|Fig. 1. The absorber tube of a parabolic trough|
|Fig. 2. A view from the absorber tube.|
In the latest version of Energy3D (V7.0.6), users can now add any number of parabolic troughs of any shape and size to design a solar thermal power plant.
|Fig. 3: Parabolic troughs at different times of the day|
Parabolic troughs are most commonly aligned in the north-south axis so that they can rotate to track the sun from east to west during the day. This kind of trackers for parabolic troughs works in a way similar to the horizontal single-axis tracker (HSAT) for driving photovoltaic solar panel arrays. You can observe their motions when you change the time or date or animate the movement of the sun in Energy3D. Figure 3 illustrates this.
Like photovoltaic solar panel arrays, parabolic troughs have the inter-row shadowing problem as well. So the distance between adjacent rows of parabolic troughs cannot be too small, either. But unlike solar power towers, parabolic troughs do not have reflection blocking issues among mirrors. Figure 4 shows this.
This new addition greatly enhances Energy3D's capability of modeling CSP plants, moving the software closer to the goal of being a one-stop shop for exploring all sorts of solar solutions. In the coming weeks, we will start to build 3D models for parabolic troughs in the real world.
|Fig. 4: Inter-row shadowing in parabolic trough arrays|