Influence of optical errors on the thermal and thermodynamic performance of a solar parabolic trough receiver

Aggrey Mwesigye, Zhongjie Huan, Tunde Bello-Ochende, Josua P. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper presents results of an investigation covering the influence of optical errors on the thermal and thermodynamic performance of a solar parabolic trough system. The optical performance was evaluated by using Monte Carlo ray tracing for slope errors and specularity errors in the range 0–5 mrad. A parabolic trough collector (PTC) with a rim angle of 80° and a concentration ratio of 86 was considered in this study. The heat flux profiles obtained from the optical analysis were coupled with a computational fluid dynamics tool (ANSYS FLUENT) to numerically investigate the thermal and thermodynamic performance of the receiver. In the numerical analysis, inlet temperatures and Reynolds numbers ranging from 350 K–650 K and 6800–1,140,000 were considered, respectively. Results show that, slope and specularity errors influence the heat flux distribution on the receiver's absorber tube. Results further show that the optical performance and thermal performance reduce significantly as the slope errors increase. For the range of parameters considered, the intercept factor reduces by up to 21% while the overall thermal efficiency reduces by up to 17% as optical errors increase. Receiver thermodynamic performance is shown to deteriorate as slope errors increase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-718
Number of pages16
JournalSolar Energy
Volume135
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Entropy generation
  • Optical errors
  • Parabolic trough receiver
  • Thermal performance
  • Thermodynamic performance

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