Multiple receiver designs have been evaluated for improved optics and efficiency gains including flat panel, vertical-finned flat panel, horizontal-finned flat panel, and radially finned. Ray tracing using SolTrace was performed to understand the light-trapping effects of the finned receivers. Re-reflections of the fins to other fins on the receiver were captured to give an overall effective solar absorptance.
The ray tracing, finite element analysis, and previous computational fluid dynamics showed that the horizontal-finned flat panel produced the most efficient receiver with increased light-trapping and lower overall heat loss. The effective solar absorptance was shown to increase from an intrinsic absorptance of 0.86 to 0.96 with ray trace models. The predicted thermal efficiency was shown in CFD models to be over 95%. The horizontal panels produce a re-circulating hot zone between the panel fins reducing convective loss resulting in a more efficient receiver. The analysis and design of these panels are described with additional engineering details on testing a flat panel receiver and the horizontal-finned receiver at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility. Design considerations include the structure for receiver testing, tube sizing, surrounding heat shielding, and machinery for cooling the receiver tubes.