Optimized variable-focus-parabolic-trough reflector for solar thermal concentrator system

Chung Yu Tsai, Psang-Dain Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


A solar thermal concentrator system is proposed comprising a cylindrical heat-pipe receiver and a variable-focus-parabolic-trough (VFPT) reflector in which the focal length varies as a function of the vertical displacement of the incidence point relative to the horizontal centerline of the receiver. The light ray paths within the concentrator system are analyzed using a skew-ray tracing approach. A method is then proposed for optimizing the geometry of the concentrator system in such a way as to optimize the uniformity of the irradiance distribution on the heat-pipe surface. The validity of the proposed optimization method is demonstrated by means of ZEMAX/SolidWorks-Flow simulations. It is shown that the optimized VFPT concentrator yields a significant improvement in both the irradiance uniformity and the heating efficiency compared to conventional cylindrical-trough and parabolic-trough concentrators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1164-1172
Number of pages9
JournalSolar Energy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012 May 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)

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