Non-conventional tube shapes for lifetime extend of solar external receivers

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In this work, several novel tube shapes of solar tubular receivers that differ from the classical circular shape are analysed aiming to reduce the stresses of the receiver tubes, without penalizing its thermal efficiency. The analysis is performed using analytical thermal and mechanical models of the literature adapted for their use with non-circular tube shapes, verifying the assumptions made with FEM simulations due to the lack of experimental data available. Among the geometries studied, the results show that oval cross-section tubes improve the thermal efficiency of the receiver at the expense of increasing the stresses considerably. Ovoidal tubes show worse thermal and mechanical behaviour when the frontal part becomes peakier. Semicircle tubes reduce the stress by 10.9%, while keeping constant or even slightly improving the thermal performance. The last ones, increase the lifetime of the receiver and reduces the receiver costs if the manufacturing of the new geometries does no overpass 3.5 times the present price of production of the circular tubes. Therefore, the use of asymmetric cross-section tubes with low rear-front surface ratios, and smooth front surfaces can be considered a good alternative for substituting traditional circular cross-section tubes in central receivers.
Tubular solar receiver, Mechanical model, Thermal model, Asymmetric geometry
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Rodríguez-Sánchez, M. R., Laporte-Azcué, M., Montoya, A., & Hernández-Jiménez, F. (2022). Non-conventional tube shapes for lifetime extend of solar external receivers. Renewable Energy, 186, 535-546.