A first principles thermal losses model of the TCP-100 parabolic trough collector based on the Modelica Standard Library


  • Julia Pérez
  • Luis J. Yebra
  • Francisco M. Márquez
  • Pedro J. Zufiria




parabolic trough collector, thermal losses, object oriented modelling, Modelica Standard Library


The TCP-100 parabolic trough collectors (PTC) research facility at Plataforma Solar de Almeria (CIEMAT) has been specially designed for the development of research activities in Automatic Control of PTC solar thermal power plants. The development of advanced control techniques for this kind of facilities requires dynamic models that should be successfully used in advanced controllers. An important part of these models is the thermal losses submodel, that traditionally has been considered as an experimental steady state correlation. In this paper, a work in progress about a first principles based model of the losses to the environment of a parabolic trough collector is presented, based on the physical phenomena inside any parabolic trough collector during the operation of the TCP-100 solar field. The implementation of the model in the Modelica language has been done prioritizing the use of the Modelica Standard Library classes. Some simulations results of this model with theoretical parameters values under typical operating conditions of the TCP-100 plant are presented, showing higher losses to the environment when compared with the information provided by the TCP-100 manufacturer.