Influence of Correlations on the Thermal Performance Modeling of Parabolic Trough Collectors: Article No. 061008

Julian Osorio, Tugba Sensoy, Alejandro Rivera-Alvarez, Gustavo Jaramillo-Patino, Juan Ordonez

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1 Scopus Citations


The influence of correlations on the thermal performance modeling of parabolic trough collectors was analyzed in this work. A versatile model for a parabolic trough collector was developed that allows one- and two-dimensional analysis and enables the use of correlations to calculate thermophysical properties and convection heat transfer coefficients. The model also allows the use of constant values for properties and/or coefficients obtained from the evaluation correlations at a specific temperature. The effect of each correlation was evaluated independently, and the results were compared with a reference case that considered a two-dimensional approach and used all the correlations. For the analyzed cases, the correlation for the absorber emittance has the strongest impact on the collector efficiency, leading to a lower error when used. Based on the results, a one-dimensional model approach considering a correlation for the absorber emittance leads to efficiency errors below 3% for collector lengths of up to 243.6 m. Compared with the reference case, a one-dimensional approach using all correlations for a collector with a length of 500 m, and operating with an inlet temperature of 773 K, can result in errors around 9%. However, using constant values for properties and heat transfer coefficients could lead to errors of up to 50%. Multiple thermal models for parabolic trough collectors proposed in the literature rely on a one-dimensional approach, estimated values for the heat transfer coefficients, and constant thermophysical properties. The errors associated with those approaches are analyzed and quantified in this work as a function of the collector length and operation temperature.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Solar Energy Engineering, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-84032


  • absorber emittance
  • experimental correlation
  • heat transfer coefficients
  • parabolic trough collectors
  • percentage error
  • thermophysical properties


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