Concentrating Solar Thermal Systems

by K. Lovgrove,

Technical Report, May 2004


CSP Unique ID 1230


Electronic Resource


May 2004


Library's review

These notes deal with solar thermal systems which work by concentrating the solar radiation before it is absorbed and converted. The primary motivation for doing so, is to run conversion systems at a higher temperature, permitting operation of power generation cycles, and chemical or other
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processes requiring high temperatures. The steady state temperature at which a system will operate, will be that temperature at which the collected solar radiation will exactly balance the combined thermal losses and the energy extracted by the working fluid. In the absence of any working fluid flow, a collector's temperature will simply rise until losses alone balance the solar input. This is the "stagnation temperature" of the collector. Converting a significant fraction of the collected solar energy to a useful purpose necessarily involves operating at a temperature below the stagnation temperature. In the context of flat plate systems, glass covers and selective surfaces, serve to increase operating temperatures. Going beyond this requires optical concentration of the solar radiation so as to reduce the area of the receiving surface which is subject to thermal loss.
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