Optimizing Parabolic Through Collectors for Solar Stills: A 2D CFD Parametric Analysis

Mammar Bouhelal, Amar Rouag, Abdelhamid Bouhelal, Yousef Belloufi


The thermal efficiency of parabolic trough collectors (PTCs) is influenced by various parameters, including length, diameter, and mass flow rate. This study employs 2D steady-state Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations to investigate heat transfer within PTCs and enhance their performance. Exploring diverse PTC designs, involving variations in length (L = 0.5 to 3 m) and diameter (D = 10 to 60 mm), sourced from existing research to optimize desalination system applications. The investigation covers both laminar and turbulent regimes with fully developed flows, examining the effects of Reynolds number and mass flow rate. The results highlight that collector diameter has the most pronounced impact on thermal efficiency, followed by mass flow rate, while the effect of length can be neglected in comparison. A 50% diameter increase leads to over a 60% rise in efficiency for both laminar and turbulent cases, whereas a 60% decrease in mass flow rate corresponds to a 50% enhancement and a 60% improvement in efficiency for both regimes. These findings suggest that an optimal PTC design should prioritize a smaller diameter and lower mass flow rate, with length being of secondary importance and application-specific considerations also playing a pivotal role.


Parabolic trough collector (PTC); Computational fluid dynamics (CFD); Thermal efficiency; Parametric Optimization; Solar energy.

Full Text:



International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), "Renewable Capacity Statistics", 2021.

H. Price, E. Lüpfert, D. Kearney, E. Zarza, G. Cohen, R. Gee, R. Mahoney, "Advances in parabolic trough solar power technology", Journal of Solar Energy Engineering Transactions of the ASME, Vol.124, no. 2, 2002, pp 109-125.

C. Jagadish, A. Biswar, "Modeling and Optimization of Solar Thermal Systems: Emerging research and opportunities", a volume in the Advances in Mechatronics and Mechanical Engineering (AMME) Book Series, IGI Global, US, 2021.

A. Bellila A. Khechekhouche, I. Kemerchou, A. Sadoun, Antonio Siqueira, N. Smakdji, "Aluminum Wastes Effect on Solar Distillation." ASEAN Journal for Science and Engineering in Materials, Vol. 1, no. 2, 2022.

A. Khechekhouche, A. M. de Oliveira Siqueira, Nabil Elsharif. "Effect of Plastic Fins on a Traditional Solar Still's Efficiency." International Journal of Energetica, Vol. 7, no. 1, 2022.

A. Khechekhouche, A. Bellila, A. Sadoun, I. Kemerchou, B. Souyei, N. Smakdji, A. Miloudi, "Iron Pieces Effect on the Output of Single Slope Solar Still." Heritage and Sustainable Development, Vol. 4, no. 2, 2022.

A. Sadoun, A. Khechekhouche, I. Kemerchou, M. Ghodbane, B. Souyei. "Impact of Natural Charcoal Blocks on the Solar Still Output." Heritage and Sustainable Development, Vol. 4, no. 1, 2022, pp. 61–66.

A. Brihmat, H. Mahcene, D. Bechki, H. Bouguettaia, A. Khechekhouche, "Energy Performance Improvement of a Solar Still System Using Date and Olive Kernels: Experimental Study." CLEAN - Soil Air Water, December 2022.

A. Bellila, A., Rahal, Z., Smolyanichenko, A., Sadoun, A. (2023). Cellulose cardboard effect on the performance of a conventional solar still. International Journal of Energetica, Vol.8 , no. 1, pp. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.47238/ijeca.v5i2.140

I. Kemerchou, A. Khechekhouche, N. Elsharif, (2023). Effect of Rubber Thickness on the Performance of Conventional Solar Stills under El Oued city climate (Algeria). International Journal of Energetica, Vol.8 , no. 1, pp. 19-23. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.47238/ijeca.v8i1.212

A. Khechekhouche, Z. Driss, B.n Durakovic. "Effect of Heat Flow via Glazing on the Productivity of a Solar Still." International Journal of Energetica, Vol. 4, no. 2, 2019, pp. 54-57.

B. Souyei, A. Khechekhouche, S. Meneceur. "Effect of Comparison of a Metal Plate and a Refractory Plate on a Solar Still." JP Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 27, 2022.

A. Bellila, B. Souyei and I. Kermerchou, N. Smakdji, A. Sadoun , N. Elsharif, A. Siqueira , "Ethanol Effect on the Performance of a Conventional Solar Still." ASEAN Journal of Science and Engineering, Vol 4, 2022, pp. 25-32. doi: 10.17509/ajse.v4i1.56026

I. Kermerchou, I. Mahdjoubi, C. Kined, A. Khechekhouche, A. Bellila, G. E. D. Isiordia, "Palm Fibers Effect on the Performance of a Conventional Solar Still." ASEAN Journal For Science And Engineering In Materials, Vol. 1, no. 1, 2022.

V.E. Dudley, G.J. Kolb, M. Sloan, D. Kearney. "Test results: SEGS LS-2 solar collector", Report of Sandia National Laboratories, 1994.

H.A. Mohammed, H.B. Vuthaluru, S. Liu, "Parabolic Trough Solar Collectors: Thermal and Hydraulic Enhancement Using Passive Techniques and Nanofluids". Springer Nature, 2022.

M. Bouhelal, A. Rouag, Y. Belloufi, A. Bouhelal, "Simulation of a Single Slope Solar Still for Clean Water Production in the Ouargla Region of Algeria", Algerian Conference on Mechanics and Solar Energy (ACMSE-2023), Univ of Ouargla, June 2023.

R. Forristall, "Heat transfer analysis and modeling of a parabolic trough solar receiver implemented in Engineering Solver Equation", Technical report. Colorado, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 2003.

O. García-Valladares, N. Velázquez, "Numerical simulation of parabolic trough solar collector: improvement using counter flow concentric circular heat exchangers", Int J Heat Mass Trans, Vol.52, no. 3-4, 2009, pp 597-609.

A.S. Kalogirou, "A detailed thermal model of a parabolic trough collector receiver". Energy, 48, 2012, pp 298-306.

O. Al-Oran, F. Lezsovits, "Recent experimental enhancement techniques applied in the receiver part of the parabolic trough collector–A review", International Review of Applied Sciences and Engineering, 2020, Vol. 11, no. 3, pp 209-219.

C.D. Wilcox, "Review: Turbulence Modelling for CFD". Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 1995, 289, pp 406-407.

H. Schlichting, "Boundary layer Theory", 7th ed: MCGRAW-HILL Book Company, 1979.

V. Yakhot, L.M. Smith, "The renormalization group, the ɛ-expansion and derivation of turbulence models". Journal of scientific computing, 7, 1992, pp 35-61.

ANSYS Fluent documentation, "Fluent Theory Guide", 2016.

F.P. Incropera, D. P. DeWitt, T. L. Bergman, A. S. Lavine, "Fundamentals of heat and mass transfer", New York: Wiley, 1996.

V. Gnielinski, "New equations for heat and mass transfer in turbulent pipe and channel flow". International chemical engineering, Vol. 16, no. 2, 1976, pp 359-367.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.47238/ijeca.v8i2.224


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 International Journal of Energetica

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons License
The content of this journal is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License