Experimental and Computational Investigation of Heat Transfer in an Open Volumetric Air Receiver for Process Heat Application

  • P. Sharma
  • Laltu ChandraEmail author
  • Rajiv Shekhar
  • P. S. Ghoshdastidar
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Energy book series (SPE)


India receives abundant solar irradiance with an annual average of ~19.97 MJ/m2 per day in Jodhpur only. This solar energy can be harnessed for electricity generation, melting or heat treatment of metals. Use of air as heat transfer fluid offers significant advantages of being nontoxic, freely available and operating temperature beyond 800 °C. Considering these aspects, as a research initiative, open volumetric air receiver (OVAR) is being developed with a peak-power capacity of 4 kWth. The installed testing facility at IIT Jodhpur includes sub systems, which are thermal energy storage (TES), air–water heat exchanger. In the absence of solar simulator electrical heating is being employed for circumferential (external) heating of the absorbers. In particular, the presented paper presents:
  1. (a)

    Effect of pore diameters (2 and 3 mm) on the average outlet temperature of absorber with porosity (Ɛ) ~52% at \( {\text{POA/MFR}} = 100\;{\text{kJ/kgK}} \), where POA is the equivalent Power-On-Aperture and MFR is mass-flow rate of air;

  2. (b)

    Efficiency performance curve for absorbers with Ɛ ~ 52%;

  3. (c)

    Modeling of heat transfer in absorber with adopted commercial CFD tool FLUENT including returned air circulation;

  4. (d)

    Comparison between CFD analyzed and experimentally obtained temperature for absorbers with Ɛ ~ 42, 52, and 62%;

  5. (e)

    Predictions with incident radiation onto the front surface of porous absorber.



Solar energy Open volumetric air receiver (OVAR) Absorber CFD POA/MFR Local thermal nonequilibrium model (LTNE) 



Density of fluid (kg/m3)

\( v(v_{1},\, v_{2}, \, v_{3})\)

Velocity vector


Total fluid energy (J)

\( \eta_{\text{th}} \)

Thermal efficiency

\( S_{\text{s}}^{\text{h}} \)

Solid enthalpy source term


Temperature of fluid (K)


Time (s)


Viscosity of air (kg/m s)


Thermal conductivity of fluid (W/mK)


Reynolds Average Navier–Stokes


Heat transfer coefficient for the fluid/solid interface


Temperature of solid (K)


Porosity (%)


Static pressure (Pa)


Nondimensional wall distance

\( S_{\text{f}}^{\text{h}} \)

Fluid enthalpy source term


Interfacial area density, i.e., the ratio of the area of the fluid/solid interface and the volume of the porous zone


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Sharma
    • 3
  • Laltu Chandra
    • 2
    Email author
  • Rajiv Shekhar
    • 3
  • P. S. Ghoshdastidar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology KanpurKanpurIndia
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical Engineering and Center for Solar EnergyIndian Institute of Technology JodhpurJodhpurIndia
  3. 3.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology KanpurKanpurIndia

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