Thermal and electrical efficiencies enhancement of a solar photovoltaic-thermal/air system (PVT/air) using metal foams

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Abstract

Photovoltaic-thermal (PVT) collectors, are useful systems to absorb solar energy and convert that to electrical and thermal energy. However, to make the best out of solar irradiation, it is vital to improve the thermal and energy efficiencies of such systems. Porous metal foams are suggested to be utilized in the present study for cooling of the PV cells and increase the thermal and electrical efficiencies. Moreover, the effects of various parameters, such as porous layer thickness, solar heat flux, and Reynolds number on these efficiencies are investigated numerically. Results mainly focus on the effects of the porous media on both thermodynamic and hydrodynamic characteristics of the system, i.e., velocity profiles and the pressure drop. The results indicated that the usage of porous media can improve both efficiencies (between 3 and 4% for the electrical and between 10 and 40% for the thermal efficiency) with a subsequent pressure loss. But for cases with a thickness of more than half of the channel height, it has a negative effect. In the best condition, Rp=0.5, the overall efficiency reaches up to 95%, however, in this case, the pressure drop rises considerably (up to 600 Pa), which causes destructive effects on the system and imposes additional costs.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-289
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Taiwan Institute of Chemical Engineers
Volume124
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2021