Design, Modeling, and Characterization of a 10 kWe Metal Halide High Flux Solar Simulator

Publication Date



ASME Journal of Solar Energy Engineering






Mechanical Engineering


We present the design and characterization of a high flux solar simulator (HFSS) based on metal halide lamps and built from commercially available components. The HFSS that we present was developed to support the evaluation of a solar thermochemical reactor prototype. The HFSS consists of an array of four independent lamp/reflector modules aimed at a common target location. Each module contains one 2500 We lamp and one electroformed ellipsoidal reflector having an interfocal distance of 813 mm. The modules are oriented with an angle relative to the target surface normal vector of 24.5 deg. Design simulations predicted that the peak flux of this HFSS would be 2980 kWth/m2, with a total power delivered to a 6-cm target of 3.3 kWth, for a transfer efficiency of 33.3%. Experimental characterization of the HFSS using optical flux mapping and calorimetry showed that the peak flux at the focal plane reached 2890±170 kWth/m2, while the total power delivered was 3.5±0.21 kWth for a transfer efficiency of 35.3%. The HFSS was built at a material cost of ∼$2700.00/module and a total hardware cost of ∼$11,000.00 for the four-lamp array. A seven-lamp version of this HFSS is predicted to deliver 5.6 kWth to a 6 cm diameter target at a peak flux of 4900 kWth/m2 at a hardware cost of ∼$19,000.00 ($3400.00/kWth delivered, $1100.00/kWe).