Three dimensional simulation of a parabolic trough concentrator thermal collector

Islam, M., Karim, A., Saha, S.C., Miller, S., & Yarlagadda, P.K. (2012) Three dimensional simulation of a parabolic trough concentrator thermal collector. In Proceedings of the 50th annual conference, Australian Solar Energy Society (Australian Solar Council), Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia.

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Parabolic Trough Concentrators (PTC) are the most proven solar collectors for solar thermal power plants, and are suitable for concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) applications. PV cells are sensitive to spatial uniformity of incident light and the cell operating temperature. This requires the design of CPV-PTCs to be optimised both optically and thermally. Optical modelling can be performed using Monte Carlo Ray Tracing (MCRT), with conjugate heat transfer (CHT) modelling using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to analyse the overall designs.

This paper develops and evaluates a CHT simulation for a concentrating solar thermal PTC collector. It uses the ray tracing work by Cheng et al. (2010) and thermal performance data for LS-2 parabolic trough used in the SEGS III-VII plants from Dudley et al. (1994). This is a preliminary step to developing models to compare heat transfer performances of faceted absorbers for concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) applications.

Reasonable agreement between the simulation results and the experimental data confirms the reliability of the numerical model. The model explores different physical issues as well as computational issues for this particular kind of system modeling. The physical issues include the resultant non-uniformity of the boundary heat flux profile and the temperature profile around the tube, and uneven heating of the HTF. The numerical issues include, most importantly, the design of the computational domain/s, and the solution techniques of the turbulence quantities and the near-wall physics. This simulation confirmed that optical simulation and the computational CHT simulation of the collector can be accomplished independently.

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ID Code: 58348
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Solar energy, parabolic trough collector, 3D simulation, computational analysis
ISBN: 9780646900711
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > MECHANICAL ENGINEERING (091300) > Energy Generation Conversion and Storage Engineering (091305)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > MECHANICAL ENGINEERING (091300) > Numerical Modelling and Mechanical Characterisation (091307)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Statement: Open access.
Deposited On: 18 Mar 2013 22:54
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2013 23:59

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