Heat transfer analysis of parabolic trough solar receiver

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Vasquez Padilla, R, Demirkaya, G, Goswami, DY, Stefanakos, E & Rahman, MM 2011, 'Heat transfer analysis of parabolic trough solar receiver', Applied Energy, vol. 88, no. 12, pp. 5097-5110.

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Solar Parabolic Trough Collectors (PTCs) are currently used for the production of electricity and applications with relatively higher temperatures. A heat transfer fluid circulates through a metal tube (receiver) with an external selective surface that absorbs solar radiation reflected from the mirror surfaces of the PTC. In order to reduce the heat losses, the receiver is covered by an envelope and the enclosure is usually kept under vacuum pressure. The heat transfer and optical analysis of the PTC is essential to optimize and understand its performance under different operating conditions. In this paper a detailed one dimensional numerical heat transfer analysis of a PTC is performed. The receiver and envelope were divided into several segments and mass and energy balance were applied in each segment. Improvements either in the heat transfer correlations or radiative heat transfer analysis are presented as well. The partial differential equations were discretized and the nonlinear algebraic equations were solved simultaneously. Finally, to validate the numerical results, the model was compared with experimental data obtained from Sandia National Laboratory (SNL) and other one dimensional heat transfer models. Our results showed a better agreement with experimental data compared to other models.