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Thermofluid Modeling for Energy Efficiency Applications

Thermofluid Modeling for Energy Efficiency Applications

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Thermofluid Modeling for Energy Efficiency Applications

631 pages
Sep 1, 2015


Thermofluid Modeling for Sustainable Energy Applications provides a collection of the most recent, cutting-edge developments in the application of fluid mechanics modeling to energy systems and energy efficient technology.

Each chapter introduces relevant theories alongside detailed, real-life case studies that demonstrate the value of thermofluid modeling and simulation as an integral part of the engineering process.

Research problems and modeling solutions across a range of energy efficiency scenarios are presented by experts, helping users build a sustainable engineering knowledge base.

The text offers novel examples of the use of computation fluid dynamics in relation to hot topics, including passive air cooling and thermal storage. It is a valuable resource for academics, engineers, and students undertaking research in thermal engineering.

  • Includes contributions from experts in energy efficiency modeling across a range of engineering fields
  • Places thermofluid modeling and simulation at the center of engineering design and development, with theory supported by detailed, real-life case studies
  • Features hot topics in energy and sustainability engineering, including thermal storage and passive air cooling
  • Provides a valuable resource for academics, engineers, and students undertaking research in thermal engineering
Sep 1, 2015

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Thermofluid Modeling for Energy Efficiency Applications - Academic Press



M. Masud K. Khan and Nur M.S. Hassan, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Queensland-4701, Australia

Research on fluid flow modeling and applications in engineering processes is viewed as fundamental for seeking solutions for a sustainable future. It is important for the researchers to have access to these works and their outcomes and how they relate to the sustainable industrial applications in engineering systems.

This book introduces research works and their findings on how fluid flow and thermal behavior are applied in sustainable engineering practice and energy-efficient technology. It presents a number of research problems in the field of fluid dynamics and thermal performance modeling that will help the reader to develop an instinctive understanding of the underlying mathematics and numerical methods used by engineers and scientists. From the content of the book, the reader will gain experience in the application of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) applied to the process industry, oil and gas and chemical process, building energy and thermal performance modeling and gain the ability to identify value in modeling and simulation as an integral part of the engineering process.

The contents of this book have been carefully selected and they include both the relevant technical and social issues that make a significant impact on the society and all stakeholders. This book contains 12 chapters on thermofluid modeling for energy efficiency applications. A brief summary of each chapter is given below.

Chapter 1 Performance Evaluation of Hybrid Earth Pipe Cooling with Horizontal Piping System investigates the performance of a horizontal earth pipe cooling in combination with a green roof system. This study uses an earth pipe cooling technology for cooling a room in a passive process without using any customary mechanical units.

Chapter 2 Thermal Efficiency Modeling in a Subtropical Data Center presents a study on examining and improving thermal efficiency of a data center. It reports the development of a CFD model for the performance analysis of computer room air conditionings (CRACs), detailed rack-by-rack inlet and exit temperatures, and 3D thermal mapping of the data center. The study examined the impact on cooling resources such as equipment layout, floor tiles, and other supplementary cooling strategies. The developed CFD model is seen to be capable of providing cooling strategies for achieving better thermal performance in data centers.

Chapter 3 Natural Convection Heat Transfer in the Partitioned Attic Space examines numerical simulation for flow behavior of natural convection in an isosceles triangular enclosure partitioned in the center by a vertical wall with an infinite conductivity. It is anticipated from the numerical simulations that the coupled thermal boundary layers development adjacent to the partition undergoes several distinct stages including an initial stage, a transitional stage, and a steady stage. Time-dependent features of the coupled thermal boundary layers are discussed and compared with the non-partitioned enclosure in this chapter. It is found that the heat transfer is reduced significantly in the presence of the vertical partition.

Chapter 4 Application of Nanofluid in Heat Exchangers for Energy Savings uses nanotechnology to reduce energy consumption for optimum design of heat exchangers. Nanofluid provides significant improvement of thermo-physical properties and augmentation of heat transfer coefficients and reduces the pumping power. In this chapter a CFD simulation using a finite volume method is presented for investigation of the hydrodynamic and thermal behavior of nanofluid flowing through a circular tube of heat exchanger with constant heat flux under single-phase turbulent flow condition for Reynolds numbers from 4000 to 20,000.

Chapter 5 Effects of Perforation Geometry on the Heat Transfer Performance of Extended Surfaces invetigates the heat transfer performances of extended surfaces (fins) having square, circular, hexagonal, and triangular lateral perforations. Simulations have been carried out for Reynolds numbers ranging from 100 to 400 based on the fin thickness. Numerical results are first validated with previously published results and good agreement is observed. For each type, Nusselt number, average drag, and heat removal rate of perforated fins are determined and compared. Results show that perforation geometry has significant effects on the thermal and fluid dynamic performance of the extended surfaces. All types of perforated fins show better heat transfer performance enhancement than the regular solid fins.

Chapter 6 Numerical Study of Flow Through a Reducer for Scale Growth Suppression presents a numerical study using the finite volume method to analyze the fluid dynamics behavior of water as it flows through a concentric reducer. The simulation results show a significant variation of the stream-wise and cross-stream component of the fluctuating velocity as flow passes through the concentric reducer. The variation of the cross-stream component of the fluctuating velocity is believed to be accountable for the increase in scale deposition at the reducer section.

Chapter 7 Parametric Analysis of Thermal Comfort and Energy Efficiency in Building in Subtropical Climate reports a comparative analysis on an overall energy efficiency and thermal comfort achieved by using traditional and alternative building envelope. In this study, an alternative envelope, which is technologically and environmentally sustainable and primarily consists of 10 mm render outside, 60 mm polystyrene, 100 mm reinforced concrete, 60 mm polystyrene, and 10 mm plaster board inside has been used to measure the thermal comfortability index and energy efficiency within the building environment. The results have been compared with current brick veneer building thermal comfort index and energy performance. A parametric analysis has been presented highlighting the impact of traditional and alternative envelopes on thermal comfortability and energy efficiency of buildings in a subtropical climate.

Chapter 8 Residential Building Wall Systems: Energy Efficiency and Carbon Footprint focuses on a comparative analysis of thermal performance and carbon footprint of two house wall systems (conventional brick veneer house wall and an alternative house wall system). The thermal performance has been determined using computational modeling and experimental measurements. The economic analyses of both the house wall systems and the effects of various climate conditions on these wall systems have also been determined.

Chapter 9 Cement Kiln Process Modeling to Achieve Energy Efficiency by Utilizing Agricultural Biomass as Alternative Fuels presents the effects of using agricultural biomasses as alternative fuels on the energy efficiency and emission from the kiln by the Aspen Plus process model. The suggested model in this chapter is verified against measured data from industry and from the literature. Results show that about a 3 to 5% energy efficiency along with a reduction of CO2 can be achieved through the utilization of different agricultural biomass.

Chapter 10 Modeling and Simulation of Heat and Mass Flow by ASPEN HYSYS for Petroleum Refining Process in Field Application studies the heat and mass transfer characteristics of the petroleum fluid before decomposition into gasoline, kerosene, naphtha, diesel, etc. A convection-radiation heating furnace has been designed as a heating source of the petroleum fluid and the different characteristics of the fluid in various processes of heating and cooling were considered. The mass flow and phase-changing characteristics of the fluid have been modeled using an ASPEN-HYSYS 3.2 process simulator to investigate the behavior of the fluid. The utility supports and heat recovery units such as heat exchanger, pre-heater, cooler (water and air), buffer tanks, have been included in the model for the simulation. Optimization of the designated model has been carried out for practical application in petroleum oil distillation.

Chapter 11 Modeling of Solid and Bio-Fuel Combustion Technologies briefly reports on recent advances in the combustion technologies, different carbon capturing and storage systems, modeling methodology for coal combustion, biomass co-combustion, packed bed combustion, and slag formation modeling. Also, examples of coal/biomass combustion have been illustrated to investigate in detail, the combustion phenomena and related issues in the furnace.

Chapter 12 Ambient Temperature Rise Consequences for Power Generation in Australia presents a model to investigate the impact of ambient air temperature rise on fossil-fuel-based power generation in Australia because its power plants are located in varied climatic conditions where ambient temperature varies notably. The study includes ambient temperature effects on power generation over a period of 90 years (2010–2100). Current and future power generation capacities were included in the study. The study showed that the ambient temperature rise could potentially reduce Australia’s fossil fuel power generation by over 4% in 2100.

We hope the selected chapters will help in enhancing your understanding and practicing of sustainable processes in engineering.

Chapter 1

Performance Evaluation of Hybrid Earth Pipe Cooling with Horizontal Piping System

S.F. Ahmed, M.M.K. Khan, M.T.O. Amanullah, M.G. Rasul and N.M.S. Hassan,    School of Engineering and Technology, Higher Education Division, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, QLD, Australia

Earth pipe cooling technology is a building design approach for cooling a room in a passive process without using any customary units. It can reduce energy consumption of the buildings for hot and humid subtropical zones. This chapter investigates the performance of horizontal earth pipe cooling (HEPC) in combination with a green roof system. To measure the performance, a thermal model was developed using Fluent in ANSYS 15.0. Data were collected from three air-conditioning modeled rooms installed at Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Australia. One of the rooms was connected to a HEPC system, the second to a green roof system, and the third standard room had no cooling system. The effect of air temperature, air velocity, and relative humidity of the hybrid earth pipe cooling performance were assessed. A temperature reduction of 4.26°C is predicted for a combined HEPC and green roof system compared to the standard room, which will assist the inhabitants to achieve thermal comfort and save energy in the buildings.


Passive air cooling; earth pipe cooling; horizontal piping system; green roof; air temperature; air velocity

1.1 Introduction

A significant amount of energy is consumed by buildings today and buildings are accountable for about 40% of world annual energy consumption [1]. There has been an enormous increase in energy demand worldwide in recent years due to industrial development and population growth. World energy use is projected to rise from 524 quadrillion Btu in 2010 to 630 quadrillion Btu in 2020 and 820 quadrillion Btu in 2040 as shown in Figure 1.1 [2]. This represents an energy consumption increase of 56% during this period. More than 85% of this growth in global energy demand is predicted to occur among the developing nations outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations, where demand is driven by strong long-term economic growth and expanding populations. In contrast, the greater part of OECD member countries are now more established energy consumers with slower expected economic growth and particularly no foreseen population growth [3].

Figure 1.1 World energy consumption. Source: International Energy Outlook (2013).

Energy use in non-OECD nations will increase by 85% compared to an increase of 18% for the OECD economies. Country-wise world energy consumption over this period of 2010–2040 is summarized in Table 1.1.

Table 1.1

World energy consumption by country grouping (quadrillion Btu) [2]

Almost all of the world population uses energy at some point for their own needs and the greater amount of this energy is used in buildings for cooling, heating, and lighting. The building sector consumes a lot of energy which is responsible for more than 40% of global energy use [4] and 40–50% of the total delivered energy in the United Kingdom and the United States [5,6]. In 2010, the sector accounted for more than one-fifth of global energy consumption [2]. Ventilation, cooling, and heating in buildings can be responsible for as much as 70% of the total energy use in buildings [7]. This growth, along with unprecedented changes in the underlying living standards and economic conditions, will make developments within the building sector. Total world delivered energy demand for buildings shown in Figure 1.2 increases from 81 quadrillion Btu in 2010 to nearly 131 quadrillion Btu in 2040 at an average annual growth rate of 1.6%.

Figure 1.2 World energy consumption for building sector [2].

Energy consumption in Australia has also been increasing rapidly with the rest of the world. This energy is used for residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial purposes. The energy consumption for the Australian residential sector in 1990 was about 299 petajoules (PJ) and that by 2008 had grown to about 402 PJ and is projected to increase to 467 PJ by 2020 under the current trends [8]. This represents a 56% increase in residential sector energy consumption over the period 1990–2020. The contribution of electricity to this residential energy consumption is predicted to increase from 46% of total energy consumption in 1990 to 53% in 2020 as shown in Figure 1.3. Gas consumption is also expected to increase from 30% in 1990 to 37% in 2020, while wood is predicted to decrease from 21% to 8% over the same period [8]. Liquefied petroleum gas use in the residential sector remains unchanged and is expected to contribute to 2% in 2020.

Figure 1.3 Total energy consumption of Australia by fuel. Source: Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (2012).

Residential electricity consumption grew 1.5% per annum at a compound rate between 2008 and 2011 [9]. Energy consumption in this sector has been less responsive to electricity price increase since 2008 than before 2008. Per capita residential energy consumption was nearly static between 2003 and 2012, suggesting higher consumption due to population growth rather than higher spending per capita. In Australia, this residential energy consumption varies state to state as shown in Figure 1.4.

Figure 1.4 Total residential energy consumption by state. Source: Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (2012).

Victoria, NSW, and Queensland show steady growth of residential energy consumption over the period of 1990–2020 as shown in Figure 1.4. This energy consumption is primarily due to extensive use of gas for space heating and cooling. Australian homes use 38% of their total energy consumption on heating and cooling [10]. Moreover, the average annual temperature in Australia has increased by 0.9°C since 1950 [11]. Projections from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) indicate an increase of average annual temperature by a further 0.6–1.5°C by 2030 and 1–5.0°C by 2070, depending upon the levels of global emissions [12]. According to this projection, more energy will be needed to achieve the same level of thermal comfort. It is essential to save energy today in the Australian residential sector, as well as globally, for the betterment of the world economy and environment. This residential energy consumption can be reduced significantly by employing energy-efficient technologies.

There has been renewed interest toward building energy efficiency because of environmental concerns and the high cost of energy in recent years. Energy efficiency in building might be enhanced by adopting either active or passive energy-efficient methods. Upgrades to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning frameworks, lighting, and so on might be dealt with as active strategies, while the changes to building envelope components could be classified under passive strategies [13]. Among these passive strategies, passive air cooling of the earth pipe cooling strategy is an appealing choice to reduce the energy consumption in buildings for all subtropical climates. Earth pipe cooling technology offers a great potential for energy saving in buildings located in hot and humid climates like Australia. It can increase cooling capacity and hence improve the coefficient of performance.

To assess the cooling capacity of earth pipe cooling technology, an estimation of its thermal performance is important. To measure the thermal performance, two thermal models were developed using two different piping systems for a subtropical climate in Queensland, Australia [14–16]. In some cases, the earth pipe cooling system is assisted with a heat pump as a heat exchanger located within the buried pipe. As a space cooling innovation using natural energy, earth–air–pipe frameworks have attracted increasing interest for energy conservation [17–20]. To predict the cooling capacity and thermal performance of earth pipe cooling technology, a transient and implicit model was developed based on numerical heat transfer and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) [21]. The result demonstrated that a daily cooling capacity of up to 74.6 kW h can be obtained from an earth–air–pipe system. Al-Ajmi et al. [22] calculated the cooling capacity of earth–air heat exchangers for domestic buildings in a desert climate. It was reported that the earth–air heat exchanger has the potential to reduce by 30% cooling energy demand in a typical house in summer. Thermal performance of the earth-pipe-air heat exchanger was analyzed for cooling in summer [23]. A 23.42 m long pipe was used in this study that produced cooling in the range of 8.0–12.7°C for the air velocities of 2–5 m s−1. The earth–air heat exchangers were also used in cooling agricultural greenhouses [24–27].

Many researchers found that the resulting temperature at the buried pipe outlet decreases with increasing pipe length, decreasing pipe diameter, decreasing mass flow rate of flowing air in the pipe and increasing depths up to 4 m [25,28]. A parametric study was carried out into earth pipe cooling systems to evaluate the influence of pipe length, pipe radius, pipe depth, and air flow rate on the general performance of the earth tube under different conditions during the cooling season [29]. The pipe depth and pipe length turned out to influence the earth tube cooling rate, while air flow rate and pipe radius primarily influenced the inlet temperature of the earth tube.

A low-energy cooling technique using earth became increasingly popular in Europe and America after the oil crisis in 1973. There is a great deal of on-going research into the earth pipe cooling technique using both simulation and experimental analysis. However, no credible research is seen on the earth pipe cooling technique in combination with any other active or passive strategy (hybrid earth pipe cooling system). Consequently, this chapter explores the performance of the hybrid earth pipe cooling system utilizing another passive cooling strategy, that of the green roof system.

1.2 Earth Pipe Cooling Technology

Earth pipe cooling technology utilizes the earth’s near-constant underground temperature to cool air for residential, agricultural, or industrial uses. It is often a viable and economical alternative to conventional cooling since there are no compressors, chemicals or burners, or regular mechanical units. The technology works with a long buried pipe with one end for the ambient air intake and the other end for providing air cooled by the soil to the house [30] as shown in Figure 1.5. The pipe is buried underground at an optimum depth that will give the most effective results. It uses the ground as a heat sink for cooling purposes in warm countries where the channeled ambient air, through the buried pipe, transfers excess heat to the ground by convection. There should be adequate air flow into the buried pipe intake to produce cool air at the other pipe end for achieving thermal comfort. A blower is needed to set into the pipe above the ground and near to the room to achieve adequate air flow.

Figure 1.5 Earth pipe cooling installation system [31].

The infinite thermal capacity of has makes it a very useful heat sink for building cooling or even heating purposes. This fact has been studied and proven by several researchers [24]. The rationale behind this is due to the daily and seasonal temperature variation, which is greatly reduced in the ground with increasing depths up to a depth where the soil temperature remains constant throughout the year [32]. The constant soil temperature is usually approximately equal to the mean annual air temperature. In winter, the soil temperature increases with increasing depth up to a certain depth and hence the use of earth as a heat source. Meanwhile, the soil temperature decreases in summer with increasing depth, which provides the use of earth as a heat sink. Different soil temperature characteristics were investigated in Athens, Greece, through Fourier analysis [26]. The soil temperatures at depths of 1–5 m and at the surface for both bare and short-grass-covered areas were taken into consideration for this study. It was found that the first three harmonics can reproduce the majority of the observed patterns in soil temperatures at different depths and the surface.

There are two main strategies for the earth pipe cooling system: direct earth contact and indirect earth contact. Direct earth contact involves a total or partial building envelope being placed in contact with the ground surface directly, and the indirect earth contact involves an earth-to-air heat exchanger system through which air is circulated between the interior and exterior of the building and is subsequently brought into the building [33]. The direct earth-to-building contact ground cooling has many advantages in its performance. It is a low-maintenance passive cooling strategy with minimal heat gains and solar exposure. Despite the advantages of the direct-to-building contact ground cooling, it also creates environmental problems such as indoor condensation and poor indoor air quality

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