16 September 2014 Solar optical codes evaluation for modeling and analyzing complex solar receiver geometries
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Abstract
Solar optical modeling tools are valuable for modeling and predicting the performance of solar technology systems. Four optical modeling tools were evaluated using the National Solar Thermal Test Facility heliostat field combined with flat plate receiver geometry as a benchmark. The four optical modeling tools evaluated were DELSOL, HELIOS, SolTrace, and Tonatiuh. All are available for free from their respective developers. DELSOL and HELIOS both use a convolution of the sunshape and optical errors for rapid calculation of the incident irradiance profiles on the receiver surfaces. SolTrace and Tonatiuh use ray-tracing methods to intersect the reflected solar rays with the receiver surfaces and construct irradiance profiles. We found the ray-tracing tools, although slower in computation speed, to be more flexible for modeling complex receiver geometries, whereas DELSOL and HELIOS were limited to standard receiver geometries such as flat plate, cylinder, and cavity receivers. We also list the strengths and deficiencies of the tools to show tool preference depending on the modeling and design needs. We provide an example of using SolTrace for modeling nonconventional receiver geometries. The goal is to transfer the irradiance profiles on the receiver surfaces calculated in an optical code to a computational fluid dynamics code such as ANSYS Fluent. This approach eliminates the need for using discrete ordinance or discrete radiation transfer models, which are computationally intensive, within the CFD code. The irradiance profiles on the receiver surfaces then allows for thermal and fluid analysis on the receiver.
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Julius Yellowhair, Jesus D. Ortega, Joshua M. Christian, Clifford K. Ho, "Solar optical codes evaluation for modeling and analyzing complex solar receiver geometries", Proc. SPIE 9191, Nonimaging Optics: Efficient Design for Illumination and Solar Concentration XI, 91910M (16 September 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2062926; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2062926
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