Research Papers

Numerical Analysis of Heat Transfer Enhancement in a Parabolic Trough Collector Based on Geometry Modifications and Working Fluid Usage

[+] Author and Article Information
Eric C. Okonkwo

Department of Energy Systems Engineering,
Faculty of Engineering,
Cyprus International University,
Lefkosa 99258,
North-Cyprus, via Mersin-10, Turkey
e-mail: erykado@gmail.com

Muhammad Abid

Department of Energy Systems Engineering,
Faculty of Engineering,
Cyprus International University,
Lefkosa 99258,
North-Cyprus, via Mersin-10, Turkey

Tahir A. H. Ratlamwala

Department of Engineering Sciences,
National University of Science and Technology,
Islamabad 75350, Pakistan

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING: INCLUDING WIND ENERGY AND BUILDING ENERGY CONSERVATION. Manuscript received December 4, 2017; final manuscript received April 19, 2018; published online May 29, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Marc Röger.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 140(5), 051009 (May 29, 2018) (11 pages) Paper No: SOL-17-1477; 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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Fig. 1

Two-dimensional cross-sectional view of the PTC system

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Fig. 2

Two-dimensional representation of the computational domain of the parabolic trough receiver: (a) longitudinal view and (b) cross-sectional view

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Fig. 3

Comparison in between the densities of various working fluids used

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Fig. 4

Comparison of the thermal conductivities of various working fluids used

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Fig. 5

Comparison of the specific heat capacities of various working fluids used

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Fig. 6

Comparison of the viscosity of various working fluids used

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Fig. 7

Examined absorber tubes: (a) converging-diverging tube and (b) cylindrical tube

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Fig. 8

Thermal efficiency comparison for six different working fluids

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Fig. 9

The comparison in between the exergy efficiencies for six different working fluids

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Fig. 10

Effect of receiver temperature on thermal loss coefficient

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Fig. 11

Comparison of heat transfer coefficient for six different working fluids

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Fig. 12

Effect of receiver temperature on the outlet temperature of the working fluids

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Fig. 13

Thermal efficiency and heat transfer coefficient comparison using Therminol VP-1

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Fig. 14

Exergy comparison of the two geometries using Therminol VP-1

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Fig. 15

Effect of geometry on pressure drop

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Fig. 16

Effect of receiver temperature on modified geometry

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Fig. 17

Effect of solar field length on pressure drop and pump power



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