Research Papers

Parabolic Trough Solar Collector for Medium Temperature Applications: An Experimental Analysis of the Efficiency and Length Optimization by Using Inserts

[+] Author and Article Information
D. N. Elton

Department of Mechanical and
Manufacturing Engineering,
Renewable Energy Center,
Manipal Institute of Technology,
Manipal Academy of Higher Education,
Manipal 576104, Karnataka, India

U. C. Arunachala

Department of Mechanical and
Manufacturing Engineering,
Renewable Energy Center,
Manipal Institute of Technology,
Manipal Academy of Higher Education,
Manipal 576104, Karnataka, India
e-mail: arun.chandavar@manipal.edu

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 March 25, 2018; final manuscript received June 13, 2018; published online July 9, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Marc Röger.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 140(6), 061012 (Jul 09, 2018) (12 pages) Paper No: SOL-18-1138; doi: 10.1115/1.4040583 History: Received March 25, 2018; Revised June 13, 2018

The present indoor experimental study is focused on performance enhancement of a parabolic trough collector (PTC) with twisted tape insert by incorporating an innovative Soltrace®—mathematical model—differential heating combination. This simulation-based methodology is very useful in analyzing the system behavior under defined environmental conditions. By the use of insert, the circumferential temperature difference has been dropped considerably in all cases compared to plain receiver. Hence, this gain is reflected in both instantaneous and thermo-hydraulic efficiency. As the role of inserts is justified in different thermal parameters, the system evaluation factors have been defined as H-W-B constants. Further, to take into account the influence of enhanced heat transfer on geometry, receiver length optimization has been performed which gave a maximum of 26% short in length of the receiver with best twist ratio under the transition flow regime. Hence, for moderate flow and medium temperature applications, inserts are useful. The range of Reynolds number considered in the experimental study is 2600–24,000 to analyze the flow regime based effect.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Mwesigye, A. , Bello-Ochende, T. , and Meyer, J. P. , 2016, “ Heat Transfer and Entropy Generation in a Parabolic Trough Receiver With Wall-Detached Twisted Tape Inserts,” Int. J. Therm. Sci., 99, pp. 238–257. [CrossRef]
Khanna, S. , Kedare, S. B. , and Singh, S. , 2014, “ Deflection and Stresses in Absorber Tube of Solar Parabolic Trough Due to Circumferential and Axial Flux Variations on Absorber Tube Supported at Multiple Points,” Sol. Energy, 99, pp. 134–151. [CrossRef]
Bellos, E. , Tzivanidis, C. , and Tsimpoukis, D. , 2017, “ Thermal Enhancement of Parabolic Trough Collector With Internally Finned Absorbers,” Sol. Energy, 157, pp. 514–531. [CrossRef]
Xiangtao, G. , Fuqiang, W. , Haiyan, W. , Jianyu, T. , Qingzhi, L. , and Huaizhi, H. , 2017, “ Heat Transfer Enhancement Analysis of Tube Receiver for Parabolic Trough Solar Collector With Pin Fin Arrays Inserting,” Sol. Energy, 144, pp. 185–202. [CrossRef]
Bellos, E. , Tzivanidis, C. , Daniil, I. , and Antonopoulos, K. A. , 2017, “ The Impact of Internal Longitudinal Fins in Parabolic Trough Collectors Operating With Gases,” Energy Convers. Manage., 135, pp. 35–54. [CrossRef]
Bellos, E. , Tzivanidis, C. , and Tsimpoukis, D. , 2017, “ Multi-Criteria Evaluation of Parabolic Trough Collector With Internally Finner Absorbers,” Appl. Energy, 205, pp. 540–561. [CrossRef]
Huang, Z. , Yu, G. L. , Li, Z. Y. , and Tao, W. Q. , 2015, “ Numerical Study on Heat Transfer Enhancement in a Receiver Tube of Parabolic Trough Solar Collector With Dimples, Protrusions and Helical Fins,” Energy Procedia, 69, pp. 1306–1316. [CrossRef]
Huang, Z. , Li, Z. Y. , Yu, G. L. , and Tao, W. Q. , 2016, “ Numerical Investigation on Fully-Developed Mixed Turbulent Convection in Dimpled Parabolic Trough Receiver Tubes,” Appl. Therm. Energy, 114, pp. 1287–1299. [CrossRef]
Chang, C. , Sciacovelli, A. , Wu, Z. , Li, X. , Li, Y. , Zhao, M. , Deng, J. , Wang, Z. , and Ding, Y. , 2018, “ Enhanced Heat Transfer in a Parabolic Trough Solar Receiver by Inserting Rods and Using Molten Salts as a Heat Transfer Fluid,” Appl. Energy, 220, pp. 337–350. [CrossRef]
Ghomrassi, A. , Mhiri, H. , and Bournot, P. , 2015, “ Numerical Study and Optimisation of Parabolic Trough Solar Collector Receiver Tube,” ASME J. Sol. Energy Eng., 137(5), p. 051003. [CrossRef]
Ghadirijafarbeigloo, S. , Zamzamian, A. H. , and Yaghoubi, M. , 2014, “ 3D Numerical Simulation of Heat Transfer and Turbulent Flow in a Receiver Tube of Solar Parabolic Trough Concentrator With Louvered Twisted-Tape Inserts,” Energy Procedia, 49, pp. 373–380. [CrossRef]
Zhu, X. , Zhu, L. , and Zhao, J. , 2017, “ Wavy-Type Insert Designed for Managing Highly Concentrated Solar Energy on Absorber Tube of Parabolic Trough Receiver,” Energy, 141, pp. 1146–1155. [CrossRef]
Jaramillo, O. A. , Borunda, M. , Velazquez-Lucho, K. M. , and Robles, M. , 2016, “ Parabolic Trough Collector for Low Enthalpy Processes: An Analysis of the Efficiency Enhancement by Using Twisted Tape Inserts,” Renewable Energy, 93, pp. 125–141. [CrossRef]
Cheng, Z. D. , He, Y. L. , and Cui, F. Q. , 2012, “ Numerical Study of Heat Transfer Enhancement by Unilateral Longitudinal Vortex Generators Inside Parabolic Trough Solar Receivers,” Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, 55(21–22), pp. 5631–5641. [CrossRef]
Mwesigye, A. , Bello-Ochende, T. , and Meyer, J. P. , 2014, “ Heat Transfer and Thermodynamic Performance of a Parabolic Trough Receiver With Centrally Placed Perforated Plate Inserts,” Appl. Energy, 136, pp. 989–1003. [CrossRef]
Song, X. , Dong, G. , Gao, F. , Diao, X. , Zheng, L. , and Zhou, F. , 2014, “ A Numerical Study of Parabolic Trough Receiver With Nonuniform Heat Flux and Helical Screw-Tape Inserts,” Energy, 77, pp. 771–782. [CrossRef]
Kalidasan, B. , Shankar, R. , and Srinivas, T. , 2016, “ Absorber Tube With Internal Hinged Blades for Solar Parabolic Trough Collector,” Energy Procedia, 90, pp. 463–469. [CrossRef]
Wang, P. , Liu, D. Y. , and Xu, C. , 2013, “ Numerical Study of Heat Transfer Enhancement in the Receiver Tube of Direct Steam Generation With Parabolic Trough by Inserting Metal Foams,” Appl. Energy, 102, pp. 449–460. [CrossRef]
Ghasemi, S. E. , and Ranjbar, A. A. , 2017, “ Numerical Thermal Study on Effect of Porous Rings on Performance of Solar Parabolic Trough Collector,” Appl. Therm. Eng., 118, pp. 807–816. [CrossRef]
Reddy, K. S. , Kumar, K. R. , and Ajay, C. S. , 2015, “ Experimental Investigation of Porous Disc Enhanced Receiver for Solar Parabolic Trough Collector,” Renewable Energy, 77, pp. 308–319. [CrossRef]
Jamal-Abad, M. T. , Saedodin, S. , and Aminy, M. , 2017, “ Experimental Investigation on a Solar Parabolic Trough Collector for Absorber Tube Filled With Porous Media,” Renewable Energy, 107, pp. 156–163. [CrossRef]
Bitam, E. W. , Demagh, Y. , Hachicha, A. A. , Benmoussa, H. , and Kabar, Y. , 2018, “ Numerical Investigation of a Novel Sinusoidal Tube Receiver for Parabolic Trough Technology,” Appl. Energy, 218, pp. 292–510. [CrossRef]
Fuqiang, W. , Qingzhi, L. , Huaizhi, H. , and Jianyu, T. , 2016, “ Parabolic Trough Receiver With Corrugated Tube for Improving Heat Transfer and Thermal Deformation Characteristics,” Appl. Energy, 164, pp. 411–424. [CrossRef]
Fuqiang, W. , Zhexiang, T. , Xiangtao, G. , Jianyu, T. , and Huaizhi, H. , 2016, “ Heat Transfer Performance Enhancement and Thermal Strain Restrain of Tube Receiver for Parabolic Trough Solar Collector by Using Asymmetric Outward Convex Corrugated Tube,” Energy, 114, pp. 275–292. [CrossRef]
Jianfeng, L. , Xiangyang, S. , Jing, D. , and Jianping, Y. , 2013, “ Transition and Turbulent Convective Heat Transfer of Molten Salt in Spirally Grooved Tube,” Exp. Therm. Fluid Sci., 47, pp. 180–185. [CrossRef]
Bellos, E. , Tzivanidis, C. , Antonopoulos, K. A. , and Gkinis, G. , 2016, “ Thermal Enhancement of Solar Parabolic Trough Collectors by Using Nanofluids and Converging-Diverging Absorber Tube,” Renewable Energy, 94, pp. 213–222. [CrossRef]
Waghole, D. R. , Warkhedkar, R. M. , Kulkarni, V. S. , and Shrivasta, R. K. , 2014, “ Experimental Investigations on Heat Transfer and Friction Factor of Silver Nanofluid in Absorber/Receiver of Parabolic Trough Collector With Twisted Tape Inserts,” Energy Procedia, 45, pp. 558–567. [CrossRef]
Arunachala, U. C. , and Sandeep, H. M. , 2017, “ Solar Parabolic Trough Collectors: A Review on Heat Transfer Augmentation Techniques,” Renewable Sustainable Energy Rev., 69, pp. 1218–1231. [CrossRef]
Kalogirou, S. A. , 2004, “ Solar Thermal Collectors and Applications,” Prog. Energy Combust. Sci.,” 30(3), pp. 231–295. [CrossRef]
Raithby, G. D. , and Hollands, K. G. T. , 1975, “ A General Method of Obtaining Approximate Solutions to Laminar and Turbulent Free Convective Problems,” Adv. Heat Transfer, 11, pp. 265–315. [CrossRef]
Churchill, S. W. , and Chu, H. H. , 1975, “ Correlating Equations for Laminar and Turbulent Free Convection From a Horizontal Cylinder,” Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, 18(9), pp. 1049–1053. [CrossRef]
Kalogirou, S. A. , 2014, Solar Energy Engineering Processes and Systems, 2nd ed., Elsevier, New York.
Saidur, R. , Leong, K. Y. , and Mohammad, H. A. , 2011, “ A Review on Applications and Challenges of Nanofluids,” Renewable Sustainable Energy Rev., 15(3), pp. 1646–1668. [CrossRef]
Wendelin, T. , 2003, “Soltrace: A New Optical Modelling Tool for Concentrating Solar Optics,” ASME Paper No. ISEC2003-44090.
NREL, 2017, “ Solar Radiation Data,” Manipal, India, accessed June 01, 2017, https://maps.nrel.gov/nsrdb-viewer
Ralph, L. W. , 1993, Principles of Enhanced Heat Transfer, 2nd ed., Wiley, New York, p. 209.


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Thermal resistance network

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Schematic of twisted tape insert

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Flowchart for the evaluation of PTC energy parameters

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Log mean temperature difference profile

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

H-W-B constants for PTC

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Solar heat flux circumferential distribution

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Segments for nonuniform heating of receiver

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Variation of beam radiation with time

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Variation of wind velocity and ambient temperature with time

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Insulated test section with thermocouples

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

(a) Experimental setup and (b) schematic diagram

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 13

Surface temperature around the receiver

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 14

Fluid friction as a result of Reynold number

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 15

Variation of Nu with Re for different twist ratios

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 16

Variation of instantaneous efficiency versus DNI with varying input conditions

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 17

Thermo-hydraulic efficiency versus DNI

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 18

Twisted tape insert based PEC

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 19

Length optimization based on Re

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 20

Variation of H-W-B constants with twist ratio



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In