The concept of using a direct absorbing nanofluid, a liquid-nanoparticle suspension, has recently been shown numerically and experimentally to be an efficient method for harvesting solar thermal energy. Studies show that the size and shape of the nanoparticles as well as the scattering mode (e.g. dependent, independent, and multiple) all impact the amount of energy absorbed and emitted by the nanofluid. In order to optimize the efficiency of a direct absorption solar thermal system the optimum nanoparticle-liquid combination needs to be developed. The optimum nanofluid for a direct absorption solar thermal collector is investigated numerically through the variation of particle size, including the impact of size on optical properties, and scattering mode. The study addresses both the absorption of solar energy within the fluid as well as the emission of the fluid.

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