Predicting the structural and optical performance of concentrating solar power (CSP) collectors is critical to the design and performance of CSP systems. This paper presents a performance analysis which utilizes finite-element models and ray-tracing of a parabolic trough collector. The finite-element models were used to determine the impact of gravity loads on displacements and rotations of the facet surfaces, resulting in slope error distributions across the reflective surfaces. The geometry of the LUZ LS-2 parabolic trough collector was modeled in SolidWorks, and the effects of gravity on the reflective surfaces are analyzed using SolidWorks Simulation. The ideal mirror shape, along with the 90° and 0° positions (with gravity deformation) were evaluated for the LS-2. The ray-tracing programs APEX and ASAP are used to assess the impact of gravity deformations on optical performance. In the first part of the analysis, a comprehensive study is performed for the parabolic trough to evaluate a random slope error threshold (i.e., induced by manufacturing errors and assembly processes) above which additional slope errors caused by gravity sag decrease the intercept factor of the system. The optical performance of the deformed shape of the collector (in both positions) is analyzed with additional induced slope errors ranging from zero up to 1° (17.44 mrad). The intercept factor for different solar incident angles found from ray-tracing is then compared to empirical data to demonstrate if the simulations provide consistent answers with experimental data.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.