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Title: Optimisation, design, development, and trial of a low-cost solar oven with novel concentrator geometry
Author: Berryman, Ian
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 9890
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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A promising and novel solar concentrator design has been thoroughly investigated and optimised. A prototype concentrator based on this novel geometry was validated using ray tracing techniques. This ray tracing demonstrated the comparative performance of this novel concentrator in regards to equivalent parabolic dishes. The effect of mirror surface normal errors on performance was established using Monte-Carlo based ray tracing code, which agreed well with the optical performance of this prototype which was determined experimentally. A need for low-cost solar cookers to replace bio-mass worldwide was identified, and the concentrator design was then developed as a low-cost solar oven. Despite existing in some number, no current design is able to achieve high performance at low-cost. An industrial partner, Dytecna, was initially involved in the process of this development of the system as a solar cooker. In support of a field trial for the solar cooker developed with Dytecna, a detailed thermal model of the oven was developed. A low-cost lightmeter was constructed and calibrated in order to measure the direct normal irradiance during the field trial in Italy. Laboratory work provided baseline results for the heating of various thermal masses in the oven. The Italian field trials provided a wealth of feedback into the design of the system and many valuable results. The solar cooker was able to bring 0.75L of water to the boil in 33 minutes with an average heat throughput of 203W. Important benchmark results and practical experience of several competing receiver materials was obtained; further lab testing provided more accurate measurements of the receivers' performances. The experiences of the Italian field trial were fed back into the design of a subsequent prototype, intended for a much larger field trial in Tanzania. Improvements in the hotplate, receiver material, and the oven were all incorporated into the design. Additionally, the structure of the solar cooker was redesigned to incorporate a low-cost wooden construction. Supporting work was conducted for the month long trial in which 8 solar cookers would be distributed to families in Tanzania. The field trial in Tanzania provided a wealth of user feedback into the design. At the same time the new solar cooker exceeded previously established performances in Italy. The new design was able to provide an average of 246W of heat to 1kg of water, which was brought to boiling point in 25 minutes. This represents a heating efficiency of 66% compared to the incident solar flux on the hotplate. In response to findings during the Tanzanian trials, further laboratory work was conducted into establishing the reflectivities of low-cost candidate mirror materials. Throughout all phases of the project the design of the solar cooker was refined and improved with the goal of a solar cooker design that could reach price-point, performance, and usability standards which would ensure market success.
Supervisor: Jelley, Nick ; Stone, Richard Sponsor: Science and Technology Facilities Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Solar energy ; Solar collectors ; Solar thermal energy ; Solar ovens ; Solar concentrators ; Solar Oven ; Solar Thermal ; Solar Concentrator ; Solar Cooker ; Solar Power ; Solar Cooking