The heat loss of a receiver in a parabolic trough collector plays an important role in collector performance. A number of methods have been used to measure the thermal loss of a receiver tube depending on its operating temperature. This paper presents methods for measuring receiver heat losses including field measurements and laboratory setups both based on energy balances from the hot inside of the receiver tube to the ambient. Further approaches are presented to measure and analyze the temperature of the glass envelope of evacuated receivers and to model overall heat losses and emissivity coefficients of the receiver. Good agreement can be found between very different approaches and independent installations. For solar parabolic trough plants operating in the usual 390°C temperature range, the thermal loss is around 300Wm receiver length.

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