Trends and opportunities in direct-absorption solar thermal collectors

Patrick Phelan, Todd Otanicar, Robert Taylor, Himanshu Tyagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Efficient conversion of sunlight into useful heat or work is of increasing global interest. Solar-to-thermal energy conversion, as opposed to solar-to-electricity, is enabled by solar thermal collectors that convert sunlight into heat at some useful temperature. We review here recent developments in solar thermal energy conversion. Our emphasis is on "direct-absorption" solar thermal collectors, in which incident sunlight is absorbed directly by a working fluid. This contrasts with conventional solar thermal collectors where the sunlight strikes and is absorbed by a solid receiver, which then transfers heat to the working fluid. Both liquid-based and gas-based direct-absorption collectors are described, although liquid-based systems are emphasized. We propose that if "directabsorption" technologies could be developed further, it would open up a number of emerging opportunities, including applications exploiting thermochemical and photocatalytic reactions and direct absorption of a binary fluid for absorption refrigeration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number021003
JournalJournal of Thermal Science and Engineering Applications
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 17 2013

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sunlight
accumulators
trends
working fluids
energy conversion
thermal energy
Thermal energy
Energy conversion
Fluids
binary fluids
heat
Absorption refrigeration
liquids
electricity
Liquids
emerging
receivers
heat transfer
Electricity
Gases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)

Cite this

Trends and opportunities in direct-absorption solar thermal collectors. / Phelan, Patrick; Otanicar, Todd; Taylor, Robert; Tyagi, Himanshu.

In: Journal of Thermal Science and Engineering Applications, Vol. 5, No. 2, 021003, 17.05.2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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