Modeling of natural convection of a concentrated solar power receiver absorber tube in interaction with neighbouring absorbers
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technology stands out among other renewable energy sources not only because of its ability to address current energy security and environmental challenges but because its energy can be stored for future use. To ensure optimum performance in this system, the heat losses need to be evaluated for better design.
This work studies the natural convection in the receiver absorber tube of a CSP plant taking into consideration the influence of neighboring absorbers. A 2-Dimensional model was adopted in this study. Initially, a single absorber tube was considered, it was subjected to heat flux at the top wall, the bottom wall was insulated and a temperature differential was set up at the lateral walls. The dimensionless forms of Navier-Stokes and energy equations were solved using the finite element formulation of COMSOL Multiphysics software. The result obtained for a single absorber tube showed good agreement with existing research works. This validated model was then extended to multiple absorber tubes (two to six absorber tubes). On the basis of the study, there is an observed increase in the intensity and dominance of convective heat transfer with an increase in the number of absorber tubes. This is occasioned by an increase in the average surface temperature as well as average Nusselt number. For the Rayleigh number of 104, 105 and 106, the average Nusselt number increases with the number of absorber tubes by 13.87 %, 6.26 %, and 1.55 %, respectively. This increment suggests effect of thermal interactions among the neighboring absorber tubes
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