5 September 2015 Coupled optical-thermal-fluid and structural analyses of novel light-trapping tubular panels for concentrating solar power receivers
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Abstract
Traditional tubular receivers used in concentrating solar power are formed using tubes connected to manifolds to form panels; which in turn are arranged in cylindrical or rectangular shapes. Previous and current tubular receivers, such as the ones used in Solar One, Solar Two, and most recently the Ivanpah solar plants, have used a black paint coating to increase the solar absorptance of the receiver. However, these coatings degrade over time and must be reapplied, increasing the receiver maintenance cost. This paper presents the thermal efficiency evaluation of novel receiver tubular panels that have a higher effective solar absorptance due to a light-trapping effect created by arranging the tubes in each panel into unique geometric configurations. Similarly, the impact of the incidence angle on the effective solar absorptance and thermal efficiency is evaluated. The overarching goal of this work is to achieve effective solar absorptances of ~90% and thermal efficiencies above 85% without using an absorptance coating. Several panel geometries were initially proposed and were down-selected based on structural analyses considering the thermal and pressure loading requirements of molten salt and supercritical carbon-dioxide receivers. The effective solar absorptance of the chosen tube geometries and panel configurations were evaluated using the ray-tracing modeling capabilities of SolTrace. The thermal efficiency was then evaluated by coupling computational fluid dynamics with the ray-tracing results using ANSYS Fluent. Compared to the base case analysis (flat tubular panel), the novel tubular panels have shown an increase in effective solar absorptance and thermal efficiency by several percentage points.
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Jesus D. Ortega, Joshua M. Christian, Julius E. Yellowhair, Clifford K. Ho, "Coupled optical-thermal-fluid and structural analyses of novel light-trapping tubular panels for concentrating solar power receivers", Proc. SPIE 9559, High and Low Concentrator Systems for Solar Energy Applications X, 955909 (5 September 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2188235; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2188235
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