Articles | Volume 7, issue 2
Research article
17 Nov 2016
Research article |  | 17 Nov 2016

Development of a solar concentrator with tracking system

Flávia V. Barbosa, João L. Afonso, Filipe B. Rodrigues, and José C. F. Teixeira

Abstract. Solar Energy has been, since the beginning of human civilization, a source of energy that raised considerable interest, and the technology used for their exploitation has developed constantly. Due to the energetic problems which society has been facing, the development of technologies to increase the efficiency of solar systems is of paramount importance. The solar concentration is a technology that has been used for many years by the scientist, because this system enables the concentration of solar energy in a focus, which allows a significant increase in energy intensity. The receiver, placed at the focus of the concentrator, can use the stored energy to produce electrical energy through Stirling engine, for example, or to produce thermal energy by heating a fluid that can be used in a thermal cycle. The efficiency of solar concentrators can be improved with the addition of a dual axis solar tracker system which allows a significant increase in the amount of stored energy. In response to the aforementioned, this paper presents the design and construction of a solar dish concentrator with tracking system at low cost, the optical and thermal modelling of this system and a performance analysis through experimental tests. The experimental validation allows to conclude that the application of a tracking system to the concentrator is very important since a minimum delay of the solar radiation leads to important losses of system efficiency. On the other hand, it is found that the external factors can affect the final results which include the optical and geometrical properties of the collector, the absorptivity and the position of the receiver as well as the weather conditions (essentially the wind speed and clouds). Thus, the paper aims to present the benefits of this technology in a world whose the consumption of energy by fossil fuels is a real problem that society needs to face.

Short summary
Although Portugal is a country with high levels of irradiation, the investment in solar concentrator systems is virtually non-existent. Considering the solar potential and the high efficiency of solar dishes, this work pretends to demonstrate the added-value of the application of this technology. The development of a solar dish concentrator with a low cost tracking system allows to expand its application and disseminate the system into a wider market.