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Energy performance analysis of a novel solar PVT loop heat pipe employing a microchannel heat pipe evaporator and a PCM triple heat exchanger

Diallo, Thierno M.O., Yu, Min, Zhou, Jinzhi, Zhao, Xudong, Shittu, Samson, Li, Guiqiang, Ji, Jie, Hardy, David
Energy 2019 v.167 pp. 866-888
air temperature, ambient temperature, cold, computer simulation, energy efficiency, heat, heat exchangers, mass flow, models, pipes, solar radiation, water, wind speed
This study presents a numerical analysis of the energy efficiency for a novel solar PVT Loop Heat Pipe (PVT-LHP) employing a novel Micro-channel evaporator and a novel PCM heat storage exchanger. It presents a description of the different sub-models in the PVT-LHP system (the PVT model, the microchannel heat collector model and the novel PCM triple heat exchanger model) and the integrated model of the system. The integrated model of the system was solved by ensuring a heat balance at the condenser and the evaporator. A parametric analysis has been performed in order to assess the influence of the environmental parameters (i.e. solar radiation, air temperature, wind velocity), structural parameters (i.e. glazing cover, the number of absorbing microchannel heat pipes, PV cell packing factor), the circulating fluid variables (i.e. cold-water inlet temperature and water mass flow rate) on the energy performance of the system. The novel PVT-LHP has been compared with a conventional Solar PVT-LHP system. It was found that lower solar radiation, lower ambient air temperature, higher wind speed, higher packing factor, lower cold-water inlet temperature and a smaller cover number led to an enhanced electrical efficiency, but a reduced thermal efficiency of the module; whereas a higher cold-water mass flow rate and a greater number of microchannel heat pipes gave rise to both thermal and electrical efficiencies of the module. It was also found that an increase of solar radiation, ambient temperature, cover number, microchannel heat pipe number and packing factor are favourable factors for the overall COP (Coefficient Of Performance) of the system, whereas an increase of wind velocity and cold water mass flow rate are unfavourable. The study indicated the existence of an optimal cover number, number of microchannel heat pipes and mass flowrate. Under the given design conditions, the electrical, thermal and overall efficiency of the PV/LHP module were 12.2%, 55.6% and 67.8% respectively and the novel system can achieve 28% higher overall energy efficiency and 2.2 times higher COP compared to a conventional system. The integrated computer model developed in this study can be used to design and optimize the novel PVT-LHP heating system.