The global demand for energy is increasing and the detrimental consequences of rising greenhouse gas emissions, global warming and environmental degradation present major challenges. Solar energy offers a clean and viable renewable energy source with the potential to alleviate the detrimental consequences normally associated with fossil fuel-based energy generation. However, there are two inherent problems associated with conventional solar thermal energy conversion systems. The first involves low thermal conductivity values of heat transfer fluids, and the second involves the poor optical properties of many absorbers and their coating. Hence, there is an imperative need to improve both thermal and optical properties of current solar conversion systems. Direct solar thermal absorption collectors incorporating a nanofluid offers the opportunity to achieve significant improvements in both optical and thermal performance. Since nanofluids offer much greater heat absorbing and heat transfer properties compared to traditional working fluids. The review summarizes current research in this innovative field. It discusses direct solar absorber collectors and methods for improving their performance. This is followed by a discussion of the various types of nanofluids available and the synthesis techniques used to manufacture them. In closing, a brief discussion of nanofluid property modelling is also presented.
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