Low-Concentrating, Stationary Solar Thermal Collectors for Process Heat Generation




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


The annual gain of stationary solar thermal collectors can be increased by non-focusing reflectors. Such concentrators make use of diffuse irradiance. A collector’s incidence angle modifier for diffuse (diffuse-IAM) accounts for this utilization. The diffuse irra-diance varies over the collector hemisphere, which dynamically influences the diffuse-IAM. This is not considered by state-of-the-art collector models. They simply calculate with one constant IAM value for isotropic diffuse irradiance from sky and ground. This work is based on the development of a stationary, double-covered process heat flat-plate collector with a one-sided, segmented booster reflector (RefleC). This reflector approximates one branch of a compound parabolic concentrator (CPC). Optical meas-urement results of the collector components as well as raytracing results of different variants are given. The thermal and optical characterization of test samples up to 190 °C in an outdoor laboratory as well as the validation of the raytracing are discussed. A collector simulation model with varying diffuse-IAM is described. Therein, ground reflected and sky diffuse irradiance are treated separately. Sky diffuse is weighted with an anisotropic IAM, which is re-calculated in every time step. This is realized by gener-ating an anisotropic sky radiance distribution with the model of Brunger and Hooper, and by weighting the irradiance from distinct sky elements with their raytraced beam-IAM values. According to the simulations, the RefleC booster increases the annual out-put of the double-covered flat-plate in Würzburg, Germany, by 87 % at a constant inlet temperature of 120 °C and by 20 % at 40 °C. Variations of the sky diffuse-IAM of up to 25 % during one day are found. A constant, isotropic diffuse-IAM would have under-valued the gains from the booster by 40 % at 40 °C and by 20 % at 120 °C. The results indicate that the gain of all non-focusing solar collectors is undervalued when constant, isotropic diffuse-IAMs calculated from raytracing or steady-state test data are used. Process heat generation with RefleC is demonstrated in a monitored pilot plant at work-ing temperatures of up to 130 °C. The measured annual system utilization ratio is 35 %. Comparing the gains at all inlet temperatures above 80 °C, the booster increases the an-nual output of the double-covered flat-plates by 78 %. Taking all inlet temperatures, the total annual gains of RefleC are 39 % above that of the flat-plates without reflectors. A qualitative comparison of the new simulation model results to the laboratory results and monitoring data shows good agreement. It is shown that the accuracy of existing collector models can be increased with low effort by calculating separate isotropic IAMs for diffuse sky and ground reflected irradiance. The highest relevance of this work is seen for stationary collectors with very distinctive radiation acceptance.



solar thermal collector, Collector Testing and Simulation, Solar Process Heat, Incidence Angle Modifier, Anisotropic Diffuse Irradiance, CPC Collector, Booster Reflector, Brunger-Model, Laundry



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