Improved high-temperature receivers for dish concentrators

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This project seeks development of the state of the art in understanding, predicting and managing thermal loss mechanisms for high-temperature solar thermal receivers. The emphasis is on dish concentrators, however the knowledge acquired has general application to tower receivers as well.

Fig. 1. Electrically-heated cavity receiver set-up, for measuring convection heat loss at different receiver inclination angles.

Fig. 2. Computational fluid flow model for two candidate receiver shapes under consideration, simulated using OpenFoam.

Fig. 3. Optical ray-tracing model as part of cavity shape optimisation.

Electrically-heated air-based models (Fig. 1) as well as buoyancy-tank models with salty and fresh water are used to improve qualitative and quantitative understanding. In parallel, computational models of convective heat transfer are developed to allow modelling a broader range of cases than tested in the laboratory. The OpenFOAM software package is employed (Fig. 2). The ultimate objective is to develop a general-purpose model for prediction of cavity receiver heat loss for a wide range of solar concentrators. The convection, radiation, and optical ray-tracing models (Fig. 3) are integrated into multi-physics models used for the actual design of new protoype cavity receivers.

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