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Solar Energy Vol. 27, pp.

1%29, 1981
Printed in Great Britain.

Pergamon Press Ltd.


Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, U.S.A.
(Received 19 September 1980; revision accepted 9 January 1981)
Abstract--Mathematical formulations were developed to study thermal processes in a compound-parabolicconcentrator (CPC) collector. The system under investigation consists of a CPC cusp fitted with a concentric,
evacuated double pipe to serve as a heat absorber. Heat is transmitted to the circulating fluid flowing inside a
U-tube via the heat getter slipped inside the inner pipe. The collector has a cover for dust protection. Four
nonlinear, simultaneous equations were derived to predict heat exchange among various components in the system.
Collector efficiency equations were also developed following the Hottel-Whillier-Woertz-Bliss formalism. These
equations were subsequently used in a computer program to test the collector performance under varied operating
conditions. Test results indicate that, because of the high thermal resistance between the receiver jacket and the
envelope, the collector performance is quite stable and is nearly independent of many parameters tested. The
efficiency of the collector is high and shows only a very slight drop at high operating temperatures. The predicted
results were also compared with experiments.

Of the class of nonimaging concentrators commonly

used for collecting solar energy, the Compound
Parabolic Concentrator (CPC) is probably one that
receives most attention and publicity. Since its invention
in 1974[1,2], many papers have been published in the
literature that dealt with a wide range of design and
analysis of the CPC, e.g.[3-20]. However, a close
examination of these papers reveals that the great
majority of them are devoted to optical analysis. Papers
reporting thermal analysis are rarely found, and those
published are either oversimplified by treating the
receiver as a node of known temperature, or inadequate
in the sense that the ones analyzed are not the ones
presently in production.
Many advances have been made since the inception of
the CPC concept in 1974. The current generation of CPC
is the culmination of years of research and development
efforts and has a configuration shown in Fig. 1. In order
to maintain a high reflectivity for the concentrator, the
CPC trough is fitted with a cover. A concentric-tube
receiver is used to receive energy. There is a gap between the receiver and the cusp to accommodate any
deflection of the tube due to either loading or out-ofalignment of the tube. Such a CPC collector is now
commercially available, with all indications that the
present basic design is not likely to change in the future.
While minor changes are still possible to improve the
efficiency, the CPC configuration as illustrated is expected to be with us for some time and therefore, is a valid
model for analysis. It is the purpose of this paper to
present a detailed thermal analysis of the CPC collector
based on the model shown in Fig. 1.
Because of the bulk of the material to be presented,
this paper is divided into two sections. In the Analysis
section the thermal processes in the collector are

~ .


~-~E'E~OR \ ,



Fig. 1. A schematic diagram showing the CPC under investigation.
modelled using heat transfer analysis. This becomes an
indispensable step for the present study since no
empirical equations have been developed to predict the
loss coefficients for the CPC. Modeling of thermal processes enables one to predict temperatures in the collector, which are in turn useful to predict the loss
The thermal efficiency of the collector can be found
once the temperatures are available. However, for completeness sake, the efficiency will also be calculated using
efficiency equations developed using Hottel-WhillierWoertz-Bliss (HWWB) formalism[21-23]. In practice,
the CPC will be used as a part of the integrated system,
which employs a heat exchanger in the collector loop.
The heat exchanger penalty factor is important to the
performance of the total system. This factor can not be
found without values of the collector efficiency factor
and the heat removal factor. Since these factors appear
in the HWWB formalism, its development is essential
from the application standpoint.
In the Performance section of this paper, a parametric

tWork reported in this paper was supported by USDOE under

Contract W-31-109-ENG-38.



study will be made to evaluate the collector performance. Computer programs will be used to run numerical
experiments for a wide range of test conditions. Performance will be compared with emphasis on the collector efficiency factor, the heat removal factor and the
thermal efficiency changes. It is hoped that, through
publication of this paper, the thermal analysis of the
CPC collector can be brought to a level of thoroughness
comparable to what we have today with the flat-plate
collector analysis.

Modeling of thermal processes

In order to simplify analysis, some assumptions are
made as delineated as follows.
(1) It is assumed that the CPC is ideal and free from
fabrication errors. This allows the geometric concentration ratio of the CPC trough be expressed as [1]

CR = sin 0ma--'--"-~


where 0maxrepresents the acceptance half-angle (see Fig

1). Any beam of radiation incident within the acceptance
angle, with the help of the parabolic reflector can reach
the receiver[l]. The concentration ratio used in this work
is defined on a geometrical basis and expressed in terms
of the total receiver area.
(2) The reflection of radiation from the parabolic
reflector is accounted for by the apparent reflectance p~
where p,, represents the mirror reflectivity[8], ri in the
exponent designates the average number of reflections
for all the rays filling the aperture and incident within the
acceptance half-angle, ti values are determined by using
a ray-tracing technique and found to be a function of the
incidence angle, concentration ratio, receiver configuration and gap size [7]. For the ri values documented in the
literature, the variation of ri with the incidence angle is
small[6]. Hence, it is permissible to treat Ji as a constant
in the analysis.
(3) The direction of the beam radiation incident on
various components in the collector can be found
through geometry. Any reflection from these components, particularly multireflections from the parabolic
reflector, will cause a reorientation of rays to the effect
that the rays' reflection pattern becomes exceedingly
difficult to follow without reliance on a detailed ray
tracing. To facilitate analysis these reflections are treated
as diffuse and their energy accounted for in terms of
diffuse reflectivities. The succeeding absorption and
transmission processes inside the CPC are also diffuse
and accounted for in terms of diffuse properties. For a
further simplification, a two-band model will be used for
analysis. The solar and IR energy exchanges in the
collector are treated separately using pertinent radiative
properties in the spectrum. A lumped analysis is also
used to study heat transfer for various components in the
With these assumptions made, solar radiation absorbed
in the CPC collector can be formulated. The absorption
of beam radiation will be treated first. The fraction of
beam radiation incident on the cover and absorbed by it

is given as [25]
Hb(i)[a~(i) + ~.T~(I)jS~p~ ] ~

qb.. =



where qb.a refers to the heat flux based on a unit

receiver-jacket area (see Fig. 1). Hb represents beam
radiation flux; the expression (i) appending Hb denotes
its functional dependency on the incidence angle i. a, r, p
have their usual meaning of absorptivity, transmissivity
and reflectivity respectively. A bar appearing above
these notations signifies a diffuse property; subscripts
a, e designate cover and receiver envelope, respectively.
The second term inside the bracket accounts for the
portion of beam radiation that is transmitted through the
cover, reflected by the envelope, and absorbed by the
lower surface of the cover, a second-order effect. The
last quantity (AdAr) in the equation corrects for the area
with which the heat flux qb.a is based Aa = 2WL (see
Fig. l). Ar = 21rr,.oL (see Fig. 2).
The fraction of beam radiation absorbed by the
receiver envelope is [25]
qb., = Hb(O'r~(Opm[a,(l)+ aep, papm Aa d,~5,~e(j)]~..

A, = 2~rr,L.
the second term in the bracket accounts for radiation
reflected from the envelope, rereflected from the cover
and finally absorbed by the envelope. The third term
takes into consideration the reflected energy from the
receiver jacket and incident on the envelope. This last
term is small if the receiver jacket has a black surface.
Both second and third terms account for second-order
It is noted that the area ratio (AdAa) appearing in the
second term inside the bracket in eqn (3) is originated
from the shape factor According to geometry, all the
energy leaving the receiver envelope can, with the help
of the parabolic mirror, reach the cover. However, only a
fraction (AdAa) of the energy leaving the cover can

Fig. 2. Incidentangles and radii of the receiver tube.


Thermal analysis of CPC collectors

reach the envelope. The inclusion of this area ratio is
reasoned from the fact that the CPCs acceptance of
diffuse radiation is 1/CR[6].
Beam radiation absorbed by the receiver jacket is[25]

. ~

. [




qb., = Hb(t)zo(l)p,~z,(I)p ~a'(k) + a~p~p~ AeJ A,


where the second term in the bracket represents the

fraction that is reflected from the receiver jacket,
rereflected from the envelope and absorbed by the
jacket, again a second-order effect. AdA, corrects for
the shape factor In addition, because of the presence of
a gap between the receiver jacket and the CPC cusp, p is
introduced in the equation to correct for the gap loss[9],



where g represents the total gap, clearance plus (rer~.o).

The formulation for the absorbed beam radiation is
now complete; attention is now directed to the diffuse
radiation The diffuse solar radiation absorbed by the
cover, the receiver envelope and the receiver jacket can
be derived analogically to eqns (2)-(4) and expressed
respectively as [25]
qd, a = Hdaa (1 + Tapep,n 1 " ~


_ ~- ( +-- 2~Ae+
i pepap., A. ~
-~.--~ (7)


__ A )A Aa

Hdr,~p,'r~pa, 1 + prpe

Aa A,


where the higher-order terms in the parentheses have the

same meaning as those corresponding terms in the beam
equations Once again, the additional correction factors,
(AriA,) and (A/A,), appearing after the parentheses in
eqns (7) and (8) are introduced to account for shape
factor corrections Because of the incident radiation
being diffuse, all radiative properties appearing in these
equations refer to diffuse properties. This permits the
absorptivity ~ to be factored out in the derivation.
Solar radiation incident on a CPC will raise the temperature of the collector, giving rise to an IR energy
exchange. This mode of heat transfer can be formulated
by means of an electric analog as shown in Fig. 3.
Starting from the leg between the receiver jacket and the
envelope, the IR energy exchange between them can be
expressed as [25]
qlR, r/e

tr(T 4 - T~)
I1+- 1A)A,
' ,(r

Fig. 3. Electric analog circuit for the CPC collector.

and the cover can be derived in a like manner as [25]

(AdA,)o'( T 4e - T,)







where tr is the Stefan-Boltzmann constant. All the

emissivities in this equation refer to IR properties.
The infrared energy exchange between the envelope

where the (AdAr) in the numerator converts the heat flux

to base on a unit receiver-jacket area. Equation (10) is
strictly valid for a glass cover which is opaque in the far
IR. In the event the collector is fitted with a plastic cover
which has transmission bands in the spectrum, the
receiver envelope also exchanges heat with the sky.
Under these conditions, another exchange equation
would be needed to compute this heat loss As will be
shown later, because of the use of an evacuated tube
receiver, the envelope temperature is low to the extent
that this energy loss is practically negligible. A separate
loss calculation is thus unnecessary for the present work.
The heat loss from the collector cover to sky. is
q l R , als =

tatr(T 4 -




where the sky temperature Ts can be related to the

ground-level ambient temperature by [26]
Ts = Tb -6.


In the above equation, both Ts and Tb are in C.

There are other modes of energy exchange inside the
collector, most noted being the convection heat loss.
Clearly, there is no convective heat loss from the
receiver jacket, because it is evacuated However, for
the receiver envelope the convective loss is

qc ,la = helaAT -~.





In the above equation the convective coefficient he/, can

be expressed using an empirical equation [27]


he/a = 1.32 \2~-r~/


where AT and re are in units C and m, respectively. This

equation, having a ~ power in its temperature dependency, is inconvenient to use in the iterative solution
using a computer. Attempt is thus made to linearize this
equation using[25]
h,/o = 3.25 + 0.0085 4 ~


where the sink temperature has been taken to be the

mean of those of the cover and the envelope. As is
shown in Fig. 4, the linear approximation stays well
within the error commonly found in convection correlations. The proposed linearization is thus adequate for
the present work.
For convection loss from cover to ambient the equation to be used is



where Tb designates ambient temperature, h,/b can be

related to wind speed as follows [28].
h,/b = 5.7 + 3.8 V


where V is the wind speed in m/s, h,/b in W/m2C.

It is noted that, in a CPC collector, the useful energy is
extracted in the form of heat by fluid flowing inside the
receiver. The receiver itself is, in essence, a heat
exchanger which satisfies
rhcp(To- T~)= U,/eA,(T,



tance can be added, if necessary. For the present work,

this resistance has been ignored in the analysis.
On the basis of a unit receiver-jacket area, Um can
now be formulated as follows.


= [rr.oln(r,.o/r,.,) A,]-'


where the first term inside the bracket estimates the glass
conductive resistance, the second term, convective film
resistance. Depending on the types of concentric tubes
used for the receiver, this film resistance can be either
the resistances inside the annulus and the central return
tube (Owen-Illinois design), or the resistance inside a
small U-shaped tubing (GE design, see Fig. 1). In the
former[29, 30] can be referred to for h equations. In the
latter, because of the small tubing size, the flow is
expected to be laminar and is fully developed, which
permits using[31]
Nu = 4.364
for a constant heat flux condition. Consequently, A,/hA
in the bracket becomes
AdhA = r,.o/(2.182kt)


where k~ is the thermal conductivity for the circulating

The equations given above provide a basis for establishing energy balance for various components in the
system. Based on the electric analog shown in Fig. 3, the
energy balance equations for the cover, the receiver
envelope and the receiver jacket can be written respectively as follows[25].
qb, ,, + qa.. + qlR. eta + qc, e/a - - qlR.a/s q~, o/b = 0

qb. e qa, e + qm. r/e - qm, e/, - qc. */,, = 0

qb., + qd, r - qm, ,/e - ~(2. = 0

where (inca) refers to the thermal capacitance rate for

the circulating fluid. Subscripts i and 0 for T designate
temperatures at receiver inlet and outlet, respectively.
The total heat transfer coefficient U,/e accounts for both
conduction across the receiver-jacket wall and convection of fluid inside the flow passage. Contact resisI



3.25 ~. O.OO85 ( T4_~raT)

he/o =
L~T x~4
he/a = ,.52 (:)r e )



ITs~ ) To~('C/m)
Fig. 4. Linearizationof the free convectivecoefficientequation.



which are valid under a steady state condition. Equations

(22)-(24) can be used together with eqn (18) to form a set
of four, nonlinear, algebraic equations to solve for four
unknowns Ta, Te, Tr and To if T, is given.
Efficiency formulation using H W W B approach
As has been noted earlier, in practice the CPC collector is to be used together with other heat exchangers in a
total system. The total system performance can not be
determined without a prior knowledge of the heat
exchanger penalty factor which is, in turn, a function of
the heat removal factor, among others[24, 32]. As will be
shown in what follows, this heat removal factor appears
in the collector efficiency equations derived based on the
HWWB approach.
As a good approximation, the useful heat that can be
extracted from a CPC collector can be expressed as[25]
Q. = H ; ~ p ~ ~e6.fpAa - ULA,(T, - Tb)



Thermal analysis of CPC collectors

where H; represents the total solar flux reaching the
H', = Hb (i) + -~- Ha



F' is commonly known as the collector efficiency factor.

Ai in the above equation refers to the inside area of the
receiver tubing.
A third way of rewriting eqn (25) is to introduce the
heat removal factor defined as [25]

f is a correction factor accounting for multireflection

contribution to the absorbed energy, given as
f = [1 - (1 - &)p~, 6oo(A/A~)] '


where pe. 6O refers to glass reflectance at 60 angle. As a

good approximation, p~.6oo= 0.16. UL in eqn (25) designates the loss coefficient for heat transfer from receiver
jacket to ambient,
1 /
UL = -~, ~-U~/,A,
U,,/b ~ )
+ -U~/,A~
+ U~----~hA~

U~/,- '(T2+ T2)(T" + Te)

1 +a,(1


A, \E,

r'~Uo/b - ea~ ~


~- h/b.


For the convenience of later comparison, eqn (25) can be

recast in a simpler form as follows[25].

Q. = A r [ S ' - U L ( T r - Tb)]


S' = Ht%p'- ~,,z,a,fp(A-,JA,).-


Note that T, in eqns (25) and (32) refers to the receiverjacket temperature.
Another way of rewriting Q, is to express it in terms
of the mean fluid temperature Tf,

Tf =

(T~ + To)/2.


If the conductive resistance inside the receiver-jacket

wall and the convective resistance inside the receiver
tubing are both accounted for, this new version of Q,
takes the following form[25].
Q. = F ' A , [ S ' - UL(Tt - Tb)]


where F' is the ratio of the overall loss coefficient

(fluid-to-ambient) Uo to the receiver-jacket loss coefficient
LIE (1/UL) + [r,.o ln(r,, o/r,.,)/k,] + (AdhAO
SE Vol. 27, No. I-..C

G = tn/Ao.
With the help of FR, Q. can be related to the fluid inlet
temperature T~ as follows.
Q, = F R A , [ S ' - UL(T~ - Tb)].


It should be noted that eqns (32), (35) and (38) given

above were derived based on the HWWB approach that
is commonly used in the flat-plate collector analysis.
However, the equations derived here for CPC collectors
are more general in the sense that, if the following
equality is adopted


cr(T~2 + T 2~)(T~+ T~)




where U,/,, Lie/,, and U./b represent components loss

coefficients occurring between receiver jacket and
envelope, receiver envelope and cover, cover and ambient, respectively. They can be derived from an electric
analog as follows [25].

ULF' ]~
Gc--~-R) J J

FR - Gcv(CR) { 1 - exp[

(CR) = p~

= ?e =


eqns (32), (35) and (38) can be readily reduced to flatplate collector equations, which is not unexpected.
Another point of interest is that, if FR/F' is plotted vs
Gcp/F'UL, a family of curves as shown in Fig. 5 can be
obtained. For CPC collectors the curves rise more
rapidly than a flat-plate collector (labeled CR= 1). In
practice, because of the small UL value typical for a
CPC collector, the points on the curves are further shifted
to the right, which enables the FR/F' to stay well within
the asymptotic region of the curves, a desirable feature
from the heat gain standpoint.
It is also noted that, in the flat-plate collector analysis,
because of the trend of the FR/F' curve, an increase of
flow rate is considered unnecessary for a liquid collector
if FR/F' value is already high on the curve. Such an
observation is also valid for the CPC. In fact, the usually
high FR/F' value typical for a CPC makes the collector
efficiency nearly independent of G in most practical
It is easy to see that the three versions of Q, equations
derived above all share a common weakness in that the

k 0.6
~m 0.4


~ x..1R


i i ]

I i I


Fig. 5. FR/F' curves for CPC collectors.



C. K. HSmH

multireflection contribution to the energy absorption has

only been accounted for by the/" factor in the first term
on the right of the useful energy equation (25). In practice, the cover and envelope also absorb radiation, thus
raising their temperatures. A slightly higher temperature
of these components will create an insulating effect for
the receiver, thereby increasing its heat gain. This refined
analysis will now be considered. Use is made of the
networks shown in Fig. 6 to derive the useful heat gain
equation as follows[25].
O,, = FeA,-{S' + H ; [ ? a ( l - ?e) ULA,.

+ (1

H,(I -?~)'~ ULAr ] _ UL(T~ - Tb)}

~e)\?a "1 H~(I - ~,)] Ua/bA,~ J

where all notations in this equation have been defined
previously. A comparison between eqns (38) and (40)
reveals that the improvement lies in the presence of the
second term inside the braces of the equation. Physically, such a term adds to the useful heat gain.
It is now possible to write four efficiency equations
based on eqns (32), (35), (38) and (40). Following the
definition of the collector thermal efficiency



~1 - H , A o


H, = H~,(i) + Hd

there are derived

follows [25].





,7 = ,1oF'-




H,(CR) (Ts -



,1 = ,}oFR - H---7~-~ ( T~ - Tb )


n = (no + F,,)F~ - ~
(r, - r~)




I/(Ue/oAe )



ll(Urle A r)

(a) Cover Absorption

(b) Cover Absorption

Fig. 6. Equivalent electric circuits for a simplified analysis.

~o = ~


~,,p,,, tea,IV

FA = Ht(CR) [~o(1



- ~,) Ue/aA,:

Ht(l-Ta)~ ULA, ]
+(1-?,)(~aq H',(1 ~ ) / ~ J "


"0o (eqn 47) is known as the optical efficiency. FA (eqn

48) is new and is named the enclosure absorption factor.
Once again, if
A, At
eqns (47) and (48) can be reduced to flat-plate collector
equations as expected.
It should be noted that, normally in the test of collectors, the collector efficiency can be evaluated based on
the simple relation

thcp(To- %)



This equation is certainly convenient to use if To and %

are available from tests. In the event these temperatures
are not available, they must still be solved using the
simultaneous, nonlinear equations (eqns 18, 22-24) given
earlier. As such, the detailed modeling of thermal processes becomes an indispensable step in a performance
A final note is in order to justify the omission of back
loss in this section. Tests have shown that the back loss
is practically negligible because of the use of highly
reflective mirrors which behave like radiation shields in
the collector. The insulation behind the CPC further
suppresses the backward heat transfer to the extent that
the back loss is practically negligible in analysis[25].

The CPC collector chosen for performance analysis

has a modular construction, which consists of two banks
of troughs in parallel with each bank made up of five
troughs in series. This collector has been extensively
tested at the Argonne National Laboratory and is chosen
because its performance record well established. This
permits the use of their test data to verify the prediction
results given in this paper.
In order to facilitate comparison in the parametric
study, one collector is chosen as control. Data relevant
to this control collector are listed in Table 1. These data
were used as computer input to yield a set of performance data useful to establish a base line. A slight
variation of the parameters was then made with one
varied at a time in the computer input in order to
evaluate collector performance under other operating
conditions which include changes in ambient temperature
(Tb), average number of reflections on the CPC(a), concentration ratio (CR), gap size (g), insolation (H,) and the
collector mass flow rate (m). The collector performance
is compared in terms of their operating temperatures

Thermal analysis of CPC collectors


Table 1. Data for a test collector designatedas control

Collector Specifications


0.0211 m

0.0222 m


i and 2)

0.1128 m
1.1271 m
0.0264 m

rr, i =

(refer to F i s s .


0.0030 m

clearance + r e - rr, = 0 . 0 0 5 0 + 0 . 0 2 6 4 - 0 . 0 2 2 2 = 0 . 0 0 9 2 m

Solar Radiation Data:


966 W/m 2


I00 W / m 2

Ambient Conditions:




5 m/s

Material Properties:


~a = 0.05

~a =




~e = 0.05


~e =
~r =












=. 0.779 W / m C

Data for Circulating Media (80% Ethylene Glycol)



0.0162 kg~s
3224 J/kg-C

(T,, To, T,, Ta), loss coefficients (UL, Uo), collector

efficiency factor (F'), collector heat removal factor (FR)
and finally their thermal efficiency (7). They are discussed separately in the sections that follow.

Performance of the control collector

Performance of the control collector is plotted in open
symbols in Figs. 7 and 8. As shown in Fig. 7, all temperatures in the collector increase with the inlet temperature T~. Both the receiver envelope and cover temperatures (T,, T~ respectively) are very low for the wide
range of inlet temperatures tested. This is certainly a
result of the use of vacuum receiver which eliminates
convective heat loss from it. On the other hand, the
selective coating also contributes to suppress the radiative loss from the receiver jacket. Both receiver jacket
and outlet temperatures (T,, To respectively) are very
high. Not only are these curves parallel, but also linear in
the inlet-temperature range shown. The former is a result
of the use of constant heat flux as the wall condition,
while the latter can be ascribed to the use of constant

convective coefficient inside the U tubing in the analysis.

Curves for the loss coefficient from receiver jacket to
ambient (UL) and the overall loss coefficient from fluid to
ambient (Uo) are plotted in Fig. 8. Both coefficients
increase with the jacket temperature, their relations
being nonlinear. The upward deflection of the curves is
somewhat expected; because the increase of the components loss coefficients with temperature is also nonlinear, the higher the temperature the higher the loss
coefficients (see eqns 2%31). It is clear from the curves
shown, that the loss coefficients for the CPC are very
small. In actual practice, because the CPC has a smaller
receiver area, the total heat loss from the CPC is considerably less than a flat-plate collector of the same
aperture. An example is appropriate here to illustrate this
Normally, for a fiat-plate collector equipped with three
covers and having a receiver made up of a selective
material, the top loss coeflicient is about 2 W/m2C for a
plate temperature of 120C[33]. If the CPC collector (as
illustrated in Fig 1) were used and operated at the same



(Ur/e Ar) " I S



(U L Ar )-I:(Ur/eAr )-I+ (Ue/oAe)-~+ (UoIbAo)-I




Fig. 9. Breakdown of loss coefficient into components loss




Fig. 7. Effect of ambient temperature on temperatures of collectors.


Open Symbols Tb : 2OOC

Closed Symbols Tb: IO*C

Realizing that (UA)-' actually represents the'resistance

to heat flow, it is possible to express the loss coefficient
in terms of the components loss coefficients as shown in
the legend. The total resistance appears to originate
primarily between the receiver jacket and the envelope.
Only at elevated temperatures, there is a slight decline of
this resistance. This serves well to explain why the cover
and envelope temperatures are low in Fig. 7. With the
high resistance occuring between the receiver jacket and
the envelope, a slight change in the jacket temperature is
expected to have little effect on the envelope temperature. However, if the ambient temperature is
lowered, the envelope and cover tempe(atures will follow rapidly because of the low resistance between them.

Effect of other parameters











Fig. 8. Effect of ambient temperature on loss coefficients.

temperature, the loss coefficient would be 0.465. Hence,
for the same temperature drop from source to sink, the
total heat loss ratio of the two collectors would be 6.88
which also accounts for the concentration ratio of the
CPC under investigation. The reduction of the heat loss
for the CPC is thus very significant as is shown clearly in
this example.
A breakdown of the loss coefficient is shown in Fig. 9.

As has just been shown in Fig. 9, the thermal resistance between the receiver jacket and the enclosure
dominates the total heat loss from the collector. Since
U,/e is directly proportional to (T2+T2)(T,+T,)
product (see eqn 29), any drop in Tr or T, will lower U,/e,
thus resulting in a drop of UL. This point is demonstrated
in Fig. 8, where the closed symbol represent U when the
ambient temperature is dropped by 10C. In this case, the
drop of U is primarily a result of the decline of Te value
as shown in Fig. 7.
While the effect of the ambient temperature on the
heat loss coefficients is quite pronounced, effects from
other parameters are rather small. As is shown in Fig. 10,
both UL and Uo values stay within narrow bands for
parameter changes listed in the legend. The upper limit
of the band is a result of changing concentration ratio CR
from 1.6 to 1.95, while the lower bound is obtained by
changing insolation H, from 1066 to 640 W/m 2. Variations of flow rate m, the average number of reflections fi
and gap size g have little effect on U values. It should be
noted that such a trend is partly a result of the selection
of coordinate axes in the plot. Since the receiver
jacket temperature has been chosen for the x-axis, and
U,I,, being dominant in U~,, is proportional to the
receiver temperature as just mentioned, the change of U
might not be large in such a plot.






0.9 c.


of CPC collectors

-- control

g =0.0092-0.0109 m


ff'1=0.0162-0.0486 koJs




~~z-du /




-,..a ~
Tb: I0 *C
CR= 1.95
Ht = 6 4 0 W / m z
rh = 0 . 0 4 8 6 kg/s


JACKET T E M P E R A T U R E , T r (*C)

Fig. 12. Comparisonof collector heat removalfactors.

If UL/Gcp(CR) is small, the exponential in the above

equation can be expanded into a Taylor's series as




Fig. 10. Effect of other parameterson loss coefficients.

Comparison of collector e~ciency factor

In the parametric study made above the collector
efficiency factor was not compared. It is now appropriate
to make such a comparison by plotting these factors in
Fig. 11. It is shown that the collector efficiency factor is
practically independent of the slight parametric changes
tested here. For a CPC this factor is quite high, which is
somewhat expected because of the proximity of the UL
and Uo curves seen earlier in the plots.

Comparison of heat removal .factor

A plot of the heat removal factor FR vs receiver jacket
temperature 1", is shown in Fig. 12. Besides the fluid
circulation rate, the heat removal factor appears to be
independent of the other parameters tested.
It is easy to show that a limiting case does exist with
the heat removal factor equation

FR= Gco(CR)
{1- exp[


GC-~-R)J J'

Gcp--~--R)J= 1 Gcp(CR)



if only two terms are kept in the expansion. Substituting

eqn (51) into (37), it follows that
F. =



The above equation is valid when the mass flow rate or

the specific heat of the circulating medium is large. For a
CPC collector the concentration ratio is greater than one,
UL/Gcp(CR) can thus be made small. Hence, FR/F' is
large (---1), which is typical for a CPC.

Comparison of thermal efficiency

The CPC efficiency is shown in Fig. 13 to be nearly
independent of most of the parameters tested, the only
exception being the average number of reflections which


I ~ O t t l l ] l l l l





-o- Control





~ =0.9
CR= 1.95
H l = 6 4 0 W/m 2
rh = 0 . 0 4 8 6 kg,~
Gop:O.0109 m





Fig. 11. Comparisonof collector efficiency factors.

+ Experiment[ 3 5 , 3 6 ]
--o- Control

Tb= I0O C


fi : 0 . 9
Hl = 6 4 0 W / m
rh =0.0486 kg/s


(Ti - T b ) / H t


(C m2/W)

Fig. 13. Comparisonof collector efficiencies.



appears to have a more pronounced effect on the

efficiency. This can be ascribed to the fact that an
increase of ti lowers the optical efficiency. On the other
hand, the loss coefficients remain unchanged as has been
noted before. Consequently, the thermal efficiency drops
as what eqn (43) predicts.
Some minor efficiency changes are also noted in Fig.
13. As is shown in the figure, an increase of the gap size
lowers the efficiency. This can certainly be ascribed to
the presence of p in the optical efficiency. On the other
hand, a drop of insolation tends to flatten the efficiency
curve at large T~, a trend also found with flat-plate
collectors[34]. This is a result of how the x-axis is
plotted in the figure. Since the x-axis represents AT/H,,
the insolation appears in the denominator. A smaller
insolation value tends to shift the points to the right
thereby flatten the curve.
The slight drop of efficiency as CR is increased is
somewhat unexpected. This is because of the fact that
y-intercepts of the curves represent the optical
efficiency, and the optical efficiency is directly proportional to HI given as eqn (26); an increase of CR tends to
lower H'~ and thus 7o. In addition, according to the
computer output, Tr increases markedly with CR while
UL also rises. This results in a larger value for the
second term on the right of eqn (43). These cumulative
effects tend to depress the efficiency at high concentration ratios,
In order to validate the computer modeling used in the
prediction given in this paper, the computer predicted
data were also compared with experiments (see Fig. 13,
test data plotted with crosses). The test data were taken
from a collector having conditions sufficiently close to
the Ones given in Table I. As is shown in the figure, the
agreement between the prediction and experiment appears
to be satisfactory,

Some conclusions can be drawn based on the observations made in this study. They are delineated as follows.
(1) The use of selective coating and vacuum surrounding the receiver jacket makes the thermal resistance
between the receiver jacket and the envelope overwhelmingly dominant in the total resistance network. As
a result, the efficiency of the collector is quite insensitive
to the change of operating conditions for the CPC.
Because of the high values of F ' and FR, the collector
efficiency is predominantly determined by the optical
efficiency of the collector and, for this reason, directly
proportional to the cover transmittance "L, the apparent
reflectance of the CPC p,n,~ the envelope transmittance "~e
and the receiver absorptance 6r. The effect of the gap
size is somewhat smaller because of the dependence of
7o on p. So is the effect of the concentration ratio
because of the dependence of 7o on H',. Every effort
must therefore be made in practice to upgrade material
properties in order to improve the efficiency,
(2) The slope of the efficiency curves is quite insensitive to most of the operating conditions tested for
the collector. For a given collecter UL increases at high

operating temperatures; however, both F ' and FR decline as the temperature is increased. These trends tend to
offset each other and, as a result, the efficiency of the
CPC remains high at high operating temperatures. On the
other hand, from the efficiency equations, an increase of
CR decreases the slope of the efficiency curve, but it also
lowers the elevation of the curve because of the presence
of H', term in the optical efficiency. Hence, it is not
desirable to use a CPC collector of high CR at a location
where the diffuse radiation is large. In general, the
efficiency curve for the CPC has a far smaller slope than
that of a flat-plate collector, which make the CPC particularly suited for high temperature applications.

Acknowledgement--The work reported in this paper was supported by USDOE under Contract W-31-109-ENG-38.



concentration ratio
specific heat
F'= Uo/UL(eqn 36)
FR (eqn 37)
FA (eqn 48)
multireflection correction factor
solar flux
convective coefficient
incident angle on cover
incident angle on receiver envelope
incident angle on receiver jacket
thermal conductivity
length of trough
mass flow rate
Nusselt number
number of reflections
eqn (5)
heat flow
heat flux

S' eqn (33)

T temperature
U loss coefficient
component loss coefficient
overall loss coefficient
V wind speed
W half-width of aperture

acceptance half-angle
Stefan-Boltzmann constant

A enclosure absorption
a collector cover
b ambient
beam component
c convection
d diffuse component
e receiver envelope
f fluid
gi receiver
jacket wall
inside radius

Thermal analysis of CPC collectors

L loss coefficient from receiver
envelope to ambient
m mirror
O overall loss coefficient from fluid to ambient
0 outside radius
optical efficiency
p constant pressure condition
r receiver
s sky
t total
u useful heat gain

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