Three-dimensional numerical study of direct steam generation in vertical tubes receiving concentrated solar radiation

V. M. Maytorena, J. F. Hinojosa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Concentrated solar thermal energy is a good alternative to mitigate the environmental impacts generated by the growing use of energy. There are several commercial solar power tower plants in the world operating with direct steam generation. These plants operate with cavity-type and external tubular receivers. The conventional tubular receivers consist of a set of vertical circular tubes through which the working fluid circulates. This study is focused to analyze in detail the direct steam generation in a vertical tube receiving concentrated solar radiation. The mathematical model is based on the equations of continuity, momentum and energy for each phase. The modified model of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was used for the conditions of critical heat flux coupled to a Eulerian two fluid model. In the modified model of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the total heat flux is divided into four components from the wall to the liquid: (a) liquid-phase convective heat flux, (b) heat transfer due to quenching, (c) heat flux due to evaporation and (d) convective heat flux of the vapor phase. The mathematical model was solved with a computational fluid dynamics software. The results were validated with experimental data reported in the literature and a parametric study was carried out to determinate the effect of the mass flux and heat flux incident on the wall, on: the steam quality, the volumetric fraction, the enthalpies and temperatures of liquid and steam. The reduction of mass flux by 44% increased the output mass flow of steam 4.28 times, whereas the increase of concentrated solar flux by 40% increased the output mass flow of steam 4 times.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-433
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
StatePublished - Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Computational modelling
  • Concentrated solar energy
  • Direct steam generation


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