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Active Forced Convection Photovoltaic/Thermal Panel Efficiency Optimization Analysis

by

Bradley Fontenault

An Engineering Project Submitted to the Graduate

Faculty of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

in Partial Fulfillment of the

Requirements for the degree of

Master of Engineering

in Mechanical Engineering


Approved:


_________________________________________

Ernesto Gutierrez-Miravete, Engineering Project Advisor


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Hartford, CT

April, 2012


© Copyright 2012

by

Bradley Fontenault

All Rights Reserved

CONTENTS

Active Forced Convection Photovoltaic/Thermal Panel Efficiency Optimization Analysis……………………………………………………………………………….i

1.Introduction 12

1.1Background 13

1.2Project Scope 18

2.Methodology/Approach 19

2.1PV/T Test Model and Arrangement 20

2.2PV/T Panel Thermal Model 22

2.2.1Assumptions 23

2.2.2Theory and Governing Equations 24

2.3Test Cases 28

2.4Meshing 30

2.5Material Properties 31

2.6Solving 32

3.Results and Discussion 35

4.Conclusions 43

5.References 45

Appendix A: Test Case Supplementary Data 47



LIST OF TABLES


GLOSSARY



Ethylene Vinyl-Acetate EVA

Finite Element Analysis FEA

Functionally Graded Material FGM

Coefficient of Performance COP

Concentrated Photovoltaic CPV

Photovoltaic PV

Photovoltaic and Thermal PV/T

Shockley-Queisser SQ

LIST OF FIGURES



NOMENCLATURE


Symbol

Description

Units




PV cell Area

m2




Cross-sectional area of the reservoir (assuming unit depth)

m2



Heat capacity at constant pressure

J/(kg*K)




Specific heat of water

4.18 J/(g*C)




Hydraulic diameter

m




Total solar energy into the cell

W




Electrical energy

W




Thermal energy extracted by water

W



Forced convection heat transfer coefficient

W/m2




Maximum power point current

A




Thermal conductivity

W/(m*K)




Mass of water

g



Electrical power out of PV cell

W




Flow rate of water

ml/s



Heat flux

W/m2



Heat source

W/m2



Convective heat loss

W



Heat flux going into PV cell

W/m2



Heat or energy into PV cell

W



Longwave energy

W



Heat or energy out of PV cell

W



Shortwave energy flux

W/m2



Shortwave energy

W



Solar irradiance

W/m2




Reynolds Number

[ ]




Temperature

K




Ambient temperature

K




Water inlet temperature

K




Water outlet temperature

K




Temperature of PV cell

K




Reference temperature

K

t

Time

seconds




Inlet water flow velocity

m/s

u

Fluid velocity

m/s



Maximum power point voltage

V



Temperature coefficient at reference temperature

1/K



Surface emissivity

[ ]




Average cell electrical efficiency

[ ]



PV cell electrical efficiency

[ ]




Total PV/T panel efficiency

[ ]




Thermal efficiency of the cell

[ ]



PV cell electrical efficiency at reference temperature

[ ]



Dynamic viscosity

Pa*s



Density

kg/m3



Stefan-Boltzmann constant

5.67e-8 W/(m2*K4)




Kinematic viscosity of water at 25 C

9.137e-7 (m2/s)
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