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Procedure for thermal performance evaluation of steam generating point-focus solar concentrators

Solar Energy
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.solener.2011.03.018
  • Test Procedure
  • Solar Concentrator
  • Thermal Performance
  • Steam Generation
  • Point Focus
  • Characteristic Curve


Abstract Solar energy can be used for substitution of the depleting fossil fuels in thermal applications and electricity generation through thermal route. For medium and high temperature applications, solar concentrators are required. Proper sizing and selection of concentrator for any thermal application calls for characterization of the concentrator at the required operating temperature. There are few procedures reported in literature for testing and evaluating solar concentrator performance which are based on sensible heating of the working fluid. One of the limitations of these procedures is requirement of precise operating conditions during testing. A test procedure for characterization of point-focus steam generating solar concentrators based on latent heating at different operating temperatures is proposed. The proposed procedure uses the phase change characteristic of water at constant temperature to measure the thermal performance. This procedure can be used to estimate thermal efficiency of solar concentrator at different operating temperatures above 100 °C. This procedure was used to estimate the efficiency of a point-focus solar concentrator having 25 m 2 aperture area at 161 °C (equivalent to 5.4 bar (g)). The efficiency was estimated as 47 ± 3.5%. The test procedure can be used for field evaluation of existing systems also with minimum amount of instrumentation and controls.

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