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Solar Energy Collection using a Double-layer Roof

Authors: S. Kong Wang

Abstract:

The purpose of this study is to investigate the efficiency of a double-layer roof in collecting solar energy as an application to the areas such as raising high-end temperature of organic Rankine cycle (ORC). The by-product of the solar roof is to reduce building air-conditioning loads. The experimental apparatus are arranged to evaluate the effects of the solar roof in absorbing solar energy. The flow channel is basically formed by an aluminum plate on top of a plywood plate. The geometric configurations in which the effects of absorbing energy is analyzed include: a bare uncovered aluminum plate, a glass-covered aluminum plate, a glass-covered/black-painted aluminum plate, a plate with variable lengths, a flow channel with stuffed material (in an attempt on enhancement of heat conduction), and a flow channel with variable slanted angles. The experimental results show that the efficiency of energy collection varies from 0.6 % to 11 % for the geometric configurations mentioned above. An additional study is carried out using CFD simulation to investigate the effects of fins on the aluminum plate. It shows that due to vastly enhanced heat conduction, the efficiency can reach ~23 % if 50 fins are installed on the aluminum plate. The study shows that a double-layer roof can efficiently absorb solar energy and substantially reduce building air-conditioning loads. On the high end of an organic Rankine cycle, a solar pond is used to replace the warm surface water of the sea as OTEC (ocean thermal energy conversion) is the driving energy for the ORC. The energy collected from the double-layered solar roof can be pumped into the pond and raise the pond temperature as the pond surface area is equivalently increased by nearly one-fourth of the total area of the double-layer solar roof. The effect of raising solar pond temperature is especially prominent if the double-layer solar roofs are installed in a community area.

Keywords: Energy Conservation, Solar Energy Collection, ORC, OTEC, double-layer solar roof

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1334371

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