The effect of variations in reflector material on the performance of a solar-powered parabolic trough collector

Abstract: Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) is a technology that uses reflector mirrors to focus the sun on a receiver. The receiver changes the sun to heat energy. This study aimed to investigate the effect of variations in reflector material on the performance of the Parabolic Trough Collector (PTC). The parabolic design had a length of 1.5 m, an aperture width of 0.5 m and an absorber pipe with a diameter of 0.5 inch. The reflective material used for each PTC system was an aluminium sheet reflector (PTC1) and an aluminium solar concentrator (PTC2). The aluminium sheet reflector had a thickness of 0.3 mm and a reflectivity value of 85% while the aluminium solar concentrator had a reflectivity value of 94%. The experimental method used a K-type thermocouple to measure the temperature of the fluid in the absorber pipe. Two cable connectors were employed to detect the temperature of the fluid and Lux meters were used to measure the intensity of the sun. The research was conducted between the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 14:00 p.m. (Western Indonesian Time) at sun intensity values above 700 W/m2. The mass fluid flow rate was 0.25 L/min. The results showed that the highest temperature of water coming out of PTC1 was 46.4oC at an intensity of 811.33 W/m2 and efficiency of. 45.67%. However, in PTC2, the highest temperature was 41.7oC at an intensity of 882.43 W/m2 and efficiency of 30.36%. Furthermore, the aluminium reflector exhibited a better performance than the aluminium concentrator.

Keywords: Concentrated solar power, efficiency, parabolic trough collector, reflector.

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