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Dynamic simulation and exergetic optimization of a Concentrating Photovoltaic/ Thermal (CPVT) system

Karathanassis, I.K., Papanicolaou, E., Belessiotis, V., Bergeles, G.C.
Renewable energy 2019 v.135 pp. 1035-1047
cooling systems, environmental factors, exergy, heat, mathematical models, model validation, prediction, prototypes, renewable energy sources, solar collectors, temperature, theoretical models
The development of a dynamic, theoretical model suitable for the prediction of the long-term performance of a parabolic-trough Concentrating Photovoltaic/Thermal CPVT system is discussed in the present study. The formulation of the mathematical model and the considered geometrical and operational parameters of the system, such as the characteristics of the employed PV modules and active cooling system are described in detail. The effect of heat capacity is taken into consideration in the thermal balances and thus the model is able to capture the transient behavior of the system. Besides, the model is validated using available experimental data of a manufactured prototype CPVT system. The daily performance of system is predicted for different values of the cooling fluid flow rate and temperature under various environmental conditions. At a second stage, an exergy analysis is conducted in order to point out the effect of the characteristics of the main system sub-components on the exergetic efficiency and exergy output of the CPVT system. It was established that the system exergetic performance is primarily influenced by the optical quality of the parabolic trough and the electrical efficiency of the PV module. Increasing these two factors to achievable values, e.g. ηopt = 0.75 and ηel = 0.25, can yield an increase of the system exergetic efficiency from 12% to 24%.