In this paper, we propose a numerical study of a tubular solar collector with a U-tube. A three-dimensional numerical model is developed. It was first used in order to study the efficiency of the solar collector and to evaluate the validity of the developed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model by comparison with experimental results from the literature. For the numerical simulations, the turbulence and the radiation were, respectively, modeled using the standard k–ε model and the discrete ordinates (DO) model. This numerical model was then used to carry out a parametrical study and to discuss the effect of selected operating parameters such as the fluid mass flow rate, the absorber selectivity, and the material properties. Numerical results show that with the increase of the working fluid flow rate from 0.001 kg/s to 0.003 kg/s, the efficiency of the solar collector is improved (from 30% to 35%). Numerical results also show that the filled-type evacuated tube with graphite presents a best result in comparison with those found using the copper fin tube (η increases from 54% to 64%). Finally, we noted that the use of a high selective absorber surface adds to better performance in comparison with the black absorber tube. This is mainly due to the radiation losses reduction.

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