Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments 16 (2016) 53–63

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Original Research Article

Design, simulation and optimization of a compound parabolic collector
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

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.
Ó 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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
(30–90 °C). Concentrating collectors with high concentrating ratios
operate in high temperature levels (300–400 °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 [4–13] 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: (E. Bellos).
2213-1388/Ó 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

limit of 100 °C and the conjugation with a concentrating trough
leads to higher levels.
CPC belongs to non-imaging concentrators with low concentrating ratio (1–5) [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 East–West
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

Abu-Bakar [28] studied a rotationally asymmetrical compound parabolic concentrator with a PV module. This optimization gives the opportunity to improve the collector optical . Singh et al. 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. ° transverse solar angle. Moreover. W down part placement. The use of asymmetric CPC. mm mean convection coefficient. W/m2 parabola length. mm mass flow rate. A lot of research has been conducted worldwide for the CPC performance improvement. Bellos et al. These systems include compound parabolic reflectors. many other researches have been worked in this area. [34] made a comparison (sa) u transmittance–absorptance product Parabola angle parameter. W/m K tube length. Moreover. mm Reynolds number temperature. while both an optical and thermal analysis has been conducted. an optimization of its geometry is made in order to maximize the optical efficiency. Firstly. ° hΤ l dynamic viscosity. a thermal efficiency comparison between pressurized water and thermal oil as working fluids is presented for different operating conditions. The innovative point of this study is the reflector design. a comparison between pressurized water and thermal oil is presented in order to determine the most suitable fluid energetically. longitudinal projection angle are developed by Wang [27] so as the tracking systems to be analyzed more. The results showed that lens-walled CPC has greater acceptance angle. [32] made a very interesting review about integrated collector solar water heaters stating the novelties that are able to increase their efficiency. which means two different parabolic shapes. [29] and Kessentini [30. phase change materials and special materials (absorber and cover) in order to achieve high daily performance.31] analyzed asymmetrical CPC for integrated solar systems with one and two tanks inside the collector respectively. ° c intercept factor e emittance g efficiency h solar incident angle. has been studied from many researchers. mm focal length. m2 concentration ratio specific heat capacity. The main idea is the development of a non tracking collector which performs well during the day due to the different shape of the reflector’s parabolas that allows the collector to operate efficiently for a great range of incident angles. the pressurized water. Moreover. Mathematical equations for solar transversal projection angle. The methodology that is followed lead to an intercept factor close to 1. 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. 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. a CPC with an evacuated tube is designed and simulated. Examined model A compound parabolic collector with an evacuated tube is examined in this study. Also. ° hL longitude solar angle.54 E. ° Subscripts and superscripts 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 between lens-walled CPC. a parametric analysis for different solar angles (transversal and longitudinal) is given to calculate the optical losses for different cases. W/m2 K aperture length. mm heat flux. Finally. kg/s mean Nusselt number Prandtl number absorber placement. which is the ideal modeling. A comparison of N–S and E–W orientated CPCs presented by Kim [5]. mm solar radiation. a deeper analysis for the best working fluid. a common CPC and a dielectric solid CPC. Pa s q reflectance parameter. ° hc half-acceptance angle. W/m2 K thermal conductivity. The model was designed in Solidworks by a parametrical way in order to optimize its geometry. mm Greek symbols b peripheral absorber angle. The simulation of the collector has been done with commercial software Solidworks flow simulation. In this study. J/kg K diameter. / Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments 16 (2016) 53–63 Nomenclature A C cp D f G H hm k L m Num Pr p Q q Re T UL W area. but it has lower optical efficiency in low incidence angles. 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%. °C losses coefficient. while Souliotis et al. is presented.

the tube diameters and etcetera. In addition. Eq. thus an optimization of the reflector geometry is presented. The material selection is presented below: – The absorber is selected to be made of cooper. In the examined case. Bellos et al. it is essential to state that the solar radiation. are being introduced to determine the exact position of the sun. the aperture. The parameters were being optimized are the aperture W and the distance q which is related to the down part of the CPC. the solar radiation parameters are very important for this analysis and emphasis is given to them. without slope. The next loss is expressed by the intercept factor c which is depended on the incident angle of the radiation. the acceptance angle. This quantity can be easily calculated by a product of three parameters. Simulation in Solidworks environment and methodology The examined model was designed in Solidworks and simulated in its flow simulation studio. is the beam radiation and a part of the diffuse radiation which is depended on concentration ratio. the transverse and the longitude. By knowing these parameters. two other angles. 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. CPC is created by two parabolas and a third part which connects them. For this reason. These solar angles are used in the optical analysis. However. Moreover.E. Fig. the focal distance f and the angle u were selected to be 50 mm and 90° respectively. Qs ð1Þ The mirror reflectivity q is the first optical loss and it is affected by the surface quality. the reflector shape determines the intercept factor. The boundary conditions. (3) describes the exploited solar irradiation: Ge ¼ Gb þ Gd . efficiency and to achieve optimum performance. 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 part is created by two identical circular parts which are tangent with the parabolas. the materials of the parts and the properties of every material are the main parameters that have been determined. The first step in the simulation was the determination of the physical problem. (4) gives the incident angle (h) as a function of the transversal and the longitudinal angles: tan2 ðhÞ ¼ tan2 ðhL Þ þ tan2 ðhT Þ. Fig. For this study case. / Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments 16 (2016) 53–63 55 Fig. that CPC utilizes. Eq. 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. the height H and the acceptance half-angle hc are easily calculated. some of these parameters were selected to be constant and the optimization was applied on the rest of them. 1 shows the CPC scheme and the geometry parameters. (2) summarizes the above analysis: c¼ Q tube . Geometric parameters of CPC design. The absorber’s 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. 1. Eq. First of all. C ð3Þ The incident angle h is a very important parameter which affects on the optical efficiency. as Eq. Qs  q ð2Þ Qtube symbolizes the reaching radiation to the tube while (sa) is the product of cover transmittance and receiver absorbance. This tangency is crucial because leads to a smooth surface and as a consequence to a greater optical efficiency. More specifically. In this point. . For this reason. (1) presents: Q gopt ðhÞ ¼ abs ¼ q  cðhÞ  ðsaÞ. 2 illustrates these solar angles in a 3-D scheme. ð4Þ Table 1 includes the basic dimensions of the collector and other important parameters of the simulation. while the absorber diameter designed at 30 mm. the height. 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. 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 every case. The choice of these values have made after a small sensitivity analysis. – The heat convection coefficient between the outer cover surface and the environment. – Lids have been placed in the inlet and in the outlet of the tube in order to create a closed fluid volume. The next step is a refinement in fluid and partial cells in order to make the mesh better inside the tube. The solar radiation was determined by its intensity and its direction through the general settings of the program. The final mesh contains in every cross cross-section about 50. 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. It is essential to state again that the optical analysis is made by Solidworks flow simulation with setting the reflector surface as ‘‘symmetry surface”. For this reason. Bellos et al. – The total enthalpy difference between the outlet and the inlet of the tube. these materials are not taking part in the thermal analysis.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 cover is transparent to solar energy and is made of glass. More specifically. By this way. – The mean receiver temperature in its outer surface.000. extra refinement levels were added in fluid and in partial cells. The . Table 1 Geometry dimensions and simulation parameters. – The reflector has a special mirror surface. 2. – The mean cover temperature in its volume. some parameters were kept constant and others were varied.88 0. – The reflector surface was set as ‘‘symmetry” surface.000 cells and the total mesh is consisted of about 4.80 1000 W/m2 0. – The thermal losses of the receiver which are equal to its radiation losses. The multiple reflections have been taken into account in this model. This choice is necessary for the proper solar rays reflection. the temperature difference between their surfaces is very low and for this reason the mean volume temperature was selected as output. In addition. Solar angles and 3-D CPC shape.000 cells. For the cover. – The temperature in the internal face of the inlet lid. / Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments 16 (2016) 53–63 Fig. – The pressure of the outlet was determined in every case and is a necessary boundary condition for the flow simulation inside the tube. transparency). Simulation parameter Values Geometry dimensions Values er ec q(sa) 0. specific convergence goals were selected in order to take the proper output from Solidworks and to lead the solver to the desirable results. – The inner and outer cover surfaces have been selected to have the proper radiation properties (emittance. Different refinement levels have been tested and the convergence criterion was the fluid outlet temperature. These lids were selected to be as ‘‘insulators”. The mesh in the computational domain was created by Solidworks and emphasis was given in the fluid domain.56 E.1 0. The proper boundary conditions of the simulation are the following: – The inlet mass flow rate in the internal face of the inlet lid. – The flow was selected to be fully developed in the inlet of the tube. The main outputs of the simulation tool are the following: – The fluid bulk temperature in the outlet. The model was simulated for various study cases. in the mesh generation a standard mesh is created by selecting the basic nodes.

as it is taken by Solidworks results. 7 displays how the intercept factor variation as a function of the longitudinal angle. 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.6 200 In this paragraph the geometrical parameters which influence on the optical efficiency of the collector are investigated in order to predict the optimum values of the examined geometric parameters. and as a consequence on the optical efficiency. 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. For low aperture values the intercept factor is maximized because all the reflected rays arrive to the receiver. / Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments 16 (2016) 53–63 temperature of the working fluid in the inlet and the solar radiation direction were the parameters. 1).75 0 5 10 15 20 q (mm) 25 30 35 Fig.max the receiver. The rest of the parameters were selected to be constant.8 0. The lower part of the receiver (b = 180°) collects the lessen radiation. Other parameters as the solar radiation intensity.85 0. From the above figures it is obvious that the maximum solar irradiation is concentrated on the top of the absorber (b = 0°). in order to take a smooth surface. Incident angle impact on intercept factor 1. The next parameter is the aperture length W which is analyzed in Fig. 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. 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.9 0. Table 2 gives the final results of the optimization. More specifically. Moreover. the incident angle is sufficient to similar calculations. It is obvious that there is a great region of values which lead to an optimum performance of the intercept factor. fact that makes them to belong to the same cycle. For this reason. 3. Optimization of the reflector geometry The objective of this section is to present the influence of the geometric parameters (q and W) on the intercept factor. Fig. Table 2 Optimized geometry parameters. a more analytic determination of the sun position uses two angles. 3 depicts the effect that distance q has on the intercept factor. This is according to the theory which demands this condition in order to determine the optimum aperture. The following Figs. In no concentrating collectors. all the incident solar rays arrive at the tube. ð5Þ Fig. we have to calculate the local concentration ratio as Eq. the loss for small . the line which connects the focus of each parabola to the opposite upper point is tangent to the receiver (Fig.80 q=21 mm 0.95 0. the ambient temperature and the mass flow rate were kept constant. This leads us to select the optimum value at the critical point which is the aperture of 300 mm width. Bellos et al. in the longitudinal and in the transversal direction. Fig. after the reflection on the mirror. when the parameter q takes values in the range of 13–26 mm. 250 300 350 400 450 500 W(mm) Fig. 4. This distribution is very important because there is a great variation from point to point over the absorber. This distance was selected at 21 mm which is a value inside the optimum region. In order to present the heat flux distribution with a dimensionless way. while the solar rays are vertical to the aperture plane (h = 0°). This figure gives a strange profile for the heat flux and the reason is the complex geometry of the reflector. This means that the position of the sun affects significantly on the optical efficiency.0 0.7937 cmax gopt. After a critical point. a deeper analysis is needed. It is obvious that the optical loss is getting greater as the longitudinal angle increases.90 0.9921 0. 4. Intercept factor for different aperture values. because only a small part of the reflector sent rays on this region. but in the concentrating collectors. 1. 5 shows the local concentration ratio in the peripheral line of the absorber. Moreover Fig. this value for the parameter ‘‘q” makes the two circular parts to be tangent in their contact point. 40 The next step in the optical analysis is the determination of optical efficiency for different sun positions.00 0.81 0. The optimization of the intercept factor leads to the optimization of the optical efficiency which is the goal of this analysis. the intercept factor is decreasing something that affects directly on the optical efficiency. It is essential to mention that in the optimum case. The energy balances of the thermal model are presented in Appendix A with more details. Intercept factor for different shapes of CPC down part. More specifically. (5) suggests below: CL ¼ dQ tube q  Ge  dA . parametrically investigated.3 m2 2. It is remarkable that.57 E. The results were taken from Solidworks for the optimum case. Especially. 6 depicts the heat flux distribution over the geometry.7 Optical analysis 300 mm 0. 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.

0 80 0 o) 10 20 30 T( Fig. Bellos et al. 8. The mathematical approximation of the above curve is presented in Eq.4 0. Incident angle as a function of longitude solar angle. Local concentration ratio distribution in peripheral of the absorber.2 0.8 0.6 0.0 0.0 1. Heat flux distribution over the absorber geometry.58 E. values of the longitudinal angle is almost inconsiderable. 7. the reader is referred to the web version of this article. (6): cðhL Þ ¼ 0:9921  4:1  104  hL  1:92  104  h2L þ 7  107  h3L . with red the maximum values and with blue the lower values.4 0.8 0. . 6. 8. (For interpretation of the references to color in this figure legend. ð6Þ It is important to state that above the value of 80°. Fig.2 0. 5. / Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments 16 (2016) 53–63 6 5 CL 4 3 2 1 0 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 () Fig. Incident angle as a function of the transverse solar angle.6 0. 40 50 60 ) Fig.0 0 20 40 60 L( 0. the efficiency is extremely low and the system stops operating. The next analyzed angle is the transversal one which is given in the Fig.) 1.

25 (Tin-Tam)/Ge Water 1. A tracking system is used in many applications in order to minimize the transversal angle and to achieve greater optical efficiency.6 In this section a comparison between the two working fluids is presented. 10. This coefficient is calculated according Eq. This will make the absorber to have similar temperature in both cases. For typical values of specific thermal capacities. Ar  ðT r  T am Þ 0. the mass flow rate of thermal oil is 0. if the two fluids absorb the same amount of heat. as it is depicted in Fig. 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. m_ o ¼ m_w  cp. Heat loss coefficient for different operating conditions. 8 shows that after 53° no solar rays arrive on the receiver.0212 kg/s. This coefficient is depended on the receiver temperature in the fourth power. 11). By this assumption. Fig.72 0. Solidworks outputs include these thermal losses and this makes the calculations easier.1 0. 9 illustrates the thermal efficiency of the examined collector for a range of operating conditions. Qu ¼ m ð9Þ Thermal oil mass flow rate was determined according to Eq. Efficiency curve for different operating conditions. (12) gives the mean Nusselt number for laminar flow [35] and Eq. (11) by using the total thermal losses.80 th It is obvious that the intercept factor decreases abruptly for low values of the transversal angle something that makes this parameter crucial for the collector performance.o ð10Þ In other worlds.1 Thermal oil 1. the above correction equalizes the different into specific capacitance between the working fluids. Furthermore. in order the total heat capacity ðm the two cases. 0.15 0. 0. 9 that pressurized water performs better in all cases while the difference on the efficiency is getting greater as the inlet temperature increases.w .3 0 0 0. It is obvious from Fig. 11 proves that the absorber temperature is greater when the collector operates with thermal oil. 10. cp. The difference in absorber temperature seems to be constant between the pressurized water and thermal oil case (Fig. (9): _  cp  ðT out  T in Þ. (13) the heat convection coefficient: 2. Fig.8 ð11Þ Thermal comparison of working fluids 0.9 0.68 Water 0. Two different working fluids. according to Eq. Bellos et al.25 . The water is under a high pressure levels (35 bar) in order to be kept in liquid phase for all study cases. which is depicted in Fig. fact that explains the non-linear behavior of Fig. Another important parameter is the overall heat loss coefficient which can be calculated by the Eq. In this point. an expected result.2 0. Fig. More specifically. the reason for the greater receiver temperature in the thermal oil case will be presented. / Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments 16 (2016) 53–63  The next step after determining optical efficiency optimization is the thermal performance investigation of the examined collector. A deeper analysis of the heat transfer between tube and working fluid is given below. The difference in this coefficient is explained by the difference in the receiver temperature.2 (Tin-Tam)/Ge Fig.05 0. the specific thermal capacity was selected at 4180 kJ/kg K for water and at 1972 kJ/kg K for thermal oil. 10 shows that the heat loss coefficient (UL) takes greater values in the thermal oil case. 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 the heat loss coefficient (Fig.76 0 0. Eq. (11): Q Loss UL ¼ .1 0. 9. The properties of these fluids are taken by Solidworks library. are tested in order to make a comparison between them. The ambient temperature and the solar irradiation were selected to be 10 °C and 1000 W/m2 respectively. The thermal efficiency of the collector can be calculated as the ratio of the useful energy to the solar energy entering in the collector’s aperture: ð8Þ The useful energy from the collector is calculated by the energy balance in the working fluid volume. pressurized water and thermal oil. 100 100 100 cðhT Þ ¼ 0:9921  5:46  0. However. 10. This is a result of the dependence between these parameters. 8 curve: 1. Emphasis is given in the heat transfer coefficient inside the tube.2 Fig. 10) is getting greater for higher fluid temperature levels. since the half-acceptance angle is also 53°.64 Thermal oil ð7Þ Thermal analysis for water and thermal oil as working fluids Qu . something that makes the comparison better.05 0. 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. gth ¼ 0. Fig. then the same temperature increase is being occurred. This happens due to the difference in the heat losses and as a consequence in the overall heat loss coefficient between the two fluids.15 0. The only parameter that changes is the water inlet temperature which is ranged from 10 °C to 230 °C. _  cp Þ to be the same in (10). 11.59 E.60 Moreover.5 UL (W/m2K)   2 hT hT  25:96 þ 15:37  100 100  3  4  5 hT hT hT  þ 22:5   7:2  . fact that leads to greater overall losses and to low thermal efficiency. because only radiation losses exist inside the evacuated tube. The next equation is the approximation of the Fig. Qs 0.

3 ( C) 108.05 0. 12. This temperature level is an intermediate and representative value for the collector operation. Receivers mean temperature for different operating conditions. In the center core. the optimum working fluid according to the previous analysis. Fig. 13b) over the outer tube surface. Ari  hm ð16Þ This equation suggests that for a constant useful energy amount. In Fig.7 11.   0:0668  DLri  Re  Pr Num ¼ 3:66 þ  2=3 .17 0.00031 0. It is obvious from Fig. It is obvious that the heat transfer coefficient is lower for the thermal oil case. (16) describes the correlation between the heat convection coefficient and the absorber temperature: T r ¼ T fm þ Table 3 Mean heat convection coefficient and other properties for working fluid. 13a) and the distribution of the heat losses (Fig.9 107. 14 depicts the water temperature distribution in the outlet cross-section of the tube. Eq.01240 4180 1972 . (b) thermal losses distribution over the absorber (the red color illustrates the greater values and the blue the lower values). ð14Þ ð15Þ Table 3 includes the calculated parameters for inlet temperature equal to 90 °C which is an intermediate operating temperature. a lower heat transfer coefficient leads to a greater absorber temperature. 5 and 6). . The temperature of the fluid in the inlet is equal to 90 °C for Figs. 11. Peripheral temperature distribution in the absorber.60 E. it is essential to state that the variation of the temperature distribution is only 0. the peripheral temperature of the absorber in the middle of the tube is given in Fig. 12. something that is explained by the great difference in the dynamic viscosity and the thermal conductivity of thermal oil. 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 6.1 0.0 107.8 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 () Fig. Firstly. 12–14. Additional results for operation with pressurized water 108. Fig. Bellos et al.0 1388 73 1. 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. the reader is referred to the web version of this article. Fig.1 absorber 108. 12. the temperature is lower because the heat did not manage to reach this part of the flow. 13 shows the temperature distribution (Fig. The heat Fig. / Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments 16 (2016) 53–63 300 Thermal oil Water 250 Re ¼ Tr (oC) 200 Pr ¼ 150 100 50 0 0 0. (14) and (15) show the definition of Reynolds and Prandtl number respectively: In this section. the thermal losses have a respective to the temperature distribution due to their dependency. 13.) .9 144 0. additional figures and diagrams are given for operation pressurized water. Qu . Moreover. 13b.67 0.2 () 108. that the maximum temperature appears on the top of the tube where the maximum heat flux is observed (Figs.15 0.2 0. 1 þ 0:04  DLri  Re  Pr hm ¼ Num  k . This result makes the heat transfer fluid with higher convection coefficients to be more suitable in thermal solar applications. (For interpretation of the references to color in this figure legend. This result proves that the absorber tube temperature distribution can be approximately assumed as isothermal small rings.4 °C.25 (Tin-Tam)/Ge Fig. The maximum temperature is observed close to tube walls and especially in the upper and in the lower part of them. Dri ð12Þ ð13Þ Eqs. as it was referred above. (a) Absorber temperature distribution.

Model validation In the final part of this study. A simple 1-D numerical model written in the FORTRAN programming language was developed for validating the simulation results. The receiver and the cover are supposed to have uniform temperature levels in every case which is a good assumption. the heat loss coefficient. Fig. the thermal efficiency. The main developed model is based on the energy balance in the absorber in order to determine the useful energy and the heat losses [36]. 15 illustrates the basic points the developed numerical model. Water temperature distribution in the outlet cross section. Bellos et al.E. 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 . The validation is made for pressurized water because this is the working fluid with the better efficiency. / Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments 16 (2016) 53–63 61 Fig. Fig. conductivity is the factor that determines the temperature distribution on the radial direction of the fluid cross section. Flow chart of the developed numerical model. 16 shows the validation results between model in Solidworks and model in FORTRAN. a simple validation of the developed model is presented. because the examined tube is short and the temperature variation along the tube is low. Fig. 14. 15. More specifically.

the water temperature in the outlet cross section is characterized by isothermal rings.7) are three different ways to express the heat losses.4 K. Also.2): Q S ¼ Aa  Ge . conductivity and dynamic viscosity. cover temperature and heat loss coefficient: Q loss ¼ U L  Aro  ðT r  T am Þ. Bellos et al.3): Q u ¼ m  cp  ðT out  T in Þ. (A. These equations lead to the receiver temperature. (A. The next part of this study is the thermal analysis of the collector in order to predict the efficiency for different operating conditions. a small variation which leads to the assumption of isothermal tube locally. Q loss ¼ r  Aro  ðT 4r  T 4c Þ 1 er þ 1ecec  AAroci . In the last part of this study.5)–(A. (A. 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 greater values of these properties in pressurized water increase the heat convection coefficient making water the most suitable working fluid. From this equation is able the direct determination of heat losses: Q loss ¼ Q abs  Q u . with the warmer to be closer to the tube. The reason for the water’s better performance is the different thermal properties of it. Pressurized water performed better than thermal oil by giving greater efficiency in the whole operating range. 16. More specifically. First of all. According to the presented figures. the design of this collector is analyzed in order to optimize its geometry. Validation results (a) thermal efficiency (b) heat loss coefficient (c) receiver temperature (d) cover temperature. the collector tested for various incident angles at the longitude and in the transverse direction. ðA:5Þ ðA:6Þ ðA:7Þ . The goal of the optimization is the maximization of the intercept factor for zero incident angle. ðA:3Þ The energy balance in the absorber is given in Eq. Q loss ¼ Aco  hca  ðT c  T am Þ þ ec  Aco  r  ðT 4c  T 4am Þ. / Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments 16 (2016) 53–63 Fig. and the results show that the transversal angle variation causes a significant reduction in the optical efficiency.62 E. The energy potential of the solar energy is given by Eq. Appendix A The basic equations which describe the general energy balances are given in this appendix. are close to each other. the peripheral temperature distribution over the absorber has a variation of about 0. ðA:2Þ The useful energy that fluid absorbs is calculated by the energy balance in its volume according Eq.1) and the energy delivered to the absorber by Eq. 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 temperature distribution in the absorber and in the fluid are presented for operation with pressurized water.4). The final reflector geometry is optimum because all the reflected rays are delivered to the receiver which means ideal design. ðA:1Þ Q abs ¼ Q S  q  c  ðsaÞ. Conclusions Acknowledgments In this study a detailed analysis of a CPC collector is presented. ðA:4Þ Eqs. This finding indicates the necessity of tracking this collector in order to minimize the incident angle and mainly the transversal incident angle. Another important conclusion is that The first author would like to thank the Onassis Foundation for its financial support. (A. the absorber is getting warmer from the inlet to the outlet and the heat losses have a similar distribution. These results validate the developed model in Solidworks. Two different working fluids are compared in order to predict the most appropriate as a heat transfer fluid. Moreover. (A.

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