This study proposed a planar solar concentrator featuring alignment-free total-internal-reflection (TIR) collectors and an innovative compound tracker. The compound tracker, combining a mechanical singleaxis tracker and scrollable prism sheets, can achieve a performance on a par with dual-axis tracking while reducing the cost of the tracking system and increasing its robustness. The alignment-free TIR collectors are assembled on the waveguide without requiring alignment, so the planar concentrator is relatively easily manufactured and markedly increases the feasibility for use in large concentrators. Further, the identical TIR collector is applicable to various-sized waveguide slab without requiring modification, which facilitates flexibility regarding the size of the waveguide slab. In the simulation model, the thickness of the slab was 2 mm, and its maximal length reached 6 m. With an average angular tolerance of ±0.6° , and after considering both the Fresnel loss and the angular spread of the sun, the simulation indicates that the waveguide concentrator of a 1000-mm length provides the optical efficiencies of 62-77% at the irradiance concentrations of 387-688, and the one of a 2000-mm length provides the optical efficiencies of 52-64.5% at the irradiance concentrations of 645-1148. Alternatively, if a 100-mm horizontally staggered waveguide slab is collocated with the alignment-free TIR collectors, the optical efficiency would be greatly improved up to 91.5% at an irradiance concentration of 1098 (Cgeo = 1200X).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics