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International Heat Transfer Conference 15

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

Design and Analysis of a Low-Profile, Concentrating Solar Thermal Collector

DOI: 10.1615/IHTC15.sol.008611
pages 7519-7533

Qiyuan Li
School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of New South Wales

Cheng Zheng
School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, University of New South Wales

Xiaoguang Gu
School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of New South Wales

Albert Woffenden
School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of New South Wales

Gary Rosengarten
RMIT University, School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. 115 Queensberry street. 3053. Carlton, Australia

Evatt Hawkes
The University of New South Wales

Moucun Yang
School of Mechanical and Energy Engineering, Nanjing University of Technology

Robert Taylor
University of New South Wales

KEY WORDS: Solar energy, Energy efficiency, Catadioptrics, Vacuum packaging, Ray tracing, CFD, simulation


Solar energy is the most abundant renewable energy resource for most locations on the planet. About one half of global energy demand is associated with fulfilling thermal requirements for buildings and industrial processes. Thus, there is a vast industrial and commercial market for the supply of 100 – 400oC thermal energy (currently met by and electricity). Concentrating solar thermal collectors can potentially meet this demand, but conventional designs (troughs and dishes) are hard to integrate into industrial and commercial roofs. In this paper, a low profile (<10 cm height) design based on a linearly actuated catadioptric optical system (using both reflective and refractive optical elements) is reported which achieves ~ 4 times concentration throughout the day. In addition, vacuum packaging is used to minimize heat loss, maintaining a high temperature supply of thermal energy (100 – 385oC). Ray tracing simulations show that the optical efficiency ranges from 52% to 72% as the incident light angle varies from 0o to 45o — indicating this collector is effective between 9 am and 3 pm. Combining ray tracing simulation with a CFD model, we predict that the collector efficiency will range from 23% - 44% with a fluid average temperature of 220oC during 9 am to 3 pm on a sunny day (e.g. under 1000 W/m2 global horizontal irradiance). Overall, the proposed collector design brings together several novel components which make it suitable for utilization in industrial and commercial heating applications.

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