The parabolic trough solar collector has a very high absorber tube temperature due to the concentration of solar radiation. The high temperature leads to large heat loss to the environment which reduces efficiency of the parabolic trough collector. The heat loss reduction can be obtained by adopting a multi-pass fluid flow arrangement. In this chapter, airflow travels in three passes of the receiver to absorb heat from the glass covers and absorber tube to decrease surface temperatures. 1D mathematical model is developed to evaluate effective efficiency and the temperature distribution of surfaces and fluid. The mathematical modeling is based on air temperature gradients and solved by a numerical integration. Diameter ratios of outer glass to inner glass (r23) and inner glass to absorber tube (r12), Reynolds number (Re), and tube length (L) are varied to examine the efficiency and the temperature distribution. Results showed that the highest efficiency is archived at r23 = 1.55 and r12 in the range of 1.45 to 1.5. The efficiency increases with Re and decreases with L due to dominant heat transfer in terms of thermohydraulic behavior of a concentrating solar collector. With the optimum ratios, absorber tube temperature can reduce 15 K compared with another case.
Part of the book: Heat Exchangers