This computational study investigates design of microchannel based solar receiver for use in concentrated solar power. A design consisting of a planar array of channels with solar flux incident on one side and using supercritical carbon dioxide as the working fluid is sought. Use of microchannels is investigated as they offer enhanced heat transfer in solar receivers and have the potential to dramatically reduce the size and increase the performance. Designs are investigated for an incident heat flux of 1 MW/m2, up to 3.3 times that of current solar receivers [1], resulting in significant reduction of size and cost. The goal is to design a microchannel receiver with inlet and outlet temperatures of the working fluid of 500°C and 650°C, operating pressure of 100 bar, pressure drop less than 0.35 bar and surface efficiency greater than 90% defined by radiation and convection losses to the environment. Three micro-channel designs are considered: rectangular cross section with high and low aspect ratio (designs A and B) and rectangular cross section with an array of micro pin-fins of various shape spanning the height of the channel (design C). Numerical simulations are performed on individual channels and on a unit cell of the pin-fin design. Structural analysis is performed to ensure that the design can withstand the operating pressure and thermal stresses. The effects of flow maldistribution and header system in an array of channels are also investigated. Preliminary results show that all three designs are capable of meeting the requirements, with the pin-fin design having the lowest pressure drop and highest efficiency.

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