Compared with recirculation and injection modes, once-through direct steam generation (DSG) parabolic troughs are simpler to construct and require the lowest investment. However, the heat transfer fluid (HTF) in once-through DSG parabolic trough systems has the most complicated dynamic behavior, particularly during periods of moving shadows caused by small clouds and jet contrails. In this paper, a nonlinear distributed parameter dynamic model (NDPDM) is proposed to model the dynamic behavior of once-through DSG parabolic trough solar collector row under moving shadow conditions. Compared with state-of-the-art models, the proposed NDPDM possesses three characteristics: (a) adopting real-time local values of the heat transfer and friction resistance coefficients, (b) simulating the whole collector row, including the boiler and the superheated sections, and (c) modeling the disturbance of direct normal irradiance (DNI) level on DSG parabolic trough solar collector row under moving shadow conditions. Validated using experimental data, the NDPDM accurately predicts the dynamic characteristics of HTF during periods of partial and moving DNI disturbance. The fundamental and specific dynamic process of fluid parameters for a DSG parabolic trough solar collector row is provided in this paper. The results show the following: (a) Moving shadows have a significant impact on the outlet temperature and mass flow rate, and the impact lasts up to 1000 s even after the shadows completely leave the collector row. (b) The time for outlet steam temperature to reach a steady-state value for the first time is independent of the shadow width, speed, and moving direction. (c) High-frequency chattering of the outlet mass flow rate can be observed under moving DNI disturbance and will have a longer duration if the shadow width is larger or the shadow speed is slower. Compared with cases in which the whole system is shaded, partially shading cases have shown a longer duration of high-frequency chattering. (d) Both wider widths and slower speeds of shadow will cause a larger amplitude of responses in the outlet temperature and mass flow rate. When the shadow speed is low, there is a longer delay time of response in the mass flow rate of the outlet fluid. (e) The amplitude of response in the outlet temperature does not depend on the direction of clouds movement. However, if the DNI disturbance starts at the inlet of the collector row, there will be significant delay times in both outlet temperature and mass flow rate, and a larger amplitude of response in outlet mass flow rate.

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