Convective heat transfer enhancement can significantly improve the thermal efficiency in the conversion, utilization, recovery and storage of energy (in particular solar thermal). Modifying velocity field is the most direct approach to enhance convective heat transfer. However, in most cases the optimal velocity field is unknown and difficult to find even for an experienced researcher. In this paper, a predictive optimization methodology in convective heat transfer enhancement based on minimum entropy generation (MEG) principle was developed. A set of Euler’s equations were derived by the variation calculus to the Lagrange function established by governing equations, specific constraints and objective functional—total entropy generation rate. The solution of these equations resulted in the optimal velocity fields, leading to the minimum entropy generation. To validate and demonstrate the future application of this methodology to solar absorbers used to convert concentrated solar energy, the steady laminar convection heat transfer process in a two-dimensional channel with fixed heat flux boundaries was optimized for given total viscous dissipations. The numerical simulation results showed that lower value of maximum wall temperature was obtained by MEG optimization, which means cheaper and safer materials. The present work indicated that the new methodology could be a good guide in convective heat transfer enhancement design work, especially in CSP receivers.

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