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research-article

Potential Heat Transfer Fluids (Nanofluids) for Direct Volumetric Absorption-Based Solar Thermal Systems

[+] Author and Article Information
Vikrant Khullar

Mechanical Engineering Department, Thapar University Patiala-147001, Punjab, India
vikrant.khullar@thapar.edu

Vishal Bhalla

School of Mechanical, Materials and Energy Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Ropar, Rupnagar - 140001, Punjab, India
vishal.bhalla@iitrpr.ac.in

Himanshu Tyagi

School of Mechanical, Materials and Energy Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Ropar, Rupnagar - 140001, Punjab, India
himanshu.tyagi@iitrpr.ac.in

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4036795 History: Received December 31, 2016; Revised April 17, 2017

Abstract

Nano-particle dispersions or more popularly 'nanofluids' have been extensively researched for their candidature as working fluid in direct-volumetric-absorption solar thermal systems. Flexibility in carving out desired thermo-physical and optical properties has lend the nanofluids to be engineered for solar thermal and photovoltaic applications. The key feature which delineates nanofluid based direct absorption volumetric systems from their surface absorption counterparts is that here the working fluid actively (directly) interacts with the solar irradiation and hence enhances the overall heat transfer of the system. In the present work, a host of nanoparticle materials have been evaluated for their solar weighted absorptivity and heat transfer enhancements relative to the basefluid. It has been found that solar weighted absorptivity is the key feature that makes nanoparticle dispersions suitable for solar thermal applications (maximum enhancement being for the case of amorphous carbon nanoparticles) . Furthermore, thermal conductivity enhancements reveal that an enhancement on the order of 1-5% could only be achieved through addition of nanoparticles into the basefluid. Finally, as a proof of concept experiment, a parabolic trough collector employing the amorphous carbon based nanofluid and distilled water has been tested under the sun. These experiments have been carried out at no flow condition so that appreciable temperatures could be reached in less time. It was found that for the same exposure time, increase in the temperature of amorphous carbon based nanofluid is approximately 3 times higher as compared to that in the case of distilled water.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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