Ideal heat transfer conditions for tubular solar receivers with different design constraints

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Kim, JS, Potter, D, Gardner, W, Too, YCS & Vasquez Padilla, R 2017, 'Ideal heat transfer conditions for tubular solar receivers with different design constraints', SolarPACES 2016: International Conference on Concentrating Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 11-14 October 2016, AIP Publishing, New York. ISBN: 9780735415225

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Peer Reviewed



The optimum heat transfer condition for a tubular type solar receiver was investigated for various receiver pipe size, heat transfer fluid, and design requirement and constraint(s). Heat transfer of a single plain receiver pipe exposed to concentrated solar energy was modelled along the flow path of the heat transfer fluid. Three different working fluids, molten salt, sodium, and supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) were considered in the case studies with different design conditions. The optimized ideal heat transfer condition was identified through fast iterative heat transfer calculations solving for all relevant radiation, conduction and convection heat transfers throughout the entire discretized tubular receiver. The ideal condition giving the best performance was obtained by finding the highest acceptable solar energy flux optimally distributed to meet different constraint(s), such as maximum allowable material temperature of receiver, maximum allowable film temperature of heat transfer fluid, and maximum allowable stress of receiver pipe material. The level of fluid side turbulence (represented by pressure drop in this study) was also optimized to give the highest net power production. As the outcome of the study gives information on the most ideal heat transfer condition, it can be used as a useful guideline for optimal design of a real receiver and solar field in a combined manner. The ideal heat transfer condition is especially important for high temperature tubular receivers (e.g. for supplying heat to high efficiency Brayton cy