A solar parabolic trough collects and concentrates sunlight onto a Heat Collection Element (HCE). The goal of our project is to analyze the HCE to determine its thermodynamic properties. We are going to develop a temperature profile to help better understand the absorption and release of thermal energy from the HCE.
This research is important because the world’s resources are not sustainable and we need to be more energy conscious. This type of green technology can produce clean energy for residential use and industrial use.
We have developed experiments to provide us with the data we need to analyze the HCE. The first experiment will be to fill the HCE with a working fluid then allow the parabolic trough to collect the sunlight and concentrate it onto the HCE, which will provide data on the net heat transfer of thermal energy from the sun to the HCE. The second experiment is to flow the working fluid through the HCE to determine how long it takes to cause the working fluid to go through a phase change. The third experiment will be a detailed temperature profile at the inlet and outlet of the HCE. This will provide data for us to possibly propose a different design for the ends of the tubes.
We will need funding for a pump, flow meter, tubing, steel pipe, valve, hose clamps, PVC step down pipe, poster board, and funds to present our findings at the IECEC Conference.