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Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 1169–1174

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Renewable Energy

Energy journal homepage: www.else vier.com/locate/renene Technical Note Exergetic optimization of flat plate solar

Technical Note

Exergetic optimization of flat plate solar collectors

S. Farahat, F. Sarhaddi * , H. Ajam

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Sistan and Baluchestan, Zahedan 98164-161, Iran

article info

Article history:

Received 13 June 2007 Accepted 22 June 2008 Available online 13 August 2008

Keywords:

Exergy Flat plate solar collector Optimization

abstract

In this paper, an exergetic optimization of flat plate solar collectors is developed to determine the optimal performance and design parameters of these solar to thermal energy conversion systems. A detailed energy and exergy analysis is carried out for evaluating the thermal and optical performance, exergy flows and losses as well as exergetic efficiency for a typical flat plate solar collector under given operating conditions. In this analysis, the following geometric and operating parameters are considered as variables: the absorber plate area, dimensions of solar collector, pipes’ diameter, mass flow rate, fluid inlet, outlet temperature, the overall loss coefficient, etc. A simulation program is developed for the thermal and exergetic calculations. The results of this computational program are in good agreement with the experimental measurements noted in the previous literature. Finally, the exergetic optimization has been carried out under given design and operating conditions and the optimum values of the mass flow rate, the absorber plate area and the maximum exergy efficiency have been found. Thus, more accurate results and beneficial applications of the exergy method in the design of solar collectors have been obtained.

2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

In a solar domestic hot water system, the flat plate solar collector is the main part of the system. Hence, the optimal performance of the solar collector is highly important. On the other hand, the energy equation alone does not encounter the internal losses; it cannot be a sufficient criterion for the flat plate solar collector efficiency. But, the second law analysis is more informative in regard to the optimum operating zone, quantifying the inefficiencies, their relative magnitudes and lo- cations [1,2] . Therefore, the consideration of this article will be on the detailed energy and exergy analysis of flat plate solar collectors for evaluating the thermal, optical and exergetic per- formance and finding the optimum values of the mass flow rate, the absorber plate area and the maximum exergy efficiency under given operating conditions. Much research has been car- ried out in this category. In Refs. [3–8] models of thermody- namic analysis for solar collectors using concepts such as exergy output, exergy efficiency and entropy generation are elaborated. However, it is assumed that the overall loss coefficient is con- stant or is computed from the empirical equation that has specific restrictions. Luminosu and Fara [2] discussed the optimal operation of flat plate solar collector by means of exergy analysis using numerical

* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ 98 541 2426206; fax: þ 98 541 2447092. E-mail address: fsarhaddi@eng.usb.ac.ir (F. Sarhaddi).

0960-1481/$ – see front matter 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.renene.2008.06.014

simulation technique and finally gave some useful results for a typical water heating system under given operating conditions. However, they assumed the exergy flow rate in the global solar radiation to be equal to the solar flux; the overall thermal loss coefficient, the heat removal factor, the efficiency factor, agent fluid properties and other heat transfer coefficients of the solar collector are constant. Also, they considered the fluid inlet tem- perature to be equal to the ambient temperature and constant. They neglected the destroyed exergy caused by the ducts’ pres- sure drop. These subjects are not considered in the previous literature [1–8] :

A general model for the collector optical and thermal perfor- mance is not fulfilled or it is assumed that the overall loss co- efficient and other heat transfer coefficients are constant or at minimal effect. The complete optimization with respect to the design and operating conditions is not carried out. Design conditions in- clude the dimensions of the solar collector and operating conditions include the mass flow rate of the solar collector. A common error using the Petela efficiency equation obtaining the solar radiation exergy is noted.

The previous subjects have been corrected for several types of solar collectors in Refs. [9–11] . In this paper, a procedure to design and optimization of flat plate solar collectors based on exergy analysis is developed. The exergy analysis of the solar collector is parametrically dependent on its optical and energy analysis. Hence,

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S. Farahat et al. / Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 1169–1174

firstly the optical and energy analysis of the flat plate solar collector will be carried out. Then, the solar collector exergy efficiency will be computed and optimized.

The inlet exergy rate includes the inlet exergy rate with fluid flow and the absorbed solar radiation exergy rate. The inlet exergy rate with fluid flow is given by [13,16]

2. Energy analysis

The proof of governing equations on the solar collector energy analysis is not included to have a brief note [12] . The useful heat gain ( Q u ) by the working fluid is

_

Q u ¼ mC p ð T out T in Þ ;

(1)

where T in , T out , C p and m are the fluid inlet, outlet temperature, heat

capacity and mass flow rate of the agent fluid, respectively. The Hottel–Whillier equation for the useful heat gain ( Q u ) of a flat plate solar collector system, considering the heat losses from the solar collector to the atmosphere, is [12]

_

Q u ¼ A p F R ½ S U l ð T in T a Þ ;

(2)

where T a is the ambient temperature and the heat removal factor ( F R ) is defined as

F R ¼

mC _

U l A

p 1 exp F 0 U l A p ;

p

_

mC

p

(3)

where F 0 and f are the collector efficiency factor and plate effec- tiveness. An energy balance on the absorber plate yields the fol- lowing equation for a steady state [12] :

Q u ¼ A p S U l A p T p

T a :

(4)

In Eqs. (2)–(4) T p , S and A p are the average temperature of the ab- sorber plate, radiation absorbed flux by unit area of the absorber plate and area of the absorber plate, respectively. U l is the overall loss coefficient, which during the previous studies assumed as a constant factor or a variable with little effect; whereas it is not constant. The calculation of the overall loss coefficient ( U l ) is based on simulation convection and re-radiation losses from the absorber plate to the atmosphere that the proof of them is not included here to have a brief note. Thermal efficiency of the solar collector is given by [12]

h en ¼

Q u I T A p

;

(5)

where I T is the incident solar energy per unit area of the absorber plate.

3. Optical analysis

In Eq. (2) the radiation absorbed flux by unit area of the absorber plate ( S ) is defined as

S

¼ ð saÞ I T ;

(6)

where ( sa) is the effective product transmittance–absorptance that is equal with the optical efficiency ( h o ) [12] .

4. Exergy analysis

Exergy is defined as the maximum amount of work which can be produced by a system or a flow of matter or energy as it comes to equilibrium with a reference environment [13] . General form of the exergy balance equation is [14,15]

_

E in þ

_

E s þ

_

E out þ

_

_

E l þ E d ¼ 0 ;

(7)

_

where

destroyed exergy rate, respectively.

_

E in ,

_

E s ,

E out , _

_

E l and E d are the inlet, stored, outlet, leakage and

_

E in ; f ¼

mC p T in T a T a ln T in

_

T

a

þ

_

m

DP in

r

:

(8)

The absorbed solar radiation exergy rate, considering the Petela theorem, is given by [17]

E in ; Q ¼ h o I T A p " 1 4

3

_

T a

T

s

þ

1

3

T a

T

s

4 # :

(9)

The term in the bracket is the Petela efficiency ( h p ). However, this equation violates the second law of thermodynamics for such systems [18] . The corrected equation, assuming the sun as an infinite thermal source, is [6,18]

E in ; Q ¼ h o I T A p 1 T a

_

T s ;

(10)

where T s is the apparent sun temperature and equals 75% of blackbody temperature of the sun [3] . The summation of Eqs. (8) and (10) will result in total inlet exergy rate of the solar collector. The stored exergy rate is null at steady conditions. The outlet exergy rate includes only the exergy rate of outlet fluid flow [13,16] :

_

E out ; f ¼

mC p T out T a T a ln T out

_

T

a

_

m

DP out

r

:

(11)

In Eqs. (8) and (11) , DP in and DP out are the pressure difference of the agent fluid with the surroundings at entrance and exit of the solar collector. The leakage exergy rate caused by heat leakage rate from the absorber plate to the environment is [1]

E l ¼ U l A p T p T a 1 T p :

_

T a

(12)

The destroyed exergy rate includes three terms; one is caused by the temperature difference between the absorber plate surface and the sun [1] :

E _ d ; DT s ¼ h o I T A p T a

1

T p

1

T s ;

(13)

the second term is caused by the ducts’ pressure drop [14,15] :

_

E d ; DP ¼

m _ DP

T a ln T out

T

a

r ð T out T in

Þ

(14)

and the third term is caused by the temperature difference between the absorber plate surface and the agent fluid which is given by

[14,15]

_

E d ; DT f ¼

mC p T a ln T out

_

T

in

ð T out T in Þ

T

p

:

(15)

The solar collector exergy efficiency defines the increase of fluid flow exergy upon the primary radiation exergy by the radiation source. Substituting Eqs. (8)–(15) into Eq. (7) and considering the

S. Farahat et al. / Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 1169–1174

1171

exergy efficiency definition, the second law efficiency equation of the solar collector is derived [1,2,18] :

h ex ¼

m h C p T out T in T a ln T out

_

T in DP

r

I T A p 1 T a

T

s

¼ 1 ( ð 1 h o Þ þ

_

m

DP

T a ln T out

T

a

rI T A p 1 T a

T

s

ð T out T in Þ

þ

h o T a

1

T s þ

1

1 T a

T

s

T

p

U l T p T a

1

I T 1 T a

T

s

T a T p

_

þ mC p T a

I T A p

ln T out

T

in

ð T out T in Þ

T

p

1 T a

T

s

9

=

;

ð 16 Þ

The right-hand side terms in Eq. (16) indicate the exergy losses.

5. Formulation of the optimization problem

The optical, thermal and exergetic models presented in the previous sections have been transposed into a MATLAB computa- tional program. In this program, most of the geometric parameters and operating conditions can be variables. The formulation of the optimization problem, considering the quantities T in , T a , T s , I T , ( sa), h o , S , V a , L 3 , D i , etc., as constant parameters, is given by

Maximize h ex ¼ Eq : ð 16 Þ ;

<

_

8

>

>

>

>

> subject to

>

> >

Eqs : ð 1 Þ ð 6 Þ

> and

>

> >

> 1 A p 10 ;

>

> >

: 0 : 001 m 0 : 009 ; T out ; T p ; U l ; Q u ; DP ; C p ; r; F R ; F 0 ; f 0 :

where A p and m are the independent parameters and T out , T p , U l , Q u ,

DP, C p , r, F R , F 0 and f are the dependent parameters in the optimi- zation procedure. Whereas, the objective function and its con- straints are nonlinear, it has been maximized numerically with MATLAB optimization toolbox. MATLAB uses variations of sequen- tial quadratic programming (SQP) method for constrained optimi- zation [19] .

_

5.1. The results of the optimization procedure

The selected environmental and design conditions of the solar collector and constant parameters for the optimization procedure are shown in Table 1. For the fixed values in Table 1, the optimization procedure leads to the following optimum values of the objective function, the independent and dependent optimi-

zation parameters: h ex ¼ 3.898%, A p ¼ 9.14 m 2 , m ¼ 0 : 0087 kg = s,

¼ 358.8248 K, T p ¼ 339.4307 K, U l ¼ 4.6797 W/m 2 K, Q u ¼ 2139.4

W/m 2 , C p ¼ 4180.4 J/kg K, DP ¼ 0.0011 Pa, h en ¼ 46.8144%, F R ¼

0.5573, F 0 ¼ 0.9114, f ¼ 0.9943, r ¼ 982.2709 kg/m 3 .

T out

_

6. Validation of the simulation program

The experimental results of Ref. [2] for the open circuit mode of the solar collector with serpentine ducts allow the checking of the results obtained by computer simulation. A comparison has been made between the computer simulation and experimental results in the average hourly values for the mean monthly day [2] . Table 2

Table 1 Environmental and design conditions for the solar collector

Collector parameters

Value

Type

Black paint header-riser flat plate Double glass Water Negligible

Glazing

Agent fluid in flow ducts Adhesive resistance, 1/ C b

Length and width of collector

L 1 ¼ 1 m, L 2 ¼ A p / L 1 m 25 m/s 20 300 K 4350 K 0.002 m

0.84

Wind speed, V a Collector tilt, b Fluid inlet and ambient temperature, T in z T a

Apparent sun temperature, T s Plate thickness, d p Effective product transmittance–absorptance or optical efficiency, h o ¼ ( sa)

Emissivity of the absorber plate, 3 p Emissivity of the covers, 3 c

0.92

0.88

Glass covers’ distance, d 1 ¼ d 2

0.04 m 0.08 m 0.04 m 384 W/m K 0.05 W/m K 500 W/m 2

0.15 m

Thickness of the back insulation, d b Thickness of the sides’ insulation, d e

Thermal conductivity of the absorber plate, k p Thermal conductivity of the insulation, k i Incident solar energy per unit area of the absorber plate, I T Tubes’ centre to centre distance, W Inner diameter of pipes, D i

0.04 m

shows this comparison. The computer simulation results are more accurate than the simulation results of Ref. [2] and are in good agreement with the experimental data of Ref. [2] because of:

the correction of the absorbed solar radiation exergy rate by the solar collector; considering the exergy loss caused by the ducts’ pressure drop; the overall thermal loss coefficient, the heat removal factor, the efficiency factor, agent fluid properties and other heat transfer coefficients of the solar collector are assumed to be variables.

On the other hand, the calculated exergy errors compared with those obtained by experimental can be explained as follows:

adhesive resistance of the solar collector is neglected; wind speed is not constant and has direct effect on the overall thermal loss coefficient that can decrease the accuracy of the calculated overall thermal loss coefficient in the computer simulation;

Table 2 Comparison between the computer simulation and experimental results in the av- erage hourly values for the mean monthly day

 

Hourly interval

 

8–10

10–12

12–14

14–16

16–18

18–20

Luminosu and Fara [2] C T in z T a D h (K) C I T D h (W/m 2 )

301.15

303.15

305.15

307.15

306.15

303.15

503

795

788

489

397

293

C S D h (W/m 2 )

340

538

580

341

268

198

C T out.exp D h (K)

328.15

346.15

351.15

335.15

328.15

320.15

C DT D h (K)

27

43

46

28

22

17

C h en.exp D h (%) C h ex.exp D h (%) C h ex.calc D h (%) e exergy (%)

 

38

39

42

43

42

42

1.6

2.5

2.9

1.8

1.4

1.2

1.7

2.6

3

1.7

1.3

1.1

6.3

4.0

3.4

5.5

7.1

8.3

Present work

C U l.calc D h (W/m 2 K)

4.48

4.67

4.75

4.63

4.56

4.47

C T out.calc D h (K) C h en.calc D h (%) C h ex.exp D h (%) C h ex.calc D h (%) e exergy (%)

 

328.99

346.56

351.82

335.83

329.04

321.51

39.61

39.09

42.42

41.97

31.25

44.84

1.6

2.5

2.9

1.8

1.4

1.2

1.65

2.55

2.95

1.76

1.36

1.16

3.12

2

1.72

2.22

2.85

3.33

1172

S. Farahat et al. / Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 1169–1174

the effective product of the transmittance–absorptance (optical efficiency) assumed constant is changing during the day to- gether with the change of the incidence angle of the solar ra- diation on the solar collector; the assumption that the water temperature at collector inlet could be approximated by the environmental temperature is not fulfilled in the real case; when the serpentine solar collector has 10 or more bends (as expected in practical situations), the heat removal factor is approximated from Eq. (3) (Hottel–Whillier equation). How- ever, this equation has errors for low mass flow rate and few tube bends in the serpentine solar collector [20] ; the radiative properties of the solar collector surfaces are as- sumed constant.

7. Results and discussion

Fig. 1 shows the behavior of the exergy efficiency as a function of the mass flow rate of fluid and the absorber plate area, it is pre- sented to a range of operational and design conditions where the exergy efficiency takes a global maximum value. The incremented quantities are the absorber plate area from 1 to 10 m 2 and the mass

t o 1 0 m 2 a n d t h e m a s s

Fig. 1. The variations of the exergy efficiency according to the mass flow rate of fluid and absorber plate area.

to the mass flow rate of fluid and absorber plate area. Fig. 3. The variations of

Fig. 3. The variations of the exergy efficiency versus the pipes’ diameter.

flow rate of fluid from 0.001 to 0.009 kg/s. The calculated values for

the global maximum point are A p ¼ 9.14 m 2 , m ¼ 0 : 0087 kg = s,

h ex ¼ 3.898%. As seen, the coordinate of the maximum point

equal with the values of optimized parameters. Increasing the mass

flow rate above the value of m ¼ 0 : 0087 kg = s determines the nonchange of exergy efficiency for A p ¼ 9.14 m 2 . This subject allows the designer to optimize the solar collector regarding other con-

ditions such as design limitations and thermal applications.

Whereas, decreasing the mass flow rate below the value of

m _ ¼ 0 : 0087 kg = s determines the sensible decrease of exergy effi- ciency for A p ¼ 9.14 m 2 and this subject shows the danger range more clearly. Fig. 2 shows the effect of fluid inlet temperature on the exergy efficiency. By increasing the fluid inlet temperature until the value of T in z 315 K, the exergy efficiency increases and then decreases quickly. In a closed circuit solar collector system, since the agent

fluid works in a closed loop, if agent fluid is not used in a definite time range, the fluid temperature of the storage tank is increased and subsequently the temperature of fluid inlet and the exergy efficiency are increased. Fig. 3 shows the variations of the exergy efficiency versus the pipes’ diameter. By increasing the pipes’

_

is

_

the pipes’ diameter. By increasing the pipes’ _ is _ Fig. 2. The variations of the

Fig. 2. The variations of the exergy efficiency versus the fluid inlet temperature.

the exergy efficiency versus the fluid inlet temperature. Fig. 4. The variations of the exergy efficiency

Fig. 4. The variations of the exergy efficiency versus the ambient temperature.

S. Farahat et al. / Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 1169–1174

1173

Farahat et al. / Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 1169–1174 1173 Fig. 5. The variations of the

Fig. 5. The variations of the exergy efficiency versus the wind speed.

variations of the exergy efficiency versus the wind speed. Fig. 6. The variations of the exergy

Fig. 6. The variations of the exergy efficiency versus the optical efficiency.

of the exergy efficiency versus the optical efficiency. Fig. 7. The variations of the exergy efficiency

Fig. 7. The variations of the exergy efficiency versus the incident solar energy per unit area of absorber plate.

diameter from 0.01 to 0.05 m, the exergy efficiency has a slight increase. Fig. 4 shows the ambient temperature effect on the exergy efficiency. Increasing the ambient temperature from 300 to 313 K determines the sensible decrease of the exergy efficiency. Since the ambient temperature changes during the day, for having the maximum exergy efficiency other parameters and the solar col- lector operating conditions should change during the day. Fig. 5 shows the variations of the exergy efficiency versus the wind speed. Increasing the wind speed from 0.001 to 50 m/s determines the sensible decrease of the exergy efficiency from 5 to 3.8%. Fig. 6 shows the optical efficiency effect on the exergy efficiency. By in- creasing the optical efficiency from 0.01 to 100%, the exergy effi- ciency increases from 0 to 5.4%. Fig. 7 shows the variations of the exergy efficiency with respect to the incident solar energy per unit area of the absorber plate. By increasing this parameter from 50 to 1000 W/m 2 , the exergy efficiency increases.

8. Concluding remarks

1. The overall loss coefficient is not a constant parameter. The precise calculation of this parameter increases the accuracy of the exergy efficiency. The optical efficiency has a great effect on the exergy efficiency. By using the flat plate solar collectors with optical concentrators, the optical efficiency increases.

2. The energy efficiency increases without extremum points with operating parameters. The absence of such maximum points has created difficulties in the design of flat plate solar collec- tors. However, the exergy efficiency presents points of local maxima and a point of global maximum.

3. By increasing the incident solar energy per unit area of the absorber plate, the exergy efficiency increases. The exergy ef- ficiency decreases rapidly when the ambient temperature and the wind speed increase. Since these parameters change during the day, for having the maximum exergy efficiency other pa- rameters and the solar collector operating conditions should change during the day and the design of solar collector should be based on the daily average of these parameters.

4. Increasing the fluid inlet temperature increases the exergy ef- ficiency but there is a maximum point for the fluid inlet tem- perature where the exergy efficiency decreases quickly.

5. The design parameters such as pipes’ diameter have a little effect on the exergy efficiency.

6. The analysis presented in this paper can be used for the ther- modynamic design of similar systems, establishing the optimal operation parameters for a given set of conditions. The exergy analysis is more informative in regard to optimum operating zone, quantifying the inefficiencies, their relative magnitudes and locations and unlike other optimization methods, this method decreases internal irreversibilities, which is very important.

Appendix A. Nomenclature

A

C p 1/ C b

D diameter (m)

area (m 2 ) heat capacity of the fluid (kJ/kg K) adhesive resistance (W/m 2 K)

_

E

F 0

F R

I solar radiation intensity (W/m 2 )

k conductivity (W/m K)

L dimensions of collector (m)

m mass flow rate (kg/s)

exergy rate (J/s) collector efficiency factor heat removal factor

_

1174

S. Farahat et al. / Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 1169–1174

P

fluid pressure (Pa)

T

incident

Q

heat transfer rate (W)

u

useful

S

radiation absorbed flux (W/m 2 )

T

temperature (K)

Statistics symbols

U

collector loss coefficient (W/m 2 K)

C D h

hourly average

V

speed, velocity (m/s)

W

tubes’ centre to centre distance (m)

References

Greek symbols

a

absorptance

b

collector tilt ( )

D

difference in pressure or temperature

d

distance or thickness (m)

e

error (%)

3

emissivity

h

efficiency (%)

s

transmittance

f

plate effectiveness

r

density (kg/m 3 )

( sa)

effective product transmittance–absorptance

Subscripts

1

first, length

2

second, width

3

height

a

ambient, adhesive, wind

b

back

c

cover

calc

calculated

d

destroyed

e

side

en

energy

ex

exergy

exp

experimental

exergy

exergy efficiency

f

fluid

h

hot, hourly

i

inner, insulation

in

inlet

l

leakage, overall

m

monthly

o

optical

out

outlet

p

absorber plate, Petela

Q

heat transfer

s

stored, sun

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