Description: Properly quantified performance of a solar-thermal cavity receiver must not only account for the energy gains and losses as dictated by the First Law of thermodynamics, but it must also account for the quality of that energy. However, energy quality can only be determined from the Second Law. In this paper an equation for the Second-Law efficiency of a cavity receiver is derived from the definition of available energy or availability (occassionally called exergy), which is a thermodynamic property that measures the maximum amount of work obtainable when a system is allowed to come into unrestrained equilibrium with the surrounding environment. The fundamental concepts of the entropy and availability of radiation are explored from which a convenient relationship among the reflected cone half angle, the insolation, and the concentrator geometric characteristics is developed as part of the derivation of the Second-Law efficiency. A comparison is made between First- and Second-Law efficiencies around an example of data collected from two receivers that were designed for different purposes. The author attempts to demonstrate that a Second-Law approach to quantifying the performance of a solar-thermal cavity receiver lends greater insight into the total performance than does the conventional First-Law method.
Date: October 1, 1983
Creator: Moynihan, P. I.
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