System Integration of PV/T Collectors in Solar Cooling Systems

University essay from Högskolan Dalarna/Energiteknik


The demand for cooling and air-conditioning of building is increasingly ever growing. This increase is mostly due to population and economic growth in developing countries, and also desire for a higher quality of thermal comfort. Increase in the use of conventional cooling systems results in larger carbon footprint and more greenhouse gases considering their higher electricity consumption, and it occasionally creates peaks in electricity demand from power supply grid. Solar energy as a renewable energy source is an alternative to drive the cooling machines since the cooling load is generally high when solar radiation is high.

This thesis examines the performance of PV/T solar collector manufactured by Solarus company in a solar cooling system for an office building in Dubai, New Delhi, Los Angeles and Cape Town. The study is carried out by analyzing climate data and the requirements for thermal comfort in office buildings. Cooling systems strongly depend on weather conditions and local climate. Cooling load of buildings depend on many parameters such as ambient temperature, indoor comfort temperature, solar gain to the building and internal gains including; number of occupant and electrical devices.

The simulations were carried out by selecting a suitable thermally driven chiller and modeling it with PV/T solar collector in Polysun software. Fractional primary energy saving and solar fraction were introduced as key figures of the project to evaluate the performance of cooling system. Several parametric studies and simulations were determined according to PV/T aperture area and hot water storage tank volume.

The fractional primary energy saving analysis revealed that thermally driven chillers, particularly adsorption chillers are not suitable to be utilizing in small size of solar cooling systems in hot and tropic climates such as Dubai and New Delhi. Adsorption chillers require more thermal energy to meet the cooling load in hot and dry climates. The adsorption chillers operate in their full capacity and in higher coefficient of performance when they run in a moderate climate since they can properly reject the exhaust heat. The simulation results also indicated that PV/T solar collector have higher efficiency in warmer climates, however it requires a larger size of PV/T collectors to supply the thermally driven chillers for providing cooling in hot climates. Therefore using an electrical chiller as backup gives much better results in terms of primary energy savings, since PV/T electrical production also can be used for backup electrical chiller in a net metering mechanism.

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