A review of latest developments, progress, and applications of heat pipe solar collectors
School of Engineering
Among all the available solutions to the current high energy demand and consequent economic and environmental problems, solar energy, without any doubt, is one of the most promising and widespread solutions. However, conventional solar systems face some intractable challenges affecting their technical performance and economic feasibility. To overcome these challenges, increasing attention has been drawn towards the utilization of heat pipes, as an efficient heat transfer technology, in conventional solar systems. To the authors’ knowledge, despite many valuable studies on heat pipe solar collectors (mainly during the last decade), a comprehensive review which surveys and summarizes those studies and identifies the research gaps in this field has not been published to date. This review paper provides an overview of the recent studies on heat pipe solar collectors (HPSCs), their utilization in different domestic, industrial, and innovative applications, challenges, and future research potentials. The concept and principles of HPSCs are first introduced and a review of the previous studies to improve both energy efficiency and cost effectiveness of these collectors is presented. Moreover, a concise section is dedicated to mathematical modeling to demonstrate suitable methods for simulating the performance of HPSCs. Also, the latest applications of HPSCs in water heating, desalination, space heating, and electricity generation systems are reviewed, and finally, some recommendations for future research directions, regarding both development and new applications, are made.