Methods and results concerning the optical optimization of a linear Fresnel collector are presented. The variables considered in the optimization are the positions, widths and focal lengths of the mirrors; the mirrors can be of variable size and focal length, and they can be nonuniformly spaced. The target function to be optimized is the plant cost divided by the collected solar radiation in a year. The computation of the collected radiation and of its average on the year, and the optimization of the cost/radiation function are carried out via suitable mathematical methods and the choice of a plausible cost function. Four different levels of optimization (uniformly spaced identical mirrors; nonuniformly spaced identical mirrors; mirrors of the same width with uniform spacing and variable focal lengths; and finally a full optimization) are presented, with a discussion of the resulting gain on the target function (i.e. the reduction of the ratio between the plant cost and the collected radiation). The results show that the application of suitable optimization strategies can lead to an estimated gain around 12% with respect to the initial configuration (all mirrors identical and adjacent), and that a full optimization leads to a gain of 4.5% over a simple uniform optimization. This gain is due in large part to the possibility of regulating the focal lengths (the optimization of focals leads to a 2.8% gain over the uniform case), while only a minor improvement (less than 0.4%) is obtained with nonuniformly spaced identical mirrors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Materials Science(all)