Design of a novel solar thermal collector using a multi-criteria decision-making methodology

J.D. Nixon, P.A. Davies, P.K. Dey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three novel solar thermal collector concepts derived from the Linear Fresnel Reflector (LFR) are developed and evaluated through a multi-criteria decision-making methodology, comprising the following techniques: Quality Function Deployment (QFD), the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) and the Pugh selection matrix. Criteria are specified by technical and customer requirements gathered from Gujarat, India. The concepts are compared to a standard LFR for reference, and as a result, a novel 'Elevation Linear Fresnel Reflector' (ELFR) concept using elevating mirrors is selected. A detailed version of this concept is proposed and compared against two standard LFR configurations, one using constant and the other using variable horizontal mirror spacing. Annual performance is analysed for a typical meteorological year. Financial assessment is made through the construction of a prototype. The novel LFR has an annual optical efficiency of 49% and increases exergy by 13-23%. Operational hours above a target temperature of 300 C are increased by 9-24%. A 17% reduction in land usage is also achievable. However, the ELFR suffers from additional complexity and a 16-28% increase in capital cost. It is concluded that this novel design is particularly promising for industrial applications and locations with restricted land availability or high land costs. The decision analysis methodology adopted is considered to have a wider potential for applications in the fields of renewable energy and sustainable design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-159
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date27 Jun 2013
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of cleaner production. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Nixon, JD, Davies, PA & Dey, PK, 'Design of a novel solar thermal collector using a multi-criteria decision-making methodology' Journal of cleaner production, vol. 59 (2013) DOI

Funding: Science Bridge project; Research Councils UK [EP/G039992/1]; Department of Science and Technology, India


  • solar thermal
  • linear Fresnel reflector
  • analytical hierarchy process
  • quality function deployment
  • pugh selection matrix
  • multi-criteria decision-making


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