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Title: The development and characterisation of enhanced hybrid solar photovoltaic thermal systems
Authors: Allan, James
Advisors: Dehouche, Z
Keywords: Solar energy;Thermal conductivity enhancement;Solar materials;Renewable energy;Computational dynamics
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Brunel University London.
Abstract: A photovoltaic thermal solar collector (PVT) produces both heat and electricity from a single panel. PVT collectors produce more energy, for a given area, than conventional electricity and heat producing panels, which means they are a promising technology for applications with limited space, such as building integration. This work has been broken down into 3 subprojects focusing on the development of PVT technology. In the first subproject an experimental testing facility was constructed to characterise the performance of PVT collectors. The collectors under investigation were assembled by combining bespoke thermal absorbers and PV laminates. Of the two designs tested, the serpentine design had the highest combined efficiency of 61% with an 8% electrical fraction. The header riser design had a combined efficiency of 59% with an electrical fraction of 8%. This was in agreement with other results published in literature and highlights the potential for manufacturers of bespoke thermal absorbers and PV devices to combine their products into a single PVT device that could achieve improved efficiency over a given roof area. In the second project a numerical approach using computational fluid dynamics was developed to simulate the performance of a solar thermal collector. Thermal efficiency curves were simulated and the heat removal factor and heat loss coefficient differed from the experimental measurements by a maximum of 12.1% and 2.9% respectively. The discrepancies in the findings is attributed to uncertainty in the degree of thermal contact between the absorber and the piping. Despite not perfectly matching the experimental results, the CFD approach also served as a useful tool to carry out performance comparisons of different collector designs and flow conditions. The effect of 5 different flow configurations for a header collector was investigated. It was found that the most efficient design had uniform flow through the pipe work which was in agreement with other studies. The temperature induced voltage mismatch, that occurs in the PV cells of PVT collector was also investigated. It was concluded that the temperature variation was not limiting and the way in which PV cells are wired together on the surface of a PVT collector did not influence the combined electrical power output.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Engineering and was awarded by Brunel University London.
Appears in Collections:Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Dept of Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Engineering Theses

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