Comparison of Solar Concentrators

Abstract

-Even though most variations of solar concentrators have been studied or built at some time or other, an important class of concentrators has been overlooked until very recently. These novel concentrators have been called ideal because of their optical properties, and an example, the compound parabolic concentrator, is being tested at Argonne National Laboratory. Ideal concentrators differ radically from conventional instruments such as focussing parabolas. They act as radiation funnel and do not have a focus. For a given acceptance angle their concentration surpasses that of other solar concentrators by a factor of two to four, but a rather large reflector area is required. The number of reflections varies with angle of incidence, with an average value around one in most cases of interest. In order to help provide a rational basis for deciding which concentrator type is best suited for a particular application, we have compared a variety of solar concentrators in terms of their most important general characteristics, namely concentration, acceptance angle, sensitivity to mirror errors, size of reflector area and average number of reflections. The connection between concentration, acceptance angle and operating temperature of a solar collector is analysed in simple intuitive terms, leading to a straightforward recipe for designing collectors with maximal concentration (no radiation emitted by the absorber must be allowed to leave the concentrator outside its acceptance angle). We propose some new concentrators, including the use of compound parabolic concentrators as second stage concentrators for conventional parabolic or Fresnel mirrors. Such a combination approaches the performance of an ideal concentrator without demanding a large reflector: it may offer significant advantages for high temperature solar systems.

24 Figures and Tables

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Rabl2003ComparisonOS, title={Comparison of Solar Concentrators}, author={Ari Rabl}, year={2003} }