Energy and exergy analysis of microchannel central solar receivers for pressurised fluids, D. D’Souza, M. J. Montes, M. Romero, J. González-Aguilar, Applied Thermal Engineering, 219, 119638, 2023, Online version, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2022.119638
Within the new generation of advanced central solar receivers, microchannel pressurised gas receivers are emerging as reliable and efficient alternatives to operate at high temperatures and pressures. This paper presents an optimisation and comparative analysis of different compact plate-fin type structures, constituting the receiver’s absorber panels, classified according to the type of fin arrangement inside: plain rectangular, plain triangular, wavy, offset strip, perforated, and louvred fin. A versatile thermo-fluid receiver model is implemented, allowing simple variation of characteristic geometric parameters of each structure. Exergy efficiency is chosen as the optimisation function, as it considers both heat and pressure losses.
The framework of the analysis is set by the receiver’s boundary conditions, operating at the design point conditions of a solar thermal power plant. For each compact structure, the optimal configuration is determined, providing interesting findings that have not been reported in the state-of-the-art to date. Although all geometries show good thermal performance, the perforated and plain rectangular configurations demonstrate the best exergy efficiencies of 59.21% and 58.80%, respectively, favouring taller and narrower channels. This analysis methodology could be seamlessly extrapolated to other gases and working conditions, owing to the thermo-fluid model’s versatility, to reveal the optimal configuration for each case.