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Research Papers

Solar Energy Harvesting Using Nanofluids-Based Concentrating Solar Collector

[+] Author and Article Information
Himanshu Tyagi

e-mail: himanshu.tyagi@iitrpr.ac.in
School of Mechanical,
Materials and Energy Engineering,
Indian Institute of Technology Ropar,
Rupnagar, Punjab 140001, India

Patrick E. Phelan

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,
Arizona State University,
Tempe, AZ 85287-6106

Todd P. Otanicar

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Tulsa,
Tulsa, OK 74104

Harjit Singh

School of Engineering and Design,
Brunel University,
Uxbridge, UB8 3PH, UK

Robert A. Taylor

School of Mechanical and
Manufacturing Engineering,
The University of New South Wales,
Gate 14, Barker Street,
Kensington, Sydney, 2052, Australia

1Corresponding author.

Paper presented at the 2012 3rd Micro/Nanoscale Heat & Mass Transfer International Conference (MNHMT2012), Atlanta, GA, Mar. 3–6, 2012. Manuscript received March 12, 2012; final manuscript received August 10, 2012; published online January 18, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Debjyoti Banerjee.

J. Nanotechnol. Eng. Med 3(3), 031003 (Jan 18, 2013) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4007387 History: Received March 12, 2012; Revised August 10, 2012

Dispersing trace amounts of nanoparticles into common base-fluids has a significant impact on the optical as well as thermophysical properties of the base-fluid. This characteristic can be utilized to effectively capture and transport solar radiation. Enhancement of the solar irradiance absorption capacity leads to a higher heat transfer rate resulting in more efficient heat transfer. This paper attempts to introduce the idea of harvesting solar radiant energy through usage of nanofluid-based concentrating parabolic solar collectors (NCPSC). In order to theoretically analyze the NCPSC, it has been mathematically modeled, and the governing equations have been numerically solved using finite difference technique. The results of the model were compared with the experimental results of conventional concentrating parabolic solar collectors under similar conditions. It was observed that while maintaining the same external conditions (such as ambient/inlet temperatures, wind speed, solar insolation, flow rate, concentration ratio, etc.) the NCPSC has about 5–10% higher efficiency as compared to the conventional parabolic solar collector. Furthermore, parametric studies were carried out to discover the influence of various parameters on performance and efficiency. The following parameters were studied in the present study: solar insolation, incident angle, and the convective heat transfer coefficient. The theoretical results clearly indicate that the NCPSC has the potential to harness solar radiant energy more efficiently than a conventional parabolic trough.

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References

Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic of (a) conventional receiver and (b) NCPSC

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Fig. 2

Attenuation of solar irradiance as it passes through the nanofluid and subsequent convective (qconv) and radiative (qrad) losses

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Fig. 3

Schematic of NCPSC

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Fig. 6

Discretization of the participating medium with finite difference nodes in radial coordinates

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Fig. 5

Spectral extinction coefficient of the Therminol VP-1(data points taken from Ref. [9,35]) and the nanofluid. The symbols used in the plots are as follows: () Therminol VP-1 and () nanofluid (Therminol VP-1 + 0.05% Al nanoparticles).

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Fig. 7

Comparison of (a) optical loss, (b) thermal loss, and (c) total loss as a function of average fluid temperature above ambient for BCPSC, NCPSC, and the conventional linear parabolic solar collectors (data points for the conventional linear parabolic solar collector have been taken from Ref. [16]). The symbols used in the plots are as follows: () nanofluid-based volumetric receiver with vacuum in the annulus; () basefluid-based volumetric receiver with vacuum in the annulus and () Dudley et al. [16] (Cermet receiver with vacuum in the annulus).

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Fig. 8

Comparison of thermal efficiency as a function of average fluid temperature above ambient for BCPSC, NCPSC, and the conventional linear parabolic solar collectors (data points for the conventional linear parabolic solar collector have been taken from Ref. [16]). The symbols used in the plots are as follows: () nanofluid-based volumetric receiver with vacuum in the annulus; () basefluid-based volumetric receiver with vacuum in the annulus and () Dudley et al. [16] (Cermet receiver with vacuum in the annulus).

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Fig. 13

Thermal efficiency as a function of thermal diffusivity of Therminol VP-1

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Fig. 9

Comparison of thermal efficiencies as a function of incident angle for NCPSC and the conventional linear parabolic solar collectors (data points for the conventional linear parabolic solar collector have been taken from Ref. [16]). The symbols used in the plots are as follows: () nanofluid-based receiver with vacuum in the annulus and () Dudley et al. [16] (black chrome selective coating with vacuum in the annulus).

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Fig. 10

Effect of convective heat transfer coefficient on (a) thermal efficiency and (b) thermal losses in the case of NCPSC

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Fig. 11

Effect of solar incident angle on (a) thermal efficiency and (b) thermal losses for the NCPSC

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Fig. 12

Effect of solar irradiance on (a) thermal efficiency and (b) thermal losses in the case of NCPSC

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Fig. 4

Effect of temperature on the thermal diffusivity of Therminol VP-1 (data points taken from Ref. [20])

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