A porous, packed bed, volumetric solar collector consisting of two dissimilar layers of spherical beads is numerically modeled. The bed is irradiated on the top surface by concentrated solar flux isotropic within a known cone angle. A gas stream perfusing the bed is heated by convection with the solid particles. The equation of radiative transfer, which accounts for absorption, emission, and linearly anisotropic scattering in the bed, is simplified by employing the P1 differential approximation. The bed materials are spectrally selective in the solar and infrared wavelengths. Sensitivity studies are used to identify the critical input parameters of the system, and a baseline configuration, which incorporates the key requirements of an efficient solar collector, is adopted. Parametric studies are conducted on the mass flow rate, incident solar flux, top layer porosity, solar absorptivity, particle diameter, and degree of back scatter. Tailoring of the particle and fluid temperature profiles and enhancing the efficiency of the collector by an appropriate selection of these critical parameters is demonstrated. Various high-temperature ceramics with suitable radiative properties are identified and their relative performance in the collector is assessed.

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