Overall efficiency improvement of photovoltaic-thermal air collector: numerical and experimental investigation in the desert climate of Ouargla region

Abstract

In the Ouargla region, the desert area of Algeria, photovoltaic fields (PV) suffer from hard climate conditions with high-temperature levels. This temperature level causes a significant fall of PV cells efficiency which requires an integrated cooling system. For achieving this purpose, a thermal part based on airflow provided along a straight channel under the PV module (150 W) is added. It extracts the accumulated heat by air natural convection, then, the airflow passes through an upper glass extension (0.56 m) to reinforce the heat collection. The evaluation of the whole system performance is experimentally conducted by performing several variations of operating parameters and air channel depth. This photovoltaic-thermal (PV/T) system has modeled by a set of balanced energy equations that are resolved numerically using Matlab software. The experimental results show that the increase in the channel depth causes a significant reduction of thermal efficiency and a slight effect on the electrical one. The numerical data are compared and validated by the experimental results, where the characteristic curves (efficiencies, polarization, powers, temperatures) show good concordance with experimental data. The root means square of percentage deviation (RMSD) is between 1.75% and 16.25%. For a channel depth of 10 cm, the energy and exergy efficiency reach their mean values of 58.5% and 14.7%, respectively. The glass extension of 1.6 m gives a net improvement of 5% in the overall energy efficiency.

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Abbreviations

BIPV/T:

Building-integrated photovoltaic/thermal

CPC:

Compound parabolic concentrator

ER:

Relative error

LCA:

Life cycle assessments

RMSD:

Root means square deviation

PV:

Photovoltaic

PV/T:

Photovoltaic/thermal

A :

Area

A Ch :

Cross-section of the channel area

b ch :

Breadth of channel

c a :

Specific heat capacity (kJ/kg K)

G :

Solar radiation intensity (W/m2)

h :

Coefficient of heat transfer

h p1 :

Penalty factor

h p2 :

Penalty factor

I :

Circuit current (A)

:

Air mass flow rate (kg/s)

P :

Power (W)

q u :

Thermal energy (W)

q exo :

Exergy overall (W)

T :

Temperature

U b :

Overall back loss coefficient from flowing air to ambient through the insulator (Wm−2 K−1)

U T :

Coefficient of conductive heat transfer from the solar cell to air through tedler

U tT :

Coefficient of overall heat transfer from glass to tedler through solar cell

U t :

Coefficient of overall heat transfer from the solar cell to ambient through glass

U L :

Coefficient of overall heat transfer from the solar cell to ambient through top and back surface of the insulation

V :

Circuit voltage (V), wind speed (m/s)

R :

Resistance (Ω)

amb:

Ambient

bs:

The back surface

c:

Solar cells

co:

Open-circuit

el:

Electrical

ex:

Exergy

exp:

Experimental

g:

Glass

ins:

Insulator

mpp:

Maximum power point

O:

Overall

Out:

Outlet

p:

Absorber plate

ref:

Reference conditions

s:

Sky

sc:

Short-circuit

T :

Tedler

th:

Thermal

α :

Absorptivity

β c :

Factor of solar packing cells

ɛ :

Emissivity

η :

Efficiency

λ :

Thermal conductivity (Wm1 K1)

μ :

Dynamic viscosity (kg m−1 s−1)

ρ :

Density (kg/m3)

τ :

Transitivity

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Correspondence to Naoui Khenfer.

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Appendix A

Appendix A

The following formulations are used in thermal mathematical model of the proposed PV/T collector.

The expressions for (A, B, C, D, E, F, K, S, R, W, N and Z) used in Eqs. (30), (31), (32), (33) are:

$$A = h_{{\text{w}}} + h_{{{\text{c,p}} - {\text{in}}}} ,$$
(A.1)

where hw is the heat coefficient due to wind, hc,p–in is the thermal insulator.

$$B = h_{{{\text{v,air}} - {\text{p}}}} + h_{{{\text{c,p}} - {\text{in}}}} + h_{{{\text{r,p}} - {\text{g}}}} ,$$
(A.2)

where hv,air–p is the Coefficient of convective heat transfer from the plate to air duct, hr,p–g is the aluminum plate to the glass coefficient.

$$C = h_{{{\text{r,s}} - {\text{g}}}} + h_{{\text{w}}} + h_{{{\text{v,air}} - {\text{g}}}} + h_{{{\text{r,p}} - {\text{g}}}} ,$$
(A.3)

where hv,air–g is the Coefficient of convective heat transfer from the glass to air duct, hr,s–g is the sky to the glass coefficient.

$$D = h_{{{\text{v,air}} - {\text{g}}}} + h_{{{\text{v,air}} - {\text{p}}}} ,$$
(A.4)
$$E = \frac{C}{{b_{{{\text{ch}}}} h_{{{\text{v,air}} - {\text{g}}}} }},$$
(A.5)

where bch is the width of channel.

$$F = \frac{{h_{{{\text{v,air}} - {\text{g}}}} }}{{Ah_{{{\text{r,p}} - {\text{g}}}} }},$$
(A.6)
$$K = FAB + h_{{{\text{v,air}} - {\text{p}}}} - Fh_{{{\text{c,p}} - {\text{in}}}}^{2} ,$$
(A.7)
$$S = - \;Eh_{{{\text{v,air}} - {\text{p}}}} - h_{{{\text{r,p}} - {\text{g}}}} ,$$
(A.8)
$$R = - \;EDK - SD - SAFh_{{{\text{v,air}} - {\text{p}}}} ,$$
(A.9)
$$W = - \;\dot{m}C_{{\text{a}}} \left( {S + KE} \right),$$
(A.10)

where \(\dot{m}\) is the mass flow rate, Ca is the specific heat capacity of air.

$$Z = \dot{m}c_{{\text{a}}} \frac{R}{W}.$$
(A.11)

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Khenfer, N., Dokkar, B. & Messaoudi, M.T. Overall efficiency improvement of photovoltaic-thermal air collector: numerical and experimental investigation in the desert climate of Ouargla region. Int J Energy Environ Eng (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40095-020-00353-1

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Keywords

  • PV/T system
  • Airflow
  • Plate absorber
  • Natural convection
  • Overall efficiency