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SCIENCE CHINA Technological Sciences, Volume 59 , Issue 10 : 1475-1485(2016) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11431-016-0373-x

Thermal analysis of a solar parabolic trough receiver tube with porous insert optimized by coupling genetic algorithm and CFD

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  • ReceivedMay 7, 2016
  • AcceptedJul 6, 2016
  • PublishedSep 12, 2016

Abstract

In this paper, the heat transfer enhancement in a solar parabolic trough receiver tube with porous insert and non-uniform heat flux condition was investigated. A new optimization method, which couples genetic algorithm (GA) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) based on Socket communication, was proposed to optimize the configuration of porous insert. After the acquisition of the optimal porous inserts, some performance evaluation criterions such as synergy angle, entransy dissipation and exergy loss were introduced to discuss the heat transfer performance of the enhanced receiver tubes (ERTs) with optimal and referenced porous inserts. The results showed that, for a large range of properties of porous insert (including porosity and thermal conductivity) and Reynolds number, the heat-transfer performance of ERT with porous insert optimized by GA is always higher than that of the referenced ERTs. Better heat-transfer performance can further improve the solar-to-thermal energy conversion efficiency and mechanical property of the solar parabolic trough receiver. When some porous materials with high thermal conductivity are adopted, ERT can simultaneously obtain perfect thermal and thermo-hydraulic performance by using the same optimized porous insert, which cannot be achieved by using the referenced porous insert. In the view of those introduced evaluation criterions, using the optimized porous insert can obtain better synergy performance and lesser irreversibility of heat transfer than using the referenced porous insert. Entransy dissipation per unit energy transferred and exergy loss rate have equivalent effects on the evaluation of irreversibility of heat transfer process. These evaluation criterions can be used as optimization goals for enhancing the comprehensive performance of the solar parabolic trough receiver.


Acknowledgment

This work was supported by the Key Project of National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51436007) and the Major Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51590902).


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