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Article

Minimizing the Computational Effort to Optimize Solar Concentrators with the Open-Source Tools SunPATH and Tonatiuh++

1
Energy Division, The Cyprus Institute, 2121 Nicosia, Cyprus
2
High Performance Computing Facility, The Cyprus Institute, 2121 Nicosia, Cyprus
3
Department of Energy Engineering, University of Seville, 41092 Sevilla, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editors: Andrea Giostri and Marco Binotti
Energies 2021, 14(15), 4412; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14154412
Received: 17 June 2021 / Revised: 13 July 2021 / Accepted: 19 July 2021 / Published: 22 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Concentrating Solar Power Systems)
Integrals that are of interest in the analysis, design, and optimization of concentrating solar thermal systems (CST), such as the annual optical efficiency of the light collection and concentration (LCC) subsystem, can be accurately computed or estimated in two distinct ways: on the time domain and on the spatial domain. This article explores these two ways, using a case study that is highly representative of the commercial CST systems being deployed worldwide. In the time domain, the computation of these integrals are explored using 1-min, 10-min, and 1-h solar DNI input data and using The Cyprus Institute (CyI)’s High-Performance Computing (HPC) system and an open-source ray tracer, Tonatiuh++, being actively developed at CyI. In the spatial domain, the computation of these integrals is explored using SunPATH, another open-source software tool being actively developed at CyI, in tandem with Tonatiuh++. The comparison between the time and spatial domain approach clearly indicate that the spatial domain approach using SunPATH is dramatically more computationally efficient than the time domain approach. According to the results obtained, at least for the case study analyzed in this article, to compute the annual energy delivered by the LCC subsystem with a relative error less than 0.1%, it is enough to provide SunPATH with 1-h DNI data as input, request from SunPATH the sun position and weights of just 30 points in the celestial sphere, and run Tonatiuh++ to simulate these 30 points using 15 million rays per run. As the test case is highly representative, it is expected that this approach will yield similar results for most CST systems of interest. View Full-Text
Keywords: sun path; heliostat field; annual integration sun path; heliostat field; annual integration
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MDPI and ACS Style

Blanco, M.J.; Grigoriev, V.; Milidonis, K.; Tsouloupas, G.; Larrañeta, M.; Silva, M. Minimizing the Computational Effort to Optimize Solar Concentrators with the Open-Source Tools SunPATH and Tonatiuh++. Energies 2021, 14, 4412. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14154412

AMA Style

Blanco MJ, Grigoriev V, Milidonis K, Tsouloupas G, Larrañeta M, Silva M. Minimizing the Computational Effort to Optimize Solar Concentrators with the Open-Source Tools SunPATH and Tonatiuh++. Energies. 2021; 14(15):4412. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14154412

Chicago/Turabian Style

Blanco, Manuel J., Victor Grigoriev, Kypros Milidonis, George Tsouloupas, Miguel Larrañeta, and Manuel Silva. 2021. "Minimizing the Computational Effort to Optimize Solar Concentrators with the Open-Source Tools SunPATH and Tonatiuh++" Energies 14, no. 15: 4412. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14154412

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