Elliott, Louie; Damshala, Prakash
College of Engineering and Computer Science
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
Significant demand exists for solar thermal heat in the mid-temperature ranges (120 oC – 220 oC). Generating heat in this range requires expensive optics or vacuum systems in order to utilize the diluted solar energy flux reaching the earth’s surface. Current flat plate solar collectors have significant heat losses and achieving higher temperatures without using concentrating optics remains a challenge. In this work, we designed a prototype flat plate collector using silica- aerogel. Optically Transparent Thermally Insulating silica aerogel with its high transmittance and low thermal conductivity is used as a volumetric shield. The prototype collector was subjected to ambient testing conditions during the months of winter. The collector reached the temperatures of 220 oC and a future prototype design is proposed to incorporate large aerogel monoliths for scaled up applications. This work opens up possibilities solar energy being harnessed in intermediate temperature range using a non-concentrated flat plate collector.
I would like to thank Dr. Sungwoo Yang for introducing me to the thesis topic and being a fantastic mentor during the thesis process. Also, Dr. Louie Elliott for being a beacon of light and guide in the research process. I would like to thank Dr. Prakash Damshala for his continuous support in the pursuit of my degree. I would like to thank Elise Strobach from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her team for producing the initial samples of Aerogel. Particular thanks goes to Ben Swords for his assistance in fabricating the critical point dryer.
M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.
Solar energy; Energy development; Electric power production
xiii, 64 leaves
Hansaliya, Nisarg, "Experimental investigations of using silica aerogel to harvest unconcetrated sunlight in a solar thermal receiver" (2019). Masters Theses and Doctoral Dissertations.