Solar energy harvesting using nanofluids-based concentrating solar collector

Vikrant Khullar, Himanshu Tyagi, Patrick Phelan, Todd P. Otanicar, Harjit Singh, Robert A. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

188 Scopus citations


Dispersing trace amounts of nanoparticles into common base-fluids has a significant impact on the optical as well as thermophysical properties of the base-fluid. This characteristic can be utilized to effectively capture and transport solar radiation. Enhancement of the solar irradiance absorption capacity leads to a higher heat transfer rate resulting in more efficient heat transfer. This paper attempts to introduce the idea of harvesting solar radiant energy through usage of nanofluid-based concentrating parabolic solar collectors (NCPSC). In order to theoretically analyze the NCPSC, it has been mathematically modeled, and the governing equations have been numerically solved using finite difference technique. The results of the model were compared with the experimental results of conventional concentrating parabolic solar collectors under similar conditions. It was observed that while maintaining the same external conditions (such as ambient/inlet temperatures, wind speed, solar insolation, flow rate, concentration ratio, etc.) the NCPSC has about 5-10% higher efficiency as compared to the conventional parabolic solar collector. Furthermore, parametric studies were carried out to discover the influence of various parameters on performance and efficiency. The following parameters were studied in the present study: solar insolation, incident angle, and the convective heat transfer coefficient. The theoretical results clearly indicate that the NCPSC has the potential to harness solar radiant energy more efficiently than a conventional parabolic trough.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number031003
JournalJournal of Nanotechnology in Engineering and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • concentrating parabolic solar collector
  • heat transfer
  • nanofluids
  • participating media
  • solar irradiance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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