Heat collecting elements (HCEs) are the core components in the parabolic trough collector (PTC) system because photothermal conversion of the whole system occurs in the HCEs. However, considerable heat loss from the HCEs at high operating temperature exerts seriously negative impact on the photothermal conversion efficiency of the PTC system and subsequent application systems. To effectively reduce the heat loss and thus enhance the overall performance of the PTC system, in our previous work, we proposed three kinds of novel HCEs by partially depositing different IR-reflector coatings on the inner and outer surfaces of the glass envelope. The infrared (IR)-reflector of actual transparent conductive oxide (TCO) film, IR-reflector with a fixed cutoff wavelength of 2.5 μm, and the IR-reflector with optimal cutoff wavelength showed extremely effective roles in the reduction of heat loss in HCEs. In this paper, the comprehensive energy and exergy performances of these three novel HCEs in a real 72 m small-scale PTC system are further investigated by the mathematical models established. Additionally, the comparisons among overall performances of the proposed HCEs under different direct solar irradiances are also carried out. The results show that the simulated data yields good consistence with the experimental results, and that all three of the novel HCEs achieve superior overall performance compared with the conventional HCEs. The PTC system installing the novel HCEs with the IR-reflector coating which possesses the optimal cutoff wavelength has the best energetic and exergetic efficiencies, which are significantly improved by 25.2% and 28.1% compared with the conventional HCEs at the solar irradiance of 800 W/m2 and inlet temperature of 580 °C. Moreover, the proposed novel HCEs have a much superior performance at lower solar irradiance. The performance-enhanced PTC system will play a significantly positive role in the performance improvement of the heating and cooling of buildings in the future.
- Parabolic trough collector
- Solar receiver
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Process Chemistry and Technology
- Computer Science Applications
- Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes