Solar optical modeling tools are valuable for modeling and predicting the performance of solar technology systems. Four optical modeling tools were evaluated using the National Solar Thermal Test Facility heliostat field combined with flat plate receiver geometry as a benchmark. The four optical modeling tools evaluated were DELSOL, HELIOS, SolTrace, and Tonatiuh. All are available for free from their respective developers. DELSOL and HELIOS both use a convolution of the sunshape and optical errors for rapid calculation of flux profiles on the receiver surfaces. SolTrace and Tonatiuh use ray-tracing methods to determine reflected solar rays on the receiver surfaces and construct flux profiles. We found the ray-tracing tools, although slower in computation speed, to be more flexible for modeling complex receiver geometries, whereas DELSOL and HELIOS were limited to standard receiver geometries. We provide an example of using SolTrace for modeling non-conventional receiver geometries. We also list the strengths and deficiencies of the tools to show tool preference depending on the modeling and design needs.
- Advanced Energy Systems Division
Evaluation of Solar Optical Modeling Tools for Modeling Complex Receiver Geometries
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Yellowhair, J, Christian, JM, & Ho, CK. "Evaluation of Solar Optical Modeling Tools for Modeling Complex Receiver Geometries." Proceedings of the ASME 2014 8th International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the ASME 2014 12th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology. Volume 1: Combined Energy Cycles, CHP, CCHP, and Smart Grids; Concentrating Solar Power, Solar Thermochemistry and Thermal Energy Storage; Geothermal, Ocean, and Emerging Energy Technologies; Hydrogen Energy Technologies; Low/Zero Emission Power Plants and Carbon Sequestration; Photovoltaics; Wind Energy Systems and Technologies. Boston, Massachusetts, USA. June 30–July 2, 2014. V001T02A048. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/ES2014-6620
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