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research-article

LINEAR SOLAR CONCENTRATOR STRUCTURAL OPTIMIZATION USING VARIABLE BEAM CROSS-SECTIONS AND A FIXED RECEIVER

[+] Author and Article Information
Moucun Yang

School of Mechanical and Power Engineering, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing, China, 30 Puzhu South Rd, Pukou, Nanjing, China, 211816
young_2004@njtech.edu.cn

Yuezhao Zhu

School of Mechanical and Power Engineering, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing, China, 30 Puzhu South Rd, Pukou, Nanjing, China, 211816
zyz@njtech.edu.cn

Wei Fu

School of Mechanical and Power Engineering, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing, China, 30 Puzhu South Rd, Pukou, Nanjing, China, 211816
fuwei891231@gmail.com

Garth Pearce

School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia, Gate 14, Barker St., Kensington, Sydney, NSW, 2052
g.pearce@unsw.edu.au

Robert A. Taylor

School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering / School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia, Gate 14, Barker St., Kensington, Sydney, NSW, 2052
robert.taylor@unsw.edu.au

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4040273 History: Received October 02, 2017; Revised May 03, 2018

Abstract

The design and construction of solar concentrators heavily affects their cost, heat utilization and optical efficiency. Current trough concentrators use an equivalent uniform beam with a metal grid sub-structure. In this conventional design, there is surplus stiffness and strength, which unnecessarily increases the overall weight and cost of the structure. This paper describes a variable cross-section structural optimization approach (with the EuroTrough design, including safety factors, taken as an example) to overcome this issue. The main improvement of this design comes from keeping the beams rigid and strong near the two ends (at the torque box structure) while allowing the middle of the structure to be relatively weak. Reducing the cross-sectional area of the central beams not only reduces the amount of material needed for the structure but also reduces the deflection of the reflector. In addition, a new connection structure between two neighboring concentrator elements was designed to reinforce the structure. The simulated results show that the concentrator's structural weight (including the torque box, endplates, and cantilever arms) are reduced by 13.5% (i.e. about 133kg per 12-metre long element). This represents a meaningful capital and installation cost savings while at the same time improving the optical efficiency.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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