Type of Document Thesis Author Newton, Charles Christopher Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-01052007-181917 Title A Concentrated Solar Thermal Energy System Degree Master of Science Department Mechanical Engineering, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Dr. Anjaneyulu Krothapalli Committee Member Dr. Brenton J. Greska Committee Member Dr. Patrick Hollis Committee Member Keywords
- Parabolic Concentrator
- Solar Energy
Date of Defense 2006-12-14 Availability unrestricted AbstractSolar thermal technology is competitive in some very limited markets. The most common use for solar thermal technology has been for water heating in sunny climates. Another use is for power production, such as the Vanguard system and the Shannendoah Valley Parabolic dish system. However, due to the complex design and costs of production and maintenance, solar thermal systems have fallen behind in the world of alternative energy systems.
The concentrated solar thermal energy system constructed for this work follows that of the conventional design of a parabolic concentrator with the receiver placed along the line between the center of the concentrator and the sun. This allows for effective collecting and concentrating of the incoming solar irradiation. The concentrator receives approximately 1.064 kW/m2 of solar insolation (dependent upon time of year), which is concentrated and reflected to the receiver. By concentrating the incoming radiation, the operating temperature of the system is increased significantly, and subsequently increases the efficiency of the conversion from sunlight to electricity. For the current system, with a concentration ratio of 96, the concentrator is theoretically capable of producing temperatures upwards to 712 degrees centigrade. However, due to degradation of the optics and other various factors, temperatures as high as 560 degrees centigrade have been achieved. It was found that the collector (concentrator + receiver) yields an efficiency of 95.6 percent.
The system converts this concentrated solar energy to electric energy by use of a Rankine cycle which is operated intermittently; determinant by operating temperature. The efficiency of the Rankine cycle for this system was determined to be 3.2 percent, which is 10.3 percent of its Carnot Efficiency.
The system has a solar to electric power conversion of 1.94 percent with a peak electric power production of 220 Watts.
The rousing point for this particular system is the simplicity behind the design, with it being simple enough to be maintained by an ordinary bicycle mechanic. This makes the system versatile and ideal for use in off-grid and less tech-savvy areas. This work serves mostly as a proof of concept.
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