Experimental study of a parabolic trough solar collector with rotating absorber tube

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Abstract

In common parabolic trough solar collectors (PTC), solar irradiation is concentrated at the bottom of the absorber tube, causing high surface temperatures, thermal stresses, and deflections with subsequent damages and costs. Also, the performance improvement of PTCs is always of significant importance. The new idea of rotating the absorber tube is proposed, and its effects on the PTC performance are studied experimentally. The effects of the working fluid flow rate (Re number) and the rotational velocity of the absorber tube (Ta number) on the energy characteristics of the PTC are analyzed. Results indicate that the optimal selection of the rotational speed makes it possible to reduce and control the temperature of the absorber by about 60% reduction in the fluid-tube temperature difference, and 15% reduction in the maximum surface temperature. Furthermore, about 17% enhancement in the efficiency of the PTC is attained. The share of the natural and both the rotational and mass flow forced convection forces in the total heat transfer is analyzed through Gr, Re, Ta, and a convection evaluation parameter (CEP). Ta/Re ratio and CEP provide valuable information such that, CEP<0.5 and Ta/Ra~0.5 led to the highest efficiency (average and maximum efficiencies of 30% and 87% respectively).

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)734-749
Number of pages16
JournalRenewable Energy
Volume168
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2021