Design and development of a solar parabolic concentrator and integration with a solar desalination system

Project Report, 2016

54 Pages, Grade: 8



Chapter 1: Introduction to solar parabolic concentrator and solar desalination system
1.1: Global Energy Consumption and need for renewable energy.
1.2: Solar Concentrator
1.2.1: Solar Photovoltaic
1.2.2: Classification of Solar Concentrator Fresnel lens Concentrator Parabolic Mirrors.
1.3: Parameter characterizing solar concentrator
1.3.1: Aperture Area
1.3.2: Acceptance angle
1.3.3: Absorber area
1.3.4: Concentration ratio
1.3.5: Optical efficiency
1.4: Solar desalination
1.4.1: Classification of solar desalination.

Chapter 2: Project Strategy
2.1: Scope of project
2.2: Objectives.
2.3: Problem Statement
2.4: Limitations
2.5: Literature Review
2.6: Data Gathering
2.7: Methodology

Chapter 3: Design and development of the model
3.1: Design
3.1.1: Designing of a Solar Parabolic Concentrator
3.1.2: Designing of a Solar Desalination System
3.2: Model Development
3.2.1: Instruments and Equipments Thermometer Digital Solarimeter TDS meter
3.2.2: Material and Specification Receiver Support stand Support frame Mirrors Delivery tubes

Chapter 4: Working of the model
4.1: Solar Parabolic Concentrator
4.1.1: Manual Tracking Mechanism
4.1.2: Boiler
4.2: Solar Desalination System
4.2.1: Solar Desalinating Kit

Chapter 5: Results and findings
5.1: Data gathering for solar parabolic concentrator
5.2: Graphs plotted
5.3: TDS reading for Solar Desalination System
5.4: Application
5.4.1: Solar TEA.
5.4.2: 15 Minutes to Solar MAGGI




Table 3.1: Boiler specification

Table 3.2: Specification of support stand

Table 3.3: Specification of support frame

Table 3.4: Mirror specification

Table 3.5: Delivery tube...

Table 5.1: Data for Solar Tea

Table 5.2: Data for solar Maggi.


5.1: Time V Ambient Temperature V Solar Radiations.

5.2: Time of the day V Temperature of stainless steel polished boiler V Temperature of black polished boiler.

5.4: Day V TDS of feed water V TDS of tap water V TDS of condensate (IN PPM)


Annexure 1: Average data in stainless steel polished boiler

Annexure 2: Average data for 10 days in black polished boiler

Annexure 3: TDS reading for 10 days in Stainless steel boiler.


Fig 1.1: Solar Concentrator

Fig 1.2: Solar Photovoltaic

Fig 1.3: Fresnel lens.

Fig 1.4: Parabolic mirror

Fig 1.5: Parabolic Concentrator

Fig 1.6: Typical solar desalination system

Fig 2.1: Schematic diagram of a parabolic dish

Fig 3.1: Solar Desalination System designed in CADD Lab

Fig 3.2: Digital Thermometer and Normal Thermometer

Fig 3.3:Digital Solarimeter

Fig 3.4: TDS Meter

Fig 3.5:Solar parabolic collector

Fig 3.6: Receiver or Boiler

Fig 3.7: Support frames

Fig 3.8: Mirrors

Fig 4.1: Model of Solar Desalination

Fig 4.2: Manual Tracking Mechanism

Fig 4.3: Boiler

Fig 4.4: Desalination Kit

Fig 5.1: Solar Tea

Fig 5.2: Condensed milk vapors

Fig 5.3: TDS reading of condensed milk53

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Chapter 1: Introduction to Solar Parabolic concentrator and Solar Desalination System

1.1 Global Energy Consumption and need for renewable energy

According to the World Energy Outlook 2009 (WEO-2009), the world primary energy demand is projected to increase by 1.5% per year between 2007 and 2030, from just over 12,000 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) to 16 800 Mtoe, with an overall increase of 40%. Developing Asian countries are the main drivers of this growth, followed by the Middle East. In 2008, around 81.3% of the world’s primary energy was supplied from Oil, Gas and Coal products; resulting in around 29,381 million ton of CO2 which is a major source of the global warming problem. Besides the environmental impact of the extensive use of fossil fuels, the unstable oil prices the world witnesses since the seventies has a great influence on the investment in the energy market and consequently on the development plans worldwide. The limited resources of Oil and Gas and the unstable prices as well as their environmental impact have made the search for alternative energy resources an indispensible approach in order to have a sustainable supply of energy. Renewable energies including solar, wind, hydropower and biomass are considered to be attractive alternatives that are highly abundant, sustainable and environmentally friendly resources.

Solar Energy is the resultant outcome of thermonuclear reactions of fusion from "hydrogen" into "helium" taking place in the sun. These thermonuclear reactions release huge energy and radiate the energy to space continuously. This kind of energy which is continuous and perennial is available as solar energy. The average intensity of solar radiation on the earth orbit is 1367kW/m, and the earth's equatorial circumference is 40,000km, so it can be worked out that the energy the earth obtains is up to 173,000TW. The energy on earth, including wind energy, hydropower, ocean thermal energy, wave energy, bio-energy and some tidal energy all come from the sun. Even the fossil fuels on earth (such as coal, petroleum, natural gas, etc.) are at bottom the solar energy that has kept in storage since time immemorial, so the solar energy in a broad sense covers a vast scope, and the narrow-sensed solar energy is confined to the direct transformation of solar radiation from sunlight to heat, electricity and chemical energy. The solar energy is a primary energy source, and it is also renewable energy. It is rich in resources without transport, which is both free for use and non-contaminative to the environment.

1.2 Solar Concentrator

Solar concentrators increase the amount of incident energy on the absorber surface as compare to that on the concentrator aperture as shown in figure 1.1. The increase is achieved by the use of reflecting or refracting surfaces which concentrate the incident radiation onto a suitable absorber. Due to the apparent motion of the sun, the concentrating surface is unable to redirect the sun rays on the absorber throughout the day if both the concentrating surface and the absorber surface are stationary. Ideally, the concentrating system should follow the sun so that the sun rays are always focused on to the absorber. Therefore, a solar concentrator generally consists mainly of:

(1) a focusing device,
(2) an absorber/receiver provided with or without a transparent cover, and
(3) a tracking device for continuously following the sun.
Temperature as high as 3000oC have been achieved with such devices. Solar concentrators are used for thermal as well as photovoltaic conversion of solar energy. Solar concentrators have the following advantages:

1. higher delivery temperature resulting in better thermodynamic efficiency
2. Reduced losses due to reduced heat loss area
3. Reduced cost due to less material requirements compared to flat plate solar collector system
4. Storing heat at higher temperature results in reducing the storage cost.

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Figure 1.1: A Solar Concentrator [1]

1.2.1 Solar photovoltaic

In Concentrating Photo voltaic (CPV), a large area of sunlight is focused onto the solar cell with the help of an optical device. By concentrating sunlight onto a small area, this technology has three competitive advantages:

1. Requires less photovoltaic material to capture the same sunlight as non-concentrating pv.
2. Makes the use of high-efficiency but expensive multi-junction cells economically viable due to smaller space requirements.
3. The optical system comprises standard materials, manufactured in proven processes. Thus, it is less dependent on the immature silicon supply chain. Moreover, optics are less expensive than cells.
4. Concentrating light, however, requires direct sunlight rather than diffuse light, limiting this technology to clear, sunny locations. It also means that, in most instances, tracking is required.

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Figure 1.2 Solar Photovoltaics operating principle [2]

1.2.2 Classification of Solar Concentrator

There are several methods or ways for classifying the solar concentrators. They are classified as reflecting type and refracting type depending on the type of concentrating device used. The reflecting surface can either be flat, spherical or parabolic. Solar concentrators are also classified as imaging type or non-imaging type. The imaging type is further classified as point focusing and line focusing.

Sometimes the concentrators are also classified according to the temperature achiever. The temperature achieved by the concentrator depends on the concentration ration. Higher concentration ratio gives higher temperature. Some concentrator is designed to follow the sun continuously requiring two axis or one axis tracking once daily or weekly. Fresnel’s Lens concentrator

A Fresnel lens, named after the French physicist, comprises several sections with different angles, thus reducing weight and thickness in comparison to a standard lens. With a Fresnel lens, it is possible to achieve short focal length and large aperture while keeping the lens light.

Fresnel lenses can be constructed in a shape of a circle to provide a point focus with concentration ratios of around 500, or in cylindrical shape to provide line focus with lower concentration ratios. With the high concentration ratio in a Fresnel point lens, it is possible to use a multi-junction photovoltaic cell with maximum efficiency.

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Figure 1.3: Fresnel lens [2] Parabolic Mirrors

As shown in figure1.4 all incoming parallel light is reflected by the collector (the first mirror) through a focal point onto a second mirror. This second mirror, which is much smaller, is also a parabolic mirror with the same focal point. It reflects the light beams to the middle of the first parabolic mirror where it hits the solar cell.

The advantage of this configuration is that it does not require any optical lenses. However, losses will occur in both mirrors. Solar focus has achieved a concentration ratio of 500 in point concentrator- shape with dual axis- tracking.

A point focusing parabolic dish concentrator as shown in figure 1.4 can have concentration rations ranging from 100 to a few thousand and can yield temperature up to 30000C. These require continuous two-axis tracking. Parabolic dish 6-7 m diameter is commercially manufactured. For collecting large amount of energy at one point, central receiver concept is used where beam radiation s reflected from a number of independently controlled almost flat-mirrors called heliostats to a central receiver located at the top of a tower.

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Figure 1.4: Parabolic Mirror [4]

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Figure 1.5: Parabolic Concentrator [6]

1.3 Parameters characterizing Solar Concentrators

Several parameters are used to specify concentrating collectors. The descriptions are given as follows:

1.3.1 Aperture area Aa: It is the area through which the solar radiation is incident. An aperture is a hole or an opening through which light travels. More specifically, the aperture of an optical system is the opening that determines the cone angle of a bundle of rays that come to a focus in the image plane.

1.3.2 Acceptance angle α: It is the angular limit to which the incident ray may deviate from the normal to the aperture plane and still reach the absorber/receiver. A concentrator with large acceptance angle needs only seasonal adjustment while a concentrator with small acceptance angle is required to track the sun continuously.

1.3.3 Absorber area Aabs: It is the total area of the absorber surface that receives the concentrated radiation. It is also the area from where useful energy can be obtained.

1.3.4 Concentration ratio C: Concentration of solar radiation becomes necessary when high temperatures are desired, or when, as in the case of photovoltaic cells, the cost of the absorber itself is much higher than the cost of mirrors. The heat losses from a collector are proportional to the absorber area (to a good approximation), and hence inversely proportional to the concentration.

C= Aa / Aabs

1.3.5 Optical efficiency:It is defined as the ratio of the energy absorbed by the absorber to the energy incident on the concentrator’s aperture. It includes the effect of mirrors surface, shape and reflection, tracking accuracy, shading, receiver-cover transmittance, absorptance of the absorber and solar beam incidence effects.

1.4 Solar Desalination

Water desalination is increasingly becoming a competitive solution for providing drinking-water in many countries around the world. The desalination of saline water has been recognized as one of the most sustainable and new water resource alternative. It plays a crucial role in the socio-economic development for many communities and industrial sectors. Currently there are more than 14,000 desalination plants in operation worldwide producing several billion gallons of water per day. Fifty-seven percent are in the Middle East and Gulf region where large scale conventional heat and power plants are installed.

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Figure 1.6 Typical Solar Desalination Systems [7]

1.4.1 Classifications of Solar desalination

1. Direct Solar Desalination

The method of direct solar desalination is mainly suited for small production systems, such as solar stills, in regions where the freshwater demand is less than 200 m3 /day. This low production rate is explained by the low operating temperature and pressure of the steam. The original solar still can be described as a basin with a transparent cover of e.g. glass. The interior of the still contains seawater and air. On meeting the inside of the glass ceiling of the still the humid air is re-cooled and some of the vapor condenses on the glass. If the glass cover is tilted, the formed condensation drops will start running down the cover by gravitational forces, and may then be collected at the side of the still.

Single Effect Solar still

In the original solar still construction, also called single-effect solar still, only one layer of glazing covers the still. This enables a large quantity of the latent heat from the condensation process to disappear from the still by conduction through the glazing. Passive solar stills utilize the internal heat from the still for the evaporation process, while active stills make use of external sources, such as solar collectors or waste heat from industries.

Multi Effect Solar Still

Multi-effect solar stills are designed to recycle some of the latent heat from the condensation by using it for preheating either the feed water or the seawater within the still. The former may be accomplished by e.g. using the feed water duct as the condensation surface for the water vapor. The saline feed water is then preheated by the heat released from the condensing vapour, and the condensation surface is kept continuously cool. A multi-effect solar still can in this way produce fresh water up to 20 liters per day and square meter of collector area.

2. Indirect Desalination

Every day desalination plants around the world produce about 23x106 m3 of fresh water. For this production rate, desalination systems of the industrial scale are required. The majority of the existing desalination plants for this purpose are of the types Multi-Effect (ME), Multi-Stage Flash (MSF) and Reverse Osmosis (RO). Usually these systems use fossil fuels as the energy source for either heating or electric power generation. They are also characterized by high operating cost and the need for highly skilled operation and maintenance personnel.

Chapter 2: Project Strategy

2.1 Scope of Project

Solar Parabolic Concentrator integrated with Solar Desalination system can serve myriad of purposes of general use in human life. It has plethora of application related to thermal heating, conversion of solar energy to electricity and to mechanical purpose. The solar parabolic concentrator designed could be used in water boiling at 1000C; this water can be used as pre-heated water in many applications. Further, the setup can heat the other liquids to its boiling point like water and milk. It has an application in cooking up to 1100C.

The integrated solar desalination with solar parabolic collector is the vast area of research. A pilot project for the same is developed through this research to test the concept of purifying brackish or impure water without using electricity or any other non eco-friendly means.

The experimental setup has a following advantage and applications:

a) This setup can be a suitable solution to solve drinking water problem.
b) The brackish water will be made suitable for drinking using the Solar Desalination System.
c) The experiment can save fresh water for future use in a cost effective method.
d) The setup is used for preparing tea and other cooking products.

2.2 Objectives

(a) To study about the solar desalination system and suitable techniques for the development of such system.
(b) Identifying suitable solar desalination system which is already in extensive commercial use.
(c) To review the literature on solar desalination system and summarize up to date status.
(d) Design and development of experimental setup for analysis.
(e) To observe the impact of the temperature difference and solar radiation intensity on the desalination system.
(f) Validation of the obtained results and discussion in the light of literature review.

2.3 Problem statement

The fabrication of a solar parabolic concentrator with a number of mirrors acting independently has to be brought up in a single track. The focuses of all the mirrors are to be targeted on the boiler to receive the desired heating. Higher the temperature higher is the efficiency of the solar desalination system. The desalination system is dependent on the working of solar parabolic concentrator which is dependent on the manual two axis tracking.

2.4 Limitations


- Solar tracking

The solar tracking is a risk involved with the solar parabolic concentrator. To overcome the problem a manual tracking system was designed which could track the sun by handling manually. The system is not 100 percent accurate to that of automatic tracking but in the entire testing period tracking was given to the experiment after every 15 minutes.

According to the reports reviewed, a sun tracking mechanism is dependent on the position of the sun. Most concentrators would collect so little energy in a fixed position that they must be provided with the capability to daily track the sun from morning (East) to sunset (West) to be cost-effective.

“The sun travels 360˚ in 24x60 minutes.

Therefore, in 1 minute the sun moves by an angle of:

360 / (24 *60) = 0.25o

Therefore, in 30 minutes the sun moves by an angle= 0.25o x 30 = 7.5o “

- Condensing mechanism

The conversion of steam into liquid state was one of the challenges in the experiment. A 1000C or above temperature was achieved using the solar parabolic concentrator but the collection of steam into a liquid state without using electric heat exchanger was a challenging task. The natural cooling and the cold water spraying technique were adopted to overcome this challenge which proved successful in the end. A considerable amount of water was condensed and collected to test for TDS reading in the lab.


- Weather condition

The availability of sunlight in the day is one of the limitations in the project. Solar radiation intensity above 350 W/m2 is best suited for the project’s successful outcome. In the month of March to April 2015 in Dehradun city, the cloudy weather conditions hindered the project efficiency. Hence, the project is directly dependent on the ambient temperature of the place, wind speed and solar radiation intensity.

- Boiler capacity

The volume of the boiler used was 1 ltr which has to be increased for further applications. The project is to be tested on different boiler capacity.

- Heating consistency

The arrangements of mirrors cannot yield an accurate and desired temperature output. For ex. If 1000C is required on the mercury scale for boiling the water then there is no means to attain such temperature, the scale may rise above or fall below the desired temperature depending on the experimental conditions.

2.5: Literature Review

2.5.1 A paper on Solar Stills for Desalination of Water in Rural Households by Amitava Bhattacharyya, Coimbatore, 2010.

Direct sunlight has been utilized long back for desalination of water. Solar distillation plants are used for supplying desalinated water to small communities nearby coastal remote areas. Solar stills are easy to construct, can be done by local people from locally available materials, simple in operation by unskilled personnel, no hard maintenance requirements and almost no operation cost. But they have the disadvantages of high initial cost, large land requirement for installation and have output dependent on the available solar radiation. If there is no sunshine, the productivity is almost zero for conventional basin type model. However, from the simplest basin type models of solar still in earlier days, researchers have

progressed a lot to increase its efficiency. Suitable modification of solar still can produce high output using minimum areas of land and even in cloudy days. One of such upgraded version is capillary stills, which are gaining popularity for their high output. The heart of capillary still is a fabric (woven or nonwoven) which facilitates rapid evaporation of water aluminum heating. An overview of solar stills and capillary solar stills are discussed in this article.

2.5.2 A paper on design of a solar powered desalination system for use in South Africa by GR Hartwig and AB Sebitosi, Matieland, South Africa, 2002.

Water is the most valuable resource for the survival of human beings. Without water, a human being will not survive for more than a couple of days. Globally water is becoming a scarce resource and our constant development of the world is increasing the pressure on our water resources. Eventually over development will start destroying the environments which sustain these water resources. The goal of the project is thus to ascertain whether it is feasible to desalinate sea and brackish water for use in the Western and Northern Cape areas and if by using available meteorological data for a given location, one can predict the fresh water output of such a system for the specific location. Included in this report is a literature study on desalination and solar collections system and analytical calculations in conjunction with simulations to design a system from a given specific fresh water output. Furthermore the report contains a simulation using meteorological data to attain the feasible amount of fresh water produced by a system for the given location and finally an experimental setup to evaluate the solar collector output. Not included in this report are detailed designs for a solar collector and evaporation unit discussed in the report and also no experimental evaluation of the distillation unit.

2.5.3 A paper on Desalination of brackish water by means of a parabolic dish by Béchir Chaouchi, 2007.

The thermal conversion of solar energy by means of solar concentrators makes it possible to reach high temperatures able to boil the salted water with pressures higher or equal to the atmospheric one. In order to test these concentrators in the brackish water desalination field, we have designed, dimensioned and built in our laboratory a small solar desalination unit equipped with a parabolic concentrator. To evaluate the performance of this unit, we developed a theoretical model to calculate the absorber average temperature as well as the distillate flow rate as a function of solar flux. The experimental results were compared with those calculated theoretically. A small difference in the absorber average temperature was found between both results. On the other hand, distillate flow rate reached an average relative error of 42%. These results indicate that the design of our unit needs to be improved with special emphasis on the absorber.

2.5.4 A paper on Seawater desalination using renewable energy source by A. Kalogirou, Cyprus, 2005

The origin and continuation of mankind is based on water. Water is one of the most abundant resources on earth, covering three-fourths of the planet’s surface. However, about 97% of the earth’s water is salt water in the oceans, and a tiny 3% is fresh water. This small percentage of the earth’s water—which supplies most of human and animal needs—exists in ground water, lakes and rivers. The only nearly inexhaustible sources of water are the oceans, which, however, are of high salinity. It would be feasible to address the water-shortage problem with seawater desalination; however, the separation of salts from seawater requires large amounts of energy which, when produced from fossil fuels, can cause harm to the environment. Therefore, there is a need to employ environmentally-friendly energy sources in order to desalinate seawater. After a historical introduction into desalination, this paper covers a large variety of systems used to convert seawater into fresh water suitable for human use.

It also covers a variety of systems, which can be used to harness renewable energy sources these include solar collectors, photovoltaic, solar ponds and geothermal energy. Both direct and indirect collection systems are included. The representative example of direct collection systems is the solar still. Indirect collection systems employ two subsystems; one for the collection of renewable energy and one for desalination. For this purpose, standard renewable energy and desalination systems are most often employed. Only industrially-tested desalination systems are included in this paper and they comprise the phase change processes, which include the multistage flash, multiple effect boiling and vapour compression and membrane processes, which include reverse osmosis and electro dialysis. The paper also includes a review of various systems that use renewable energy sources for desalination. Finally, some general guidelines are given for selection of desalination and renewable energy systems and the parameters that need to be considered.

2.5.5 A paper on Opportunities for solar water desalination worldwide: Review by Mahmoud Shatat, 2001.

Water desalination is increasingly becoming a competitive solution for providing drinking-water in many countries around the world. The desalination of saline water has been recognized as one of the most sustainable and new water resource alternative. It plays a crucial role in the socio-economic development for many communities and industrial sectors. Currently there are more than 14,000 desalination plants in operation worldwide producing several billion gallons of water per day. Fifty-seven percent are in the Middle East and Gulf region where large scale conventional heat and power plants are installed. However, since they are operated using fossil fuels, they are becoming expensive to operate and the pollution and greenhouse gas emissions they produce are increasingly recognized as harmful to the environment.

Moreover, such plants are not economically viable in remote areas, even in coastal regions where seawater is abundant. Many areas often experience a shortage of fossil fuels and inadequate and unreliable electricity supply. The integration of renewable energy resources in desalination and water purification is becoming more viable as costs of conventional systems increase, commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions are implemented and targets for exploiting renewable energy are set. Thus, solar energy could provide a sustainable alternative to drive the desalination plants, especially in countries which lie on the solar belt such as Africa, the Middle East, India, and China. This paper explores the challenges and opportunities of solar water desalination worldwide. It presents an extensive review of water desalination and solar desalination technologies that have been developed in recent years and the state-of-the-art for most important efforts in the field of desalination by using solar energy, including the economic and environmental aspects .

2.6 Data gathering

2.6.1 Estimation of focal length

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig 2.1 : Schematic representation of a parabolic system [9]

Considering the simple parabolic equation:

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The dish has a curve of R, and focal point ‘F’ is half of R.

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Hence, the high intensity beam should be focused at 1.446 ft from the mirror to achieve the highest heating.

2.6.2 Determining tilt angle α

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2.6.3 Concentration ratio

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Diameter and area of single mirror

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Total area: Number of mirrors x area of one mirror

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Concentration ration = Aa/ Aabs

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2.7 Methodology

There are certain important methods which were adopted during the development and testing phase of the experimental setup with the help of instruments and equipments. The methods and steps taken are the following:

- The project was designed in the Auto CADD software for the estimation and development was done accordingly.
- The experimental setup was fabricated and tested in UPES.
- The testing procedure involves the data gathering for 20-25 days in the month of March-April 2015.
- The data gathered was ambient temperature, boiler temperature, solar radiation intensity, wind speed after every 15 minutes starting from 10:30 am to 4: 30 pm.
- The TDS reading of sample water, milk and condensate was measured using TDS meter in the lab.
- The mirrors were focused at the boiler at the highest intensity for heating. The mirrors were movable in North-South direction manually tracking the sun.
- The frame structure and base structure was also movable in East-West direction.
- The condensation was carried in a beaker which was at a low temperature then the steam and boiler temperature. The cold water is sprayed on the delivery tube to condense the steam.
- The applications of the project were also tested by boiling of milk, cooking magi and roasting peanuts in the receiver.


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Design and development of a solar parabolic concentrator and integration with a solar desalination system
University of Petroleum and Energy Studies
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Debajyoti Bose (Author)Krishnam Goyal (Author)Vidushi Bhardwaj (Author), 2016, Design and development of a solar parabolic concentrator and integration with a solar desalination system, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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