This project seeks development of the state of the art in understanding, predicting and managing thermal loss mechanisms for high-temperature solar thermal receivers. The emphasis is on dish concentrators, however the knowledge acquired has general application to tower receivers as well.
Electrically-heated air-based models (Fig. 1) as well as buoyancy-tank models with salty and fresh water are used to improve qualitative and quantitative understanding. In parallel, computational models of convective heat transfer are developed to allow modelling a broader range of cases than tested in the laboratory. The OpenFOAM software package is employed (Fig. 2). The ultimate objective is to develop a general-purpose model for prediction of cavity receiver heat loss for a wide range of solar concentrators. The convection, radiation, and optical ray-tracing models (Fig. 3) are integrated into multi-physics models used for the actual design of new protoype cavity receivers.