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Development and performance analysis of compound

parabolic solar concentrators with reduced gap losses


oversized reector
R. Oommen
a,
*
, S. Jayaraman
b
a
Department of Physics, Avinashilingam University, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 641043, India
b
SRK Vidyalaya College of Arts & Science, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 641020, India
Received 23 February 2000; accepted 9 September 2000
Abstract
A severe energy shortage already exists in many parts of the developing world. In an attempt to nd a
technical solution, several solar energy collection technologies have been developed. A system has been
designed to use compound parabolic concentrating collectors to collect solar energy and to generate steam.
A compound parabolic concentrator (CPC) prole with oversized reector and thereby reduced gap losses
was designed with a half-acceptance angle of 23.5
o
for a tubular absorber of OD 19 mm. Five troughs
fabricated with a berglass substrate pasted over with UV stabilized self-adhesive aluminized polyester foil
having high specular reectivity joined together side by side make the CPC module with aperture area of
0.72 m
2
. Copper tubes coated with NALSUN selective coatings and enclosed by borosilicate glass enve-
lopes act as absorbers. The reectorabsorber assembly placed in a single glazed glass wool insulated
wooden box forms the CPC collector. Using water as heat transfer uid, eciency tests were conducted
with dierent inlet temperatures. Even at high temperature, the system operates with a reasonably high
eciency of 50%. In situ steam generation testing was also conducted. The fabricated CPC collector was
used for steam cooking by connecting it to a pressure cooker. Cooking tests were conducted and the results
are compared with earlier works. This cooker unites the characteristics of reector cookers, steam cookers,
pressure cookers and heat accumulating solar cookers. The fabricated CPC can be of immense and wide
spread use for rural applications, such as water heating, steam cooking and sterilization. 2001 Elsevier
Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Energy Conversion and Management 42 (2001) 13791399
www.elsevier.com/locate/enconman
*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +91-422-443-456; fax: +91-422-446-116.
E-mail address: kmagm@vsnl.com (R. Oommen).
0196-8904/01/$ - see front matter 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S0196- 8904( 00) 00113- 8
1. Introduction
A CPC for a at absorber is one which consists of curved segments, which are parts of two
parabolas. Many improvements in the design and performance of the CPC collector have been
made since its invention in 1974. The CPC reector prole for a tubular absorber is such that the
reector touches the absorber at the cusp region. This results in conductive heat losses. So, a gap
between the tubular absorber and the reector has to be created to prevent this conduction heat
loss from absorber to metallic reector and also for providing a glass envelope around the ab-
sorber, which will improve the thermal eciency of the CPC module at high temperatures.
However, the gap between the absorber and the envelope leads to losses of the incident light on
the absorber, called gap losses. So, a compromise between optical and thermal performance must
be made. Several modications of the basic CPC design were suggested for the provision of gap.
Winston [1] proposed a reector design which preserved the ideal ux concentration on the ab-
sorber of radius r
1
, surrounded by a glass envelope of radius r
2
, at the expense of slightly over
sizing the reector. This design maintains maximal concentration at the cost of optical losses.
Nomenclature
A area
CPC compound parabolic concentrator
CR concentration ratio
C
w
specic heat of water
F heat transfer factor
g gap thickness
h height
I solar irradiance
L length, latent heat of vaporization
m mass
_ m mass ow rate
n) average number of reections
p gap loss factor
q rate of energy
r radius
r
1
radius of receiver
r
2
radius of envelope
T temperature
t time
U
L
heat loss coecient
Greeks
a absorptance
d gap thickness
e infrared emittance
g eciency
q reectance, density, length of tan-
gent
s transmittance
h
A
half-acceptance angle
h
in
incident angle
DT dierence in temperature
Subscripts
a ambient
abs absorber
av average
b beam
c cover
d diuse
e envelope
e eective
end end loss
f uid
i inlet, inner, instantaneous
m mirror
o outlet, outer, optical
r receiver, radiation
ref reection
u useful
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There have been a number of reports of the CPCs optical and thermal characteristics. Based on
the experience with earlier designs developed in our lab [2], an attempt has been made to fabricate
a CPC with reduced gap losses and study its performance and also to assess the suitability of
berglass as substrate materials for the reector and to study its performance. The CPC reector
prole for an oversized reector has been designed for a half-acceptance angle of 23.5 and a
cylindrical absorber tube of OD 19 mm and with minimum gap losses. A set of detailed experi-
ments with the collector incorporated in the uid loop and with water as the heat transfer uid
were performed for the CPC. A theoretical model was developed by setting up dierent heat
balance equations, and a reasonable agreement between experimental and theoretical computed
values has been observed.
A potential capacity of a CPC is to obtain operating temperatures higher than the boiling point
of water. It enables CPC modules to be used as low pressure steam generators. The non-industrial
applications for solar low pressure steam, which are relevant to the Indian context, are steam
cooking, sterilization of liquid foods and sterilization of hospital tools.
At a time when attention is nally focused world wide on control and prevention of pollution,
ecient use of energy and more reliance on renewable energy sources, this low pressure solar
steam generator is a welcome addition to the ght against environmental pollution, and it is
packed with energy saving and environmentally friendly features.
2. Design of compound parabolic concentrator
Fig. 1 gives the basic details of the CPC for a at absorber in which h
A
is the half-acceptance
angle, d
1
is the width of the aperture and d
2
is the width of the absorber. The important features of
this collector are as follows:
The reectors are sections of identical parabolas but are kept separated.
The focus of one half of the reector lies at the opposite edge of the absorber and similarly for
the other half.
The axis of symmetry of the two halves of the reector is the optic axis of the concentrator.
The tangents to the reectors at the topmost points are parallel to the optic axis. These points
are the upper end points of the reector.
The concentrator does not produce an image of the light source, hence they are called non-
imaging concentrators.
For any given direction of light source, a certain fraction of the rays entering the aperture will
reach the absorber directly, while the other rays will reach the absorber after one or more re-
ections. Therefore one can dene an average number of reections n) for a CPC.
This concentrator also achieves a concentration ratio CR = 1=sinh
A
.
This collector is a trough-like reecting wall, which concentrates radiant energy the maximum
amount allowed by phase space conservation [3]. The CPC is capable of accepting solar radiation
over an average of 7 h a day for a concentration of nearly eight without diurnal tracking of the
sun, which is not possible by the conventional imaging technique. Because of its larger acceptance
angle, this collector has a larger acceptance for diuse light also than concentrating collectors
R. Oommen, S. Jayaraman / Energy Conversion and Management 42 (2001) 13791399 1381
using imaging optics. An added advantage is that its mirror reections can be fabricated with less
precision, since the CPC is not intended to focus sharp images. Winston and Hinterberger [4]
showed that a non-imaging ideal concentrator conguration exists for any arbitrary cross-sec-
tional shape of absorber. For solar applications, absorber shapes of interest are at, n, inverted
V and tubular [5]. A tubular absorber is illuminated on all sides, thereby requiring only half as
much absorber material as for the CPC with at absorber. This results in lower material costs,
smaller conductive losses to the back and gains in performance due to the improvement of
transient response.
A tubular absorber (radius r) requires a cusp shaped reector. The reector design (for a half-
acceptance angle h
A
) is determined by a rst order dierential equation [6]. The absorber is de-
scribed by the polar coordinates (r, h). Any point B (Fig. 2) on the reector is given by its distance
q = BC from the point C at which the tangent CB touches the absorber, and BC is equal to the arc
length AC along the absorber circumference. The reector shape is xed by the following re-
quirement
(1) For [h[ 6h
A
p=2, any ray emitted tangentially from a point C (r, h) of the absorber to-
wards the reector must be reected back onto itself.
Fig. 1. Basic details of CPC for a at absorber.
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(2) For (h
A
p=2) 6h 6(3p=2 h
A
), any ray emitted tangentially from a point C (r, h) of the
absorber towards the reector must be reected so as to make an angle h
A
with the y axis. The
coordinates of B are represented by
x = r sin h q cos h
y = r cos h q sin h
where
q = rh for h 6h
A
p=2
and
q = r[h h
A
p=2 cos(h h
A
)[=[1 sin(h h
A
)[ for (h
A
p=2) 6h 6(3p=2 h
A
)
Fig. 2 shows a part of the reector prole for a tubular absorber.
3. Design of oversized reector
The reector prole has been designed for a half-acceptance angle h
A
= 23:5 and cylindrical
absorber tube of OD 19 mm and with minimal gap losses. This reector prole is such that the
Fig. 2. Reector shape for tubular absorber.
R. Oommen, S. Jayaraman / Energy Conversion and Management 42 (2001) 13791399 1383
reector radiation may be collected by the absorber in the new position. The absorber is raised
from its usual position to provide a gap and is surrounded by a concentric glass envelope of OD
26.6 mm. With the centre O (Fig. 3) of the tubular absorber of radius r
1
as the origin of a
Cartesian coordinate system and the optical axis of the concentrator as the y axis, the two sections
DC, CF of the reector curves DCF are drawn separately to achieve the ideal concentration ratio.
Any point on the reector is
x = r
1
sin h q cos h (1)
y = r
1
cos h q sin h (2)
where
q = r
1
h
1
= r
1
(h b)
The length of the tangent to the absorber from that point on the reector, for the range of h from
D to C
arc cos(r
1
=r
2
) 6h 6(h
A
p=2)
q = r
1
[h h
A
p=2 2b cos(h h
A
)[=[1 sin(h h
A
)[
Fig. 3. Design of CPC.
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For the range of h from C to F
(h
A
p=2) 6h 6(3p=2 h
A
)
where h is the angle at the origin measured from the negative axis (line OD) in the anti-clockwise
direction to the line joining the origin and the point of tangency of the incident or reected ray on
the absorber as shown in Fig. 3, h
1
is the angle at the origin between line OB and the line joining
the origin and the point of tangency of the incident or reected ray on the absorber and angle
B
1
OD = b, then
h
1
= h b
h = arc cos(r
1
=r
2
)
h
1
= (r
2
=r
1
)
2
h
1
i
1=2
b = (r
2
=r
1
)
2
h
1
i
1=2
arc cos(r
1
=r
2
)
Section DC of the reector is an involute to the physical absorber. Though the starting point of
the involute is B
l
on the absorber in the actual design, the portion B
l
D of the involute is removed.
Eqs. (1) and (2) describe the reector shape DCF, and DC
/
G is the mirror image of DCF.
The reector prole so designed has a total height of 22.35 cm and an aperture width of
2 7:92 cm. Without much reduction in concentration ratio, truncation of the upper part of the
reector prole was carried out to a height of 11.1 cm. After truncation the aperture width of the
two dimensional CPC trough is 14.4 cm. The height to aperture ratio is decreased from 1.41 to
0.77. The concentration ratio is reduced from 2.655 to 2.41. The reecting surface is reduced to
55% of the original reecting surface area due to truncation.
4. Fabrication
4.1. Reector
Using the reector prole (Fig. 4) drawing, a wooden mould was prepared which was checked
from one end to the other using the metal template made for the design. The reectors were then
fabricated by pouring molten berglass over the wooden mould. Five similar troughs were pre-
pared in the same fashion for the CPC design. Five such troughs of 1 m length were aligned and
joined side by side, resulting in a total aperture area of 0.72 m
2
for the CPC module. The UV
stabilized aluminized polyester foil of high reectivity 0.85 was then carefully pasted over the
berglass substrate.
4.2. Absorber assembly
The absorber assembly consists of ve selectively coated copper tubes of OD 19.5 mm (slightly
oversized in order to allow for various geometrical defects introduced during fabrication and any
R. Oommen, S. Jayaraman / Energy Conversion and Management 42 (2001) 13791399 1385
possible slight misalignment of the absorber during operation) and length 106 cm enclosed by a
borosilicate glass tube of OD 26.6 mm connected in parallel. O rings made of special rubber as
spacers between the glass envelope and absorber were tted on the absorber tube. Two headers
made of copper of length 0.79 and 1 m were used. Five holes of diameter 10 mm with a gap of 150
mm between adjacent holes were made on the headers. Five small pieces of copper tubes of the
same diameter as that of the holes in the header were xed to these holes on each header by a
brazing method. Then the ve absorber tubes, along with the glass envelopes, were connected to
these small pieces using ferrule joints on each side. This facilitates easy joining of the ab-
sorber tubes with the header without damaging the glass envelope around the absorber. One end
of both the header tubes was blocked with a plug and the other end threaded for external uid
loop connection. Thermocouples were provided at the inlet and outlet ends of the absorber as-
sembly.
4.2.1. Modied absorber
The CPC module was fabricated with the intention of using it for steam generation. Hence, a
modied absorber was used to reduce warm-up duration and water holding capacity of the ab-
Fig. 4. Reector prole of CPC. All dimensions are in mm.
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sorber tubes [7]. This is achieved by inserting aluminum tubes of OD 12 mm, concentrically inside
the absorber tube with both ends of the aluminum tubes sealed by a brazing method.
4.3. The compound parabolic concentrator collector
The absorber assembly was then carefully positioned over the reector providing a very small
gap between the absorber and the reector envelope.
A wooden box of size (1:45 1:005 0:22 m
3
) was made as an enclosure for the reector
absorber assembly. The bottom of the boxes was covered by plywood sheet of 6 mm thickness.
The gap between the reector and the walls of the box, the headers and the inlet and outlet
connections were all well insulated by glass wool. The top of the box was covered with transparent
glass of thickness 3 mm, with less iron content, and has a transmittance of nearly 0.90. The top
cover was xed on a separate wooden frame so that it could be opened or closed easily. A lining of
thermo coal was kept between the top cover along the edges.
The reectorabsorber assembly inside the well insulated enclosure box forms the CPC col-
lector.
5. Experimental study
The collector assembly was placed in a location where there was access to sunlight and
throughout the experiment, the collector was kept with its absorber aligned eastwest with the tilt
angle being the latitude of the place (11) towards south so as to maximize useful solar energy.
Water was used as the heat transfer uid. The uid loop, consisting of pump, online heater,
ow meter, sump, CPC collector assembly, control valves and air vent, was used to adjust the ow
rate of water through the absorber at dierent inlet temperatures. By using control valves, the
system could be operated under both open loop and closed loop modes.
5.1. Optical testing
Optical eciency is estimated theoretically from the optical parameters of the materials used in
fabrication and determined experimentally also. Optical eciency is dened as
g
o
= s
c
q
n)
m
s
e
a
r
pf
ref
where s
c
is the average cover transmittance, s
e
is the transmittance of the envelope, a
r
is the
absorptance of the absorber, p is the gap loss factor, which is equal to 1 g=2pr
1
[8] where g is the
gap thickness and r
1
is the radius of the absorber.
f
ref
accounts for the multiple reections between the absorber tube and the glass envelope and is
equal to [1 q
r
q
e
(A
r
=A
e
)[
1
where q
r
= 1 a
r
and q
e
is the reectance of the envelope. The cal-
culated value for f
ref
is 1.0017, which is taken as unity for further calculation. q
n)
m
is the eective
transmittance of the CPC where q
m
is the solar reectance of the material of the reector of the
CPC. n) is the average number of reections and is calculated using the relation
n) = 1 0:07 CR
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The reectance of the aluminized polyester foil used was tested using a sensitive reectance
meter and the average reectance of the reector material is found to be 0.85.
The transmittance of the glass top cover was determined using a pyranometer and the average
value was found to be 0.9. The emittance of the top cover was taken as 0.85, the reectance as 0.05
and the absorptance as 0.05.
The transmittance of the borosilicate glass envelope was taken as 0.92, the reectance as 0.03,
the absorptance as 0.05 and the emittance as 0.85.
NALSUN selective coating was used for the copper absorber tubes. Its absorptance a = 0:98,
emittance 0.12 and reectance <4% are used in the calculation.
The optical eciency thus estimated using all the values of the optical parameters, is 0.62.
5.1.1. Experimental determination of optical eciency
Optical eciency was computed along the lines similar to that described by Rabl et al. [9] from
the observed data using the relation
g
i
= [ _ mC
w
(T
o
T
i
)=I
eff
A
c
[ = F
1
g
o
When T
av
= T
a
,
g
i
= F
1
[g
o
U
L
(T
av
T
a
)=I
eff
[f
end
where _ m is the mass ow rate of the uid, C
w
is the specic heat of water, A
c
is the aperture area,
F
1
is the heat transfer factor, f
end
is the correction factor to take care of end losses, U
L
is the
receiver loss coecient normalized to aperture area, T
av
is the average of inlet (T
i
) and outlet (T
o
)
temperatures and I
eff
is the eective solar irradiance.
The collector was incorporated in the uid loop with water as the heat transfer uid and the
uid loop was operated under the open loop mode. The ow rate was kept suciently large and
constant, and the inlet temperature was maintained at near ambient temperature such that
0 6(T
av
T
a
) 61C.
The inlet, outlet and ambient temperatures were recorded. The beam component and the diuse
component of solar radiation were monitored using a pyreheliometer and pyranometer, respec-
tively. The experiments were conducted on a number of clear sunny days. Under steady state
conditions, the optical eciency computed from the observed data is found to be 0:55 0:02:
Optical eciency was also determined from the instantaneous eciency measurements.
5.2. Thermal testing
The experimental determination of heat loss coecient and the instantaneous eciency at
dierent operating temperatures are as follows.
5.2.1. Heat loss coecient
The heat loss coecient was calculated from the thermal loss rate determination during night
time and from the instantaneous eciency studies during day time.
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5.2.1.1. Thermal loss rate at zero solar irradiance. The useful heat collected by the CPC under
steady state condition is given by
_ q
u
= _ q
a
_ q
1
_ mC
w
(T
o
T
i
) = I
eff
A
c
F
1
g
o
A
c
F
1
U
L
(T
av
T
a
) (3)
where _ q
u
is the rate of useful heat gain of the collector and _ q
a
is the rate of heat absorbed from the
solar radiation. In the absence of solar radiation, I
eff
=0
_ q
u
= _ q
1
(4)
F
1
U
L
A
c
(T
av
T
a
) = _ mC
w
(T
i
T
o
) (5)
The heat loss measurement experiments were conducted during the night time. The collector
was kept with the same tilt and azimuth as it was in the day time. The ow rate ( _ m) was also
maintained about the same value (16 ml/s) as in the day time. Online heaters were used to heat the
inlet water. Pre-heated water was pumped through the collector. The inlet temperature, outlet
temperature, ambient temperature and ow rate were recorded at every 5 min interval. The ex-
periment was repeated for various inlet temperatures.
From steady state values of _ m, T
i
and T
o
, the loss rate F
1
U
L
A
c
(T
av
T
a
) was calculated using
Eq. (5).
These calculated values are plotted against excess temperature [(T
i
T
o
)=2 T
a
[. The slope of
the curve gives F
1
U
L
for that aperture area (Fig. 5) which is equal to 2.87 W/m
2
K.
Fig. 5. Thermal loss rate curve CPC with modied absorber.
R. Oommen, S. Jayaraman / Energy Conversion and Management 42 (2001) 13791399 1389
5.3. Instantaneous eciency
When the system is operated under steady state conditions, the instantaneous eciency of the
CPC is
g
i
= F
1
[g
o
U
L
(T
av
T
a
)=I
eff
[
A detailed set of experiments with the collector incorporated in the uid loop was performed.
The collector was operated in the open loop mode for its performance study at dierent operating
temperatures. Water was allowed to pass through the uid loop system and CPC collector as-
sembly, maintaining a particular inlet temperature. The ow rate was monitored using a turbine
ow meter. It was also measured using a graduated jar and a stopwatch for cross-checking. All
temperatures were recorded using digital temperature indicators. The inlet temperature T
i
, outlet
temperature T
o
, ambient temperature T
a
, pyranometer readings (I
t
), pyreheliometer readings (I
b
)
and ow rate ( _ m) were recorded for every 5 min interval. The experiments were performed on clear
sunny days from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. With the help of online heaters, higher operating inlet tem-
peratures in the range of 4070C in steps of 5C were maintained, and the experiments were
repeated for a number of days for each of the temperatures. Thermal performance curves are as
shown in Fig. 6A and B.
Using steady state values of _ m, T
o
, T
i
and I
eff
, the instantaneous eciency g
i
was calculated
using
g
i
= _ mC
w
(T
o
T
i
)=I
eff
A
c
I
eff
= [I
b
cos h
in
(I
d
=CR)[
where I
b
cos h
in
is the eective beam radiation (incident at angles within the acceptance angle and
I
d
=CR is the eective diuse radiation.
The experimental data points were tted into a straight line by the least square tting method.
The graph drawn (Fig. 7) between g
i
and DT=I
eff
where DT = [(T
i
T
o
)=2 T
a
[ is extrapolated,
and from the Y intercept, the optical eciency of the system was determined and the slope gives
F
1
U
L
values. The straight line least square t to the data yields F
1
g
o
= 0:56 and F
1
U
L
= 2:75 W/
m
2
K.
6. Modeling of compound parabolic concentrators
Simulation of the thermal process was carried out by establishing energy balance equations for
the four component model CPC comprised of (1) glass cover, (2) glass envelope, (3) receiver tubes
and (4) heat transfer uid.
The energy balance equations were formulated by considering the following factors:
(1) The radiation absorbed
(a) the beam radiation and diuse radiation incident on the cover and absorbed by it
(b) the beam radiation and diuse radiation transmitted through the cover and absorbed by
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Fig. 6. Thermal performance curves CPC with modied absorber.
R. Oommen, S. Jayaraman / Energy Conversion and Management 42 (2001) 13791399 1391
the envelope
(c) the beam radiation and diuse radiation transmitted through the cover and envelope and
absorbed by the receiver
(2) The radiation heat exchange between
(a) receiver and envelope
(b) envelope and collector cover
(c) heat loss from collector cover to sky
(3) Convective heat transfer from
(a) receiver to envelope
(b) envelope to cover
(c) cover to ambient
(4) The useful energy extracted in the form of heat by passing the liquid through the receiver.
The energy balance equations, thus formed, form a set of four non-linear algebraic equations.
A computer program was used to solve these equations for the four unknown temperatures,
such as temperature of cover, envelope, receiver and outlet, for a known inlet temperature. From
Fig. 7. Instantaneous eciency curve CPC with modied absorber.
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the data thus obtained, the instantaneous eciency g
i
(theoretical) was calculated. The graph (Fig.
8) between g
i
and DT=I
eff
yields F
1
g
o
= 0:62 and F
1
U
L
= 1.66 W/m
2
K.
7. In situ steam generation and application to steam cooking
Fig. 9 shows the experimental setup for in situ steam generation and for its performance study.
As the inlet and outlet temperatures are continuously monitored, it was found that both the inlet
and outlet temperatures gradually increase from the initial value and attain more or less the same
temperature, of nearly 95C, after a period ranging from 70 to 95 min of the collector being
exposed to solar radiation. This period was recorded as the warm up time. Measurement of solar
insolation, inlet and ambient temperature, wind velocity and the volume of steam condensate in
the measuring jar were recorded at every 5 min intervals on many clear sunny days. A steady
output of steam with intermittent hot water ejection was noticed in about 110 min. The observed
data ambient temperature T
a
, outlet temperature T
o
, eective insolation I
eff
, mass of steam
condensation m, as a function of time are shown in Fig. 10. A rough estimate of instantaneous
eciency g
i
was computed from the relation
g
i
= m[C
w
(T
o
T
1
i
) L[=I
eff
A
c
t
where m = mass of condensate for t seconds, T
o
= 100C (BP of water), T
1
i
= initial temperature
of water, L = latent heat of vaporization of water at 100C.
Fig. 8. Instantaneous eciency curve CPC (theoretical).
R. Oommen, S. Jayaraman / Energy Conversion and Management 42 (2001) 13791399 1393
Since after warm-up time, the temperature of the inlet and outlet are almost the same, we can
rewrite the above equation as
g
i
= mL=I
eff
A
c
t
The whole day average steam generation eciency, calculated taking into account the total
quantity of generated steam, is nearly 28%.
7.1. Solar steam cooking
With the view to use the low pressure steam generated for steam cooking, experiments were
conducted by attaching a pressure cooker to the CPC module. Heat captured by the receiver
evaporates water in it. Steam mixes with some hot water ejected in to the pressurized vessel, which
is insulated. The steam, which comes out of the collector assembly to the pressurized vessel, is
used for steam cooking.
A Prestige model pressure cooker of 5 litre capacity was used in the experiment as shown in Fig.
11. Steam started coming out in 55 min and a steady hissing sound was heard in about 110 min
and the maximum pressure of 7 lb/in.
2
was found developed in about 195 min from the initial
setup time. The observations recorded are as shown in Fig. 12. Cooking experiments were con-
ducted by using a rice water mixture as the load. The total time taken for cooking rice, including
the warm-up time, was found to be 125 min.
Fig. 9. In situ steam generation.
1394 R. Oommen, S. Jayaraman / Energy Conversion and Management 42 (2001) 13791399
8. Results
Experimentally determined values of F
1
g
o
= (0:56 0:02) are in good agreement with theo-
retically predicted values of 0.62 within experimental errors.
F
/
U
L
values of 2.75 by the instantaneous eciency curve and 2.87 by the thermal loss rate agree
well. The higher experimentally determined value of F
/
U
L
compared with the theoretical may be
due to a higher air inltration rate between the absorber and the glass envelope in spite of the
presence of O rings between the absorber and the envelope.
Table 1 gives a comparative performance of the CPC powered solar steam cookers with that of
other workers.
Fig. 10. Steam generation performance curves CPC with modied absorber.
R. Oommen, S. Jayaraman / Energy Conversion and Management 42 (2001) 13791399 1395
9. Conclusion
Fabrication of CPC modules with berglass substrate has the main advantage that it could be
easily mass produced. Gap lossless design of the CPC prole has sharp corners in the reector
parts below the receiver. Such parts could be easily made with berglass. The use of ferrule joints
in the absorber assembly facilitates easy assembling of the absorber tubes with glass envelopes and
also dismantling.
The optical and thermal performance of the prototype model of CPC with reduced gap losses
(oversized reector) is quite encouraging and the experimental results are comparable with the
prediction made by theoretical modeling. Fig. 13 gives a comparison between the experimental
and theoretically predicted performance curves of the CPC. We nd that the instantaneous e-
ciency of the CPC module is fairly high, even at higher operating temperatures, when compared to
a at plate collector. The potential capacity of the CPC to attain operating temperatures higher
than the boiling point of water enables it to be used as a low power steam generator.
This solar based pressure cooker has the advantage of being able to cook in the shade or in-
doors without diurnal tracking. By keeping the CPC module outside, the generated steam can be
brought into the kitchen by insulated pipes and connected to the well insulated pressure cooker.
This new concentrating solar pressure cooker can be used for cooking foodstu at households,
Fig. 11. Solar steam cooking.
1396 R. Oommen, S. Jayaraman / Energy Conversion and Management 42 (2001) 13791399
Fig. 12. CPC (modied absorber) with cooker of 5 l capacity.
Table 1
Measured cooking times
Type Food Quantity Method Time (min) Reference
Rice (kg) Water (l)
CPC Boiled rice and
water
1 1.5 Pressure
boiling
125
a
Present work
Cooking stove with
thermal storage
Rice and water 1 1 Boiling 30 [10]
Oven Rice and water 1 1 Boiling 45 [11]
Direct steamer Rice and water 0.5 Boiling 90 [12]
a
Includes warm up time of 55 min.
R. Oommen, S. Jayaraman / Energy Conversion and Management 42 (2001) 13791399 1397
community kitchen and noon meal centres. Compared to most solar cookers, this solar steam
cooker is a relatively sophisticated device that unites some of the characteristics of reector
cookers, steam cookers, pressure cookers and heat accumulating solar cookers. Other possible
applications of the CPC powered solar steam generators are sterilization and generation of electric
power.
Acknowledgements
The Project was undertaken at SRK Vidyalaya College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore, under
the guidance of Dr. S. Jayaraman and was funded by Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and
Technology.
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