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Energies 2019, 12(3), 570; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12030570

Incorporating the Concept of Flexible Operation in the Design of Solar Collector Fields for Industrial Applications

Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Guanajuato, Guanajuato 36050, Mexico
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Received: 30 December 2018 / Revised: 3 February 2019 / Accepted: 5 February 2019 / Published: 12 February 2019
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Abstract

This work introduces the concept of flexible operation in the design of solar thermal utility systems for low temperature processes. The design objectives are: (a) The supply of the thermal needs of the process (heat duty and minimum required temperature), and (b) the maximization of the operating time during the day. The approach shows how the network structure is defined by adjusting the mass flow rate and the inlet temperature of the working fluid to achieve the smallest collector surface area. This work emphasizes the need to specify the solar network structure, which is comprised of two main elements: The number of lines in parallel and the number of collectors in series in each line. The former of these two design specifications is related to the heat load that the system will supply, while the latter is directly related to the delivery temperature. A stepwise design approach is demonstrated using two case studies where it is shown that the detailed design of the solar collector network structure is fundamental for a successful thermal integration with minimum investment. In this paper, the design methodology is based on flat-plate solar collectors, but it can be extended to any other type of low temperature solar technology. View Full-Text
Keywords: solar collector network; minimum number of solar collectors; maximum operating time; flexible operation solar collector network; minimum number of solar collectors; maximum operating time; flexible operation
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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 (CC BY 4.0).
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Martínez-Rodríguez, G.; Fuentes-Silva, A.L.; Lizárraga-Morazán, J.R.; Picón-Núñez, M. Incorporating the Concept of Flexible Operation in the Design of Solar Collector Fields for Industrial Applications. Energies 2019, 12, 570.

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