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Dixit Department of Mechanical Engineering Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur – 440 011 Abstract Design and simulation of a salt-gradient non-convective solar pond has been carried out for conditions prevailing at Nagpur. The computations have been carried out to find the theoretical temperature distribution in the non-convective zone of the solar pond. The surface temperature of the pond is assumed to be equal to the ambient air temperature. Various parameters are analyzed by assuming the steady-state condition of the solar pond. Keywords Solar Energy; Solar Pond; Large Area Solar Collector; Salt-Gradient Pond; Design and Simulation. Introduction The term ‘solar pond’ connotes different concepts, in all of which water is heated by the absorption of solar radiation and serve as a thermal storage medium for the collected energy. As the name suggests, the salt gradient solar pond is one in which a salinity gradient is established. More specifically, over some range in depth the concentration of salt dissolved in the water (salinity) increases with depth. A salt gradient solar pond is a body of water that typically has three regions (from top to bottom) viz. surface zone, gradient zone and lower zone. The lower zone is a homogeneous, concentrated salt solution that can be either convecting or temperature stratified. Above it is the non-convective gradient zone constituting a thermally insulating layer that contains a salinity gradient such that water closer to the surface is always less salty than the water below it. The surface zone is a homogeneous layer of low salinity brine or fresh water. If the salinity gradient is large enough, there is no convection in the gradient zone even when heat is absorbed in the lower zone and on the bottom, because the hotter, saltier water at the bottom of the gradient remains denser than the colder, less salty water above it. As water is transparent to visible light but opaque to infrared radiation, the energy in the form of sunlight that reaches the lower zone and is absorbed there can escape only via conduction. The thermal conductivity of water is moderately low, and if the gradient zone has substantial thickness, heat escapes upwards from the lower zone
very slowly. This makes the solar pond both a thermal collector and a long-term storage device. Performance investigations on a small experimental solar pond were carried out earlier (Dixit et al, 1978). A solar pond of 100 m2 area at Nagpur in central India is designed and simulated. The main aim in the present paper is to present the theoretical temperature distribution in the non-convective zone of the solar pond. Simulation Procedure Assumptions Since the variation in the solar pond occurs very slowly compared to those of the surrounding environmental conditions, lumped parameter models are assumed for the upper convective zone (UCZ), the non-convective zone (NCZ) and the storage zone. The following assumptions are used in the mathematical model developed to simulate the solar pond : 1. The pond consists of three zones, the upper convective zone, the nonconvective zone and the lower convective zone. 2. The temperature and density gradients in the non-convective zone are assumed to be linear. 3. The temperature and density gradients in the upper convective zone and in the storage zone are uniform and perfectly mixed. 4. The edges of the solar pond are vertical. 5. The heat exchange through the side edges is negligible. 6. The surface zone thickness is 0.3 m and the thickness of non-convective zone is 0.487 m. Calculation of Maximum Storage and Surface Zone Temperatures The equation for the annual temperature variation in a solar pond (Rabl and Nielson, 1975) is trHg 4 Aj cos r − K 1 . x1 ∑ Tu − Ta = (1 − e j ) − h1(Tu − Ta ) k j=1 Kj Where Kj K1 = J cos r Tu = Surface zone temperature in (K) Ta = Ambient zone temperature for the mean day of the month at the derived location (K) t = Transmissivity based on reflection and refraction at the air-water interface Hg = Monthly average global radiation K = Thermal conductivity of water = 0.648 W/m K at 50°C (average) r = angle of refraction
h1 = Heat transfer coefficient between upper water column and ambient air = 5.7 + 3.8 V∞ ; V∞ (average wind velocity) = 3.885 m/s Kj = extinction coefficient x1 = Depth of NCZ-UCZ interface = 0.3m The value of Hg is calculated for every month by the equation: Hg Ho =a+b (S/Smax) Where Ho = Monthly average of daily extra-terrestrial radiation falling on the horizontal surface at the location under consideration. A, b = constants depending on the location. S = Monthly average of the sunshine hours per day at the location = 9.5 h (assumed) Smax = Monthly average of the maximum possible sunshine hours per day at the location. The value of r i.e. the angle of refraction is calculated for every hour of the mean day and was assumed to be constant for that hour. Sin(i)/sin (r) = 1.33 where 1.33 is the refractive index of water. Hence, r = sin-1 [sin i/1.33] The value of i is given as cos i = sin Φ sin δ + cos Φ cos δ cos ω Hence, Φ = Latitude of location = 21.1° for Nagpur δ = Declination angle ω = Hour angle. The computed monthly average values of solar isolation and global radiation are graphically depicted in Fig. 1. Figure 2 illustrates the variation of monthly average values of air dry bulb temperature observed and the predicted values of the surface zone temperature over the year. Similarly the storage zone temperature can be calculated using the following equation.
(Ts − Tu ) = tr Hg k Σ Aj cos r / Kj (1 − e Kjx 3 } − Qst − Qsb > 0 j =1
Where, x3 = 1.287 m [pond depth] Qst = heat loss to the top from the storage zone. = kb (Ts − Tu ) (x 2 − x1)
Kb = thermal conductivity of brine solution. Qsb = heat exchange rate between the storage zone and the ground = UbAb(Ts-Tg) Where Tg = 22°C (Assumed) and Ub = 1 W/m2 K The monthly average values of the predicted storage zone temperature are presented in Fig.3.
Conclusion The computed values of upper zone and storage zone temperatures agree reasonably well with the results obtained for a solar pond in Kuwait (Ali, 1986). References Ali, H.M. (1986). Mathematical modeling of salt gradient solar pond performance Energy Research, 10, 377-384. Dixit, D.K., B.D. Shiwalkar and V.M. Dokras (1978). Some studies on an experimental solar pond. Proc ISES Solar World Congress, New Delhi, India. Rabl, A. and C.E. Nielsen (1975). Solar ponds for space heating. Solar Energy, 17, 112.