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Heat transfer analysis and the effect of CuO/Water nanofluid on direct absorption concentrating solar collector

Direct absorption solar collectors (DASCs) form a new class of collectors that directly harvest sun beams via a working fluid. They offer several advantages over their conventional surface absorption counterparts such as reduced surface heat loss and increased solar irradiance absorption. The optical and thermo-physical properties of the working fluid may be improved and system efficiency may be enhanced in direct absorption solar collectors (DASCs) by introducing nanoparticles into the base fluid. The present study investigates, both analytically and experimentally, the effects of CuO/Water nanofluid on the efficiency of a direct absorption parabolic trough collector (DAPTC). The theoretical analysis of DAPTC is based on the power-law with the objective of simulating a turbulent flow into the receiver pipe. Comparison of the results obtained from the model and the experimental measurements reveals a good agreement between the two sets of data, indicating that they can be exploited to validate the numerical solution. Moreover, modeling results indicate that the average radial temperature and energy generation terms due to the solar irradiance absorbed and scattered by the nanoparticles decrease with increasing distance from the receiver pipe wall. It is also found that the solar irradiance is absorbed and converted into a significant amount of sensible heat along the length of the receiver pipe. Finally, the results of both the numerical and the experimental investigations of the DAPTC collector show that the thermal efficiency of the system improves as a result of increased nanoparticle volume fraction and nanofluid flow rate.

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