Improving On Solar Collectors

Energy consumption has been multiplying at one of the fastest rates in the world due to population growth and economic development. Thus, the role of energy becomes considerably important to sustain modern societies’ fast economic and industrial growth worldwide.

The brisk exhaustion of fossil fuel reserves has compelled an urgent need for alternative sources of energy. Further, in view of environmental threats, the development of renewable energy sources has received attention. From many alternatives like solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, etc., the first stands out as the brightest long-term resource for meeting the ever-increasing demand for energy. There has always been a close connection between sustainable development and renewable energy.

While solar energy is available abundantly in almost every part of the earth, it is much cheaper than many alternatives and can be mainly harnessed in two different ways. First is a thermal system for thermal energy conversion, and another is through photovoltaic systems for electricity production. Both systems can be combined into one system, known as Photovoltaic/Thermal (PV/T) system, which can be simultaneously used for both functions. The present study deals with the solar thermal systems which operate by making use of a solar collector.

Credit: Inderjeet Singh

Solar energy collectors are basically heat exchangers which convert solar radiation energy to thermal energy and transport it to the working medium. The major constituent of any solar device is the solar collector. The collector absorbs the falling solar radiation, transforms it into heat, and passes this heat to a fluid (typically air or water) which flows through the collector. The solar energy collected is thus carried away by the circulating fluid either directly to the hot water or space conditioning equipment or to a thermal energy storage tank from where it can be used for various applications.

The solar collectors have been invented a while ago, but both their efficiency is still an issue. Similarly, the efficiency of photovoltaic systems is even lower, around 5-25%. While the renewable systems are still in development phase, a lot of research is being carried out in this field. Among this, the artificial rib roughness method is a prominent way of enhancing the thermal efficiency of a collector. The present study elucidates the methodology of rib roughness method by visualizing the in-depth fluid flow pattern involved in the duct.

The visualization helps in better understanding the phenomena of heat transfer and fluid dynamics inside the solar air heater. It is a step toward focusing the special parts near the rib, which can be understood and targeted for optimization. The effect of various geometrical and flow parameters on the performance of solar air heater has been summed up in the present investigation. The article is a mini-review dealing with solar air heater and could present a reference in the field. The economic aspects are also discussed in contrast to other enhancement methods. Further, a conclusive discussion is presented on combined enhancement techniques for future developments in solar air heaters.

These findings are described in the article entitled A review of artificial roughness geometries employed in solar air heaters, recently published in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. This work was conducted by Inderjeet Singh and Sukhmeet Singh from the Punjab Agricultural University.

About The Author

IS
Inderjeet Singh

Inderjeet is a research scientist at the Punjab Agricultural University.

Speak Your Mind!

READ THIS NEXT

A Model Of Space-based And Object-centered Attention In The Brain

Shifting attention in space is a fundamental biological function. Without attention, it would be impossible to scan the environment and to detect prey, predators, or conspecifics. However, attention does not only allow detecting a stimulus of interest. It can be deployed across regions of space that are devoid of any stimulus, or within boundaries defined […]

What’s Wrong With the Right Whales?

These 40-50 foot giants used to number in the thousands, but now, with only about 500 individuals left in the wild, the North Atlantic right whale is listed as endangered on the IUCN red list. Stories of species declining in the wild, such as this, are far too familiar. And they are far too often […]

Artificial Nanodecoys For Hepatitis B

Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection places patients at high risk of death due to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, and it remains a global public health issue. The receptors anchored on the cell membrane are generally key proteins for virus binding and entry, and they are also known as important therapeutic targets for various […]

Nearly All Members Of National Park Service Advisory Panel Have Resigned In Protest

The National Park System Advisory Board is a board tasked with advising the Park Service and Secretary of the Interior on issues relevant to the National Park Service. They typically provide advice about the creation of historical landmarks and trails, best practices for park management, and environmental issues. This past Monday, almost the entire advisory […]

Explaining Why Concussions May Activate A Pituitary “Dimmer Switch”

For a number of years, researchers have described endocrine (glandular) problems in some people with a history of concussion. These endocrine problems can emerge months or even years after the concussive injury and can involve a puzzling constellation of multiple hormonal problems.  It recently became apparent to scientists in the field that the underlying problem […]

Geothermal Energy Pros And Cons

Geothermal energy has several pros and cons which make it an ideal energy source for specific regions. Geothermal energy pros include a passive energy source, environmentally friendly, and low operating cost once setup. Some geothermal energy cons include high upfront cost, the requirement to be near a geothermal energy source, and the need for water […]

Innovative Architecture Sets The Standard For Scaling Up Supercapacitive Energy Storage Devices

“Economy of size is important; it allows economies of energy. Nature does it through evolution and adaptation – human ingenuity does it through elegance, short-cuts if you prefer,” offered Professor Ioan Stamatin, head of the 3Nano-SAE laboratory at the Faculty of Physics of the University of Bucharest in Romania. “Elegant design, enabled by advances in […]