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journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/seta

E. Bellos , D. Korres, C. Tzivanidis, K.A. Antonopoulos

National Technical University of Athens, School of Mechanical Engineering, Thermal Department, Heroon Polytehniou 9, 157 73 Zografou, Athens, Greece

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:

Received 12 November 2015

Revised 19 March 2016

Accepted 19 April 2016

Keywords:

CPC

Solidworks

Optical analysis

Thermal analysis

Collector design

a b s t r a c t

In this study, the optical and the thermal performance of a compound parabolic collector (CPC) with

evacuated tube are presented. In the first part, the optimization of the reflector geometry is given and

in the next part the thermal analysis of the solar collector is presented. The design of the reflector has

a great impact on the solar energy exploitation and for this reason is analyzed in detail. In the thermal

analysis of the collector, the two most usual thermal fluids, the pressurized water and typical thermal

oil, are compared. Pressurized water performs better and it is the most suitable working fluid for transferring the heat because of its properties; something that is analyzed in this study. Moreover, the optical

efficiency of the collector for various solar angles (longitude and transverse) is investigated and the heat

flux distribution over the absorber is given. In the last part, the temperature distribution over the absorber and inside the fluid are presented and a simple validation of the thermal model is also presented. The

model is designed in commercial software Solidworks and simulated in its flow simulation studio.

2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Introduction

The increasing cost of fossil fuels and of the electricity conjugated with the environmental problems caused by the CO2 emissions lead our society to turn its interest in renewable energy

sources. Solar energy utilization is a promising way to cover a great

part of worldwide energy demand by various ways. The conventional flat plate collectors (FPC) are widely used for domestic hot

water production and for low temperature applications

(3090 C). Concentrating collectors with high concentrating ratios

operate in high temperature levels (300400 C) [1] by giving suitable heat for electricity production in power plants. Parabolic

trough collectors (PTC), Fresnel collectors, central tower receivers

and parabolic dish Stirling engines [2,3] are the main solar

technologies for electricity production. For the intermediate

temperature range from 100 C to 300 C lessens number of solar

collector types are used while many industrial and residential

applications operate in these temperature limits. Applications as

desalination, oil extraction, low temperature electricity production, food production, methanol reforming and space cooling with

absorption technology [413] demand energy sources in the above

temperature range. The most suitable solar collector for these conditions is the compound parabolic collector (CPC) with evacuated

tube which is able to produce efficiently the processing heat. The

use of the evacuated tube is essential in order to overcome the

Corresponding author. Tel.: +30 210 772 2340.

E-mail address: bellose@central.ntua.gr (E. Bellos).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seta.2016.04.005

2213-1388/ 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

leads to higher levels.

CPC belongs to non-imaging concentrators with low concentrating ratio (15) [14,15] which exploits mainly the beam radiation and a part of diffuse radiation [8]. The small concentration

ratio recuses the tracking demand and many CPC systems are able

to operate without tracking which lead to lower cost [16,17]. More

specifically, a tracking system with the CPC axis in EastWest

orientation needs only a small seasonal adjustment in order to perform in a high way [15]. The geometry design of a CPC is related to

the application and every manufacturer takes into consideration

the operating condition in every case. Important point in the

design is the relation between concentration ratio and the acceptance angle which is inversely [14,15]. CPC invented by Winston

in 1960 in the U.S.A. and they presented in 1974 [18,19]. The first

applications were about hot water supply and many studies have

been made for improving their performance. Rabl in 1976 [20]

developed a mathematical model for the average number of rays

reflections in a CPC, something very important for the optical analysis. Studies for CPC with non-evacuated tubes for thermal performance have been made in order to predict the efficiency in various

operating conditions [21,22]. The use of evacuated tubes was first

analyzed in Argonne National Laboratory [23] in before 1980. Snail

in 1984 [24] analyzed an integrated stationary CPC with evacuated

tube. The final results proved an optical efficiency of 65% and a

thermal of 50%. Kim et al. [25] compared a stationary and a tracing

CPC and proved that the tracking mechanism improves the efficiency at about 15%. Because the tracking system is important

54

Nomenclature

A

C

cp

D

f

G

H

hm

k

L

m

Num

Pr

p

Q

q

Re

T

UL

W

area, m2

concentration ratio

specific heat capacity, J/kg K

diameter, mm

focal length, mm

solar radiation, W/m2

parabola length, mm

mean convection coefficient, W/m2 K

thermal conductivity, W/m K

tube length, mm

mass flow rate, kg/s

mean Nusselt number

Prandtl number

absorber placement, mm

heat flux, W

down part placement, mm

Reynolds number

temperature, C

losses coefficient, W/m2 K

aperture length, mm

Greek symbols

b

peripheral absorber angle,

c

intercept factor

e

emittance

g

efficiency

h

solar incident angle,

hc

half-acceptance angle,

hL

longitude solar angle,

transverse solar angle,

h

l

dynamic viscosity, Pa s

q

reflectance

Sallabery [26] analyzed how the tracking error influences on the

long-term performance of the system and reported that the yearly

energy loss is about 1%. A comparison of NS and EW orientated

CPCs presented by Kim [5]. Mathematical equations for solar

transversal projection angle, longitudinal projection angle are

developed by Wang [27] so as the tracking systems to be analyzed

more.

A lot of research has been conducted worldwide for the CPC

performance improvement. The use of asymmetric CPC, which

means two different parabolic shapes, has been studied from many

researchers. The main idea is the development of a non tracking

collector which performs well during the day due to the different

shape of the reflectors parabolas that allows the collector to operate efficiently for a great range of incident angles. Abu-Bakar [28]

studied a rotationally asymmetrical compound parabolic concentrator with a PV module, while Souliotis et al. [29] and Kessentini

[30,31] analyzed asymmetrical CPC for integrated solar systems

with one and two tanks inside the collector respectively. Moreover,

Singh et al. [32] made a very interesting review about integrated

collector solar water heaters stating the novelties that are able to

increase their efficiency. These systems include compound parabolic reflectors, phase change materials and special materials

(absorber and cover) in order to achieve high daily performance.

The idea of solar cooker examined by Harmin [33] where a booster

reflector was located in order to increase the optical efficiency in

the stationary mode operation. The use of lens in the trough in

order to increase the acceptance angle is an innovative idea which

is being examined in recent years. Su et al. [34] made a comparison

(sa)

u

transmittanceabsorptance product

Parabola angle parameter,

a

aperture

abs

absorbed

am

ambient

b

beam

c

cover

ca

cover-air

ci

inner cover

co

outer cover

d

diffuse

e

exploited

fm

mean fluid

in

inlet

L

Local

loss

losses

m

mean

max

maximum

o

oil

opt

optical

out

outlet

r

receiver

ri

inner receiver

ro

outer receiver

s

solar

th

thermal

tube

receiver tube

u

useful

w

water

The results showed that lens-walled CPC has greater acceptance

angle, but it has lower optical efficiency in low incidence angles.

Guiqiang et al. [14] analyzed also a lens-walled CPC with a PV

module and resulted that the lens creates a uniform flux distribution in the PV-module which increases their efficiency.

In this study, a CPC with an evacuated tube is designed and simulated, while both an optical and thermal analysis has been conducted. Firstly, an optimization of its geometry is made in order

to maximize the optical efficiency. Also, a parametric analysis for

different solar angles (transversal and longitudinal) is given to calculate the optical losses for different cases. Moreover, a thermal

efficiency comparison between pressurized water and thermal oil

as working fluids is presented for different operating conditions.

Finally, a deeper analysis for the best working fluid, the pressurized

water, is presented. The simulation of the collector has been done

with commercial software Solidworks flow simulation. The innovative point of this study is the reflector design. The methodology

that is followed lead to an intercept factor close to 1, which is

the ideal modeling. Moreover, a comparison between pressurized

water and thermal oil is presented in order to determine the most

suitable fluid energetically.

Examined model

A compound parabolic collector with an evacuated tube is

examined in this study. The model was designed in Solidworks

by a parametrical way in order to optimize its geometry. This optimization gives the opportunity to improve the collector optical

55

two parabolas and a third part which connects them. In the examined case, this part is created by two identical circular parts which

are tangent with the parabolas. This tangency is crucial because

leads to a smooth surface and as a consequence to a greater optical

efficiency. Fig. 1 shows the CPC scheme and the geometry parameters; the aperture, the height, the acceptance angle, the tube

diameters and etcetera. It is important to state that many parameters influence on the optical performance of the collector and the

optimization of all them leads to a very complex problem. For this

reason, some of these parameters were selected to be constant and

the optimization was applied on the rest of them. First of all, the

focal distance f and the angle u were selected to be 50 mm and

90 respectively, while the absorber diameter designed at

30 mm. The absorbers sketch is located in the symmetry axis of

the sketch plane and is tangent to the straight line AB which connects the two parabolas focus as well as to the one is defined from

C and B. These conditions lead all the rays which are incident vertically on the aperture plane and arrive at the parabolic surfaces to

reach to the absorber tube. The parameters were being optimized

are the aperture W and the distance q which is related to the down

part of the CPC. By knowing these parameters, the height H and the

acceptance half-angle hc are easily calculated.

The optical efficiency of the collector is the ratio of the absorbed

energy from the tube to the total solar energy entering to the aperture. This quantity can be easily calculated by a product of three

parameters, as Eq. (1) presents:

Q

gopt h abs q ch sa;

Qs

by the surface quality. The next loss is expressed by the intercept

factor c which is depended on the incident angle of the radiation.

More specifically, this parameter is calculated as the ratio of the

solar irradiation that arrives at the tube to the reflected solar irradiation from the mirror. In addition, the reflector shape determines

the intercept factor, thus an optimization of the reflector geometry

is presented. Eq. (2) summarizes the above analysis:

Q tube

;

Qs q

the product of cover transmittance and receiver absorbance. In this

point, it is essential to state that the solar radiation, that CPC utilizes, is the beam radiation and a part of the diffuse radiation which

is depended on concentration ratio. For this study case, without

slope, Eq. (3) describes the exploited solar irradiation:

Ge Gb

Gd

;

C

affects on the optical efficiency. However, extra information about

the relative position between collector and sun is necessary in

order to predict the exact path of the solar rays inside the collector.

For this reason, two other angles, the transverse and the longitude,

are being introduced to determine the exact position of the sun.

These solar angles are used in the optical analysis. Fig. 2 illustrates

these solar angles in a 3-D scheme.

Eq. (4) gives the incident angle (h) as a function of the transversal and the longitudinal angles:

important parameters of the simulation.

Simulation in Solidworks environment and methodology

The examined model was designed in Solidworks and simulated

in its flow simulation studio. The first step in the simulation was

the determination of the physical problem. The boundary conditions, the materials of the parts and the properties of every material are the main parameters that have been determined. Moreover,

the solar radiation parameters are very important for this analysis

and emphasis is given to them.

The material selection is presented below:

The absorber is selected to be made of cooper.

56

is necessary for the proper solar rays reflection.

Table 1

Geometry dimensions and simulation parameters.

Simulation parameter

Values

Geometry dimensions

Values

er

ec

q(sa)

0.1

0.88

0.80

1000 W/m2

0.01 kg/s

10 C

10 W/m2 C

p

L

f

Dri

Dro

Dci

Dco

17 m

1000 mm

50 mm

30 mm

34 mm

44 mm

48 mm

Ge

mw

Tam

hca

The reflector has a special mirror surface.

Lids have been placed in the inlet and in the outlet of the tube in

order to create a closed fluid volume. These lids were selected to

be as insulators. By this way, these materials are not taking

part in the thermal analysis.

The proper boundary conditions of the simulation are the

following:

The inlet mass flow rate in the internal face of the inlet lid.

The temperature in the internal face of the inlet lid.

The flow was selected to be fully developed in the inlet of the

tube.

The pressure of the outlet was determined in every case and is a

necessary boundary condition for the flow simulation inside the

tube.

The heat convection coefficient between the outer cover surface

and the environment.

The next important parameters that have to be taken into consideration are related with the radiation surfaces of the materials:

The absorber outer surface was selected to be selective.

The inner and outer cover surfaces have been selected to have

the proper radiation properties (emittance, transparency).

take the proper output from Solidworks and to lead the solver to

the desirable results. The main outputs of the simulation tool are

the following:

The fluid bulk temperature in the outlet.

The mean receiver temperature in its outer surface.

The mean cover temperature in its volume. For the cover, the

temperature difference between their surfaces is very low and

for this reason the mean volume temperature was selected as

output.

The thermal losses of the receiver which are equal to its radiation losses.

The total enthalpy difference between the outlet and the inlet of

the tube.

The mesh in the computational domain was created by Solidworks and emphasis was given in the fluid domain. For this reason,

extra refinement levels were added in fluid and in partial cells.

More specifically, in the mesh generation a standard mesh is created by selecting the basic nodes. The next step is a refinement

in fluid and partial cells in order to make the mesh better inside

the tube. The final mesh contains in every cross cross-section about

50,000 cells and the total mesh is consisted of about 4,000,000

cells. The choice of these values have made after a small sensitivity

analysis. Different refinement levels have been tested and the convergence criterion was the fluid outlet temperature.

The solar radiation was determined by its intensity and its

direction through the general settings of the program. It is essential

to state again that the optical analysis is made by Solidworks flow

simulation with setting the reflector surface as symmetry surface. The multiple reflections have been taken into account in this

model.

The model was simulated for various study cases. In every case,

some parameters were kept constant and others were varied. The

57

temperature of the working fluid in the inlet and the solar radiation direction were the parameters, parametrically investigated.

Other parameters as the solar radiation intensity, the ambient temperature and the mass flow rate were kept constant. The energy

balances of the thermal model are presented in Appendix A with

more details.

1.0

0.9

0.8

0.7

Optical analysis

300 mm

0.6

200

on the optical efficiency of the collector are investigated in order

to predict the optimum values of the examined geometric parameters. The optimization of the intercept factor leads to the optimization of the optical efficiency which is the goal of this analysis.

250

300

350

400

450

500

W(mm)

Fig. 4. Intercept factor for different aperture values.

Table 2

Optimized geometry parameters.

The objective of this section is to present the influence of the

geometric parameters (q and W) on the intercept factor. More

specifically, the shape of the down part of the CPC as well as the

aperture surface value is examined by changing the q and W values

respectively. The rest of the parameters were selected to be constant, while the solar rays are vertical to the aperture plane

(h = 0). Fig. 3 depicts the effect that distance q has on the intercept

factor, and as a consequence on the optical efficiency.

It is obvious that there is a great region of values which lead to

an optimum performance of the intercept factor. Especially, when

the parameter q takes values in the range of 1326 mm, all the

incident solar rays arrive at the tube, after the reflection on the

mirror. This distance was selected at 21 mm which is a value inside

the optimum region, in order to take a smooth surface. More

specifically, this value for the parameter q makes the two circular

parts to be tangent in their contact point, fact that makes them to

belong to the same cycle. The next parameter is the aperture length

W which is analyzed in Fig. 4.

For low aperture values the intercept factor is maximized

because all the reflected rays arrive to the receiver. After a critical

point, the intercept factor is decreasing something that affects

directly on the optical efficiency. This leads us to select the optimum value at the critical point which is the aperture of 300 mm

width. It is essential to mention that in the optimum case, the line

which connects the focus of each parabola to the opposite upper

point is tangent to the receiver (Fig. 1). This is according to the theory which demands this condition in order to determine the optimum aperture. Table 2 gives the final results of the optimization.

Heat flux distribution over the receiver

The next important issue about the optical analysis is the way

that the heat flux is being distributed in the receiver. The following

Figs. 5 and 6 show this distribution over the circular geometry of

Geometry parameters

Value

q

W

H

hC

Aa

C

21 m

300 mm

150 mm

53

0.3 m2

2.81

0.9921

0.7937

cmax

gopt,max

the receiver. The results were taken from Solidworks for the optimum case. In order to present the heat flux distribution with a

dimensionless way, we have to calculate the local concentration

ratio as Eq. (5) suggests below:

CL

dQ tube

q Ge dA

of the absorber. This distribution is very important because there is

a great variation from point to point over the absorber.

This figure gives a strange profile for the heat flux and the reason is the complex geometry of the reflector. Moreover Fig. 6

depicts the heat flux distribution over the geometry, as it is taken

by Solidworks results.

From the above figures it is obvious that the maximum solar

irradiation is concentrated on the top of the absorber (b = 0). This

can be explained because this part collects beam radiation directly

from the sun and simultaneously a part of the reflected radiation

from the parabolas. The lower part of the receiver (b = 180) collects the lessen radiation, because only a small part of the reflector

sent rays on this region. Moreover, in the down part of the absorber

there are two symmetry regions (b = 145 and b = 215) where the

heat flux takes great values due to the fact that both the parabolas

and the down circular part of the mirror reflect the rays to these

two specific parts of the absorber.

Incident angle impact on intercept factor

1.00

0.95

0.90

0.85

0.80

q=21 mm

0.75

0

10

15

20

q (mm)

25

30

35

40

optical efficiency for different sun positions. In no concentrating

collectors, the incident angle is sufficient to similar calculations,

but in the concentrating collectors, a deeper analysis is needed.

For this reason, a more analytic determination of the sun position

uses two angles, in the longitudinal and in the transversal direction. This means that the position of the sun affects significantly

on the optical efficiency. Fig. 7 displays how the intercept factor

variation as a function of the longitudinal angle.

It is obvious that the optical loss is getting greater as the longitudinal angle increases. It is remarkable that, the loss for small

58

6

5

CL

4

3

2

1

0

0

50

100

150

200

250

300

350

400

()

Fig. 5. Local concentration ratio distribution in peripheral of the absorber.

Fig. 6. Heat flux distribution over the absorber geometry, with red the maximum values and with blue the lower values. (For interpretation of the references to color in this

figure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)

1.0

1.0

0.8

0.8

0.6

0.6

0.4

0.4

0.2

0.2

0.0

20

40

60

L(

0.0

80

o)

10

20

30

T(

40

50

60

values of the longitudinal angle is almost inconsiderable. The mathematical approximation of the above curve is presented in Eq. (6):

6

is extremely low and the system stops operating. The next

analyzed angle is the transversal one which is given in the Fig. 8.

59

is the thermal performance investigation of the examined collector. Two different working fluids, pressurized water and thermal

oil, are tested in order to make a comparison between them. The

water is under a high pressure levels (35 bar) in order to be kept

in liquid phase for all study cases. The thermal oil operates in lower

pressure level because it is kept in liquid phase up to 300 C without needing a great pressure increase. The properties of these fluids

are taken by Solidworks library.

The thermal efficiency of the collector can be calculated as the

ratio of the useful energy to the solar energy entering in the collectors aperture:

balance in the working fluid volume, according to Eq. (9):

_ cp T out T in ;

Qu m

_ cp to be the same in

(10), in order the total heat capacity m

the two cases. By this assumption, if the two fluids absorb the same

amount of heat, then the same temperature increase is being

occurred. This will make the absorber to have similar temperature

in both cases, something that makes the comparison better.

m_ o m_w

cp;w

;

cp;o

10

into specific capacitance between the working fluids. For typical

values of specific thermal capacities, the mass flow rate of thermal

oil is 0.0212 kg/s. More specifically, the specific thermal capacity

was selected at 4180 kJ/kg K for water and at 1972 kJ/kg K for thermal oil. Another important parameter is the overall heat loss coefficient which can be calculated by the Eq. (11):

Q Loss

UL

;

Ar T r T am

0.68

Water

0.64

Thermal oil

Qu

;

Qs

0.72

0.60

receiver, an expected result, since the half-acceptance angle is also

53.

gth

0.76

0.05

0.1

0.15

0.2

in all cases while the difference on the efficiency is getting greater

as the inlet temperature increases. This happens due to the difference in the heat losses and as a consequence in the overall heat loss

coefficient between the two fluids, as it is depicted in Fig. 10. This

coefficient is calculated according Eq. (11) by using the total thermal losses. Solidworks outputs include these thermal losses and

this makes the calculations easier.

Fig. 10 shows that the heat loss coefficient (UL) takes greater

values in the thermal oil case, fact that leads to greater overall

losses and to low thermal efficiency. Furthermore, the difference

between the two heat loss coefficients is getting greater as the inlet

fluid temperature increases something that explains the divergence in the efficiency curves for the respective operating conditions. The difference in this coefficient is explained by the

difference in the receiver temperature, which is depicted in

Fig. 11. At this point is essential to state that a warmer absorber

lead to higher heat losses and this has to been taken into consideration in the presented analysis. Fig. 11 proves that the absorber

temperature is greater when the collector operates with thermal

oil.

The difference in absorber temperature seems to be constant

between the pressurized water and thermal oil case (Fig. 11). However, the difference in the heat loss coefficient (Fig. 10) is getting

greater for higher fluid temperature levels. This is a result of the

dependence between these parameters. This coefficient is

depended on the receiver temperature in the fourth power,

because only radiation losses exist inside the evacuated tube, fact

that explains the non-linear behavior of Fig. 10.

In this point, the reason for the greater receiver temperature in

the thermal oil case will be presented. A deeper analysis of the heat

transfer between tube and working fluid is given below. Emphasis

is given in the heat transfer coefficient inside the tube. Eq. (12)

gives the mean Nusselt number for laminar flow [35] and

Eq. (13) the heat convection coefficient:

2.1

Thermal oil

1.8

11

0.25

(Tin-Tam)/Ge

Water

1.5

UL (W/m2K)

2

hT

hT

25:96

15:37

100

100

3

4

5

hT

hT

hT

22:5

7:2

;

100

100

100

0.80

th

values of the transversal angle something that makes this parameter crucial for the collector performance. A tracking system is used

in many applications in order to minimize the transversal angle

and to achieve greater optical efficiency. The next equation is the

approximation of the Fig. 8 curve:

1.2

0.9

0.6

presented. Fig. 9 illustrates the thermal efficiency of the examined

collector for a range of operating conditions. The ambient temperature and the solar irradiation were selected to be 10 C and

1000 W/m2 respectively. The only parameter that changes is the

water inlet temperature which is ranged from 10 C to 230 C.

0.3

0

0

0.05

0.1

0.15

0.2

(Tin-Tam)/Ge

Fig. 10. Heat loss coefficient for different operating conditions.

0.25

60

300

Thermal oil

Water

250

Re

Tr (oC)

200

Pr

150

100

50

0

0

0.05

0.1

0.15

0.2

0.25

(Tin-Tam)/Ge

Fig. 11. Receivers mean temperature for different operating conditions.

4m

p Dri l

l cp

k

Fluid

h (W/

m2 K)

Nu

Re

Pr

k (W/

m K)

l (Pa s)

cp (J/

kg K)

Water

Thermal

oil

150

62

6.7

11.0

1388

73

1.9

144

0.67

0.17

0.00031

0.01240

4180

1972

14

15

Table 3 includes the calculated parameters for inlet temperature equal to 90 C which is an intermediate operating temperature. It is obvious that the heat transfer coefficient is lower for

the thermal oil case, something that is explained by the great difference in the dynamic viscosity and the thermal conductivity of

thermal oil.

Eq. (16) describes the correlation between the heat convection

coefficient and the absorber temperature:

T r T fm

Table 3

Mean heat convection coefficient and other properties for working fluid.

Qu

;

Ari hm

16

amount, a lower heat transfer coefficient leads to a greater absorber temperature. This result makes the heat transfer fluid with

higher convection coefficients to be more suitable in thermal solar

applications.

Additional results for operation with pressurized water

108.3

( C)

108.2

()

108.1

absorber

108.0

107.9

107.8

0

50

100

150

200

250

300

350

400

()

Fig. 12. Peripheral temperature distribution in the absorber.

0:0668 DLri Re Pr

Num 3:66

2=3 ;

1 0:04 DLri Re Pr

hm

Num k

;

Dri

12

13

Eqs. (14) and (15) show the definition of Reynolds and Prandtl

number respectively:

operation pressurized water; the optimum working fluid according

to the previous analysis. The temperature of the fluid in the inlet is

equal to 90 C for Figs. 1214. This temperature level is an intermediate and representative value for the collector operation. Firstly,

the peripheral temperature of the absorber in the middle of the

tube is given in Fig. 12. Fig. 13 shows the temperature distribution

(Fig. 13a) and the distribution of the heat losses (Fig. 13b) over the

outer tube surface.

It is obvious from Fig. 12, that the maximum temperature

appears on the top of the tube where the maximum heat flux is

observed (Figs. 5 and 6). Moreover, it is essential to state that the

variation of the temperature distribution is only 0.4 C. This result

proves that the absorber tube temperature distribution can be

approximately assumed as isothermal small rings.

Fig. 13a shows that the temperature of the tube increases in the

flow direction because the fluid is getting warmer from the inlet to

the outlet. In Fig. 13b, the thermal losses have a respective to the

temperature distribution due to their dependency, as it was

referred above.

Fig. 14 depicts the water temperature distribution in the outlet

cross-section of the tube. The maximum temperature is observed

close to tube walls and especially in the upper and in the lower

part of them. In the center core, the temperature is lower because

the heat did not manage to reach this part of the flow. The heat

Fig. 13. (a) Absorber temperature distribution, (b) thermal losses distribution over the absorber (the red color illustrates the greater values and the blue the lower values).

(For interpretation of the references to color in this figure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)

61

conductivity is the factor that determines the temperature distribution on the radial direction of the fluid cross section.

Model validation

In the final part of this study, a simple validation of the developed model is presented. A simple 1-D numerical model written

in the FORTRAN programming language was developed for validating the simulation results. The validation is made for pressurized

water because this is the working fluid with the better efficiency.

The main developed model is based on the energy balance in the

losses [36]. The receiver and the cover are supposed to have uniform temperature levels in every case which is a good assumption;

because the examined tube is short and the temperature variation

along the tube is low. Fig. 15 illustrates the basic points the developed numerical model.

Fig. 16 shows the validation results between model in Solidworks and model in FORTRAN. More specifically, the thermal efficiency, the heat loss coefficient, the receiver and the cover

temperature are compared for all the range of operating conditions. It is obvious that the two models give similar results which

62

Fig. 16. Validation results (a) thermal efficiency (b) heat loss coefficient (c) receiver temperature (d) cover temperature.

are close to each other. These results validate the developed model

in Solidworks.

variation of about 0.4 K; a small variation which leads to the

assumption of isothermal tube locally.

Conclusions

Acknowledgments

In this study a detailed analysis of a CPC collector is presented.

First of all, the design of this collector is analyzed in order to optimize its geometry. The goal of the optimization is the maximization of the intercept factor for zero incident angle. The results

showed that the optimum aperture width is about 300 mm with

a focal distance of 50 mm and a receiver diameter of 34 mm. The

shape of the down part has not a significant role in the collector

efficiency and for this reason its design is not of great interest.

The final reflector geometry is optimum because all the reflected

rays are delivered to the receiver which means ideal design. Moreover, the collector tested for various incident angles at the longitude and in the transverse direction, and the results show that

the transversal angle variation causes a significant reduction in

the optical efficiency. This finding indicates the necessity of tracking this collector in order to minimize the incident angle and

mainly the transversal incident angle.

The next part of this study is the thermal analysis of the collector in order to predict the efficiency for different operating conditions. Two different working fluids are compared in order to

predict the most appropriate as a heat transfer fluid. Pressurized

water performed better than thermal oil by giving greater efficiency in the whole operating range. The reason for the waters

better performance is the different thermal properties of it; conductivity and dynamic viscosity. More specifically, the greater values of these properties in pressurized water increase the heat

convection coefficient making water the most suitable working

fluid. In the last part of this study, the temperature distribution

in the absorber and in the fluid are presented for operation with

pressurized water. According to the presented figures, the absorber

is getting warmer from the inlet to the outlet and the heat losses

have a similar distribution. Also, the water temperature in the outlet cross section is characterized by isothermal rings, with the warmer to be closer to the tube. Another important conclusion is that

The first author would like to thank the Onassis Foundation for

its financial support.

Appendix A

The basic equations which describe the general energy balances

are given in this appendix. The energy potential of the solar energy

is given by Eq. (A.1) and the energy delivered to the absorber by Eq.

(A.2):

Q S Aa Ge ;

A:1

Q abs Q S q c sa;

A:2

balance in its volume according Eq. (A.3):

Q u m cp T out T in ;

A:3

this equation is able the direct determination of heat losses:

Q loss Q abs Q u ;

A:4

losses. These equations lead to the receiver temperature, cover

temperature and heat loss coefficient:

Q loss U L Aro T r T am ;

Q loss

r Aro T 4r T 4c

1

er

1ecec AAroci

A:5

A:6

A:7

The next equation that connects the useful heat and the receiver

temperature:

Q u Ari hm T r T fm ;

A:8

of inlet and outlet temperature. The heat transfer coefficient

between absorber and fluid can be calculated by Eq. (A.9) for laminar flow:

hm

"

#

k

0:0668 Re Pr Dri =L

:

3:66

Dri

1 0:04 Re Pr Dri =L2=3

A:9

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