2018


The parabolic trough collector (PTC) is one of the most widely deployed concentrating solar power technology in the world. This study aims at improving the operational efficiency of the commercially available LS-2 solar collector by increasing the convective heat transfer coefficient inside the receiver tube. The two main factors affecting this parameter are the properties of the working fluid and the inner geometry of the receiver tube. An investigation was carried out on six different working fluids: pressurized water, supercritical CO2, Therminol VP-1 and the addition of CuO, Fe3O4, and Al2O3 nanoparticles to Therminol VP-1. Furthermore, the influence of a converging-diverging tube with sine geometry is investigated because this geometry increases the heat transfer surface and enhances turbulent flow within the receiver. The results showed that of all the fluids investigated, the Al2O3/Oil nanofluid provides the best improvement of 0.22% to thermal efficiency while the modified geometry accounted for a 1.13% increase in efficiency. Other parameters investigated include the exergy efficiency, heat transfer coefficient, outlet temperatures and pressure drop. The analysis and modeling of a parabolic trough receiver are implemented in engineering equation solver (EES).

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