Research Papers: Radiative Heat Transfer

Solar Selective Volumetric Receivers for Harnessing Solar Thermal Energy

[+] Author and Article Information
Vikrant Khullar

Mechanical Engineering Department,
Thapar University,
Patiala 147004, Punjab, India
e-mail: vikrantkhullar1@gmail.com

Himanshu Tyagi

School of Mechanical, Materials,
and Energy Engineering,
Indian Institute of Technology Ropar,
Rupnagar 140001, India

Todd P. Otanicar

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

Yasitha L. Hewakuruppu

School of Mechanical and
Manufacturing Engineering,
The University of New South Wales,
Sydney 2052, Australia

Robert A. Taylor

School of Mechanical and
Manufacturing Engineering,
School of Photovoltaics and
Renewable Energy Engineering,
The University of New South Wales,
Sydney 2052, Australia

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received December 31, 2016; final manuscript received January 15, 2018; published online April 11, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Ali Khounsary.

J. Heat Transfer 140(6), 062702 (Apr 11, 2018) (15 pages) Paper No: HT-16-1837; doi: 10.1115/1.4039214 History: Received December 31, 2016; Revised January 15, 2018

Given the largely untapped solar energy resource, there has been an ongoing international effort to engineer improved solar-harvesting technologies. Toward this, the possibility of engineering a solar selective volumetric receiver (SSVR) has been explored in the present study. Common heat transfer liquids (HTLs) typically have high transmissivity in the visible-near infrared (VIS-NIR) region and high emission in the midinfrared region, due to the presence of intramolecular vibration bands. This precludes them from being solar absorbers. In fact, they have nearly the opposite properties from selective surfaces such as cermet, TiNOX, and black chrome. However, liquid receivers which approach the radiative properties of selective surfaces can be realized through a combination of anisotropic geometries of metal nanoparticles (or broad band absorption multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs)) and transparent heat mirrors. SSVRs represent a paradigm shift in the manner in which solar thermal energy is harnessed and promise higher thermal efficiencies (and lower material requirements) than their surface absorption-based counterparts. In the present work, the “effective” solar absorption to infrared emission ratio has been evaluated for a representative SSVR employing copper nanospheroids/MWCNTs and Sn-In2O3 based heat mirrors. It has been found that a solar selectivity comparable to (or even higher than) cermet-based Schott receiver is achievable through control of the cut-off solar selective wavelength. Theoretical calculations show that the thermal efficiency of Sn-In2O3 based SSVR is 6–7% higher than the cermet-based Schott receiver. Furthermore, stagnation temperature experiments have been conducted on a laboratory-scale SSVR to validate the theoretical results. It has been found that higher stagnation temperatures (and hence higher thermal efficiencies) compared to conventional surface absorption-based collectors are achievable through proper control of nanoparticle concentration.

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Fig. 1

Spectral transmittance in the solar irradiance wavelength band (measured with a spectrophotometer (PerkinElmer Lambda 1050), sample thickness = 10 mm) and the midinfrared region (measured with the help of Nicolet iS50 FT-IR, sample thickness ∼1–15 μm) for common HTLs: (a) distilled water and (b) Therminol VP-1

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Fig. 2

(a) Schematic of an extrinsically engineered solar selective volumetric receiver (SSVR), (b) ideal absorptivity characteristics, and (c) reflectivity characteristics of SSVR

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Fig. 3

Absorption cross section per unit particle volume for nanoparticles in Therminol VP-1: (a) metallic (Cu, Al, Ag, and Au) nanospheres, (b) Cu nanospheroids, (c) Al nanospheroids, (d) Ag nanospheroids, and (e) Au nanospheroids. Note that for each of the aforementioned cases (a)–(e), these have been plotted for five different sphere diameters corresponding to aspect ratios A = 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, but in (a) they overlap so much that they can no longer be discerned.

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Fig. 4

Solar-weighted absorption coefficient (Asa (%)) for different aspect ratios of A = 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of nanoparticles dispersed in Therminol VP-1 as a function of volume fraction: (a) metallic (Cu, Al, Ag, and Au) nanospheres, (b) Cu nanospheroids, (c) Al nanospheroids, (d) Ag nanospheroids, and (e) Au nanospheroids. The combined volume fraction of the mixture remains constant between different aspect ratios.

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Fig. 5

(a) Spectral transmittance in the solar irradiance wavelength band for various functionalized MWCNTs concentrations in distilled water and (b) solar-weighted absorption coefficient (Asa (%)) for functionalized MWCNTs dispersions as a function of mass concentration. For comparison purpose, Asa (%) has also been plotted for mixture copper nanospheroids of aspect ratios, A = 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 dispersed in Therminol VP-1 as a function of mass concentration.

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Fig. 6

(a) AM 1.5 solar spectra (data points taken from Ref. [35]) along with the spectral transmissivity values for various heat mirrors (data points taken from Ref. [34]) and (b) spectral emissive power at temperatures typical of solar thermal applications along with the spectral reflectivity values for various heat mirrors (data points taken from Ref. [34]) and the Schott receiver (data points taken from Ref. [36])

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Fig. 7

Schematic of the (a) parabolic trough employing a SSVR and (b) construction details of the SSVR receiver (employing copper nanospheroids)

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Fig. 8

Schematic of (a) discretization of nanofluid into finite elemental control volumes, (b) typical center node, (c) typical interior node, and (d) typical surface node

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Fig. 9

Zoomed-in view showing a typical control volume for the coupled RTE-thermal model

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Fig. 10

Algorithm for finding the spatial temperature distribution

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Fig. 11

Comparison of thermal efficiencies (ηther) and absorptivity-to-emissivity-ratios (αsolar/εir) between a direct volumetric absorber (SSVR) and surface absorber (Schott receiver)

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Fig. 12

(a) White light source spectra compared with the solar spectra (AM 1.5) and (b) schematic of the experimental setup employed for carrying out stagnation-temperature experiments pertinent to SSVR. The basic components of the setup are described as follows: 1—white light source-Thor Labs HPLS-30-04, 2—Iris diaphragm, 3—collimating lens, 4—concentrating lens, 5—mirror, 6—cover (TiNOx or ITO), 7—plastic container, 8—fluid, 9—insulating foam, and 10—thermocouples (three) and temperature display.

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Fig. 13

(a) Spatial temperature distribution and (b) average stagnation temperatures for TiNOX-based surface absorption collector, NSSVR and NNSSVR (as a function of nanoparticle concentration)

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Fig. 14

Typical overheat temperatures for various convective heat transfer coefficient values (at different solar concentration ratios)

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Fig. 15

Total hemispherical emissivity of the ITO-coated glass cover as a function of nanofluid temperature

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Fig. 16

Radiative losses as a function nanofluid temperature for (a) a nanofluid and (b) a nanofluid covered with heat mirror (ITO-coated glass cover)




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