# Solar concentrators with maximal concentration for cylindrical absorbers

Ari Rabl

The differential equation is derived that describes the reflector of an ideal two-dimensional radiation concross centrator with an absorber of arbitrary convex shape. For the special case of an absorber with circular section, the equation can be solved in closed form if suitable coordinates are used. The effect of absorption on at the reflector is considered, and formulas are presented for determining the attenuation of radiation its passage from aperture to absorber.

1.

Introduction

onto the smallest possible absorber area consistent with 1 2 For example, if the second law of thermodynamics. radiation has a restricted range of incidence angles, IOij < Oa, a two-dimensional ideal concentrator can con-

In an ideal concentrator, radiation is concentrated

sorber by polar coordinates (r,O)and to characterize any point B on the reflector by its distance p = BC from the shown in Fig. 3.
I1. Reflector Shape for an Arbitrary Absorber

point C at which the tangent CB touches the absorber. The angle 0 is measured from the negative y axis as

centrate it by a factor

Cideal, 2dim = 1/sinOa.

(1)

ments6 ' 7 :

The reflector slope is fixed by the followingrequire-

In this note we deal exclusively with two-dimensional sorber areas. The compound parabolic concentrators

concentrators, also called cylindrical or troughlike. The concentration is, of course, the ratio of aperture to ab4 is an example of an ideal concentrator; it is designed for a flat absorber which is illuminated on one side only. During the course of recent solar energy research, sev-

+ (r/2) any ray emitted tangentially • Oa 01 (1) For 1 from a point C = (r,O)of the absorber toward the reflector must be reflected back onto itself; hence, the corresponding portion of the reflector is a convolute (2) For Oa+ (ir/2) < IO < (3r/2) - Oa any ray emitted tangentially from a point C = (r,0) of the absorber toward the reflector must be reflected so as to make an
angle Oawith the y axis.

eral new types of ideal concentrators have been dis6 covered.5 In particular, Winston and Hinterberger

have shown that in two dimensions, radiation with IOij by a factor 1/sinOa onto an < Oa can be concentrated absorber of arbitrary (convex) cross section. However, plicitly. In fact, until now the reflector shape has been known only for absorbers consisting entirely of straight sections as in the examples in Fig. 1, where the reflector is formed by appropriate parabolic and circular sections (for details see Ref. 2). this equation in general and to solve it for the important special case of a round absorber (i.e., a tube) as shown

they did not calculate the required reflector shape ex-

These conditions are equivalent to first-order differential equations which determine the reflector uniquely. The requirements that the curve start at point A(0 = 0) and that it be continuous at point F[O= Oa+ (r/2)] provide the boundary conditions. The equatiorn of the convolute is well known: the distance p = BC is equal to the arclength AC along the absorber circumference 2 (-) 2]1/ (2) 'i dOforI0110 + L= f.30 [r2 (thus allowing the convolute to be drawn by unwinding a string from the absorber). For the Oa + (7r/2) < 0 < (37r/2) - Oa portion of the reflector, requirement (2) imposes the following relations among the angles a, , 'y, 0, Oa, and 5 in Fig. 3:
Oa+ 3+ 2a = r, a + Oa= (3) (4)

The reflector is determined by a first-order differential equation. The purpose of this note is to derive in Figs. 2 and 3. As usual, with such equations, tre-

mendous simplification can result from a suitable choice

of variables. We find it convenient to describe the ab-

Y
= ,

and
The author is with Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois 60439. Received 8 December 1975.
-) (r - 0)+ (r - d) + (7r

(5)

with
July 1976 / Vol. 15, No. 7 / APPLIEDOPTICS 1871

Finally we combine Eqs. 1(c) is illuminated on both sides and must be considered to consist of three straight sections: AB. p. Ideal concentrator for tube. Special Case of a Circular Cylindrical Absorber a) \ l. 15. = tan'1[r/(dr/d0)]. (7) and (10) and solve for p' to obtain the equation for the reflector in the range a + (7r/2)< I < (37r/2) Oa. but the notation is appropriate for arbitrary absorber shapes. 1. the reflector is 1872 APPLIEDOPTICS/ Vol. (7) concentration = 1/(sina) = 2 (ratio of aperture width to absorber diameter = 270. Since all rays emitted tangentially from points on a straight absorber segment are where r = r(O). With the substitution For the special case of a circular absorber (tube). \ a a. Therefore. and section 111. 3. A subtle complication arises when the absorber contains straight segments. BC. B).) . (c) concentrator for horizontal fin.AXISOF CPC a Ad APERTURE determined entirely by the curved portions of the absorber. dp/dO = r + [(dr/dO)+ pI tan[( -Oa - -)/2].p sin0 (9) with respect to 0 leads to dy (r-p') tanO-r'-p dx (r' + p) tano + r-p" (10) where r' = dr/dO and p' = dp/dO. <PARABOLA h FOCUSOF PARA BOLA 'ABSORBER radius r is constant r = a. section DD' is parabolic with focus at B. 7 / July 1976 Fig. (11) course given by the absorber shape. For example. the curved portion between reduces to a point. Solving for the angle y and inserting it into dy/dx = tany we can write the reflector slope as dy/dx = tan[(0 + 0° + a .7r)/2]. AXISOF. they strike only one point of the reflector (a point that has already been determined by the curved portion of the absorber). The example shown has Let us reexpress dy/dx in terms of r.. Equation (11) is still applicable if r and r' are (14) with f(0) =_ constant] is parabolic with focus at that point. r vanishes. (The example shown happens to have a round absorber. and 0. No. (b) concentrator for vertical fin. If the absorber contains adjacent straight segments. the A CIRCLE Fig. The corresponding solution [Eq.PARABOLA a>| \ i both set equal to zero. Examples of ideal concentrators with flat absorbers: (a) compound parabolic concentrator (CPC). 2. and = 7r/2. Coordinates and parameters used for describing absorber and reflector. r' = dr/dO. and = tan-l(r/r') are of identical. Section AD of the reflector is a convolute (circle with center at D'E is parabolic with focus at C. (6) E / Fig. Differentiating the equations x = r sin0 coso (8) and y = -r cos . the absorber in Fig. and CA.

1(a). (12) the differential Eq. see Ref. References 1. the formula for the average number of reflections is particularly simple.asymptotically it increases logarithmically with concentration. Soc.hence (n) = 7r/4. which in turn is about 0. Winston. an exact calculation But in most cases a good approximation is provided by the formula. V. (18) has also been derived by Ugur Ortabasi of Corning Glass. Rabl. Instrum. 15. H. For simplicity. Ideal concentrators with restricted < 02. 408 (1966). see Ref. r = p(fn) wherep is the reflectivity of the reflector and ( n) is the average number 9 of reflections. "Radiation Transfer Through Specular Passages. 1(b). Rabl.S. J. p." Argonne National Laboratory Report SOL 75-02. Hinterberger. If the radiation incident on the aperture FG of Fig. K. Meinel et al. This suggests the ansatz p(o) = [fl)]/(cos20). we assume symmetry about the optical axis.5 higher function of concentration. a cusp with unit concentration8 (i. 5. "Evacuated Tubular Collector Utilizing where the constant must be set equal to a [Oa+ (r/2)] in order to insure continuity of the reflector curve at 0 + (/2). In Ref. Baranov and G.I Oout to ten) it ranges from about 1 to about 1. 2..IT = p(Oa+ir/2) 2 /4ir 2 [°Oa O - . 2.. I was informed that Eq. conventional concentrator such as a Fresnel lens in tandem with an ideal second stage concentrator). 8.g. Since in concentrators of this type the number of reflections varies both with angle and with point of incidence. Mass. Solar Energy 17. 4. No. Opt.(/2)]. 6. (19) 9. 93(1976). aperture width = tube circumference) corresponds to Oa = 7r/2. A. this equation could be integrated directly to yield a cos-20 dependence for p (parabola). 1976). 60. Argonne National Laboratory Report SOL 76-01 (Jan. 2 is < Oa. B. Trombe. exit angles (IOin• 01.5. 1976). (16) After completion of this paper. 7 / APPLIEDOPTICS 1873 . 2. uration in Fig. (n) can be calculated either analytically of T is difficult. (13) provided 2 df/db = 2a cos o. K. P. A. J. 2. R. Technol. Meinel. Asymmetric concentrators can be constructed in a similar manner. 245 (1970). a = (18) where a is the tube radius. it will be uniformly distributed over all angles IOind totally diffuse when it reaches the surface BCDE.. 4." Argonne National Laboratory Report SOL 75-03 (May 1975). A. Energy Research and Development Administration. R. "Optical and Thermal Properties of Compound Parabolic or by ray tracing. An example with 30° (concentration = 2) is shown in Fig. Numerically (n) for the configuration in Figs. Ideal concentrators whose concentration varies with angle of incidence. published Solar Energy 18. this radiation undergoes 2 = [Oa+ (ir/2)1 /47r (n)convolute Rabl and R. (11) becomes dp/d k = 2a + 2 p tano. 2 '4 applications. (14) which will indeed solve Eq. Am." Argonne National Laboratory Report SOL 75-01 (1975). 207. Hinterberger and R. (15) The solution to this is straightforward: f( ) = a ( + . 7. and the transmission factor is pr/4 If a were equal to zero. 255 (1975). Sci.. On its passage from surface BCDE to the absorber tube ACD itself. A. a large portion of the reflector at the aperture end can be cut off with little decrease in conDue to absorption at the reflector surface only a fraction r of the radiation incident on the aperture will be transmitted to the absorber.e. Rev. for Oa+2 | <0-2 0 a. 37. (13) In particular. Reading. Winston.sin2o) + constant. to be published in Solar Energy. Heat Mass Transfer. presented at National Science Foundation Solar Thermal Review (March 1974). Applied Solar Energy: An Introduction (Addison-Wesley. Opt.cos(O 1+ sin(0-a) Oa) This work was supported by the U. Rabl. "Comparison of Solar Concentrators.1094 (1966). July 1976 / Vol. and 0+ Oa+ (7r/2) . 2 and 3 is about the same as for the configthan Fig. In most practical centration.concentration C = sin0 2/sinO). Patent by F. Meinel and M. J. Sov. A. 2. Winston and H. Two stage arrangements (e. Winston. 3. to be reflections at the convolute reflector section EAB and is attenuated by a factor published in Int. Melnikov. 33. (n) has been plotted as a For low concentrations (two Concentrators. A. For the convolute portion of Fig. = Oa Therefore the complete solution for the reflector shape is p = a for I• Oa+ (/2) (17) a Heat Pipe" (1976).

Optical Society >2 -~ '7. 4 11 -- ) ' I .