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Carbon dioxide as working fluid for medium and high-temperature concentrated solar thermal systems

School of Engineering, University of California - Merced, 5200 North Lake Road, Merced, CA 95343, USA

Special Issues: Studies on high temperature heat transfer fluid for concentrated solar thermal power systems

This paper explores the benefits and drawbacks of using carbon dioxide in solar thermal systems at medium and high operating temperatures. For medium temperatures, application of CO2 in non-imaging-optics based compound parabolic concentrators (CPC) combined with evacuated-tube collectors is studied. These collectors have been shown to obtain efficiencies higher than 40% operating at around 200℃ without the need of tracking. Validated numerical models of external compound parabolic concentrators (XCPCs) are used to simulate their performance using CO2 as working fluid. For higher temperatures, a mathematical model is implemented to analyze the operating performance of a parabolic trough solar collector (PTC) using CO2 at temperatures between 100℃ and 600℃.
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