An open source model of a parabolic trough solar field

Bosong Lin, Theodore Wiesner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Commercial simulation software for solar plants is readily available, but source codes are not. Many articles in the open literature give governing equations and algorithms for solar plant simulations, but adopters must program them themselves. This paper presents an open-source, ready-to-run, model of a parabolic trough solar field with a user-friendly interface in the Simulink® environment. The intention is to provide a foundational tool for the solar thermal research community, similar to the Tennessee Eastman Challenge Problem employed for chemical processes. The flow rate of the heat transfer fluid (HTF) and the angle of incidence are the manipulated variables of the model. The size of the solar field may be altered. Both open- and closed-loop responses to disturbances may be investigated. The source code of the model is freely available at the Open Educational Resource Commons (URL:, which investigators can utilize and extend.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)514-531
Number of pages18
JournalComputers and Chemical Engineering
StatePublished - Jun 9 2019


  • Open-loop response
  • Open-source model
  • PI control
  • Parabolic trough solar field
  • Simulink


Dive into the research topics of 'An open source model of a parabolic trough solar field'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this