analysis of compound

parabolic trough

In 2016 India as a whole had a supply shortage of 6.8% to the growing demand of energy as per the gazette published by the Ministry of New and Renewable Sources of Energy. We took it as a challenge to work with our guide on a funded project to compare the efficiency of using a compound parabolic trough instead of a parabolic trough so as to propose this as a better solution to harvesting electricity from solar thermal energy.


In this project, I was responsible for conceptualizing, modeling, and running analyses using finite elemental analysis to prove a theory that could be used to solve a pressing issue in the nation.


Chennai being so close to the equator had not taken advantage of the potential of harnessing the power of solar energy to create clean energy. Our university received funds to build efficient systems to harness solar thermal energy. We wanted to build a case using a two-prong approach. One was to build a two-axis tracking system to track the location of the sun as it moved and the second was to propose the build of a compound parabolic collector instead of a parabolic trough collector (PTC) to increase efficiency by a huge leap. We used a stepper motor in conjunction with an Arduino to build the tracking system that was installed into the pre-existing PTC. We then used various models on TRACEPRO to prove the advantages of a compound parabolic collector (CPC) and overall proving that the adaption of these two in conjunction will increase the efficiency of the system by a great deal. We saw a 40% increase in using a CPC but a slight drop in optical efficiency. The increase in efficiency in using a tracking system resulted in an overall increase of 53%. The committee reviewed our proposals and approved it to be initiated into the existing study that was being run by the Energy Department of the University.



In this project I learnt that much could be done to validate a design by modeling and running analysis instead of building prototypes at every stage, thereby reducing costs drastically and saving time and other resources. This comprehensive project gave me an overview of conducting research conclusive research.