Medium and High Temperature Solar Processes discusses the principles and economic viability of medium- and high-temperature solar processes. This book is organized into seven chapters that focus on the second law of thermodynamics and its use in matching solar collection methods to thermal processes. It also provides general design guidelines for small- and intermediate-scale applications of solar processes.
The opening chapter presents an overview of energy use patterns in the United States and of the various solar-thermal processes considered in the book. The concepts of economics of solar systems and possible environmental impacts are also summarized. Chapter 2 deals with the quantity, geographic availability, and quality of solar radiation, with a particular emphasis on beam or direct radiation since it has the highest thermodynamic availability and is used by most elevated-temperature collectors. This chapter also describes the trigonometry of various solar tracking modes and optical properties of materials. Chapter 3 considers selected topics on thermodynamics and heat transfer, including various heat engine designs and their first and second law efficiencies; radiation heat transfer; and the properties of selective surfaces usable at high temperature. Chapter 4 covers the components and systems for medium-temperature processes, such as concentrating collectors, thermal storage, heat exchangers, and energy transport systems. Chapter 5 treats systems for power production, shaft power, industrial process heat, and total energy. Chapter 6 presents engineering design data for high-temperature collectors and their use in solar furnaces; central solar power plants; distributed power plants; and solar thermionics. The concluding chapter addresses the economics of the foregoing systems with an emphasis on methods and principles of analysis.