Numerical and experimental study of a flat plate collector with honeycomb transparent insulation and overheating protection system
ColaboratorPinazo Ojer, José Manuel; Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Departament de Màquines i Motors Tèrmics
Document typeDoctoral thesis
PublisherUniversitat Politècnica de Catalunya
Rights accessOpen Access
In this thesis a flat plate collector (FPC) with plastic transparent insulation materials (TIM) and a low-cost overheating protection system destined for heat supply from 80 to 120°C is presented. A ventilation channel with a thermally actuated door is inserted below the absorber allowing to protect the collector from stagnation conditions, while preserving good performance during normal operation. For this objective, a prototype has been constructed and experimentally tested and in parallel, numerical and CFD models have been implemented with the aim of predicting the thermal behavior of this collector. The present thesis consists of six chapters and a brief summary of each one is given below: In the first chapter, a literature survey is carried out in order to present the most updated R&D status in the field of solar heat at medium temperatures. This literature research has allowed to appreciate the latest findings and key challenges related to the studied topic and to present the contribution of this work to the pool of existing knowledge. The second chapter is devoted to the description of the experimental set up. The problem of overheating for FPC with TIM is first pointed out and the technical description of the studied FPC is then presented. The different sensors used and the test procedures adopted during the experiments are presented. In the third chapter, a fast calculation numerical model is implemented. This model is based on the resolution of the different components of the collector by means of a modular object-oriented platform. Indoor and outdoor tests are performed and have shown the effectiveness of the overheating system being able to maintain low enough temperatures at the collector preventing thus the plastic TIM from stagnation conditions. The comparison of the numerical results with experiments has demonstrated that the code can accurately reproduce the performance of the collector. Several parametric simulations are then performed in order to optimize the collector design: 3125 different configurations are evaluated by means of virtual prototyping and the results have allowed to propose the most promising design of a stagnation proof FPC with plastic TIM able to work at operating temperature 100°C with promising efficiency. In the forth chapter, the most critical elements of the collector (ventilation channel and air gap&TIM) have been substituted by high-level CFD objects in the implemented modular object-oriented code. For the detailed numerical simulations, Large Eddy Simulations (LES) modeling is used. In order to speed-up the simulations, parallelisation techniques are used. The numerical solutions are firstly validated with benchmark cases. Then, the general model of the collector is validated by comparison of the numerical results with the indoor experimental tests showing a reasonable agreement. The preliminary CFD simulation results have allowed to understand the heat transfer and fluid flow at different operating temperatures of the studied collector. In the fifth chapter, a heat transfer analysis of the honeycomb TIM is carried out. The combined radiation and conduction heat transfer across the isolated cell is treated by means of the solution of the energy equation in its three dimensional form which is coupled to the Radiative Transfer Equation (RTE). The Finite Volume Method is used for the resolution of the RTE. The numerical results are compared to experimental measurements of the heat transfer coefficient on various honeycomb TIM given by different authors in the literature showing acceptable agreements. Finally, a parametric study is conducted in order to investigate the effect of the variation of the most relevant optical and dimensional parameters of the TIM on the heat transfer. Finally, the last chapter summarizes the contribution of this thesis and discuss the possible directions of future research.
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