A rigorous computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach to calculating temperature distributions, radiative and convective losses, and flow fields in a cavity receiver irradiated by a heliostat field is typically limited to the receiver domain alone for computational reasons. A CFD simulation cannot realistically yield a precise solution that includes the details within the vast domain of an entire heliostat field in addition to the detailed processes and features within a cavity receiver. Instead, the incoming field irradiance can be represented as a boundary condition on the receiver domain. This paper describes a program, the Solar Patch Calculator, written in Microsoft Excel VBA to characterize multiple beams emanating from a “solar patch” located at the aperture of a cavity receiver, in order to represent the incoming irradiance from any field of heliostats as a boundary condition on the receiver domain. This program accounts for cosine losses; receiver location; heliostat reflectivity, areas and locations; field location; time of day and day of year. This paper also describes the implementation of the boundary conditions calculated by this program into a Discrete Ordinates radiation model using Ansys® FLUENT (www.fluent.com), and compares the results to experimental data and to results generated by the code DELSOL.

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