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Solar Energy 91 (2013) 242255


www.elsevier.com/locate/solener

Thermal performance analysis of a line-focus Fresnel lens solar


collector using dierent cavity receivers
W.T. Xie a, Y.J. Dai b,, R.Z. Wang b
a

Research Center of Solar Power and Refrigeration, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, PR China
b
Institute of Refrigeration and Cryogenics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, PR China
Received 25 February 2012; received in revised form 30 January 2013; accepted 31 January 2013
Available online 22 March 2013
Communicated by: Associate Editor Brian Norton

Abstract
In this paper, a line-focus Fresnel lens solar collector using dierent cavity receivers are studied and compared. Thermal performance
of the line-focus Fresnel lens solar collector with each cavity receiver is studied experimentally at dierent temperature levels. The eciency factors and heat removal factors of Fresnel lens solar collectors using dierent kinds of line-focus cavity receivers are obtained
both theoretically and experimentally. Eight kinds of cavity receivers, namely: triangular, arc-shaped, rectangular, semicircular, positive
trapezoidal, reverse trapezoidal, hetero trapezoidal and convex, are tested and analyzed. It is found that the theoretical results agree well
with the test results. For the line-focus Fresnel lens solar collector, the triangular cavity receiver shows the best thermal performance. The
highest experimental heat removal factor is about 0.805 when the operation temperature is 180 C. Results show that under given operation conditions, the optimum width of cavity aperture, the optimum inside diameter of the receiver tube and the optimum vertex angle
of the cross section of the receiver are 50 mm, 18 mm and 60, respectively. It is recommended that the geometrical concentration ratio of
the studied Fresnel lens solar collector should be more than 55. The experimental heat removal factors for triangular cavity receivers are
increased to 0.879 (using rectangular pipelines as the absorber plate) and 0.873 (using tube bundles as the absorber plate) respectively,
after optimization.
2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Solar energy; Fresnel lens solar collector; Line-focus; Cavity receiver; Heat removal factor

1. Introduction
Fresnel lens was rst demonstrated as a collimator in
lighthouses by Augustine Jean Fresnel (Leutz and Suzuki,
2001) in 1822, since then, it has been widely used in many
elds. In solar thermal conversion applications, Fresnel lens
has advantages of small volume, light weight, suitability for
mass production at low cost, and eectively increasing the
energy density. Fresnel lenses have been becoming an
important choice for solar thermal conversion applications
(Xie et al., 2011). Fresnel lens was originally made from

Corresponding author. Tel.: +86 21 34204358; fax: +86 21 34206814.

E-mail address: yjdai@sjtu.edu.cn (Y.J. Dai).


0038-092X/$ - see front matter 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.solener.2013.01.029

glass, but now is produced by injection molding a plastic


materials that have optical specications similar to glass,
such as acrylic, polycarbonate and polymethylmethacrylate
(PMMA), become available in the 1950s (Xie et al., 2011).
Moreover, Fresnel lenses can be scaled as large or as small
as desired, restricted only by fabrication capabilities (Valmiki et al., 2011). So, the processing parameters (melt temperature, mold temperature, packing pressure, and injection
speed) should be investigated in fabrication of Fresnel lens
solar collector (Kuo, 2012). Generally, there are two types
of Fresnel lenses: line-focus Fresnel lens and point-focus
Fresnel lens. Line-focus Fresnel lens is usually used
for low concentrated and medium concentrated (the
geometrical concentration ratio is less than 100) solar
thermal, photovoltaic or photovoltaic/thermal systems

W.T. Xie et al. / Solar Energy 91 (2013) 242255

243

Nomenclature
Aa
Ar
Cg
Cp
D
Di
F
I
Ib
L
0

L
l
q0u
S
0

T
Tb
To
Ti

area of the Fresnel lens (m2)


area of the Receiver (m2)
geometrical concentration ratio
specic heat capacity (J/kg C)
out diameter of the tube (m)
inner diameter of the tube (m)
n eciency
global solar radiation (W/m2)
beam solar radiation (W/m2)
the width of the sheet or the depth of cavity receiver (m)
the length of the cavity receiver (m)
the width of each facet of a Fresnel lens (m)
useful energy output (W)
solar energy absorbed by a collector per unit
area of the receiver (W/m2)
concentrated solar energy by the Fresnel lens solar concentrator outside the cavity receiver (W/
m 2)
temperature (C)
the local base temperature sheet-tube (C)
outlet temperature (C)
inlet temperature (C)

(Sonneveld et al., 2011; Korecko et al., 2010), solar control


of building and greenhouses (Chemisana et al., 2009;
Chemisana and Rosell, 2011; Tripanagnostopoulos et al.,
2007) and solar thermal collectors (Jirka et al., 1999;
Zhai et al., 2010). Line-focus Fresnel lens can obtain higher
temperature with a smaller area than CPC, and is more suitable for mid-temperature solar thermal conversion
application.
The receiver is the heart for all kinds of solar collectors,
in which sunlight should be trapped and converted into
heat as eectively as possible and transfers it to a circulating uid with minimal heat loss. There are two types of
solar receivers: evacuated tube solar receiver and non-evacuated solar receiver. In general, evacuated tube solar receiver is more expensive and ecient than non-evacuated
solar receiver. However, non-evacuated solar receiver is
advantageous in its simple structure, cost-eective, good
thermal and optical characteristics. Solar receiver is one
of the key components for concentrating solar collectors
because its performance directly aects the eciency of
the whole system. Because of the high operating temperatures, radiation losses strongly penalize the eciency of
the receiver. Cavity design is thought an optimum solution.
In a cavity receiver, the radiation reected or refracted
from optical solar concentrators passes through an aperture into a box-like structure before impinging on the heat
transfer surface. Then, the heat transfer surface absorbs the
concentrated solar energy and transfers it into a heat transfer uid (HTF). The general idea of a cavity receiver is to

Tf
h
UL
U 0L
m_
n
W
Wr

collector average temperature (C)


convective heat transfer coecient inside the
tube (W/m2 C)
dened overall heat loss coecient (W/m2 C)
overall heat loss coecient (W/m2 C)
mass ow rate (kg/s)
refractive index of Fresnel lens
the width of focal point (m)
the width of cavity aperture (m)

Greek symbols
g
collector thermal eciency
go
optical eciency
h
vertex angle of cross section ()
k
thermal conductivity (W/m C)
Subscripts
a
ambient
b
base of the sheet-tube
f
uid
r
cavity receiver

uniformly distribute the high ux incident on its aperture


over the large internal surface area of the cavity in order
to reduce the peak ux absorbed at any one point.
Moreover, the thermal performance indicators of a solar
thermal system typically include collector eciency factor,
collector heat removal factor, thermal eciency, overall
heat loss coecient, time constant. Among others, the heat
removal factor is an extremely useful parameter for collector design and optimization and could be used to evaluate
all the solar collectors. At present, the mature theoretical
expressions of eciency factor and heat removal factor
for at-plate solar collector (Moummi et al., 2004; Hellstrom, 2004; Eisenmann et al., 2004; Kudish et al., 2002;
Tsilingiris, 2000, 2002; Shariah et al., 1999; Khalifa,
1998), CPC solar collector (Norton et al., 1989; Rabl
et al., 1980) and evacuated tube solar collector (Ma et al.,
2010; Siddiqui, 1997; Ezekwe, 1990) are obtained. However, those for concentrating solar collectors especially
the line-focus Fresnel lens solar collectors with cavity
receivers have seldom been investigated.
In this paper, the eciency factor and collector heat
removal factor of a line-focus Fresnel lens solar collector
using cavity receivers are derived and studied theoretically
and experimentally. Line-focus Fresnel lens solar collector
prototype is manufactured and the thermal performance of
dierent designs of line-focus cavity receivers is evaluated.
The experimental and theoretical results are compared as a
procedure to nd an eective model for evaluating the performance of the concentrating solar collector based on line-

244

W.T. Xie et al. / Solar Energy 91 (2013) 242255

focus Fresnel lens and determining the optimal cavity of


the receiver for solar thermal applications.

Line-focus Fresnel lens


Thermostat

2. Line-focus Fresnel lens solar collector


The line-focus Fresnel lens solar collector prototype
using dierent cavity receivers was built. The schematic
diagram of the test rig is shown in Fig. 1. The practical test
rig, which is shown in Fig. 2, consists of a line-focus Fresnel lens solar concentrator whose geometrical concentration ratio is about 15, a line-focus cavity receiver and a
single-axis tracking unit, a thermostat oil bath, a circulating oil pump, a ball valve, a heat exchanger, etc. In this
work, eight kinds of line-focus cavity receivers, namely, triangular, arc-shaped, rectangular, semicircular, positive
trapezoidal, reverse trapezoidal, hetero trapezoidal and
convex, are tested so as to compare their thermal performance theoretically and experimentally. The ambient conditions were: the minimum direct normal solar irradiance
averaged over each test period was 630 W/m2 and the difference between the maximum and minimum irradiance
values was less than 200 W/m2; the allowable range of
the ambient temperature was between 0 C and 30 C
and the maximum allowable variation in ambient temperature for quasi-steady state conditions was 2.0 C;
the average wind speed across the collector was less than
4 m/s.
2.1. Geometrical concentration ratio

Cavity receiver

Heat exchanger
Pyranometer

Fig. 2. Photos of the line-focus Fresnel lens solar collector test rig.

Cg

Aa
b

Ar W

W 0 P 2Rn tan ds

Ta

Line-focus
Fresnel
lens

Ib
F

To

Ti
Cavity receiver

where ds is the half eld angle between the solar and the
0
earth which is 160 . Because b and b are almost the same,
then:
W
W0

So the geometrical concentration ratio of the Fresnel


lens is:
Cg

b
2Rn tan ds tan b

According to the geometrical relationship in Fig. 3


s

2
l
5
Rn r22 f  t tan a
2
tan b

Sunlight

If all the solar radiation refracted by the Fresnel lens


could fall on the plane, the condition is:

tan b  tan b0

The surface of a Fresnel lens is made up of many small


concentric grooves or parallel groves which behave like
many prisms. A schematic diagram of a line-focus Fresnel
lens for solar thermal application is illustrated in Fig. 3. In
this case, the at side of the Fresnel lens is facing up to
receive the solar rays without chromatic aberration and
spherical aberration. It is assumed that the receiver is a
plane. The geometrical concentration ratio is dened as:

Tracking unit

r2
f  t 2l tan a

Substituting Rn and tan b into Eq. (4), then:




107:4b f  t 2l tan a
q

Cg

2
r2 r22 f  t 2l tan a

where a is the slope angle of each facet in the Fresnel lens.


Finally, the geometrical concentration ratio of a line-focus
Fresnel lens is obtained.

Heat
exchanger
Thermostat

2.2. Cavity receivers

Computer
Valve

Pump

Fig. 1. Schematic diagram of the line-focus Fresnel lens solar collector test
rig.

Fig. 4 shows eight kinds of line-focus cavity receivers. The


receiver pipes are treated with selective coating and placed in
a cuboid cavity. The aperture of the cavity is covered with a

W.T. Xie et al. / Solar Energy 91 (2013) 242255

245

Facet of Fresnel lens

Focal plane

Fig. 3. Schematic diagram of a line-focus Fresnel lens for solar thermal application.

ultra-white plane glass with the thickness is 2 mm and the


transmissivity is about 0.915 to reduce heat loss.
3. Collector eciency factors and heat removal factors
The collector eciency factor F0 represents the ratio of
the actual useful energy gain to the useful gains that would
result if the collector absorbing surface was at the local
0
uid temperature. The collector eciency factor F is the
physical quantity of collector heat exchange structure.
However, the collector heat removal factor FR relates the
actual useful energy gain of a collector to the useful gain
if the whole collector surface were at a temperature equal
to the uid inlet temperature. The collector heat removal
factor FR is a dimensionless parameter which indicates
the heat transfer characteristics of the collector and the
inuence of uid convective heat transfer on the collector

thermal performance (Due and Beckman, 2006; He,


2009; Liu, 2010).
0
Generally, the collector eciency factor F is a measure
of how well the heat transfer is between the heat transfer
uid and the receiver, while the collector heat removal factor FR is a measure of the solar collector performance as a
heat exchanger, as it can be interpreted as the ratio of
actual heat transfer to the maximum possible heat transfer.
Moreover, both factors could reect the physical construction features, optical performance and operating parameters of a solar collector, and are aected only by the
solar collector characteristics such as the uid type and
the uid ow rate. Consequently, these factors could be
used to evaluate the thermal performance of any solar collector more conveniently, especially for Fresnel lens solar
collectors to deriving the optimal line-focus cavity receiver
in this paper.

246

W.T. Xie et al. / Solar Energy 91 (2013) 242255

(a) Triangular cavity receiver

(c) Rectangular cavity receiver

(e) Positive trapezoidal cavity receiver

(g) Heterotrapezoidal cavity receiver

(b) Arc-shaped cavity receiver

(d) Semicircular cavity receiver

(f) Reverse trapezoidal cavity receiver

(h) Convex cavity receiver

Fig. 4. Schematic diagrams and some photos of eight kinds line-focus cavity receivers used for Fresnel lens solar collector.

W.T. Xie et al. / Solar Energy 91 (2013) 242255

3.1. Line-focus Fresnel lens solar collectors


In order to model the Fresnel lens collectors using linefocus cavity receivers, a number of assumptions are made
bellow:
(1) The collector is in steady state.
(2) Two-dimensional temperature eld of the collector
plate is divided into two mutually independent onedimensional temperature eld: x direction of the collector plate and y direction of heat transfer uid ow
(Fig. 5).
(3) Glass cover is opaque to infrared radiation.
(4) No solar energy is absorbed by the cover.
(5) The sky can be considered as a blackbody for the
long-wavelength radiation at an equivalent sky temperature. Since the sky temperature does not aect
the results much, this is considered equal to the ambient temperature.
(6) Temperature gradients around tubes can be
neglected.
(7) Properties of materials are independent of
temperature.
(8) Dust and dirt eects on the glass cover and Fresnel
lens solar concentrator are negligible.
(9) Shading of the collector absorber plate is negligible.
According to the structure of the line-focus cavity
receivers shown in Fig. 4, the eciency factor and heat
removal factor of Fresnel lens solar collector using triangular cavity receiver are derived theoretically, considering the
sheet-tube conguration and energy balance on the n element show in Fig. 5. The sheet is thin, the thickness is d and
the width of the sheet is L. As the metal sheet is a good conductor, the temperature gradient through the sheet is negligible. It is assumed that sheet under the bond is at some
local base temperature Tb. The region between the sideline
separating the tube and the tube base can then be considered as a classical n problem. An energy balance on this
element yields (Due and Beckman, 2006)
 



dT 
dT 
SDx  U 0L DxT  T a kd   kd 
0
dx x
dx xDx
8

247

where S is the solar energy absorbed by a collector per unit


area of the receiver dened by the following equations,
considering the outermost facet of the Fresnel lens
r2  b/2 in Fig. 3, then:
S 0 W r L0 2  SLL0

go I b Aa S Ar
Cg

10


l
2

214:8 f  t tan a
Aa
q

2
Ar
b2 =4 f  t 2l tan a

h Wr
sin
2 2L

11

12

where S is the concentrated solar energy intensity from the


line-focus at-plate Fresnel lens solar concentrator outside
0
the cavity receiver, Wr is the width of the cavity aperture, L
is the length of the cavity receiver, h is the vertex angle of
the cross section of the receiver. In this case, it is assumed
that the cavity is a blackbody which could absorb all the
concentrated solar rays entering the aperture of the cavity.
In addition, the concentrated solar energy in the cavity is
uniform at all directions. So S gI b C g sin h2 ; U 0L is the overall heat loss coecient, which is dened as:
U 0L U L C g sin

h
2

13

Dividing through by Dx and nding the limit as Dx approaches zero yield:




d 2 T U 0L
S
T

T


14
a
U 0L
kd
dx2
The


two 
boundary
conditions
are

0; anddT

T
,
where
T
is
local
base
temb
b
dx xLD=2
perature. The solution of Eq. (23) is:


cosh mx
S
S
Tb  Ta  0 Ta 0
15
T
cosh mL  D=2
UL
UL

dT 
dx x0

where m is dened as:


r
U 0L
m
kd

16

The energy conducted to the region of the tube per unit


of length in the ow direction can be obtained by evaluating Fouriers law at the n base:

dT 
qfin kd 
dx xLD=2



S  U 0L T b  T a
L  D
tanh m

17
m
2
Equations accounts for the energy collected on only one
side of the tube; for both sides, the energy collection is:
q0fin 2qfin L  DF S  U 0L T b  T a 

Fig. 5. The sheet-tube conguration and energy balance on the n


element.

18

, the function F is the standard n


where F tanhmLD=2
mLD=2
eciency for straight ns with rectangular prole. The use-

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W.T. Xie et al. / Solar Energy 91 (2013) 242255

ful energy gain of the collector also includes the energy collected above the tube region. The energy gain is:

pD 
S  U 0L T b  T a
19
q0tube
2
The useful energy gain of the tube and n per unit length in
the ow direction is the sum of Eqs. (27) and (28).
q0u q0fin q0tube


pD
L  DF
S  U 0L T b  T a 
2

20

Ultimately the useful gain from Eq. (29) must be transferred to the uid, which can be expressed in terms of the
two resistances as:
q0u

Tb  Tf
1
C1b
pDi hfi

21

where Cb is the bond conductance dened as:


Cb

kb b
c

22

where kb is the bond thermal conductivity, b is the bond


width, c is the average bond thickness. Solving Eq. (30)
for Tb, substituting it into Eq. (29) and solving the results
for the useful gain:
q0u

S  U 0L T f  T a


1
1
1

U 0L
LDFpD=2
pDi hfi
Cb

W r F 0 go I b  U L T f  T a 

23

where F is collector eciency factor, which is expressed as:


F0

1=W r
2
C g fW r 2D sinh=2FpD sinh=2g

1
pDi hfi


C1b U L

24

The useful gain per unit ow length as calculated from


Eq. (32) is ultimately transferred to the uid. The uid
enters the collector at temperature Ti, and increase in temperature until at the exit it is To. An energy balance on the
uid owing through a single tube of length Dy as:


dT f
_ p
 W r F 0 go I b  U L T f  T a 0
mC
25
dy
0

It is assumed that F and UL are independent of position,


then the solution is:


T f  T a  go I b =U L
U L W r yF 0
exp 
26
_ p
T i  T a  go I b =U L
mC
0

If the receiver has a length of L in the ow direction then


the outlet uid temperature To is obtained by substituting
0
0
L for y in Eq. (35). The quantity WrL is the collector receiver area Ar:


T o  T a  go I b =U L
U L W r L0 F 0
exp 
27
_ p
T i  T a  go I b =U L
mC
The collector heat removal factor FR is dened as:

FR

_ p T o  T i
mC
Ar S  U 0L T fi  T a 
h
i
L0 U L F 0
_ p 1  exp W rmC

mC
_ p
214:8ft2l tan a
sinh=2
W r L0 U L q
2
b2 =4ft2l tan a

28

then the actual useful energy gain is:




214:8 f  t 2l tan a
0
qu W r F R q

2 sinh=2go I b
b2 =4 f  t 2l tan a
 U L T i  T a 

29

For other kinds of line-focus Fresnel lens solar collector


using cavity receivers, the same method is adopted to
obtain the theoretical expressions. A summary of collector
eciency factors and collector heat removal factors are
presented in Table 1.
3.2. Experimental validation
In order to compare the thermal performance of Fresnel
lens solar collector using line-focus cavity receivers, some
uniform geometrical parameters of these cavities are specied which are illustrated in Table 2. During the experiment, two PT-100 sensors of which the measurement
precision is 0.1 C are positioned to measure the temperature rise across the line-focus Fresnel lens solar collector.
Another PT-100 sensor is positioned close to the concentrator to measure the ambient temperature. The uid ow
rate is measured by a ow meter of which the relative error
is no more than 1%. The solar radiation is measured by a
pyranometer which can track the sun automatically and
measure beam, diused and total solar radiation respectively. Particularly, beam radiation is measured by a pyrheliometer designed specically to measure the direct beam
solar irradiance with a eld of view limited to 5, and it
is highly accurate and relative error is no more than 1%.
All measuring transducers are connected to a data logger
Keithley 2700. Based on two standards ANSI/ASHRAE
93-2010 and ASTM E905-1987(2007), the thermal performance of the line-focus Fresnel lens solar collector with
each cavity receiver is studied experimentally at dierent
inlet uid temperature levels. Firstly, the experimental data
are obtained and recorded; secondly, the experimental data
are processed and the solar thermal eciency tting curves
and formulas are derived; thirdly, the overall heat loss coefcients are obtained; and nally, the experimental collector
factors are determined from the gradient of each tted formula divided by the overall heat loss coecient. Moreover,
the theoretical collector factors are obtained using the
experimentally obtained overall heat loss coecient, structural parameters of the cavities and the appropriate physical parameters.
The theoretical and experimental values of the eciency
factors and the heat removal factors are presented in

W.T. Xie et al. / Solar Energy 91 (2013) 242255

249

Table 1
A summary of the collector eciency factors and collector heat removal factors of Fresnel lens solar collector using line-focus cavity receivers.*
Types of cavity receiver

Collector eciency factors

Triangular cavity receiver

F0

Arc-shaped cavity receiver

F0

1=W r
2
pD1h C1 U L
C g fW r 2D sinh=2FpD sinh=2g
i fi
b

1=W r

4p2h

C g f2phW r 4D sinh=2F2pD sinh=2g

F tanhmLD=2
mLD=2

1
1
pDi hfi C b

Collector heat removal factors


h

i
mC
_
L0 U L F 0
F R W r L0 U L Cg psinh=2 1  exp  W r mC
_ p

FR

UL

_ p
mC
0

W rL

2C sinh=2
U L g2ph


i
L0 U L F 0
1  exp  W r mC
_ p

r 4D sinh=2=8 sinh=2g


F tanhfm2phW
m2phW r 4D sinh=2=8 sinh=2

Rectangular cavity receiver

1=W r

F0

W r 2l

C g W r W r 2DF 1 =2LDF 2 pD=2

1
1
pDi hfi C b

FR
UL

_ p
mC
0

W rL

C Wr
U L W gr 2L

h

i
L0 U L F 0
1  exp  W r mC
_ p

tanhmLD
r 2D=2
F 1 tanhmW
mW r 2D=2 ; F 2
mLD

Semicircular cavity receiver

F0

1=W r

2C g pW r 4DF =4pD=2

1
1
pDi hfi C b

FR

UL

mC
_ p
W r L0 U L

2C g
p


i
L0 U L F 0
1  exp  W r mC
_ p

tanhmpW r 4D=8
mpW r 4D=8

F0
Positive trapezoidal cavity receiver

1=W r

2LW r cosh=22L sinh=2

C g W r cosh=2B

1
1
pDi hfi C b


UL

FR

B fW r =2 Ltgh=2  DF 1 L= cosh=2  DF 2 pD=2g

mC
_ p


i
L0 U L F 0
1  exp  W r mC
_ p


i
L0 U L F 0
1  exp  W r mC
_ p

C W cosh=2

g r
W r L0 U L 2LW r cosh=22L
sinh=2

r =2Ltgh=2Dg
F 1 tanhfmW
mW r =2Ltgh=2D

cosh=2Dg
F 2 tanhfmL=
mL= cosh=2D

F0
Reverse trapezoidal cavity receiver

1=W r

2LW r cosh=22L sinh=2

C g W r cosh=2B

1
1
pDi hfi C b


UL

FR

B fW r =2  Ltgh=2  DF 1 L= cosh=2  DF 2 pD=2g

mC
_ p
0

W rL

C g W r cosh=2
U L 2LW r cosh=22L
sinh=2

r =2Ltgh=2Dg
F 1 tanhfmW
mW r =2Ltgh=2D

cosh=2Dg
F 2 tanhfmL=
mL= cosh=2D

Hetero trapezoidal cavity receiver

F0

1=W r
2LW r cosh=2L sinh=2

C g W r cosh=2fL= cosh=22DFpD=2g

1
1
pDi hfi C b

FR

UL

C W cosh=2

n h
io
L
L
F tanh m 2 cosh=2
 D =m2 cosh=2
 D
Convex cavity receiver

F0

1=W r
pW r 4L2W r
pD1h C1 U L
2C g W r fpW r 2DF 1 =4LW r D=2F 2 pD=2g
i fi
b

FR

mC
_ p
r
W r L0 U L 2LW r gcosh=2L
sinh=2

_ p
mC
2C W

g r
W r L0 U L pW r 4L2W
r


i
L0 U L F 0
1  exp  W r mC
_ p


i
L0 U L F 0
1  exp  W r mC
_ p

tanhfmLW r D=2g
r 2D=4
F 1 tanhmpW
mpW r 2D=4 F 2
mLW r D=2
*

214:8ft l tan a

2
for line-focus Fresnel lens.
Where C g AAar p
2
2
l

b =4ft2 tan a

Table 3. As can be seen, when the inlet uid temperature


was 90 C, 150 C and 180 C, the triangular cavity receiver has the highest eciency and heat removal factors
compared to any other kinds of line-focus cavity receivers.
Fig. 6 illustrates the relationship between the inlet uid
temperature and the collector factors of the line-focus
Fresnel lens solar collector using triangular cavity receiver.
As seen, when the inlet uid temperature increased from
90 C to 180 C, the experimental heat removal factors
decrease from 0.871 to 0.805, which may be attributed to
the considerable increase in the heat loss coecient. When
the inlet uid temperature increased from 180 C to
250 C, the theoretical heat removal factors decrease from

0.813 to 0.723 which is because that the overall heat loss


coecient increased considerably while the heat convection heat transfer coecient increased not much. The heat
removal factors decrease signicantly and bring a deviation between the theoretical and experimental results
within 10% because of the higher overall heat loss coefcient which is more than 80 W/(m2 K) when the inlet
uid temperature is higher than 200 C. Consequently, it
is predicted that when the inlet uid temperature is
between 150 C and 180 C, the line-focus Fresnel lens
solar collector using triangular cavity receiver has better
thermal performance for mid-temperature solar thermal
conversion applications.

250

W.T. Xie et al. / Solar Energy 91 (2013) 242255

Table 2
Specied uniform geometrical parameters of line-focus cavity receivers.

Aperture width Wr (mm)


Maximum depth L (mm)
The vertex angle h ()

Triangular
cavity
receiver

Arc-shaped
cavity
receiver

Rectangular
cavity
receiver

Semicircular
cavity
receiver

Positive
trapezoidal
cavity receiver

Reverse
trapezoidal
cavity receiver

Hetero
trapezoidal
cavity receiver

Convex
cavity
receiver

100

60

100

100
100

100

100
100
60

100
100
60

100
100
60

100
100

4. Results and discussion


As can be seen in Table 3, when the inlet uid temperature was 90 C, the triangular cavity receiver has the best
thermal performance. The experimental eciency factor
is 0.870 and the experimental heat removal factor is 0.866
when the inlet uid temperature is 90 C. However, when
the inlet uid temperature is 150 C, the experimental eciency factor is decreased to 0.843 and the experimental
heat removal factor is reduced to 0.824, respectively. The
arc-shaped cavity receiver has larger eciency factor and
heat removal factor than rectangular cavity receiver, semicircular cavity receiver and convex cavity receiver but smaller than triangular cavity receiver when the inlet uid
temperature is 90 C. Moreover, when the inlet uid temperature is 150 C, the rectangular cavity receiver has larger eciency factor and heat removal factor than arcshaped cavity receiver, semicircular cavity receiver and
convex cavity receiver. Nevertheless, the eciency factor
and heat removal factor of positive trapezoidal cavity receiver, reverse trapezoidal cavity receiver and hetero trapezoidal cavity receiver are small among the eight kinds of linefocus Fresnel solar collectors. In addition, the hetero trapezoidal cavity receiver has the smallest eciency factor and
heat removal factor because its structure results in a larger
heat loss than the others. It can be thought that the triangular cavity receiver has the best thermal performance.
Furthermore, it is also found that the main factor which
inuences the heat removal factor considerably is the overall
heat loss coecient. For example, considering the triangular
cavity receiver; when the inlet uid temperature is 90 C, the
overall heat loss coecient is 12 W/(m2 K); when the inlet
uid temperature is 150 C, the overall heat loss coecient
is 24 W/(m2 K); when the inlet uid temperature is 180 C,
the overall heat loss coecient is 50 W/(m2 K). The corresponding value of the experimental eciency factor is
decreased to 0.811, whereas the experimental heat removal
factor is reduced to 0.805, respectively. The deviation between
the theoretical and experimental results is within 5%.
The theoretical results are also shown in Table 3. As seen in
Table 3, the eciency factors and heat removal factors of linefocus Fresnel solar collector using triangular cavity receiver
are higher than those of the other line-focus cavity receivers.
4.1. Simulation results and discussion
It can be seen from the theoretical expressions that the
main factors, which have strong inuence on the eciency

factor and heat removal factor of Fresnel lens solar collector using line-focus cavity receivers, are structural parameters of the cavities, overall heat loss coecient, geometrical
concentration ratio, convection heat transfer coecient of
receiver tube and the properties of working uid, the inner
diameter of the receiver tube, among others. Since the optimization processes for dierent cavity receivers based on
the two dimensionless parameters are similar, the line-focus
Fresnel lens solar collector using triangular cavity receiver
are just analyzed and optimized here.
The eect of the width of the cavity aperture, the inside
diameter of the receiver tube, the vertex angle of cross section through the symmetric axis of the receiver and the geometrical concentration ratio on the eciency factors and
the heat removal factors are analyzed. The calculation conditions are taken the same as the above section. It is
assumed that the other parameters are kept constant when
one specic parameter is varied.
Fig. 7 shows the relationship between the width of the
cavity aperture and the collector factors of line-focus Fresnel lens solar collector using triangular cavity receiver. It
can be seen that, when the width of the cavity aperture
increases from 5 mm to 100 mm, the collector factors rst
increase and then decrease. Thus, there exists an optimum
aperture width which is about 50 mm. The collector heat
removal factor decreases obviously because of larger width
of the cavity aperture which causes higher heat losses.
Fig. 8 illustrates the relationship between the inside
diameter of the receiver tube and the collector factors of
line-focus Fresnel lens solar collector using triangular cavity receiver. As seen, when the inside diameter of the receiver tube increases from 8 mm to 27 mm, the collector
factors rst increase and then decrease. Increasing the
inside diameter of the receiver tube could enhance the heat
transfer to some extent and cause large heat loss. Therefore, there exists an optimum inside diameter which is
about 18 mm.
Fig. 9 shows the relationship between the vertex angle of
the cross section of the receiver and the collector factors of
line-focus Fresnel lens using triangular cavity receiver.
When the vertex angle of cross section of the cavity is
increased from 15 to 150, the collector factors initially
increase rapidly. When the vertex angle is larger than 60,
little eect on thermal performance of the Fresnel lens solar
collector could be observed. This is because larger vertex
angle with large aperture width leads to increased heat loss.
Thus, there exists an optimum vertex angle which is about
60. The eciency factor and heat removal factor decrease

W.T. Xie et al. / Solar Energy 91 (2013) 242255

251

Table 3
Theoretical and experimental results of the eciency factors and heat removal factors of Fresnel lens solar collector using line-focus cavity receivers.
Working
condition

Triangular
cavity
receiver

Arc-shaped
cavity
receiver

Rectangular
cavity
receiver

Semicircular
cavity
receiver

Positive
trapezoidal cavity
receiver

Reverse
trapezoidal cavity
receiver

Hetero
trapezoidal
receiver

Convex
cavity
receiver

90 C
0
Theoretical F
0
Experimental F
Theoretical FR
Experimental FR

0.875
0.870
0.871
0.866

0.865
0.862
0.861
0.858

0.849
0.846
0.843
0.840

0.856
0.851
0.850
0.845

0.823
0.819
0.816
0.811

0.834
0.827
0.829
0.820

0.812
0.803
0.799
0.792

0.837
0.833
0.831
0.824

150 C
0
Theoretical F
0
Experimental F
Theoretical FR
Experimental FR

0.841
0.832
0.834
0.824

0.809
0.805
0.800
0.795

0.815
0.814
0.807
0.805

0.813
0.809
0.804
0.800

0.796
0.791
0.785
0.782

0.807
0.801
0.789
0.784

0.789
0.785
0.782
0.777

0.810
0.804
0.802
0.795

180 C
0
Theoretical F
0
Experimental F
Theoretical FR
Experimental FR

0.827
0.811
0.813
0.805

0.794
0.799
0.792
0.785

0.802
0.789
0.781
0.773

0.797
0.786
0.781
0.769

0.781
0.775
0.762
0.758

0.789
0.781
0.769
0.765

0.776
0.767
0.759
0.751

0.793
0.784
0.775
0.767

200 C
0
Theoretical F
Theoretical FR

0.801
0.778

0.772
0.768

0.778
0.769

0.774
0.763

0.765
0.759

0.771
0.761

0.754
0.751

0.772
0.765

250 C
0
Theoretical F
Theoretical FR

0.752
0.723

0.731
0.712

0.743
0.717

0.725
0.706

0.711
0.702

0.719
0.704

0.705
0.697

0.719
0.705

gradually as with increased in the vertex angle of the cross


section of the cavity receiver, which similarly resulted in
larger aperture area which may lead to considerable heat
loss.
Fig. 10 illustrates the relationship between geometrical
concentration ratio and the collector factors of line-focus
Fresnel lens using triangular cavity receiver. In this case,
it is assumed that the change of geometrical concentration
ratio depended on the area change of cavity receiver aperture and the area of line-focus Fresnel lens solar concentrator is denite. As seen, when the geometrical concentration

ratio is larger than 55, the geometrical concentration ratio


has little eect on thermal performance of the Fresnel solar
collector because the eciency factor and heat removal factor are almost constant. Therefore, it shows that a geometrical concentration ratio higher than 55 is benecial to the
thermal performance of the line-focus Fresnel lens solar
collector.
Finally, it is shown from the optimization that the optimum aperture width of the cavity, the optimum inside
diameter of the receiver tube and the optimum vertex angle
of cross section through the symmetric axis of the receiver

Fig. 6. The relationship between the inlet uid temperature and the
collector factors (triangular cavity receiver).

Fig. 7. The relationship between the width of the cavity aperture and the
collector factors (theoretical results of triangular cavity receiver).

252

W.T. Xie et al. / Solar Energy 91 (2013) 242255

are 50 mm, 18 mm, 60, respectively. Moreover, it is suggested that the geometrical concentration ratio is more
than 55 for better thermal performance of the line-focus
Fresnel lens solar collector using triangular cavity receiver.
4.2. Optimization analysis

Fig. 8. The relationship between the inside diameter of the receiver tube
and the collector factors (theoretical results of triangular cavity receiver).

Some improvements are necessary. These improvements


include: giving up the tube-plate binding structure and
using rectangular pipeline as the absorb plate directly in
the cavity receiver which is shown in Fig. 11; the aperture
width is set as the optimum aperture width which is about
50 mm; the equivalent diameter of each cavity receiver side
is set as the optimum inside diameter which is about
18 mm; the vertex angle is set as 60, increasing the mass
ow rate for higher convection heat transfer coecient
inside the rectangular pipelines.
For the optimized triangular cavity receiver using rectangular pipeline as the absorber plate, using the same
assumptions adopted in Section 3.1, the collector eciency
0
factor F , which is expressed as:
1=W r
F 0 q
2
0

b2 =4ft2l tan a
d
1

UL
l
k
hfi
107:4ft2 tan a sinh=2

30

where d is the thickness of the rectangular pipeline. The


collector heat removal factor FR is:
q

2
b2 =4 f  t 2l tan a


FR
214:8W r L0 U L f  t 2l tan a sinh=2



W r L0 U L F 0
1  exp 
_ p
mC
_ p
mC

Fig. 9. The relationship between the vertex angle of cross section and the
collector factors (theoretical results of triangular cavity receiver).

31

then the actual the useful energy gain is:




214:8 f  t 2l tan a
0
qu W r F R q

2 sinh=2go I b
b2 =4 f  t 2l tan a
 U L T i  T a 

32

In the actual experiment, it is found that the rectangular


pipeline is easily deformed when the system operation pressure is more than 3 bar using synthesis oil as heat transfer
uid (HTF) which might lead to poor performance. Consequently, the rectangular pipelines are replaced by tube bundles which are also shown in Fig. 11. Finally, the collector
0
eciency factor F , which is expressed as:
1
F 0 q
2
h
i
b2 =4ft2l tan a
1
1

U L 2D sinh=2
2pk lnD=Di
pDi hfi
107:4ft2l tan a
33
Fig. 10. The relationship between geometrical concentration ratio and the
collector factors (theoretical results of triangular cavity receiver).

the collector heat removal factor FR is:

W.T. Xie et al. / Solar Energy 91 (2013) 242255

(a) Rectangular pipelines

253

( b) Tube bundles

Fig. 11. Triangular cavity receiver using rectangular pipelines and tube bundles.

Table 4
Theoretical and experimental results of the eciency factors and heat removal factors of line-focus Fresnel lens solar collector using three kinds of
triangular cavity receivers.
Triangular cavity receiver
(before optimization)

Theoretical F
0
Experimental F
Theoretical FR
Experimental FR

0.841
0.832
0.834
0.824

Triangular cavity receiver


(after optimization)

Improvement ratio (%)

Relative error (%)

Rectangular
pipelines

Tube
bundles

Rectangular
pipelines

Tube
bundles

Tube
plate

Rectangular
pipelines

Tube
bundles

0.926
0.892
0.903
0.879

0.922
0.881
0.898
0.873

10.1
7.21
8.27
6.67

9.63
5.89
7.67
5.95

1.08

3.81

4.65

1.21

2.73

2.86

q

2
_ p b2 =4 f  t 2l tan a
pmC


FR
429:6W r L0 U L f  t 2l tan a sinh=2



W r L0 U L F 0
1  exp 
_ p
mC

34

then the actual the useful energy gain is:




429:6W r F R f  t 2l tan a sinh=2
0
q
qu

2
p b2 =4 f  t 2l tan a
go I b  U L T i  T a 

35

After improvement of the triangular cavity receiver, the


eciency factor and heat removal factor of the triangular
cavity receiver using three kinds of absorber plate structure
are derived. The inlet uid temperature is set as 150 C.
Table 4 shows the theoretical and experimental results of
the eciency factor and heat removal factor of line-focus
Fresnel lens solar collector using three kinds of triangular
cavity receivers. As seen, the eciency factor and heat

removal factor of the triangular cavity receiver increased


considerably after optimization. The experimental eciency factor and heat removal factor using rectangular
pipeline as the absorber plate are improved by 7.21% and
6.67%, while the theoretical values are 10.1% and 8.27%
respectively. However, the experimental eciency factor
and heat removal factor using tube bundles as the absorber
plate are improved by 5.89% and 5.95%, while the theoretical values are 9.63% and 7.67% respectively. This indicates
that there is still some improvement potential for the structure of the absorber plate. Before optimization, the relative
error of theoretical and experimental results of eciency
factor and heat removal factor are 1.08% and 1.21%. After
optimization, the relative error of theoretical and experimental results of eciency factor and heat removal factor
increased which are 3.81% and 2.73% using rectangular
pipeline as the absorber plate. Moreover, these values are
4.65% and 2.86% respectively using tube bundles as the
absorber plate. The reasons for this are the experimental
data only obtained from several typical days which might

254

W.T. Xie et al. / Solar Energy 91 (2013) 242255

cause uctuation of tting curve; higher temperature could


cause poor performance of insulation materials; poor air
tightness of glass cover over the cavity receiver; low accuracy of the tracking system; wide uctuation range of overall heat loss coecient, etc. In addition, the deviation
between the theoretical and experimental results of eciency factors and heat removal factors is within 5%. Consequently, it is suggested that the line-focus Fresnel lens
solar collector using rectangular pipelines triangular cavity
receiver design when the system operation pressure is not
very high (about 2 bar using synthesis oil as HTF), while
tube bundles triangular cavity receiver design should be
adopted when the system operation pressure is higher
(more than 3 bar using synthesis oil as HTF).
5. Conclusions
In this paper, the thermal performance of a line-focus
Fresnel lens solar collector using dierent cavity receivers
has been investigated. Analysis on eight dierent types of
line-focus cavity receivers is made. The collector eciency
factors and collector heat removal factors of these receivers
and two optimized line-focus cavity receivers are derived
and compared theoretically and experimentally. The main
conclusions can be drawn:
(1) The theoretical collector eciency factors and collector heat removal factors for concentrating solar collector using cavity receivers can be used to evaluate
the thermal performance of concentrating solar collectors directly. It is convenient to design the optimal
parameters of dierent cavities and to predict their
performance under dierent temperature levels with
these formulas.
(2) The analysis on the collector eciency factors and the
collector heat removal factors indicate that the triangular cavity receiver has the best thermal performance. The highest experimental heat removal
factor is about 0.805 when the operation temperature
is 180 C. An optimum width of cavity aperture is
about 50 mm, an optimum inside diameter is about
18 mm, an optimum vertex angle is about 60, and
a geometrical concentration ratio of more than 55,
are recommended, for good thermal performance of
a line-focus Fresnel lens solar collector using triangular cavity receiver.
(3) It is found that the theoretical results agree with the
test results well that the relative error of eciency factors and heat removal factors between the theoretical
and experimental results is within 5%. When the inlet
temperature is more than 200 C, the deviation is
within 10% because of the higher overall heat loss
coecient which is more than 80 W/(m2 K).
(4) When the system operation pressure is not very high
(about 2 bar using synthesis oil as HTF), the linefocus Fresnel lens solar collector using optimized
rectangular pipelines triangular cavity receiver design

can be adopted. However, it is suggested that the linefocus Fresnel lens solar collector using optimized
tube bundles triangular cavity receiver design should
be adopted when the system operation pressure is
higher (more than 3 bar using synthesis oil as HTF).

Acknowledgements
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under the Contract No.
51276112, the key scientic and technological project of
Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality under the Contract No. 10dz1203402, and the Graduates Creativity Fund of Shanghai Jiao Tong University
under the Contract No. TS0220702002.
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