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Abstract

This paper presents an efficient and robust methodology for modeling concentrated solar flux distributions. Compared to ray tracing methods, which provide high accuracy but can be computationally intensive, this approach makes a number of simplifying assumptions in order to reduce complexity by modeling incident and reflected flux as a series of simple geometric diverging polygons, then applying shading and blocking effects. A reduction in processing time (as compared to ray tracing) allows for evaluating and visualizing numerous combinations of engineering and operational variables (easily exceeding 106unique iterations) to ascertain instantaneous, transient, and annual system performance. The method is demonstrated on a linear Fresnel reflector array and a number of variable iteration examples presented. While some precision is sacrificed for computational speed, flux distributions were compared to ray tracing (SolTrace) and average concentration ratio generally found to agree within ~3%. This method presents a quick and very flexible coarse adjust method for concentrated solar power (CSP) field design, and can be used to both rapidly gain an understanding of system performance as well as to narrow variable constraint windows for follow-on high accuracy system optimization.

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Loomis, J., Weinstein, L., Boriskina, S. V., Huang, X., Chiloyan, V., & Chen, G. (2015). Diverging polygon-based modeling (DPBM) of concentrated solar flux distributions. Solar Energy, 122, 24–35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.solener.2015.08.023

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