A numerical model to evaluate the flow distribution in a large solar collector field

Federico Bava, Janne Dragsted, Simon Furbo

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Abstract

This study presents a numerical model to evaluate the flow distribution in a large solar collector field, with solar collectors connected both in series and in parallel. The boundary conditions of the systems, such as flow rate, temperature, fluid type and layout of the collector field can be easily changed in the model. The model was developed in Matlab and the calculated pressure drop and flow distribution were compared with measurements from a solar collector field. A good agreement between model and measurements was found. The model was then used to study the flow distribution in different conditions. Balancing valves proved to be an effective way to achieve uniform flow distribution also in conditions different from those for which the valves were regulated. For small solar collector fields with limited number of collector rows connected in parallel, balancing valves are not strictly necessary if the pressure drop across the collector rows is much higher than the pressure drop along the longest distribution pipe.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSolar Energy
Volume143
Pages (from-to)31-42
Number of pages12
ISSN0038-092X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Flow balancing
  • Flow distribution
  • Parallel connection
  • Solar collector
  • Solar collector field

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