While the circular shape is currently the proven optimum design of the energy collection element (ECE) of a parabolic trough collector, that is yet to be confirmed for parabolic trough concentrating collectors (PTCCs) like trough concentrating photovoltaic collectors and hybrid photovoltaic/thermal collectors. Orientation scheme of the ECE is expected to have significant effect on the optical performance including the irradiance distribution around the ECE and the optical efficiency, and therefore, on the overall energy performance of the PTCC. However, little progress addressing this issue has been reported in the literature. In this study, a thorough investigation has been conducted to determine the effect of the orientation schemes of ECE on the optical performance of a PTCC applying a state-of-the-art Monte Carlo ray tracing (MCRT) technique. The orientation schemes considered are a flat rectangular target and a hollow circular, semi-circular, triangular, inverted triangular, rectangular and rectangle on semi-circle (RSc). The effect of ECE defocus, Sun tracking error and trough rim angle on the optical performance is also investigated. The MCRT study reveals that the ECE orientation schemes with a curved surface at the trough end showed much higher optical efficiency than those with a linear surface under ideal conditions. ECEs among the linear surface group, the inverted triangular orientation exhibited the highest optical efficiency, whereas the flat and triangular ones exhibited the lowest optical efficiency, and the rectangular one was in between them. In the event of defocus and tracking errors, a significant portion of the concentrated light was observed to be intercepted by the surfaces of the rectangular and RSc ECEs that are perpendicular to the trough aperture. This is an extended version of a published work by the current authors, which will help to design an optically efficient ECE for a parabolic trough concentrating collector.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited