PROCEEDINGS OF ECOS 2012 - THE 25TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EFFICIENCY, COST, OPTIMIZATION, SIMULATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF ENERGY

SYSTEMS JUNE 26-29, 2012, PERUGIA, ITALY

A Novel Non-Tracking Solar Collector for High Temperature Application
Wattana Ratismith and Anusorn Inthongkhum
Energy Research Institute, Chulalongkorn University,10330, Bangkok, Thailand, wattana@eri.chula.ac.th and anusornaun@hotmail.com

Abstract:
A parabolic trough solar collector is improved the efficiency by a novel design of compound parabolic trough solar collector where the aim is three-fold. Firstly, one aim is to achieve day-long collection efficiency without the need for mechanical tracking of the sun. Secondly, the collector must be designed to operate efficiently under diffuse solar irradiation as experienced for example in rainforest climate. Thirdly, one seeks to achieve as a high an output temperature as possible. Newly developed system consists of multiple compound parabolic troughs facing the sun at different angles. The salient feature of this design is that the system can collect the sunlight energy at every angle without any moving parts at the same time can receive the diffused light, the maximum efficiency of the collector is 32% and has an ability to achieve high output temperature, the maximum temperature at header of evacuated tube is 235 degrees Celsius, and is therefore suitable for high temperature application such as industrial uses or cooling application.

Keywords:
solar energy, compound parabolic trough, non-tracking solar collector.

1. Introduction
A parabolic trough is a type of solar thermal energy collector which is generally used in solar power plants. The solar collector is constructed as a long parabolic trough with a tube running its length at the focal point. Sunlight is reflected by the trough and concentrated on the tube filled with synthetic oil, which heats to 300-400 degrees Celsius [1-5]. The trough is usually aligned on a north-south axis, and rotated to track the sun as it moves across the sky each day. Therefore it seems unavoidable that there needs to be a tracking system that follows the position of the sun. The disadvantage of the parabolic trough solar collector is that concentrating systems require sun tracking to maintain sunlight focus at the collector. The tracking system increases the cost, complexity and the maintenance cost due to the moving parts. This type of solar collector is not preferred in a small residential house. Another problem is an inability to provide power in diffused light conditions, which is due to the fact that the power output from concentrating systems drops in cloudy conditions. As Thailand has a tropical rainforest climate, which causes the ratio of diffused solar radiation to global solar radiation to be rather high (in the range of 31% to 58%) [8], one faces a serious problem in utilizing such a solar collector to collect solar energy, especially in rainforest climate. A parabolic trough solar collector is improved the efficiency by a novel design of compound parabolic trough solar collector which does not contain a solar tracking system and has an ability to collect diffused sunlight by using compound parabolic troughs facing the sun at different angles [67]. The non-tracking parabolic trough solar collectors were presented in ref. [8-20]. The advantage of this design is that there are no moving parts in the system, which leads to reductions in the cost and maintenance. This collector yields higher temperatures than flat plate solar collector and could be used in the residential house, the maximum temperature at header of evacuated tube is 235 degrees Celsius, and is therefore suitable for high temperature application such as industrial uses or cooling application. 466 - 1

y) θ Fig. 1. 1 + mt m0 1 + mt m1 m0 − mt (2 + mt m0 ) . (x0 . the slope of the incident ray by m0 and the slope of the reflected ray by m1. the relationship between the angle θ between two lines and their relative slopes mt. From Eq.y) is denote by mt = df(x)/dx. the ith reflected rays can be calculated by using the relation mt − mi −1 mi − mt . The circle is the position of the focus point.2. Fig. = 1 + mt mi −1 1 + mt mi (3) where i are integers. mt.y ) 1 m0 m1 y = f(x) θ mt (x. Let the shape of a parabolic trough be described by the curve y = f(x) on the x-y plane in Fig. 2.2 . From trigonometry [5]. m0 and m1 is given as tan θ = mt − m0 m − mt = 1 . The slope of this tangent line at point (x. 2. an incident ray and a reflected ray respectively. the mathematical model of reflection of compound trough is calculated. The law of reflection states that the angle of incidence θ is equal to the angle of reflection relative to the tangent of the curve y = f(x) at any point (x. 2. 466 . mt2 − 2mt m0 − 1 (1) which yields a slope of the first reflected ray m1 as m1 = (2) Similarly. θ is represented an angle of incidence and an angle of reflection. 1 and Eq. the reflection of a parabolic trough can be simulated as shown in Fig. 1.y ) 0 (x1 . The Model In order to design and develop the non-tracking solar collector. m0 and m1 are slope of a tangent line. The reflection of parabolic trough solar collector at incident angle of 75 degrees where blue and orange lines are incident and 1st reflected rays respectively.y). The reflection of a light ray by a curve y = f(x).

The reflection of three-compound parabolic trough solar collector where blue. the parabolic trough could not work effectively under diffused light conditions.m. 1st reflected. which could be ignored because of very low solar power. green and yellow lines are incident. 12. compound parabolic trough can receive the incident rays in the period of 80 degrees.00 pm Fig. 11. The experimental results have shown that the efficiency of the new design of solar collector is higher than parabolic trough under diffuse solar irradiation as shown in Fig. 3. 4. The circle in each trough is the position of evacuated tube. For 12.00 p. The 3-compound parabolic trough shows that it has an ability to receive the sunlight at various time. the reflected rays move up and down inside a tube. However there are some ray losses when the time changes especially after 3.3 . Therefore it needs solar tracking system to maintain sunlight at the focus point. For this principle. 2nd reflected and 3rd reflected rays respectively.. 466 . the solar collector can collect all reflected rays. the reflected rays in the middle trough are concentrated at the lowest position of the tube and for both side of the middle trough. 3. orange. the reflection of non-tracking solar collector at various time are shown in Fig. This implies that this collector has a probability to collect incident rays from sunlight in both direct and diffused light in the period of 80 degrees at the same time while a conventional parabolic trough can collect the incident rays which are nearly perpendicular to the trough.For the incident angle of 75 degrees.00 pm 2. 2 cannot receive the reflected rays.m. In Fig. The collector is designed to have an ability to collect diffused light. this collector can collect the sunlight in any time.00 pm 3.(1-3). The parabolic trough solar collector is designed to have an ability to achieve day-long collection efficiency without the need for mechanical tracking of the sun by using 3 compound parabolic troughs facing the sun at different angles.00 a. When the time changes. Although a parabolic trough could provide a high concentration. Using Eq.00 am 1. the conventional parabolic trough in Fig.10 and Fig. the reflected rays are concentrated on the higher position inside the tube.

466 . 5. 4. 5. This tube is composed of flat plate absorber as shown in Fig. In this paper. For this reason.80 10 Fig. flat plate absorber is considered to place horizontally in each trough. the flat plate absorber which is placed horizontally can receive reflected rays better than the flat plate absorber which is placed vertically and cross shape absorber can collect all rays but there are no cross shape absorber product at the moment. The method to place an evacuated tube with flat plate absorber in compound parabolic trough. SUNDA vacuum tubes (SEIDO1) are used to receive the concentrated light from the trough. Fig. The reflection of light rays at various angles of the incident rays.4 . From Fig. This design has an ability to collect incident rays in the period of 80 degrees while the conventional parabolic trough can receive the incident rays in the period of 10 degrees. 5.

oriented at different angles. The solar collector has an overall width of 1 m and a length of 1.m. These evacuated tubes are connected to a manifold header pipe and connected with the pump to feed the oil. on the 10th. 7. and the evacuated tubes (SUNDA vacuum tube. The sky was not very clear which lead the solar power is not smooth in any time. The energy of the system can be calculated by [21] 466 . The data was taken during the period of 9. Experiment The solar collector in Fig.5 . The diagram of test arrangement is shown in fig. 11th. (SEIDO1)) are placed along its axis. Fig.9 m. 6. W S N E Fig. The collectors are fixed on Earth and aligned along the north-south direction as shown in fig (6-7). Thailand. When the evacuated tubes absorb the sunlight from troughs.m.9 m. 3 has been invented consisting of three compound parabolic troughs made of stainless sheets. The novel non-tracking solar collector has an overall width of 1 m and a length of 1. The experiment was performed in Bangkok.00 a.13th and 14th January 2012. the heat from the tubes is transferred to hot oil which flows in the system.3.00 p. The flow rate is set at 5 lpm. to 4. Diagram of test arrangement. 7. 12th .

6 .5 litres of oil. 9.m. The maximum temperature at the header of evacuated tube plotted against time from 8. on the 14th November 2011. The evacuated tube is placed in the trough and measured the temperature at the header.12th . From the experiment. Qin (5) where Qin is the solar power. while the efficiency of a conventional parabolic trough at any time distributes like a Gaussian curve having its maximum at around 11. m and C are flow rate and the specific heat of the thermal oil respectively.11. to 4.m. 9.30 a. The hot oil temperature plotted against time from 9. 1200 1000 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 08:00 SolarEnergy W m2 600 400 200 0 08:00 10:00 12:00 Time 14:00 16:00 Temperature C 800 10:00 12:00 Time 14:00 16:00 Fig. The efficiency of the system in any time is η (t ) = QC .5 litres of oil as shown in Fig. (4) & where t represents time. The 466 . the solar power on the 11th . which is similar to the parabolic trough with solar tracking system. to 5. The results show that the efficiency of the new-design solar collector at any time is fairly constant. The maximum temperature at heat pipe is 235 degrees Celsius as shown in Fig.13th and 14th of January 2012 in Bangkok had been collected and its average is shown in Fig. 8.00 p.00 p. as shown in Fig.00 a. 1000 200 800 150 SolarEnergy W m2 600 Temperature C 100 400 200 50 0 11:00 12:00 13:00 Time 14:00 15:00 16:00 0 11:00 12:00 13:00 Time 14:00 15:00 16:00 Fig. 8 and the maximum temperature of hot oil is 180 degrees Celsius for 0.m.00 a.m. on the 12th December 2011. 10.& QC (t ) = mC (Tout − Tin ) . The maximum temperature is 180 degrees Celsius for 0.m.

1000 50 40 800 Solar Power W m 2 Efficiency 600 30 20 10 0 10 :00 12 :00 Time 14 :00 16 :00 400 200 0 10 :00 12 :00 Time 14 :00 16 :00 Fig. This collector needs only 3 evacuated tubes while SUNDA collector (SEIDO1) needs 8 tubes at the same area.m.13th and 14th January 2012 in Bangkok. The average efficiency of solar collector is 25-32% . on the 4th. 10.three-compound parabolic trough solar collector yields higher temperature than flat plate or evacuated tube solar collector. suitable for high temperature application such as industrial uses or cooling application. to 4. There are no moving parts in the system.00 p. The average efficiency of parabolic trough plotted against time from 9.m. to 2.00 a.00 a. 11th .00 p. 30 25 20 Efficiency 15 10 5 0 09:00 10:00 11:00 Time 12:00 13:00 14:00 Fig. This collector yields higher temperatures than flat plate or evacuated tube solar collector. The parabolic trough in Fig. therefore. and this make it suitable for using in all kinds of climate. similar to the parabolic trough with a solar tracking system.12th .m. The average solar power and efficiency of 3-compound parabolic trough plotted against times in the period of 9. on the 10th . the cost of maintenance and complexity. 4 has been invented.m. which results in the reductions in the cost of the system. 11. It is. 6th and 8th January 2010[9] 4. 466 . This solar collector has an ability to receive the diffused light.Conclusions The new-design of solar collector has an ability to collect the sunlight at every angle. The maximum temperature at heat pipe is 235 C and oil temperature is 180 C.7 .

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