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International Heat Transfer Conference 15

ISSN: 2377-424X (online)
ISSN: 2377-4371 (flashdrive)

Numerical Simulation of Parabolic Trough Receiver Under Non-Uniform and Fluctuant Solar Flux Condition

Kun Wang
Key Laboratory of Thermo-Fluid Science and Engineering, Ministry of Education; School of Energy & Power Engineering, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi, People's Republic of China, 710049

Ya-Ling He
Key Laboratory of Thermo-fluid Science and Engineering, Ministry of Education, School of Energy and Power Engineering, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710049, China

Ze-Dong Cheng
Key Laboratory of Thermo-Fluid Science and Engineering of Ministry of Education, School of Energy and Power Engineering, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710049, China

Ming-Jia Li
Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA; Key Laboratory of Thermo-Fluid Science and Engineering of Ministry of Education, School of Energy and Power Engineering, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710049, China

Wen-Quan Tao
State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resources Reuse, College of Environmental Science & Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China; Key Laboratory of Thermo-Fluid Science and Engineering of MOE, School of Energy and Power Engineering, Xian Jiaotong University, Xian 710049, China

DOI: 10.1615/IHTC15.sol.009490
pages 7573-7585


KEY WORDS: Solar energy, Numerical simulation, Computational fluid dynamics, Transient coupled heat transfer, Non-uniform and fluctuant solar flux, Temperature field

Abstract

In this paper, a three-dimensional transient numerical model of a parabolic trough receiver is developed, taking both the non-uniformity and the fluctuation of the solar flux into account. The solar flux distribution is calculated by the Monte Carlo ray-trace method first. Then, the transient coupled heat transfer within the parabolic trough receiver is simulated by the finite volume method where the non-uniform and fluctuant solar flux distribution is treated as the heat flux boundary condition. The present model is validated based on the experimental data published by Sandia National Laboratories. Finally, the model is used to study the transient response characteristics of the parabolic trough receiver. The dynamic variations of the heat transfer fluid temperature and the temperature field of the absorber tube wall are discussed in detail. The results indicate that the non-uniform and fluctuant solar flux distribution leads to the transient non-uniform temperature fields of the absorber tube wall, and the heat transfer fluid temperature is greatly affected by the fluctuation of the solar flux. Also, it is revealed that the absorber tube wall temperature responses to the change of the solar radiation intensity slightly earlier than the heat transfer fluid temperature. The response time increases with the amplitude of the solar flux fluctuation but decreases with the increased heat transfer fluid mass flow rate. The transient response characteristics can provide guides for the operation of parabolic trough solar powers, and the transient non-uniform temperature fields are the basis of thermal stress and strain analysis.

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